Living with Darkness

I’m going to tell you a secret. My struggle with depression is not over. It was just this spring that I was determined to commit suicide.

Depression has been my lifelong nemesis.

Memories from as young as six years old contain feelings of deep sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. I felt unloved, misunderstood, afraid, angry, and resigned. Those feelings continued through adolescence, my teen and college years, and on into adulthood. The intensity of my feelings waxed and waned, but they were always there in some way. Thoughts of suicide lurked in the recesses of my mind, coming out to taunt and tease me during my darkest hours.

Because this was all I had known and because I had never shared my feelings with anyone else, I thought my feelings were normal, that everyone struggled the same way I did. I’ve shared before how a dear friend helped me realize that my feelings were not normal and that I needed help.

At the end of 2011, I finally got help.

I started seeing a therapist to try to figure out and work through the causes behind my depression. I also started taking medication to ease the symptoms of my negative mental state. Very few people, including family members, knew that I was going to therapy or taking medication. I feared what people would think of me if they knew. I was afraid to hear hurtful statements like the following:

  • You wouldn’t be depressed if you’d just trust God.
  • Count your blessings. You won’t be depressed if you look at all the good in your life.
  • There must be some sin in your life causing you to feel this way. Depression is caused by sin.

I certainly didn’t feel like I could reveal that when I was mired deepest in the pit, it seemed selfish for me to keep living. After all, everyone – my husband, children, family, friends, even complete strangers – would be better off without me. If I were truly unselfish, I would exit stage left so I wouldn’t be a drag or hindrance to them any more.

Therapy and depression medication helped tremendously, but I didn’t feel comfortable publicly sharing my issues and the help I found for them. Despite learning that depression runs in my family, I hoped medication was only a temporary necessity.

Fall of 2013 found me in a much better place.

In fact, I was doing so much better that I weaned off the meds, confident that I’d won my battle with depression. For a while, I seemed to be doing well without the medication, but by spring of 2014, I found my outlook becoming darker for no reason. Our circumstances were good and improving to great. I should have been on top of the world. Instead, getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle. Nothing seemed interesting enough to be worth any amount of effort. Deep sadness was ever-present and all-pervasive.

Eventually, I had slipped so far that suicide again seemed the best option.

One night, I had reached my breaking point and decided I would not be alive in the morning. I wrote a goodbye letter to my husband and then intended to make my fantasized suicide plan a reality. I impulsively decided to google first to make sure it would work. I found that my plan was less than foolproof and that, instead of finding death, I could find myself living with very unpleasant lifelong consequences.

Having a deep aversion to physical pain, I googled “painless way to die” and came up empty. I lived to see the morning and the many that have followed.

After, however unwillingly, making the choice to live, I knew I needed help. I went back to therapy. That helped tremendously but not enough. So I chose to go back on medication.

Today, I am doing much better.

While I am not yet completely out of the pit, I am no longer in its depths where the sun is obscured and the darkness threatens to swallow me whole. I suspect that this battle will last my entire life. I pray that I will continue to find the courage to choose life, the bravery to love life, and the willingness to take the risk that is part of living.

I share my struggles in hopes that my story may speak to someone else who is fighting the same battle. If that is you, please hold on. Don’t give up. Fight on. Your life has value. You are needed. You are loved.

If you feel you can’t hold on any longer, let someone else help you hold on. Talk to someone you trust. Seek counseling. Call a suicide lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Love life. Be brave.
#TakeTheRisk

Living often requires every ounce of courage you have. Love life. Be Brave. #TakeTheRisk

Comments

  1. That was brave! How thankful I am that you choose life and I was given the opportunity to know you and your family. I think given the circumstances you mentioned I would have probably chosen to keep quiet as well. I will not pretend to understand because I’ve not been faced with such extreme sadness, but I’ve experienced great joy and victory in the Lord and hope you get the same over this difficult area in your life.

    • Thank you, Renee, for your encouraging and supportive comment. I was afraid to publish this post. It sat in my drafts for about three weeks before I finally shut my eyes and clicked the Publish button. 🙂

      I am tired of being controlled and bound by fear. Yes, people may now regard me as mentally deficient, backslidden, or something worse. I may be looked down on, relegated to the box labeled Mentally Ill, and shoved into a corner, never again to be spoken of other than in hushed whispers and fearful phrases.

      So what? Does any of that really matter? Does it negate the fact that my speaking openly about my struggles may help someone else? If I can help someone who is struggling, the potential negatives are worth it to me.

      The above thoughts and questions are what finally caused me to break the chains of fear and share openly here on my blog.

      I really, really appreciate your freely stating that you don’t understand my struggle but that you hope for victory for me. I thank you very much and hope that perhaps one day I will no longer have to fight this battle. But if it does become a lifelong battle, I know that joy and victory ultimately wait for me anyway. 🙂

  2. Uncle Pete (Shop Dog - FB) says:

    After reading your fb and blog post I have been waiting to come up with some words of wisdom or some humor. So far I have not been able to, so I thought I had better respond before you thought I was not paying attention. Remember when Susan and I visited you a few years ago? We had such a good time. No, I do not know what you are going thru. But I can relate on a smaller scale as I have also been looked down on because of my lack of education and other short comings. Did not stop me from marry a very smart, beautiful, lady.

    We went thru a lot of issues when we first got married due to my past military experiences. In recent years it has been her health issues. We are very active in the VFW because they provide support for both of our problems. Her cancer and my what ever issues. Also keeps us active, as we do a lot of cancer, veterans, children, type of fund raisers.
    I agree that no one should think negative of you, but based on my experience some may.
    First and foremost keep remembering the Lord and follow where he leads you. He is still leading me into positions and challenges that I can not believe. When I was in life and death situations I prayed for survival , but never made promises. He led me to be head of trustees of a church. He told us and helped us to prevent a VFW from closing ten years ago. Now same VFW may have problems filling officer chairs next year? So we are listening, as He knows both of our health. We are not currently active in a church, but we still pray and listen to God!
    I think the reason I was led to the VFW was my past experience and the I way I handle life problems. I.e. humor, low key, head on, action,

    You have touched so many lives, mine included. So it is not a option, you have to continue to hang in there!
    Have to sign off – Shop Dog is past out sleeping and its past my bed time

    • Thank you so much, Uncle Pete. Your kind words and thoughts are encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. Pat Shop Dog and tell Aunt Sue I send my love.

  3. Bro Dave Wilson says:

    Mrs. Revkah
    Your a tremendous blessing and encouragement and testament to the fact that God is able to deliver us from whatever we are going through. I was touched by your story. What a blessing to see someone be so transparent in a day where religion has caused so many of Gods people to conceal so much. I don’t believe it’s sin and I don’t believe you weren’t trusting God but I do believe there was a devil… Who wanted nothing more than to keep you from affecting people for Christ. We do often forget that we are the targets of demonic attack and what a victory it would be for him to be able to have snuffed out such an obvious source of light. I did not know there was a story attached to the picture when I liked it but now I love it. God bless you and thank you.

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