A month or so ago I had the privilege of writing a piece for Alise Wright’s Not Alone series. In it I talked about how both extrinsic–a rejection letter–and intrinsic–metabolic changes in my body–forces contributed to a prolonged bout of depression. I called it a “perfect storm of ick.”
And I didn’t write anything for about eighteen months. It didn’t dawn on me until just the other day that what I experienced, along with the depression, has a very common name: writer’s block. I’m a little slow like that. And it seems that the two often go hand-in-hand.
Though I’ll probably never play in his league, we need go no farther than Ernest Hemingway to know this is true. What did he do when he felt he couldn’t write anymore? He killed himself. While I never contemplated suicide, I was blocked up pretty good (insert your own bathroom joke here, ha-ha).
But depression is much more than that, more than an inability to write. For me life lost its savor, I withdrew–from family, friends–sought solace from other “familiar, old friends” (otherwise known as besetting sins). Sure, I somehow muddled through, but there was very little enjoyment.
Fortunately for me, I have a wife who, despite her own demons, like God, loved me enough to not leave me as I was. With her support, I sought both medical, and spiritual, remedies. On the medical side, a malfunctioning Thyroid lead to metabolic problems which precipitated a whole host of issues; as a remedy, I got on supplemental thyroid hormone. Additionally, due to extreme exhaustion and fatigue, I had sleep studies done which confirmed apnea–for which I now use a CPAP device.
On the spiritual side, I was, for a time, involved in Celebrate Recovery. It’s a truly wonderful program, and one which really helped me slay some personal dragons. I highly recommend it.
If there’s any point to this post today, it’s this: (to borrow a phrase from Alise Wright): you’re not alone. Even if it feels like it, even if every cell in your body wants to withdraw: You. Are. Not. Alone. Don’t pull away–instead find community. Find help, support, those listening ears. You will find that there really are people who want to be there for you. Let them be–it’s good for you, and them.
If I have any further advice, it’s this: don’t discount the “secondary” causes of depression. Exhaust every medical angle–because, like me, it could be something else that’s precipitating your depression, too.
That’s all for today. God bless you!