Depression can swamp us with such an overwhelming array of disturbing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms that it is only natural for us to focus obsessively on all the negative aspects of our life. Trivial annoyances become major irritations while more major inconveniences can cause our temper to explode out of control.
Here is an excerpt from my diary, where I lamented over the seemingly never ending suffering of depression.
14th June 1990 –
What is suffering?
It must be the human inheritance,
It never ends.
It just goes on and on and on.
And I’ve had enough, but whom do I tell?
How do I get off this merry-go-round?
I keep asking myself, why am I still here?
Why am I still even trying?
Why don’t I just give up and end it?
I mean, is this all there is to human life?
Is this it?
Recognising my tendency to dwell on the negative while severely depressed, I took steps to counter it. One such step was to pause before each meal and think of ten things to thank God for. Another was to sing praise songs to God, even if I did not feel like it. Doing so changed my focus ever so slightly, adding a touch of colour to my bleak, hopeless day, by reminding me that although my life was an absolute mess, there were still plenty of things to be thankful for should I but search for them.
Here’s another excerpt from my diary, written only five days after the above diary entry.
19th June 1990 –
My life at the moment is not much of a life,
But I guess I should still be thankful,
So I still praise Him for all He has given me.
In her diary, One Liter of Tears, young Aya Kito, who was suffering from incurable spinocerebellar degeneration disease, wrote this: (1)
I put my hand on my chest.
I can feel my heart beating.
My heart is working.
I’m pleased. I’m still alive!
Thanking God for His blessings while in the midst of chronic suffering also reminds us that He is our provider, that He knows what we need, and that we have nothing to fear.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7
In time, I thanked God for all the things He was doing in and through my life because of depression, and much later, I also thanked Him for allowing me to go through depression itself.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
If you’re reading this post, please join me in thanking God for ten things today. I’ll start the ball rolling, with the first comment:
(1) Page 107. One Liter of Tears, A Young Girl’s Fight for Life, Ayo Kito, FA Publishing, 1986.