Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Spring is in the air!! Flowers, rain, the birds, the bees, all that jazz. On days like this it makes you feel new, fresh, clean! A song that came to my mind thinking about it is this (If you don’t know it, watch it!  If you know it, WATCH IT!):

Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows

CATCHY! Come away from watching that and it’s going to be stuck in your head. If it’s not, we’re doubting the existence of your brain.

Yet, on days like this, there is something that continues to come to mind. Coming out of winter should mean a renewed vigor for life and love. So why do so many of us struggle with irrepressible depression?

I know. I said it. The ‘D’ word. In a world where ADHD, mono, AIDS and cancer are openly discussed, there is one disease that is the shame of our society. The one sickness that nobody wants to talk about. Depression.

The hardest part about depression is that it’s not an ailment of the body – it’s a sickness of the mind. Most people who struggle with depression are perfectly fine physically. But their mind, their psyche, their spirit, the very essence of their being is ill. And nobody wants to talk about it.

So I will.

Believe me, this is not a judgy “how dare you be depressed” kind of discussion. I understand these people I’m talking about, because I have struggled with severe depression for several years.

I don’t know that I’ve ever really talked to anyone about it. I understand the shame that comes along with it. What will people think of me? How can they understand what it’s like? Won’t everyone see me as a horrible person for feeling this way?

Depression is a prison more than any cell ever could be. Your body can be broken. But as long as your mind remains intact you are free! So when the very thought of living makes you want to cry, there is nothing left.

I would lay in bed and not even have the strength to pretend to care. Things needed done! There was life to be lived, people to meet, school to finish, pets to feed, family to be with. Yet my only thought was….nothing. There was nothing left in the horrifically empty existence of me.

I had no one to turn to, to tell how I felt. No boyfriend. No really close friends. I’ve gotten out of touch with my best friends since moving, and haven’t made any solid ones here. I have friends – the kind you go to the movies with, or laugh over stupid jokes. But not the kind you can sit down and pour your heart and soul out to.

Lost. Broken. Alone. Hovering in the pathetic no-mans-land of existing physically, but being (in essence) dead.

Is there hope once you have become entangled in this so-called life? Is there a way to pull out of the lethargy and stupor? Is there passion to be found?

In truth, depression is the biggest lie of all. A way of thinking, of feeling, that promotes self degradation and hatred. Saying that we aren’t worth anything, that nobody loves us.

Having these thoughts and feelings isn’t the problem! It’s what we do with them. Do we allow these ideas to consume us? Do we promote them, encourage them, allow them to fester and feed off our discontent? Dwelling on these thoughts creates a monster of oxymoronic proportions.

This is a world where the victim believes they are worth nothing, yet spends all their time focused on self. Not a wholesome focus, but attention nonetheless.

There are ‘cures’ for depression in this age of modern convenience and medicine. But is the answer to our problem really a pill that makes many people suicidal?? How is that the fix for depression?

What if – and just bear with me here a second – what if we stopped paying tribute to our thoughts of depression and suicide? What if we recognized our tendencies towards self, and began to focus on others? Serving people in more need than ourselves, volunteering in every way possible. Giving ourselves over, but not to death. Over to the pursuit of helping others find hope and life.

What if we broke out of the lie that says we’re alone? That says we’re unloved? What if we just talked to someone – confessed our deepest shame. What if we ignored the impulse to isolate ourselves, to give up, to pull away. Isn’t this prison really of our own making? So let’s be the ones to tear it down!  Find someone, anyone, and talk to them!  Commit to talking to them even, no, especially when you are depressed.  If you don’t have a friend or family member who is there for you now, then go out and find one!  Be the one to end the vicious cycle of loathing, and re-enter a world of living.

I went to my mom recently and told her about the depression that was weighing me down. Stress over the ACT, college applications, work, school, relationships, life in general! The first thing she offered to do was pray with me.  And after that prayer I was filled with a renewed hope, a renewed vigor and passion for life.

I am a Christian and have found my salvation in Christ since I was four years old, but this does not make me impervious to the tendencies of my Flesh!! The only question is – will I be mastered by my Flesh? Or will I take control over it?

The scripture I always turn to, and that brings me the most hope, is Psalm 13.

How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

for He has been good to me.

We are alive.  And we are here for a purpose.  Will we be beaten down?  Or will we rise up in the strength God has offered us so freely?

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