When laughter comes, depression flees



I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13 NASB)

I visited my doctor this week. She said, “You are depressed.” I tried to deny it but after honestly answering the questions she confronted me with, I agreed with her. Amazingly, I am not worried about this depression. I’ve gone through enough dark valleys to know sunshine awaits on the other side. God has always given me the strength and resources I’ve needed to recover. I know what to do. I do not lack hope.

Depression is something like sitting in a room on a stormy day with the window shades pulled down. At first, it makes us feel safe. After a while, the fear and uncertainty of whatever might happen increases and negativity occupies our souls. Problems loom larger. We can’t come up with solutions.

Loneliness contributes to this negativity. Loneliness is sitting in a room of depression by myself. Scientific studies have shown it’s a significant factor in mental and physical health, making us “more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, suicide, even the common cold. It’s more dangerous to our health, researchers tell us, than obesity, and it’s equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day” (Is There a Medical Cure for Loneliness?)

As I listen to news reports and see the storms in the world around me, I want to pull down my window shades. I want to retreat. Isolate myself. Insulate myself through soothing denial. What happens if I do so? Alone, in the company of only myself, depression sets in.

God may be with me, but I don’t see him. I feel angry, turn my back, and refuse to speak to him. I need a human voice to awaken me. To say, “You’re depressed.” To say, “You are lonely. Go spend some time with your friends.”

I heard my physician. I forgot about everything I’d scheduled for the day. I called a friend. Two of them. I stepped out of my house for a few hours and spent time with these friends. We laughed. We cried a little. We laughed some more. We made plans to meet again.

In just one day, my perspective shifted. I felt revived. Able to breathe. Able to think. Able to write again. I turned around, faced God and began to face my problems with fresh belief solutions are possible. For me. For others.

I am not closing my eyes to the pain and dysfunction of the world around me. I will continue to write. I will engage with my voice. I will intentionally be present with those who share their broken hearts with me.

I will not do this in isolation. I will stay connected to my face-to-face friends and to my online friends. I will open up my window shades and receive strength and courage through their smiles and laughter.


 Deeply wounded, in denial
 Grasping chemicals for survival
  
 Confused about sexuality
 Pursuing greed and unreality
  
 In a nation we call, “Christian”
 Families flounder in dysfunction
  
 People ruled by tyrants
 React in fear, hate, and violence
  
 Injustice flourishes
 Hope nearly perishes
  
 Another friend develops cancer
 Goodbye to fun, joy, and laughter          
  
 I see it all, stand in silence,
 Refuse, at first, to ask for guidance,
  
 Clench my jaw in my sleep,
 Ignore my pounding heartbeat.
  
 God, why did you give me so much sensitivity?
 I’d like to close my eyes, not hear, not see
  
 A doctor tells me I’m depressed
 I need friends. I must rest.
 
 I spend an afternoon with others
 Loneliness no longer smothers
 
 Me. I can breathe again. 
 I sniff fresh air. I'm not the same.
 
 Go back home. Make some phone calls.
 I am singing before nightfall. 
  
 In a child’s eyes, I see wonder
 God is holding back his thunder
  
 In this oasis of Grace
 Miracles still take place.
  
 2/11/2020
 Jane Ault

11 thoughts on “When laughter comes, depression flees

  1. Good morning Jane, I recently at CPH rehab and I met your husband, thru his teachings, kind words and his spirituality I was able to reach out and feel Gods grace again. He told me of your blog and his Facebook posting today brought me hear. I too this past week was sinking into a darker place, with help of my counselor and Doctor I was shown the path to joining life again. I have been feeling gods help in my readings and in others incite. I am in search of inner peace and serenity, understanding of myself, and obtain the strength to move forward. thank you for sharing , I was truly moved by your words and emotions you expressed.

    • Good morning, Fran, Thank you so much for reading my post and letting me know that you were encouraged by my words. May God bless you with an increased understanding of yourself, as well as his grace. As you draw closer to him, I pray that you will find comfort, strength, peace-of-mind, and a renewed purpose in life.

    • I love you Jane!! I sooo appreciate you and your writings and your honesty!!
      I just sent this blog to another friend to make her aware of your writings and you!!

      Miss seeing you but glad we are in touch!! Sherry

  2. Hello Jane,
    We are both in Flourish Writers. I thank God for you today; for your vulnerability, for your genuine heart and genuine faith, for your sense of humor and your great strength, for your perseverance in life and in writing. God bless you. I probably deal with more depression than I acknowledge. It manifests in indirect ways. And, it takes me a while to recognize that THAT is what’s going on. At this time, I think I’m doing okay, but depression is lurking. I recently moved across the country, to New Hampshire from California. I have long-lasting relationships here, but not a friend to hang out with. The people I know are all so busy with ministry and family. The other day I realized my ‘lack’ and took it to my Good Shepherd. He is providing. He always does! My favorite scripture, my declaration and the cry of my heart is Lamentations 3:21-26.
    Have a joyful, hopeful week! I am enjoying getting to know you.

    • Hello Marjorie,
      What an encouraging word! Thank you! I am so glad you contacted me and so happy that through Flourish Writers, we are companions in our writing journeys. Sometimes, I resist vulnerability but I am learning do put myself out there when the Lord directs me to do so. I love that Lamentations passage you mentioned. I thought of using it in the post but settled for the quote from Psalms. May God bless you this day with a deep awareness of his love and continue to give you the connections you need and desire. I’m eager to get to know you better.

    • Thanks Jean. I deeply appreciate your encouragement. Yes, many people struggle with depression and, sadly, isolate themselves.

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