Walking across a friend’s front yard last week, I almost added a broken ankle to my physical infirmities. A couple of strokes before 2008 and a broken back in August of this year (August 31, 2016), bloody noses from allergies that were crazy this fall, and I figured all I needed was to add another injury to my aging body’s woes. But my guardian angel was more on the ball than he was in August, and using my cane to steady myself, he guided me to land on one knee and preserved my tibiofibular ligaments.
A tree once stood where I discovered the depression in her yard. It was removed several years ago, and the stump was ground out a few inches deep and soil and grass seed spread over it. Time has eroded the remaining stump that was underground, and a mini-sinkhole is forming where the tree once stood. A depression. A depressed depression. A depressed depression that is depressing. And it is getting worse. It will probably take some time to continue filling it in before it is finally settled and stays at the level of the rest of the yard. But someday it will be filled.
Kind of like an emotional depression. Just when you think you have filled it in, something deeper inside seems to deteriorate and the hole feels bigger than it was before. Or at least comes back and needs attention again. And this is probably not the last time . . . yet.
Most people do not understand depression. Not just the ups and downs everyone experiences with good and bad days, but the kind that feels like opening a window for fresh air that results in soot half an inch deep in your room; a feeling that holds no anchor in how good one’s life is, how wonderful a friend or spouse is, or that God has blessed you immeasurably in times past, with promises of future blessing. It still feels like the oxygen is leaving the room and there is nothing you can do about it. You gasp for air like a dying fish out of water . . . and it just does not seem to get any better. Sometimes when you turn on a light, you kind of hope it will get dark instead of bright, and even though it does not, it still feels dark anyway. This is depression and I do not know if there is anything to do about it.
From a song I wrote in 1984:
Year by year I wondered
How this life could still go on,
Waiting for each day to pass
And glad when it was gone.
“Someone Watching Over Me” © 1984
So when we found the hole in my friend’s yard, she was horrified that I might have been hurt, and she promptly grabbed some large rocks to lay in the hole to prevent anyone else from injury. She said she will look at how to fill it in better in the coming week. But beneath the surface there is still rotting wood creating the small sinkhole that makes me wonder how many times she will need to repair this “spot” in her yard.
And under my facade of smiles and behind the fulfillment of responsibilities as a builder, and on my home-owners’ association board, and after I’ve met with a counselor, a discipler, and then a disciple that I am training, I wonder how deep the rotten hole is that sometimes makes me stumble into crying without a reason or huddle into bed and wish I would not wake up on earth.
As noted in earlier blogs, I am not suicidal, nor will ever be . . . again. That part of the nightmare passed many years ago (see February 7, 2016). But there it still is, this warp in an otherwise healthy brain that makes living with me very difficult, at best, and probably frightening at times. Dr. Amen’s book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, has helped a little, in that it suggests there may be a biological basis for clinical depression that is not treatable by drugs.
But this story is not over yet. One of my best friends likes to quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: “It’s going to be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.“ 😉 There is a future, that after this life is over, Heaven is waiting where I will be with my Lord, and He can heal even my broken spirit and malformed brain. There is a wonderful time that will someday unfold, and these depressions will be filled and there will be no more tears: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Oh, what a day that will be! What a celebration!
So until then, I will probably go on sometimes stumbling into depressions left by tree roots rotting away, and I will probably go on sometimes stumbling into depressions left by my strange brain and history. But someday, the glorious unfolding will come.