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