The fear comes at night when the lights turn out.
I can feel the darkness as a tangible sadness. It feels real, the darkness of depression. Sometimes it feels like a weight on my chest. Other times it feels like a heavy fog, clouding my thoughts. Most of the time I can’t breathe.
Under the covers, I can feel my legs but can’t move them.
The physical darkness of my bedroom suffocates me and I feel the air trapped in my lungs. I close my eyes, but my soul is consumed by fear. Every night, the darkness engulfs me like flames.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream.
I was walking along a path. On the right side was the mud-filled river slowly weaving its path to the sea. The ground beside the water was muddy and wet. I walked along and I looked to my left. It was filled with broken down shells of houses. The houses were made of concrete and some had doors, others had none. I walked past almost a hundred houses.
The windows were all broken or missing. No grass or plants could be seen. The concrete was a mixture of gray and brown. Behind the houses rose the hill to the rest of the world. The houses stood against the hill, protecting the world from the flood of the river. The houses took the brunt of the water when it was rushing after a rain.
As I walked along, I noticed the houses were empty. Every once in awhile I saw a house that was not. “Someone lives here?” I asked to no one.
I was alone in my dream, walking along this road beside the river.
Suddenly a voice spoke through the sadness, “These houses are the people living on the edge of sadness, depression, and anxiety. Some people live their entire lives with the threat of floods right around the corner.”
I woke up.
Immediately, the song by Sara Groves, Floodplain, replayed in my mind. Sara wrote this song because some people battle depression and anxiety, and their hearts always feel like the floods are coming. They walk around and seem fine on the outside. They have jobs, friends, and family. They go to activities and wear a smile….but the flood of depression could come at any time.
Floodplain: a nearly flat plain along the course of a stream or river that is naturally subject to flooding.
The dream happened about a week before the depression came. Sometimes the depression hits me like a ton of bricks. I used to not be able to tell when it would come. I would find myself super irritated. I would snap at the children, anger boiling deep inside erupting like a volcano. I would cry with remorse only a few minutes later. I would yell at my husband if he was a half hour late getting home from work. I would pick fights and be so negative. We would have a huge fight, which would only end when I was lying on the couch downstairs in the dark. In the dark of midnight I could see it.
Having that song close by has helped me to visualize the depression. It helps me see it in a tangible way. I can’t say I’ve gotten “over” depression, or have victory – but I can tell you how I’ve found a little light for the path.
Three ways I’ve found light during the darkest of depression:
1. Physical, real, support. I’ve stopped closing myself in from people in my life when I feel depressed. I’ve talked with my husband, my mom, and even some friends about my depression. When I feel overwhelmed, or am having a bad day, I know I can text, call, or talk to one of them. Even if they just pray for me, it helps.
2. Listening to music. I pick “depression” music and play it when I feel alone, afraid, or the depression. They are songs full of hope and promise. Not shallow songs, but deep, meaningful songs to help through times of darkness.
3. Truth. The biggest way to fight the darkness is with truth. Sometimes you just need a little truth to get you through. The truth doesn’t feel real in the moment, but that’s ok. Living with depression can still be beautiful. In the sadness, we can find hope because we can find Him.
You can download FREE truth cards if you go here and enter your email! They are beautiful cards you can print off, laminate or print on card stock. Cut them out and place them around your house, in your purse, or by your night stand. Shine a little light into your darkness today.
About the Author
As a momma of littles and wife to a busy husband, Sarah spends her days making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reheating her coffee ten times a day, and sneaking quiet time with her earbuds to drown out the noise. Quiet time can be hard to find, let alone deep Bible study. Sarah loves to inspire focus and provide tools for deep-rooted Bible study on her blog: www.sarahefrazer.com