The Cross of Depression
“My God, my God! Why have you. forsaken me?” He cried from the cross. So many days she echos His cry, Knowing He hasn’t really abandoned her any more than the Father had abandoned Him. When depressed, she feels so alone and tries to pretend to the world that all is well, because the world seems well. It is she who is out of balance. She does not sleep a restful sleep; leaving her with no energy. Her day’s work is motivated by duty more than love and is filled with apathy, even those tasks that once gave satisfaction. Daily it is harder to think, concentrate or make decisions.
This is the hidden disease of chronic depression which is often invisible to others. If she rouses herself to be socially engaging she has depleted what little energy she had, not just for today but maybe for tomorrow as well. No one sees the consequences of the effort it takes to be social. No one is aware of the cost of being fully present to others. It would be so much easier to remain aloof. Even those who know her well may be unaware of her condition.
Perhaps medications need adjustment or some therapy could be useful but to do either requires concentration to choose a doctor or a therapist and then to research if her insurance will cover the cost. It’s too much to think about and drains more energy and maybe deciding that she’s not worth the all that trouble. So time marches on and little changes. She is pretty good at hiding her inner world and so seems to wear an invisibility cloak, thinking, “I don’t want to infect anyone with my gloom.” So she withdraws more and more into herself.
Do not judge her as cold or uncaring. Do not call her antisocial or assume she considers herself too good to associate with others because in reality her brain is fogged and sometimes cannot follow a conversation or think of how to contribute. She is in pain. Pain as real as an infected tooth but you can’t see the redness nor the swelling. Even if you did realize that she is depressed you probably wouldn’t know what to say or what to do for her.
Some people suffer from very visible wounds and others from invisible silent diseases like diabetes or P.O.T.S. This is their cross to bear. They didn’t ask for it and would rather live without it but there it is, in your face. Depression for a spiritual person is a very real cross that can be united with Jesus’ suffering on the cross. There are no bloody wounds, few clues to the depth of their suffering, but it is there and is real. Carrying it with as much faith and trust in the Lord’s wisdom can be as beneficial to the soul as martyrdom. You’ll get little sympathy. In fact you may get a lot of criticism and advice to cheer up! Every cross carried is the path to sanctity and that is life’s goal afterall.
So why did I write this depressing tome? To vent? yes, but more to remind myself of the beauty of the crosses given and to help someone out there know that their suffering has value and is redemptive, especially that which cannot be seen.
God grant us the serenity to carry our crosses with courage and love.