Why can't I just snap out of it?!?

It is the end of May, but for the life of me I can't think of what day it is...nor do I really care at the moment. Usually this time of year I am starting to get excited and looking forward to summer...not this year. I mustered up the strength after an hour of contemplation to get up out of bed. I looked out the window and found a bright sunny day, but to me it feels just as dark as the middle of the night. I just don't have any energy and I have no interest to do any of the things that I use to enjoy. It has been a few weeks since I have ran, food does not taste any good, and I don't even care enough to follow what my beloved Kentucky Basketball team is planning for the summer (you know something is wrong now). My wife comes in to ask me if I need anything, I paused for a minute...not even really caring enough to answer...then blurted out a rude, NO! I can't get enough sleep, and all of the traits that have been used to characterize my personality over the past 35 years are completely gone without a trace. Gone is my sense of humor...my punctuality...energetic nature and social ambitions. What in the world is going on with me!? Why cant I just snap out of it???

Does my recent bout of depression sound familiar to any of you? I was convinced that I had overcome depression from years ago, and it would never ever come back. I mean, I am a saved Christian, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Christian Counseling. I have been counseling and prayerfully encouraging others for years to make it through some of their own tough times. Usually when I had down moments I could just go play with the kids, or go for a run...and feel better. I could just snap out of it! I thought I had it all figured out. I thought depression would never happen to me again, but God had other plans.

The first thing I noticed was a more negative attitude and response to things I use to easily shrug off, starting around February of this year. Circumstances at home and work all the sudden seemed impossible for me to handle or manage. Denial came next. I had recently been weaned off of sleep medication, and I blamed my condition on that process since they had many of the same symptoms. As weeks passed though, the symptoms grew stronger instead of better...leading me to understand it was much more. I was depressed.

I knew I needed to get help, but as most males I hate asking for help. I want the world to believe that I have things under control, except this time...I just didn't. Thankfully I did not experience suicidal thoughts, but if I did not get the proper help and soon ...I was asking for trouble in my opinion. The first step in getting help came in the form of an ugly and embarrassing cry out to God (glad no one was around). It had been almost a year since I had heard anything from Him, and I felt so separated and alone. I couldn't understand how I could have such a strong vision for this mission of running across the country, but yet...He stays quiet while I hang on for my very life. I start second guessing everything...myself, my abilities, and my qualifications. I felt like I was not worthy enough to do this. I have made too many mistakes, and those mistakes are reason enough for God to just give up on me. Then the most remarkable thing happened.

God broke His silence! It came in the form of "truth" that I just came to realize and understand through much prayer and much time. I realized that I was indeed separated from God just as I had feared. But, it was my unaddressed "sin" that was separating me. God reminded me that He never left me through it all, but I needed to realize (the hard way) that a sin here and a sin there, could no longer be tolerated if I were to continue on with this vision. I needed God...and I needed Him now, and forever! For the record...I still sin...as we all do, but I began to take actual steps to "address" these areas. Baby steps, but finally progress was being made. Next came doctors appointments, apologies to friends and family, and forgiving those I had held unwarranted hard feelings toward. But, all of these were simple symptoms of "my" sin that needed to be addressed. For this reason alone...I was the only one to blame.

We may not have control over whether or not we have depression or any ailment for that matter, but we CAN chose to take steps to move past it and through it. Even in the depths of the darkness, and despair...we CAN choose to trust that God is using this to make us stronger...to make us better. I believe God allowed depression into my life as a reminder. A reminder that He is God and I am little man Tony. A reminder of my relationship to Him, and that I rely on Him for every single need. He alone...and no one else can meet these true needs. He showed me how important this cause is (suicide prevention). And, He used a bout of depression to serve as a harsh reminder of the need to complete this mission...to give me a greater sense of urgency. One of my biggest sins through this all was not trusting God enough to give up my "safety and security" to begin even sooner. I knew as soon as I started to feel better...that I needed to go do this NOW! In God's timing!

1 comment:

  1. Incredible revelation from God, and Him working in your life in a most unexpected way as he often does. So grateful He never let's go of us!