Friday, June 13, 2014

Will This Nightmare Ever End?

One of the worst aspects of depression is the fear that it will never end. I often wrote of that fear in my diary.

25th March 1990 –
Will this nightmare ever end?

12th April ’90 –
What is this storm that rages within me?
Why won’t it abate, why won’t it subside?
It comes in like a storm, and devours me.
And it won’t go away. It’s near four months now.
Four months of doing nothing, just hiding, hiding, and waiting.

3rd July 1990 –
I just want to get on with my life.
Will I ever be me again?

20th July 90 -
I hate being so irritable and frustrated, so disturbed,
All day, every day.
And it never ends.
Oh Lord, where are You?
I feel like getting so angry with You.
I guess it all boils down to this: Is He trustworthy or not?
I know the answer is yes.
But why does He make me wait so long.

Yet at the same time, I had a faint hope that the nightmare would end one day, that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

15th May 90 –
But each day comes to an end eventually,
And so will this emotional turmoil.

18th May 90 –
How I long to be normal again,
As I believe this will all end one day.
The recovery will be slow, I think.
It needs to be, I couldn't cope with anything quick.
I'm beginning to see some hope for the future,
Which is good I guess.

One Saturday in 1990, when I was feeling very low, my mother said, “Don’t just sit around moping, you need to do something. Why don’t you go and do a painting, like you used to.”

I took her advice, sat down, and without any goal in mind, painted this painting. I guess it was a subconscious attempt to show how I was feeling, that I was stuck in a dark cave. High in the cave was a small opening through which I could see sunlight, which was mockingly beyond my reach. Yet when I showed the painting to my mother, she smiled and said, “See, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You will get out of this, you will recover.”

And she was right. I did get out of the hopeless, dark pit. I learnt how to cope with depression and live a fulfilling life while letting depression and its symptoms churn away in the background like background music - background music that slowly faded away over time as I slowly healed. And I eventually recovered from depression competely.

The purpose of this post is just to encourage anyone stuck in the miry pit of depression that there is light at the end of the tunnel, the nightmare does end.

However, we must not wait passively for this to happen. Depression is an illness, and like any other illness, needs to be treated. So we need to seek sound medical advice and seriously consider taking medication if recommended, see a Christian therapist or counsellor on a regular basis so that the underlying issues that causes the depression can be treated.

We also need to understand the fear-adrenalin-fear cycle and learn the steps we can take to break that cycle.
the fear-adrenalin-fear cycle
breaking the cycle

And of course, we need to be patient and give our exhausted nervous system and mind the time they need to heal.

Most of all, we need to place unwavering trust in God, recognising that He is with us and is in control, instead of letting our hearts be troubled. We need to rely upon Christ’s strength in our weakness, rather than stagger along with what little remains of our own strength.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

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    1. Great post. Love the painting. Yes, your MOM was right...there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.
      Blessings, andrea

    2. I love this hope - and what a painting. It's so hard when you're in the middle of it. Thank you, Peter, for the encouragement.

    3. Peter, Peter, Peter, enjoyed this post and the painting! Your writings have an encouraging factor to them, I enjoy reading your blog. I can only imagine the hell you lived with the depression! Good suggestions you leave with us all.

      Blessings dear one.

    4. That was a nice painting! But even nicer was your mother's comment about it! Now, I'm glad you're outside that cave, and out of that hole where you can bask in the Light all the years of your life. God bless.

    5. Thanks Andrea. I praise the Lord for my mother, my greatest supporter during those dark times.

      Thanks Joanne. The amazing thing about this post is that my daughter and I were digging through a bookshelf last week, looking for something, and found that nineteen-year-old painting tucked away there. I had no idea where it was before then.

      Hi JBR, I am humbled that as I share the mess I've been through that it is able to encourage others. Thanks as always for your support.

      Hi RCUBEs, amen to that! Living in that dark cave for so many months was the hardest thing I've been through, and I'm so indebted to the Lord for leading me out of it.

    6. Peter, you are a wonderful man of God. You not only write well, but you are artistic. Why do some guys get all the talent...I'm depressed...just kidding!

      Wish I had this post years ago when I prayed with a girlfriend so depressed and she kept telling me about this pit she was in with just a tiny spec of light.

      Peter, I mentioned you on my post today titled Love Ya. It's an award I have to pass on. I hope many will visit you and be encouraged.

    7. Thanks for the compliments, Saleslady, and your joke cracked me up. And I'm moved for mentioning my on your blog, thank you for your continued support and encouragement. God bless you heaps. :)

    8. Peter, I've been reading your blog for a while and wanted to say thank you for sharing your struggles and your pain.

    9. Hi Seema, lovely to hear from you. God bless, Peter

    10. Peter,

      Thanks for sharing. Your blog brings hope and sheds light into dark places where questions linger. I have personally experienced times when the sadness was overwhelming, and the fear it would not end haunted my soul. Thank you again for sharing your story.

      p.s. things are well...

    11. Hi Robin, thank you for the feedback and for sharing your experiences as well. So glad to hear things are well, I've been remembering your family in my prayers. God bless :)