When I write that my goal for this blog is to let others know that they are not alone, I am being very honest. That is my goal. However, it has also been my lesson. I learn a little more each time I read a message from someone. I treasure those messages that tell me I am not alone, that you, too, struggle. I don’t treasure them because I WANT someone else to suffer, but treasure them because I often feel that I am, indeed, the only one who does. And these messages assure me that I am not alone. It is vital for each of us to know that we are not alone.
I received a message this morning from a dear friend in which she talked about her journey through depression. She wrote such a powerful statement, one that I feel so very often. She wrote, “I am going through the “these are the seminal moments in my life that caused shame” in therapy. And it is so liberating but so damned hard. One moment so free. And the next plunged back into darkness.” Oh, how I relate to that statement!
One of the most frustrating things (and there are many) about my depression is that there is just so much about its anatomy that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how someone can be intelligent enough to realize that our thoughts are merely in our heads and that we can change these thoughts at a moment’s notice, but that I cannot do that. There are many people who have mastered this technique. My friend, Luann, knew how to do this. I don’t. She was so very good about cleaning out her thought closet. I try. Lord, how I try. But, the moment that I stop actively trying, the dark thought is back there again. And it is gnawing at my soul. I hear this thought spoken in my head that says, “You are unworthy” and I agree with it. Then, I stop and tell myself “Betty, that is so untrue. You are a good person. You have a loving heart. You have worked hard and been productive. You have raised three beautiful, intelligent, hard-working children. You have wonderful friends who care for you. You have done good things in your life.” And I do believe all those things — so for a fleeting moment, I feel better about myself. But THEN, that thought comes back that says, “Ahhhh, those things may be true, BUT you are still unworthy.” And I immediately believe that message again. What is it, exactly, that I must do to become worthy? To myself? In my own head and heart? So that I can actually believe it? I can easily justify the reasons that the voice is wrong. But, I just can’t believe that it is wrong. If something has been drilled into your head for years and years and years, is there ever a way in which to believe that it is wrong? It can become such a vicious cycle in which I constantly fight those voices and I have yet to learn how to stop the cycle. As my friend said in her message, “One moment so free. And the next plunged back into darkness.” That, to me, is the worst part about depression. I can feel so good one moment, and the next, be plunged back into that darkness. I pray that I will learn how to stop the darkness. It is hell.