“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest.” Those are the words of King David in Psalm 55:6 and I cannot tell you the times I have felt that exact same way. Clinical depression is an illness that afflicts many people all over the world; and, it is my struggle, as well.
Robin Williams’ suicide on August 11, 2014 has caused a great awareness of the deep pain people experience, yet on the outside they seem so jovial, happy and are usually making everyone around them laugh. I think for many who battle severe depression, laughter is a coping mechanism so that they do not have to deal with the pain they are feeling. It is also a window shade, as it were, to hide the darkness and pain from others. I can only imagine the darkness and pain Robin Williams suffered on a daily basis; however, I wish to share my struggle with you in the hope of shedding some understanding of the journey I am walking.
My first memory of longing to die was when I was five years old. There was such a profound sense of sadness in me that was uncomfortable and caused me a great deal of physical pain. The longing to die only increased as I grew older and I acted on that longing for the first time when I was 15 years old. I was in the tenth grade and while in school one day, I took an overdose. My teacher found me in the girl’s bathroom and called for an ambulance. That would prove to be the beginning of a lifetime of self-destructive behavior for me.
My Daddy and Momma made sure that I would get into counseling, but in their shame my depression and suicide attempt would be hidden from most everyone we knew. The only people who knew that I attempted suicide were my pastor, siblings, one aunt and an uncle. It was hidden from everyone else. The “news” made it around my school, of course, and after a two week absence, I returned to only be met by very cruel comments. One student asked why I was back and said that it was too bad I did not succeed. I wish I could chalk this up to “youth;” however, cruel remarks are thought and said by adults too.
After my first suicide attempt, I accepted Christ Jesus as my Savior and began the process of trying to give over to Him my feelings of worthlessness and shame. I prayed, I read Scripture and I sought wise counsel, yet I still struggled with those demons. This only increased my feelings of worthlessness and added doubts that Jesus had truly saved me. Being a born-again Christian does not guarantee that you will no longer have struggles, in fact, it guarantees that the journey will become more difficult in some ways. After all, God showed us in His Word the example of King David…a man after HIS OWN heart.
The Apostle Paul suffered from a malady, as well, and said that he prayed and pleaded three times for God to “remove the thorn in his side.” 2 Corinthians 12:7,8 However, Jesus answers him in verse 9 this way, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
I do not know how you feel about they way God dealt with Paul’s affliction, but it did not set will with me, at first. I understood that God wanted me to be whole in every way; however, I did not understand that He first needed me to be wholly surrendered and wholly His before I could be whole. Now that I do understand, it does not make it any easier for me to deal with my depression but now I realize that there is healing, in many ways, while we sojourn on this earth…but…someday there will be ULTIMATE HEALING. Ultimate healing of the body and the mind because He will give us new bodies…incorruptible bodies…our souls will no longer languish and strive with pain and disability. We will then be like Him!
Depression is a cruel and debilitating disease that causes great pain, both emotional and physical. There is something Robin Williams was not told; and I wish someone had reached out to him and held him and told him…THERE IS HOPE…so don’t give up.
Some days are long and very difficult to sojourn…when those days come you have to cling to the Rock. If you are having a hard time grasping it, call a friend or your pastor and say, “Help me, please, before I let go.” I implore you not to let go…trust the One who is acquainted with your sorrow for if no one has told you today…THERE IS HOPE.