Category Archives: Depression

Let’s Talk About Depression (Seriously), Pt. 1

Don’t grade me on the look of this post, for I don’t want to take the time to make it look pretty.

Don’t judge my writing based on this one post, for it is not going to be eloquent or edited for content; I’m just going to share with you what’s on my mind, straight from the heart, holding little back.

Here we go.


Scarlett

For the last few days I have had another blogger on my mind. If you want to, go check her out at The Full Story and read her post “My Depression.”

Scarlett (aka, bloodmoonxxx99) has left some pretty pointed comments on this blog, especially regarding my post “Atheists On Christianity.” Because of those recent comments I decided to go to her blog to discover what she was really about – was she for real, or just another atheist troll out to try to yank my chain? Well, come to find out, she’s a broken, scarred, and hurting young woman who needs to be loved, just like the rest of us.

In “My Depression” Scarlett described some things I can understand, for I, too, know a lot about depression. I could feel her pain and sense her struggle. But I guess what really broke my heart was that I wish I could have offered her some real hope…some help…a Way to deal with it. Yet, as she will probably attest, I’m sure, she doesn’t want prayer, or Jesus.

Nevertheless, I’m going to pray for her. Frankly, I’ve had her on my mind all day long.

But enough about Scarlett, for now… Let’s talk about you and me.

My Depression Story (not Scarlett’s)

Have you ever been depressed? Have you ever suffered from clinical depression? What are your thoughts about depression? Do you think depression is a sin? A character flaw?  A mental problem? A weakness?

For the record, I am no stranger to depression; I battle with it on a regular basis. And when I say “battle,” I do mean an all-out fight at times…a fight to notice the sunlight while staring at it.

Years ago, when I was just sixteen, I nearly committed suicide. Had it not been for my dad knocking on the door of my bedroom, I would have pulled the trigger of the loaded 12ga. shotgun that was pointed inside my mouth. Long story short, no one had adequately taught me about God’s grace, only the legalistic perspective of holiness, and I was failing at it. I was ashamed of myself, my sin, and my constant asking for forgiveness. I came out of that period of my life, but without any counseling or help, because I kept it a secret.

Years later, I went from poverty to riches (practically speaking) as I moved up the ranks from a salesman in the funeral business, to manager. I was making more money than I ever dreamed possible for someone like me – every take-home paycheck each week had a comma in it. Now, I was not only legalistic, but I had money and was making a name for myself – literally, my name was actually the only thing used in a big radio campaign.

Then, in 2000 or so, the proverbial rug got jerked right out from under me and I, along with every thing I had, came crashing down. I hit rock bottom. I literally came to the point of shaking my fist at God, cursing Him with every vulgarity I could muster, and daring Him to kill me. I blamed Him for my career loss, my marriage problems, and especially my loss of ministry opportunity, and I wanted to die – I didn’t even care about hurting the ones who loved me most.

Until around 2002 I regularly went to counseling, at least twice a week, with both psychologists and psychiatrists. I was prescribed medication and was nearly committed to an institution for my own safety. It was almost impossible for me to see any future worth living, for my pride had been crushed, my self-righteousness had been proven worthless, and I couldn’t see why God would want to have anything else to do with me. For a while I was literally card-carrying crazy, or at least that’s how I described it.

What made it even worse was the fact that my wife loved me so much that she stayed with me, working extra jobs when I couldn’t hold a job. She loved me, even when I hated myself, and that made me hate myself even more – at least for a while.

But I specifically remember one night when I got drunk and started cursing God, telling Him exactly what I thought. It was in the midst of my wretched ranting that I heard that “still, small, Voice” whisper into my heart, “I know you don’t mean that, Anthony; but even if you do, I’m still here, and I still love you.”

Jesus wouldn’t let me go.

My Right Now

Now, let’s fast forward to today. For the last couple of days I have been dealing with some feelings of depression, and it’s been very difficult. What caused it? I’m not sure. All I know is that when it got triggered my mood went downhill faster than a Jamaican bobsled. In just a few hours I was wallowing in the muddy pit of despair, thinking terrible thoughts, even questioning my beliefs.

But what I have learned is that God is real, His ways are higher than our ways, and that whenever He is about to do something in our lives, or use us in the lives of others, the Enemy (who is also real) desires to counter those plans. More often than not, long before we even have a clue about what is going on, Satan and his minions are already working for our defeat and disgrace. It’s in our times of depression that we must realize our faith is the number-one target of the Devil.

Ultimately, in the plainest of explanations, the truest way to defeat depression of any kind is to hold on to our faith in God and his character. I submit the following video featuring Lauren Daigle.

This afternoon, after lying down for a short nap (it was a long night and I needed some sleep before getting back on the school bus), some words started coming to mind, sort of like a sermon outline, and all alliterated with the letter “P”.

What came to my mind were five (5) reasons why we get depressed…what causes depression in so many of us…what has resulted in deep depression in my on life.

I will share them with you in the next post. 

In the meantime, would you pray for Scarlett?

 

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Filed under Depression

Wake Up and Seize the Day

There are days when one sleeps late, therefore doesn’t get out of bed on time to go to work, or something like that.

Then there are other days when you’ve worked hard (or partied hard) the night before, so you decide to sleep a little longer in the morning.

Sometimes we get the flu, or just a cold, and when morning comes there’s nothing else to do but pull the covers over your head and have your spouse cancel all your appointments.

Then there are times when the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and face another day. Putting your feet on the ground will mean having to do something, to think through something, to deal with somebody, or face an insurmountable situation.

That’s the kind of day I’m having; I just didn’t want to get out of bed.

Nevertheless, I’m up, or I wouldn’t be writing this. If nothing else, having a little dog that can’t figure out how to use a toilet and can’t open the front door sorta makes staying in bed indefinitely a problem. Oh for a doggie door!

But I must remind myself that each and every day is a day the Lord has made. To waste it – even the parts I don’t like – is to waste a priceless gift the Creator has given me. It might be difficult at the moment, but I must “rejoice and be glad in it.”

I have the physical strength to face another day, but my mental and spiritual strength is weak. Does that give me an excuse? Well, what does “when I am weak, He is strong” mean? Does it only apply to the day after a workout?

Some might call it depression. Some might call it the blues. Some might chalk it up to working, more or less, seven days a week (wait, how could I work “more” than seven days?). Some might call it burnout. Whatever it is, I’m breathing, the sun is shining, I’m just a steward of what has been given me, and there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow.

Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. – 1 Chronicles 29:12 KJV

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11 KJV

Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. – Psalm 119:116 KJV

God gave this day to us for a reason, so we must seize it! Carpe diem! Who knows? Home might be just around the corner.

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Filed under Depression, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

My Verse. My Prayer. My Hope. 

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”  – King David (Psalm 57:1-2)

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Filed under Christianity, current events, Depression, God, Struggles and Trials, worship

An Embarrassing Reminder

I was planning on sharing something different this morning, but then I read another post (from Matthew Winters) that changed my mind.

I won’t go into detail, for, as truth would have it, the Devil is in the details; I will just give you a thumbnail sketch of what happened to me a couple of hours ago.

Early in the morning hours I made a call over the radio on my school bus. It was not a serious call, just one to add a little humor into the day. I called into my dispatch (everyone could hear this) and said, “All of my elementary students are acting right for a change…please advise.” After a silly reply or two, a serious voice came over the radio from the head boss, the manager of the whole show, and asked to see me in his office when I got back to the lot.

Why did he want to see me? Well, it was nothing important, at least nothing I need to recount here. However, for an hour I had to think about what it was that he wanted to see me for. I kept thinking to myself, “What did I do?”

It wasn’t long before I was considering how I would explain to my wife and family my firing. How would we make it? How would I pay the bills? It’s already tough at the moment, but what would I do now? I was literally ready to hear the words, “We are going to have to let you go,” and I hadn’t a single reason.

I was shaking. I was nervous. I was fearful. I was ashamed of myself. I was faithless.

Once the short meeting was over, my boss, a Christian guy, asked me, “So, you still looking for a new church to pastor?”

I left his office feeling like a fool. I left embarrassed. I left with only one short prayer on my lips…”I’m sorry, Lord.”

This is how Satan attempts to defeat the children of God. He accuses, even when there is nothing for which to answer! He makes us look for wrong in ourselves, judge ourselves unjustly, and forget that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and watches over us. He seeks to destroy our faith with fear: fear of the unknown; fear of what doesn’t even exist.

In my weakness, partly because I didn’t start my day with prayer, I fell victim to the enemy’s lies and nearly defeated myself.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:20

Next time the devil starts whispering those accusations in my ear, let me be reminded Who’s side I’m on and Who has already won the victory for me. That might save me some embarrassment when next I fall on my knees.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Life Lessons

Not a Failure

Regardless the success of his contemporaries, no man is a failure whose life is a positive reflection of Jesus Christ.  – A. Baker 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christianity, Depression, Jesus, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

SarcAsm


Dear Alabama,

My heart breaks for you. Hot, painful tears stream down my cheeks. Every time I breath through my nose I think of how sore a sobbing elephant’s trunk must feel. Oh, and how many trees had to die to make the piles of tissue needed to capture the snot? 

If you need a shoulder, dear Tide fan, I’m here for you. I know you’re crushed. Just give me a call if you need to talk; I’ll be happy to listen. 

Just make sure you call – don’t FaceTime me – I don’t want you to see my smile 🙂

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Filed under Depression, Humor

Happy Fox Is Leaving

If you have lived for any amount of time, like most of you surely have, I’m positive there’s been a time or two when the air was knocked out of you by some bad news.

Think of something you’ve experienced – not so bad as the death of a loved one, though, – and you’ll understand how I feel right now.

Names

The first thing you need to know is that I name children on my school bus. If that sounds strange, the reason is because sometimes I can’t remember their parent-given names, especially early on in the school year. Therefore, I give them a name in the same way my Native American ancestors did; I name them based on something I see.

For example, one girl is tall and thin as a stick, so I call her Sticky. There’s a boy who always runs from his house to the bus, so I call him Runny Boy. Flower Girl lives on a street called Magnolia. Flower Girl’s little sister, a 5th grader who started riding my bus in Kindergarten, blew bubbles on the bus, so… her name is Bubbles, a name which she fiercely defends (she’ll go by that name in college one day).

Another little girl started riding my bus four years ago, I believe. The thing that set her apart from every other child on my bus was her smile – it was constant and predictable. So, when she started riding my bus it was cooler weather, therefore she always wore a hat that looked like a fox head (with ears and all). That’s when I started calling her Happy Fox.

The Notification

This afternoon, as I was standing in the big room where all the children come to sit in their designated areas, each one with a sign that displays the number of the bus they will ride, Happy Fox walked up to me with only half a smile.

“I’m gonna be leaving you,” she said with an uncharacteristically somber tone.

“What? You’re gonna be leaving me?” I asked jokingly.

“Yeah,” she said, “I’m not going to be riding with you anymore.”

A little shocked, I replied, “Really? Why not?”

With an brave little attitude that some kids have – the kind that care about the feelings of others and don’t really expect your sympathy – she explained, “Yeah, well, my mom and dad are breaking up, and I’ve got to go live with my dad…so I won’t be riding anymore after Friday, I think.”

That.  Hurt.  On.  So.  Many.  Levels!!

The Others

Here’s the thing: God hates divorce! You want to know why? Well, besides the fact that it is the opposite of what God wants, which is a picture of faithfulness that mirrors His faithfulness to us, it hurts a LOT of people, especially the children!! … And the bus drivers!!!

Too often couples will separate for the most petty of reasons. Others break up for good reasons, but the reasons were preventable. Nevertheless, no matter the reason, there are very few of them that are insurmountable, should the offended couple think of others besides themselves.

Today was a good example of the ripple effects divorces have. Sure, some couple thinks their lives are going to be better now that they don’t live with each other, but children are going to suffer; future families are going to suffer; risks for many bad things are going to go up; and even people like me are going to cry, get in an ill mood, bite the heads off their own families, and write depressing blog posts at the end of the day.

I just pray that Happy Fox can keep that smile.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Depression, Divorce, Parenting, Relationships and Family