The black curtain of depression

Column Post by Beth Cranford

My first recognized experience with depression happened when my first child was born. I felt like a black curtain suddenly descended over my whole life.

A year later I was still fighting mild depression. My husband, still wanting to understand, asked if I could put into words what I felt during the most intense weeks of my depression. Even that far removed in time I couldn’t answer him without crying, and all I could say was “absolute desperation.” But I’ll try again, now that it’s 13 years later…

…I was overcome with intense feelings of loneliness even though I wasn’t alone.

…I felt like I was grieving the loss of one or more loved ones.

…I was terrified, even convinced, that my husband or my baby was going to die. I tortured myself with questions of “Who would I rather lose?” and equally tortured by the guilt that came with either answer.

…I felt emotionally disconnected from my newborn baby, amplifying feelings of guilt.  No mother wants to feel this way; the early days with our babies are supposed to be precious, the most magical of all days.

Other episodes of depression brought intense feelings of discouragement, defeat, and isolation. I felt guilty over things that normally wouldn’t cause guilt, and I felt weighed down with a sense of doom. I was convinced that everyone in the world was unhappy. I even asked a friend at church, through tears, “Is everybody hurting? Is anyone happy?” She wisely discerned that I desperately needed to hear that not everyone is hurting, and yes, lots of people are happy. She added that I would be happy again, too.

At that time I was also desperate to really believe that I was cherished, not just saved, by God. I needed to get back into His Word and find evidence that I am loved by God Himself. When you’re depressed you can’t do that. But I prayed and God brought me to Himself in little ways until I was ready to seek Him more intentionally.

When I was hit with depression after confronting my own foolishness in a spiritual battle, I was terrified that I would never be well again. I fully believed that I had arrived at a place from which there was no escape. Ordinary life made me want to curl up on the couch and never get up again. I felt completely defeated.

Looking back at each of the four major depressive episodes I’ve had, I can see different expressions of the depression in each. But there were some recurring themes including:

*  Illogical thinking

*  Intense loneliness

*  Feelings of defeat and despair

*  Feelings of guilt and unworthiness

*  Irrational fear

*  Hopelessness

Depression isn’t logical. Your body doesn’t operate the way it should. Nothing makes sense.

But there is hope: Depression is treatable.

Those of us who fight depression can be victorious if we choose to do the hard work, to fight, to seek and secure help, and to depend on God.

. . . . . . . . . .

P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Beth Cranford believes every Christian has been equipped and empowered to do specific and effective work in the kingdom of God. It is her heart’s desire to see women live in the freedom that is theirs through Christ by helping them break free from depression and other strongholds. She encourages women to experience God’s power in their lives by understanding their identity and position in Christ and their unique design.

Beth has a passion for helping Christian parents design and implement an education that honors and nurtures their children’s individual design, equipping them for a life of freedom and power.

Beth has been married to her best friend for 21 years. Together they raise and educate their two children in middle TN. You can find her at http://www.bethcranford.com

2 thoughts on “The black curtain of depression

  1. I dont understand why I have no desire to live, all the joy has gone i have no zest for life and each day is dreary and difficult, i have to force myself to get washed and dressed each day and everything seems so hard to do. This is nothing new for me but it seems a long time since i have felt full of the joys of spring, i was hoping as I got older i would get used to this depression or at least learn to handle it better but aged 69 i still seem to need to learn how to cope.

    My enthusiasm for life has wained and i dont know what to do, apart from taking my antidepressant and join in the exercises which I have joined 4dys per week. Why am I not improving after the last month of increased mitazapine from 15mg to 30mg. They tell me to have another thyroid test in 3months to see if my thyroid is underactive and so life drags on . I stayed in bed till 4pm today, this did not make me feel very good that is why i leapt out of bed and went for my one hour exercise class and then over to a friends for supper, but i hated going home to an empty house. I hate my home and everything in it and my life and everything in it. I dont want to be alone with my thoughts because they are so morbid. My friend gave me a picture of Our Lord of the Divine Mercy to help me and said I should get the house blessed, i dont know what to do any more, i do not want to live another day – i want the Lord to take me now.

    • Carmelina,
      Please make me a promise that if you have any thoughts of taking your life you will call 911 or go to the emergency room. Your life is so worth living!

      My heart hurts for you and I will be in prayer for you. I believe that God is the Great physician and He wants to and is able to heal you. He may choose to do it through medicine, exercise, diet, friendships, or a combination of these and other things. Keep looking for answers, they are there for you, don’t give up. I know the despair you’re feeling but I can also say that I know the freedom of healing. It’s worth the fight so hold on.

      Now I have some questions for you, but I want you to know I’m just a girl who has been there, I’m not a doctor, a counselor, or anything like that.

      Are you getting your meds from a DR. or a psychiatrist? I ask because there are so many variables that a medical doctor isn’t prepared to know what med/dose is exactly right for you. If going to a psychiatrist for your meds bothers you, just tell yourself you’ll do what you have to do to get well.

      Do you have supportive friends who will spend time with you, hold you accountable and help you focus on healing? If not, at least find a group of friends online. And by all means I don’t mean depressed friends. Find something you used to enjoy and find people who are doing it and talking about it. Find a joyful common ground and focus on building friendships.

      How long have you been exercising? This is huge. Keep doing it, even if you don’t really like it. But don’t think you have to do these hour long classes that are harder than boot camp. 15-30 minutes of walking is effective against depression. I say that not to encourage you to do less than your best but because you need to choose an activity that you’ll actually do.

      I’m so glad you realized that staying in bed did not make you feel good. Remember that tomorrow morning and get up and get going.

      A book that was a turning point for me was The Depression Cure by Stephen Ilardi. I know there is a book with a similar title which I have not read so be careful to get this one. It’s very empowering and will give you very doable strategies to fight depression effectively.

      Feel free to come to my blog (mentioned above) and email me if you need to. Also, you might want to go to the prayer room link on this site and ask for prayers if you haven’t already. The prayer warriors on this team are amazing and I can tell you they will pray for you in a very personal way.

      The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

      praying for you,
      Beth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.