Recently, I went to a different type of dark place. I could not eat. I could not sleep. All I wanted to do was lie in my bed. I literally felt as if my arms and legs were tied down to the bed. Two weeks earlier I had run a half marathon. Yet on this day, when I tried to take a half-mile stroll around the block, I could hardly make it. “Just let me get home,” was all I could think. And once I got home, I drew the curtains, turned off the lights, and crawled into the bed. My world had come to a sudden and complete halt. If only I could just run away from this dark place. If I could just run back to the safety of life as I knew it before. I don’t want to be here in this dark place, yet at the same time, I don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s as if I stand at the beginning of this unplanned journey. There are several different roads I can take, and I do not want to take any of them. All I want to do is turn around and go back to happier times. That is not an option. So it is just easier to fall into the dark place and succumb to nothingness.
Then I look to my left, and I see a beautiful young woman with chestnut hair. I look to my right, and there is another beautiful girl with hair black as a raven. They are looking to me to lead them through. Oh, just to stay in the dark place. I am beginning to feel comfortable there. The dark place is empty. No feelings. Nothingness. This is better for me because feeling nothing feels better than feeling the pain. But once again those two girls stare at me. Their eyes say, “Help us, Mom. Lead us out of this dark place.”
When I was thrust into this journey, a very wise friend gave me very wise counsel. I will never forget it as long as I live. She said, “The way you handle this situation will shape your children into the adult women they become.” I look back at those eyes pleading with me. “Mom, which way do we go?” So I must crawl out of the dark place. I must take my precious girls by the hand and say, “Let’s choose a road.” I am scared. Will it be the right path? I do not know the answer to that. What I do know is that I must START the journey with them.
How do I crawl out of the dark place? I do all the things I know to do. I see a medical doctor for help. I go to professional counseling, and I lean heavily on my family and friends. I trust that God is there. I am having a hard time feeling that he is, but deep down, I know he is. For now, I trust that knowledge, and that is enough.
I do all these things, yet I am still in “the dark place.” Now what? Now the crawl begins. The alarm goes off, and I get up. I force myself to hold my chin up and put one foot in front of the other. I make it through one day.
This blog was written a couple of months ago. I am no longer in this dark place. I will be sharing that process in future blogs. I wanted to post this for others who may be experiencing "the dark place" now. It is okay to be in this place. You cannot help the way you feel. However, please don't let yourself stay in this place. Lean on your family and friends, trust God's promise, and begin the crawl!
"God, you did everything you promised,
and I'm thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life."
Psalm 56:12-13 (The Message)
Without a doubt, the best book I have ever read on depression is "Bright Days, Dark Nights" It is the story of Charles Spurgeon's on-going struggle with depression.