Depression (and its upside)

I feel depressed and afraid. It seems to just descend on me from time to time. Every time it comes, it feels like the first time because whenever it ends, I forget that it ever happened. I forget just how low I can feel. And then I am reminded.

These are periods where I really cannot escape. The dread is so insistent that I can’t even get lost in a movie. The whole world becomes a sinister place where terrible things might happen. Everything gets charged with a sense of menace. A textbook sitting on my desk feels vaguely threatening. So do the sounds of car horns and birds outside. Pain, especially, takes on a much scarier face than it often does.

It really is impossible to see clear of a state like this, because every effort I make to see outside of it comes from within it. Every thought that I think to figure out how to escape, I only think through a screen of dread, and so it becomes colored with dread. My whole mental landscape becomes hostile and alien. My pleasant memories feel like they are from somewhere long ago, and only remind me of how far away from them I am, and the future is filled with terrible things. In other words, there’s no way out, or even an illusion of a way out.

But there is a silver lining to this kind of intense suffering. Generally, it forces me into the present moment much more than I prefer to be there. And at some point, as I keep getting down to what’s happening right now, and now, and now, because it’s too painful to be anywhere else (ie, to be thinking), the dread often transforms into an experience of deep connection with God, along with a sense of profound okay-ness, a feeling of being deeply loved by some all-powerful presence. Feeling that kind of love can heal a lot of the hurt and the pain.

But when I’m in that dreadful place, I can’t remember or believe that there is anything other than dread. That’s why it’s so difficult. Oddly, it’s not until I’m really convinced that the world is a hateful, loveless place that grace descends to remind me, gloriously, that I am not. That I am loved beyond belief.

Can you relate to what I’m saying? What’s your experience of darkness like, and of coming out of darkness?

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