Prayer Note #30 — On Depression
[from my prayer journal, January 9, 2009]
I’m very tired this morning, Lord. I have been for most of the week. I’ve been back to swimming for exercise after a bit of a lay-off. So, I suppose the physical tiredness that I feel is partly to do with that. But, Lord, my tiredness seems to go deeper than merely tired muscles. What I feel might better be called weariness. I have much more trouble than usual keeping on task or getting on task in the first place. And forcing myself out into the company of other people.
It sounds, of course, as if I’m depressed. Maybe I am. It’s mid-winter — dark and cold. We’ve just come out of the Christmas holidays. So, I doubt I would be the only person around wrestling with depression. But I suppose, Lord, depression means more in my case than just mid-winter, post-holiday blues. My acquaintance with depression runs a lot deeper than that. And it has taken me to much deeper, darker places than post-holiday blues.
Even as I write these words before you, Lord, I feel some sort of relief, as though the mere act of putting the thought down on paper and before you depletes it of some of its power to frighten me.
Yet, Lord, I don’t want to simply drop the matter now and trudge on as if there is nothing more to be prayed, thought, said, or done in relation to this cold, dark, tenacious enemy. . . . “Enemy”? Is that the right word? Somehow it doesn’t quite resonate with me as right. It’s almost more like a cold, dark swampy place or inner state of affairs. Calling depression an “enemy” is in a sense to personify it. And, Lord, I don’t experience depression as a personality but rather a sort of negation of personality. Depression is, for me, a personality-less state of affairs. In some sense, it seems to drain me of my personhood without seeming to acquire personhood itself.
And so, even as I write these words, Lord, I find myself understanding more clearly just how very evil and degrading depression is by its very nature. In a way that is easily overlooked, depression is very pointedly a contradiction of your aspiration for us human creatures of yours.
I do experience depression more as a place or an environment of the soul than as an active opponent. But, Lord, that makes depression all the more difficult to fight. There is no specific enemy against whom I can direct my defense. There is not really any focused source of opposition or assault against which I can aim a counter-attack. It is, instead, as if I’ve fallen into a vacuum, a life-depleting environment which by its very nature deprives me of the ability — strength, commitment, understanding, motivation,
energy — by which I might manage to escape.
Only in you, Lord Jesus.
Only through you, Lord Jesus.
Only by you, Lord Jesus.
Only for you, Lord Jesus.
- Depression is Ugly (ponderingpastorswife.wordpress.com)
- Depression Traps: Social Withdrawal, Rumination, and More (webmd.com)
- The Exercise of Prayer (agoldentreasury.com)