I languished in a bleak, miry pit of severe depression for eight months, from Dec '89 to July '90. However, during that time many seeds for my eventual recovery were sown. Amongst other things, medication helped dull the pain, and counselling from a Christian counsellor helped me to face and find the correct perspectives regarding the deep fears and traumas that had become impassable mountains in my life.
At the end of July ’90 I read “Self Help for Your Nerves” by Dr Claire Weeks, and shortly after that hope became a permanent fixture in my life again. In the diary entry I made one month later, several things I wrote about showed that I was on the road to recovery. Complete recovery was some time off, however, I would make dramatic progress over the next few weeks/months.
Life has changed now that I know what's wrong with me.
All the bewilderment of:
what is wrong with me? What is going on?
why won't it stop or go away?
where did it come from?
Now I say with relief –
I know what's wrong with me,
My nervous system has packed up
It has developed a habit cycle
of manufacturing too much adrenalin,
and it does so ALL of the time.
But apart from that it is very hard.
I still feel exhausted and awful most of the time.
All I want to do is be normal again.
I want to be able to see people again.
I wish I had some friends,
I feel so alone.
I want to be able to get involved in a church again.
I want to be a muso
And get back to sharing the gospel again;
at the moment I'm not doing anything.
I just want to get on with life.
I want to be whole again - but stay within my limits this time.
I want to get my girl, get married, and have my own children.
I want to be as close to Jesus as I was before.
The early signs that I had left the dark winter of depression and was entering a time of ‘spring’ were:
1. The mind boggling bewilderment of "what is wrong with me!" was gone. I now understood what was wrong with me, how I had gotten into such a state, and had a strategy for recovery.
2. Instead of hiding from world like I did during those eight dark months, I realised I was lonely and needed and wanted human fellowship.
3. Instead of feeling useless and having no desire to do anything, I wanted to get involved in a church again, as a musician and by sharing the gospel.
4. I had abandoned all dreams of getting married during those eight dark months, but the desire to get married and have children had returned.
5. My lifelong driving passion to come closer to Jesus had also returned.
The Lord was gently restoring me to wholeness, to being ‘myself’ again.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
"O LORD, save me!"
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simple hearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
The next post will be, “Do I have to fully recover from depression before I can get back out there?”