“Each year more than 40 million Americans will suffer with an anxiety disorder and over 20 million will suffer from some type of depressive illness.” ~www.freedomfromfear.org
That is one of the many staggering statistics being brought to light this week for National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week. Although this is a wonderful event to help others understand, those of us afflicted are aware of these relentless diseases year round.
I stay on a roller coaster ride of anxiety and depression. There is rarely any middle ground for me. I float between teeth-clenching, heart-racing panic and bed-ridden, shower-avoiding depression…
A couple of months ago, I was trapped in a dark period. One where even the bright signs of Spring outside my window were of no use.
What stands out the most to me from those days is the Saturdays I spent in bed with my son. While most kids were playing outside in the first days of warmth after a long, particularly cold winter, my son stayed by my side in our dark, window blocked room. My husband was home with us both weekends this took place, but my little boy chose to be with his mommy, his very broken mommy.
I often wonder what he will remember from those long Saturdays in bed with me. Will it be a woman unable to rise and deal with life? I certainly hope not. I choose to believe his memories will be of cuddly weekends with a mother who loved him, while being served meals in bed from his sweet, supportive daddy.
Today I’m upright and in a good place, which is the reason I can finally share that period with you. It is too hard to write about the darkness while still trapped deep inside it.
“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.” ~Elizabeth Wurtzel
A cage without a key…
I have been locked in that cage many times and am so thankful to be free today, even if only for this day.
Those of us with these issues never know when they will return. It doesn’t have to be from a difficult situation that comes about in our lives. Depression and anxiety take over sometimes. No warning. No reasoning. They just show up and bring our lives to a screeching halt for a while.
I pray for the stigma of mental illness to someday disappear through awareness events like we are in this week. It is certainly not an affliction we choose.
“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.” ~C. S. Lewis
Perhaps we should take on the mindset of C.S. Lewis. What a beautiful way to refocus these afflictions we struggle with, as “our share in the passion of Christ.” His final moments gave us so much—the incredible gift of forgiveness, direct access to God thanks to a torn curtain…
We can identify with and understand Jesus so much more through our own pain. It is often through our darkest moments we are able to see the brightest light. Unfortunately, life is not without suffering, but we can use those seasons to appreciate the beautiful times that will inevitably follow.
If you or someone you love is suffering with anxiety or depression, check out the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Their site is filled with resources for help and understanding. Let this week of awareness bring you the long awaited peace you deserve.
I love that C.S. Lewis quote – it is in our suffering that we identify with Christ. Thank you for your honesty around your own affliction. I’m sorry you have to endure it. I’m sure your words will bring comfort to others going through the same thing.
I truly hope I can somehow bring comfort to others. Depression and anxiety are so difficult to deal with, especially when you are feeling isolated. I love that quote too! I found it this week for the first time and knew I needed to share it here :). Thanks so much for your encouragement, Laura!
I’m right there beside you in the trenches, sister. A switch in insurance, meant a switch to an antidepressant that didn’t really help me, so I am starting over … again … with one that worked for a while when I tried it years ago. Fingers crossed. Sending good vibrations your way!
I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles, LuAnn. Changing insurance can be incredibly difficult. Praying for you! I know finding the right medication can be a tremendous task. I have been on and off different types over the years. Nothing seems to help consistently, but I still use them in desperate times.
First, my friend, let me say….don’t call yourself broken. You are God’s girl, remember that!! I’ve been there many times, like you. We all struggle and since we’ve been in these Bible studies together, let me tell you that I see God’s light shine through you more than anyone I’ve ever known. And your love for your kids shines through just as brightly and they know that. I love ya!
Thank you for your incredibly sweet pep talk and encouragement, Kim! Your words mean so much to me. Telling me you see God’s light shine through me is the most beautiful complement you could ever give me. I love you too, my friend!
Mary Eidson Rose
That you, Candace, for sharing your heart. Depression is also taking my best friend’s beautiful & smart granddaughter! She is a precious 18 yr old. Praying for you & others with this affliction. Love you!
I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s granddaughter, Mary. Such a young innocent age! Depression has no boundaries. I will definitely pray for her and your best friend as well. Love you too!!
thanks for sharing this Candace. i do hope that the stigma goes away sooner rather than later.
That is my hope too, Roaen. People just don’t understand all the facts about mental illness. I pray this week has opened some eyes and hearts to these devastating illnesses.
Thanks for being honest…and I love the CS Lewis quote! I’m sorry you’ve been through recent struggles with this…We can all relate – whether our times of anxiety or depression are rare or frequent. They happen to us all. And we need to be kind to ourselves about this. It’s not always because of sinful thinking or responding. Sometimes–it’s a real physical health problem causing the problem. And sometimes…life is just incredibly hard and stressful and we are human. Blessings to you as you continue to turn toward the Lord in the midst of these bouts of depression and anxiety. You glorify Him as you do.
Thank you for your encouragement, Amy. I agree that everyone struggles with these difficult emotions at some time or another. CS Lewis has some wonderful quotes, but I believe this is my new favorite. I was led to it this week. It gives such an inspiring way to look at these issues. Blessings to you as well!
Kim @ 2justByou
Oh, Candace…You don’t even know. Anxiety and depression is in our family as well (like so many others), and I never really talk about it. To anyone. It’s one of those taboo subjects – the stigma is there & it’s so real…Like we shouldn’t ever talk about it, but we should. Not talking about it does nothing to help. Today I learned that this week is Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week! I had no idea.
I am a very naturally happy person, and sometimes I laugh for no reason, or laugh at pain (I sprained my ankle in high school, and everyone thought I was faking because I was laughing about it). We all deal with things differently.
A loved one has suffered from extreme anxiety and depression for years. So much roller coaster riding it is, indeed! And there has been alcohol & drug use as a form of self-medicating, which leads to so many more issues & problems that the depression can become a little bit contagious too…
Anyway, thank you! Thank you for publishing about the taboo. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts & experiences with us each week at Growing Circles Hop in a way that touches me every single time.
Much thanks. And I want you to know…Your little boy will remember the cuddling time with mommy. He’ll remember being there for you in your darkest moments and knowing that he loves you and you love him. You are a warrior princess!
I’m so grateful for your beautiful support, Kim! I’m sorry to hear about the suffering of your loved one. I too used alcohol and drugs for many years to self-medicate. An incredibly large number of addicts are using to deal with mental health issues. I had no idea this week was Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week until a couple of days ago. As soon as I learned that, I knew it was time for me to share this :). God’s perfect timing…
Hey….I can so relate. I think I was a major couch potato on one of those first spring days….battling depression too. Love your openness.
ON another note…I’ve got to make those minecraft shoes…Livy is so into it. I’ve never seen the game…do they have pink squares in the game?
Hi Susie! We should have been on the couch together :). We will have to make little Miss Livy some Minecraft shoes. There are not pink squares in the game, but I have seen shoes on Pinterest using pink instead of green. They were adorable!
I am just coming out of my own months-long “dark period” and your post is a Godsend! You put into words *exactly* what I have experienced, and it’s reassuring to know that other people struggle, too. (Because, of course, our dark periods convince us that “It’s only ME!”) Although I have had depression for 10 years and know about mood fluctuations, this was the first time I really experienced the “bottomless pit.” BRAVO to you for not being scared to talk about it openly. You’ve encouraged me to maybe blog about my experience, too. You never know who’s reading and who you may help.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and encourage me, Terri! I absolutely think you should share your dark moments on your blog. So many of us suffer in silence and isolation. It is definitely not easy to share these periods, but at the same time, it is incredibly healing. I hope to get to know you better. It sounds like we have a lot in common :).
Hi Candace- I just published my blog detailing my own experience of the “dark period.” Thank you for giving me the courage to do this! I look forward to getting to know you, too. 😉 It’s always good to have a wide circle of friends who you can relate to, especially with something like depression that you can’t always explain to people who haven’t experienced it.
I loved your post, Terri! Thank you for sharing it with me! Sorry it took me so long to come visit. I had an offline day yesterday with my daughter :). You are so right about people not fully understanding our types of issues. It is hard to truly grasp them unless you have the unfortunate personal experiences with them.
Thank you so much for your honestly written post. I too suffer from depression and anxiety and likely will my whole life. It is definitely a roller coaster ride.
I hope you can stop by and visit and maybe even sign up for my favorite color swap.
Having both anxiety and depression is such a difficult combination. It seems like there is no happy medium. Thank you for connecting, Colletta!