by Lynn Kuhns

2012/07/16 Canon EOS KISS X5 & Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

Photo by Kazuhiro Keino on Flickr

It feels like there is a fog and everything is shrouded by a veil.  It’s like I can’t see clearly and miss the vividness in the colors. I can’t truly enjoy what’s happening around me. I can’t feel anything but heaviness and oppression. I can’t easily shake the feeling. It feels as though I am drowning and can’t catch my breath. Every time that I think I am moving forward, it feels like I get beaten back ten more steps.  At times it makes me feel numb and like it’s never going to get better. It feels like I will never be happy or feel joy again.

Sometimes it makes me want to cry uncontrollably or scream and kick. It makes me want to run away and forget everything that I have worked to overcome.  Sometimes it’s a feeling of emptiness and hollowness. Sometimes it is a feeling of weight and heaviness creeping into every inch of my soul. It’s such a darkness that I feel like I will never get out of it. It’s as though I will never be able to escape this loneliness and brokenness. It’s an incredible sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

This is what depression looks and feels like. If it’s not something that you have experienced before, it may not make sense. It may not seem real. But I assure you, it is real to the person that is experiencing it. And it’s not as easy as saying “snap out of it.” It can be a daily battle. It can be an hourly struggle. It can take away hours, days, weeks, months, and even years of a person’s life.  It can control your whole life if you let it.

Quite honestly, at the moment, I’m not sure why I am sharing this. I realize this is getting pretty vulnerable, but I felt led to share it. And part of what I am working on is getting past the idea of feeling that there is someone else who can more effectively say what I need to say.

As someone who has and does deal with depression and anxiety, I want people to be more aware of it and open to talking about it. Yes, it can be (and has been) crippling for me. It isn’t something that I even readily talk about, but it’s a very real part of my life. It’s something that I have realized that I have been dealing with since middle school.

Christians are not immune to depression and anxiety.  More Christians probably deal with it than they want to admit. Honestly, it’s not something to be ashamed of or swept under the rug. I think it’s something that we must talk about more. It’s something that deserves more attention. And it’s not something that has a single fix or silver bullet to resolve it. Each person must deal with in their own way.

It’s not something that I have been able to stave off on my own. I have had to learn to recognize the signs and triggers. It is something that requires knowing what I need to counter the negative thoughts. I have to  constantly give it over to the Lord and remember that He is in control. And it doesn’t mean that my relationship with Jesus is broken because I struggle with it. We have to rid ourselves of that preconceived notion that just because you are a Christian, depression and anxiety aren’t a thing. They can be.

It’s not something to ignore or pretend like it’s not a real thing. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression for many different reasons. For anyone else who deals with these things, you’re not alone.  There are others suffering through it, some probably silently. Please don’t let it break your spirit. Take each thing one step at a time, and keep seeking after the Lord to help carry the burdens.  It’s an essential part of the process.