Day after day there are people out there who battle with feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness or maybe they’re just numb. They are people you know, people you love and maybe even you yourself have these feelings. These are people who are struggling with such pain that they find it hard to believe that anything short of death can stop the pain that is in their heart.
When news like that of actor Robin Williams committing suicide comes out, we take stalk. It’s sad that he got to a place of pain that was so deep that he felt he had to end it all.
With such high profile news comes worldwide reaction. Some comments are an expression of the pain that people are going through wondering how someone who had meant so much to them could do such a thing. Other comments I feel express a misunderstanding of depression and what it is like to struggle with this dark pain. At times it’s hard to comprehend how depression truly affects people and to grasp what is really going on in the heart and mind of a person who is in a battle with depression. Today as we mourn the loss of a great actor and comedian, I would like to call you to take a look around you and see the people we do know who are in the same state of depression and need help from someone who loves them.
I can not diagnose the root causes of depression in people. There’s probably a myriad of contributing factors to why people struggle with these feelings. Whatever the triggers may be in someone’s life, it is still a very real and misunderstood pain, and because it is once again in the forefront of the news, I feel lead to jot down my thoughts along with some of what I’ve mentioned in the past. The reality is that though the celebrity status of Robin Williams brings notoriety to the issue, there are many people who struggle on a day to day basis in silence and in solitude.
ALONE IN THE DARKNESS.
Will you let me tell you what it’s like? It’s a pain that grips you and takes control. Your brain may know the truth that you have a great job, loving family and friends, seemingly everything is going well for you but your heart is aching. Your spiritual life may be good, you pray and read your bible. Yet sorrow still overwhelms you. It’s more than just a temporary sadness. The more you think about all the good things that you do have the more it hurts because you feel like you have no right to hurt this way. After all, there are other people who have it worse than you do, right? So for as much as your mind tells you that you should be happy your heart struggles to feel the joy. The pain that comes from depression actually overshadows what your mind knows to be true.
You find it hard to seek help. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to appear week or because you are the one who’s always helping others and you don’t want to burden them. You don’t want to be a burden to others, even though you would never pass up the opportunity to help someone else in need. It’s much easier to put on a smile, put on the mask and hide the pain that is inside than it is to face the awful truth that at each turn your heart feels like it’s being torn apart.
Sometimes you do want to tell someone how you feel but you just can’t find the words to explain what’s inside. Each time you try the thought comes to you that it’s just not that important, so you just say “I’m fine”. You want to talk about it and yet, somehow you don’t. You need the contact with another person because the deeper into the darkness you go alone the harder it is to want to stay alive. You need someone who will just be there for you with out judging your motives or reasons for feeling depressed.
IS THERE A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?
It is a very difficult trial to battle alone. For as hard as it is to admit that you struggle, hurt and need help, it is a step that needs to be taken. And how do I know this to be true? It’s because I’ve been there, it’s easier to put on a smile than it is to admit I am hurting. Not long ago I came across one of those e-postcards that expressed it well; “Sometimes when I say I’m OK, I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight and say ‘I know you’re not’”. But for as nice as it would be for someone to come along side and “just know” that you’re hurting, the reality is that it requires that you speak up.
It really does help to talk about it, write about it, let someone know how you’re feeling. But just getting it out there in writing is not enough. It takes having real life or face to face interaction to have true healing. I can’t tell you that it will be easy and the pain will not go away with one quick conversation, but talking it out is a start and does help. Even when the pain seems to overwhelm me and I feel all alone, I remember the words of the Psalmist who clearly battled as well;
My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:3-5 ESV)
You’re not alone in this battle. You can again find joy and happiness. My greatest hope for you is that you would find refuge in God through Christ as your ultimate solution. If this is where you are struggling, please find help, I am willing to bet that there is someone in your life who really does care for you and will be there for you to listen to you. Someone who will get you the help that you need. Ending your life is no solution either for you or for those around you.
SHOW THEM THEY ARE NOT ALONE
Do you know someone who’s hurting? Be there for them, listen to them and help them get the counsel that they need. That friendly ear, shoulder to cry on, loving hug, can go a long way to getting someone out of the deep dark depression of the soul and into seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.