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Friday, November 9, 2018

Joyfully Depressed

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." - 2 Cor 9:8

Knowing Your Enemy by Name

It's been over 6 months since my first major depressive episode and I have since then been invested in my mental health. I read an article recently that made a point that sums up all of those 6 months: 
"When you know what the enemy is, you're in a better position to fight it" 
For the past couple of months I have learnt, first, to give depression & anxiety its rightful name. Some say the first step to healing is acceptance and as platitudinous as that may sound, it is legit. When you are in a battle with an enemy you don't know, you run the risk of fighting the wrong battle and even hurting yourself in the process. I have lived in a culture that has paid little to no attention to mental health because God forbid you say "you're sick in the head". Thankfully so, the rhetoric is changing (albeit slowly) with social media bringing to light struggles that were once hidden and even forbidden.

At the risk of sounding superstitious, depression is an enemy especially trained to drain you of every ounce of joy you possess. As you may have been able to depict from my previous writings, it is a dark place and quite understandably, many people will rather not talk about it. As always, I am choosing to write about my struggles partly to strip them of their power and also to encourage others who haven't been able to make sense of it yet. After all, my blog is about finding God in the mundane, and for some of us, mental illness may be as mundane as they come. So if you think there's something off and you have symptoms of mental illness, reach out to someone who can help you give that enemy a name ( I will write more about this later)

Day by Day my Dear Lord 

While I'd love to say my days of depression and anxiety are over, it is still very much a reality. A few days ago, I was on the floor of my room crying to God to snap his fingers and take away the weight in my chest that threatens to paralyze me. But by the common graces of God available in the form of family, friendship and counselling, I continue to learn what it means to live this new normal. There is a comforting feeling that comes with knowing that as I lay on the floor of my room in despair, God lays there with me, holding me and some days when going to bed at night comes with the anxiety for the morning I remember the words of the Psalmist:
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me." - Psalm 16:7 
Depression has taught me to say and believe that the daily bread we receive is just enough for today and today alone. The biggest temptation is to think God is actually not powerful enough to take this all away by that finger snapping miracle we sometimes crave. Of course He can, He just chooses not to. God is more likely to work in and through natural means that He himself put in place and a lot of times, we grow in knowledge and love of Him in this very process.

Finding the Joy in Depression 
"looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."- Hebrews 12:2 
Whatever weight we carry, the gospel gives us guidance on where to find our joy. In all things, every believer hopes that every situation will make them look more like Christ and it only makes sense to get some tips from Him on how He dealt with His own struggles as a man. There's a hope that's unwavered by afflictions, untainted by pain and stands firm in the midst of adversity. We look to Jesus, and our hope that one day, we will be fully set free of every form of suffering , is renewed.  So while we continue to pray relentlessly for healing here and now, we can also look beyond the now and find joy in what is to come.

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