I'm not sure how to write this. Because I hate where I've been this summer, emotionally, and fear that it makes me sound like a dramarama queen.
But the plain truth is that I've been struggling with depression. Like, a lot.
I suppose you already knew this, sort of. But the difference between now and the last time I wrote about my recent depression struggles is that it's stopped being a good thing. It's stopped being a wake-up call, a signpost, a message.
It's just been hell.
You might know that I've been seeing my therapist again, this time at the recommendation of my regular doctor, for anxiety. It's not that I've been without professional support.
But then she went away for a little while at the beginning of August. Just for a few weeks. The day after my last appointment with her pre-vacation, I found myself thinking, "I don't think I can make it to my next appointment in three weeks."
And that scared me. Profoundly. I didn't have a clearly formed idea of what not being able to make it might look like, but I knew that it wasn't good.
Friends, this depression has been terrible. I did make it to my next therapy appointment and beyond, but it's been so hard. I've started taking an antidepressant for the first time in three years, but I don't know if drugs will help. They didn't last time. And now, with our sweet, not-so-babyish boy in the picture, the stakes feel vastly higher. I don't want him to grow up with a broken-down mother who cries all the time and passes in and out of profoundly deep darkness with alarming unpredictability. I can't afford to mess around with my mental health now that he's here.
I hate depression. I hate how I have so much to be grateful for, so much that should (and does) bring me joy . . . and still this depression remains, and remains debilitating, excruciating, and inescapable. It leaves me feeling constantly overwhelmed, and it shreds the tattered remains of my faith that I am trying so desperately to stitch back into wholeness.
And yet, even though my relationship with God feels tenuous and prayer is near impossible for me when I fall yet again into the blackness of depression -- I believe in the power of prayer, in the hope of Heaven. In the fiery intensity of God's love, even though all that I can feel is depression's cold pallor.
This week has been particularly bad. I felt more and more isolated and despairing, until at the last I let a couple of women who I am inclined to see as amazonian prayer warrioresses in on things (this may have involved a bit of word vomit). They said they would pray, and I sort of rolled my eyes, but said thank you regardless. When had prayer ever broken my depression in the last (hint: never).
Today, I woke with the darkness within. I muddled through as I usually do, until about midday. It felt as if I blinked and then -- internal storm was gone. Absolutely gone. I have no explanation. I like to think it's God throwing me a lifeline through my warrioress friends' prayers.
This is why I am writing to you. Would you pray, please? Because it is not just me who is and has been enduring this same intense depression and doubt (not to mention other trials) this summer. It's some of the other teachers of Made, and the students of Made. I feel that there may be some kind of spiritual resistance to Made -- and I am usually the last one to point to spiritual warfare as a possibility, to please know that when I suggest this I do not do so lightly or easily.
At the risk of sounding grandiose, I feel a bit like Moses, who needed to hold his hands high in the air to held the Israelites defeat the Amalek army in battle, but found that he could not do it alone:
"Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle."
I need some help. I need some kind folks who are willing to join with me in prayer for Made, and for all involved. My own prayers and desperate stabs at keeping the faith are not cutting it. My arms are tired, and I would very much love it if you could help me hold them up for a while.
Would you pray, and keep praying, please? And if you would like to have a place to come together as pray-ers, there is a space all set up for you at the new Epiphany Art Studio & School online community. It is free and open to whoever might like to join, and has some fun things to explore. You can find the dedicated prayer group here (it needs some action!).
Regardless of if you join the community . . . I am so grateful for your prayers. There is a lot of hurt and hardship and depression among the Made community, and we are in need of a prayer covering.
And if you are in need of prayer, please do add your request either to the Epiphany Art community's prayer group, or share it in the comments below. We all need help sometimes (or a lot of times), and it's okay to ask for and receive it.
I am so grateful for you.