Monday, 26 March 2012

Relapse of Depression

My twin bro suffers with depression.

I myself have never suffered with depression.  I have had times in my life of being very down, but I have never had depression, so I cannot speak with any confidence about how Tom feels when he is consumed by the darkness.

So here are some of his own words that he has recently put on his blog;

'Depression is not having a bad day; it is not being in a mood and waiting to get out of it.  Depression is an illness that must be monitored and managed.  It's not like a headache that will eventually go away after taking a couple of pills or lying in a darkened room.  The trouble with depression is that your mind can feel like a dark room and all you want is to experience some light.
My problem is I can grow complacent and believe I'm 'better' (whatever that means) and don't need to pay such close attention to my illness.  I've recently become lax in the regularity I have been taking my medication and when I realised I needed to get back on track it causes problems.
You see, when I miss my medication and then go back on it, it actually causes more severe symptoms of depression as your brain adjusts.  My mistake was to get a bit drunk at the weekend whilst only two days back on to my pills. I can safely say I have almost complete memory loss of that night; the medication mixed with alcohol created a rather obnoxious Tom.
I'm ashamed and I dislike myself for not being more careful, because what it does is not only affect me but others around me.  I'm thankful for loved ones who care for me and support me.'

Tom is very honest and open about his illness.  I hope his story and honesty, and stories like his, enable others who are suffering to seek help and support.

The Bible does not shy away from people feeling the way Tom does.  In Psalm 88 for instance it says,
'But I cry to you for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?'

The Psalm ends with the haunting words, '...darkness is my closest friend.'

There is no happy ending with this Psalm, no 'everything will be ok', no 'God is here for me'.

Darkness is my closest friend.

The Bible does not run away from Psalms like this because the Bible is full of people's stories, people like you and me, people who struggle and suffer and cry out and doubt and fear and fail.  This Psalm was written by someone who was depressed and consumed by mental darkness.

Tom has spoken to me before that he has felt this very way many times.  Tom's story is real, as is yours as is the Psalmist.  They are stories that need to be heard in order that those who are suffering in the same way might find love and support and care.

Too many people suffer in silence because of the continued stigma, fear, myth and ignorance that surrounds mental illness.  Bit by bit, story by story, change can happen.  It doesn't mean that a magic trick will happen and everyone will be freed from depression and anxiety, but it does mean that those who suffer can find support, companionship and care.


sattler said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm glad Tom has someone who is willing to listen to him and is so eloquent in describing his depression. I've been there - depression, chronic anxiety, the edge of suicide. It's somewhere no Christian or any human being should end up, but we do. Little by little our churches are becoming more empathetic places. It wasn't always so and it's still not so in some places.

Joe Haward said...

Thank you for sharing omething of your own story in this comment. You're right, churches are becoming much more aware and empathetic. Things are changing. Have you ever shared your story?

Sia Jane said...

I am thinking of you and Tom <3

Joe Haward said...

Thank you Rach. Hope you are well...
Grace and peace.