It was around this time last year that, without realising what was happening, I started spiralling downwards towards depression and suicide. It was when I really started googling how best to kill myself painlessly, did I realise I needed help. And I thank God that he pulled me out of that abyss. Not once, but what would eventuate to be at least 3 times last year.
It still feels weird talking about it and saying it out loud. Right now, with a slightly better state of mind, typing this “out loud” makes it sound silly. It’s silly because I know for fact that there are many many more people in this world that are experiencing it far worse than me. I know my anxieties, fears and triggers are trivial. It makes me embarrassed to even admit them to myself. But nonetheless, they are my anxieties, fears and triggers. These trivial, seemingly non-issue day-to-day stuff triggers my emotions into a dark place rather quickly.
One year on… one year on and I’ve learnt to deal with them. I’m not cured. I’m told I might never be. My triggers are there and I’m learning to, with all my remaining energy, fight to let them spiral into a depressive state. I’m learning not to let it be an excuse to escape from my responsibilities. I’m learning to strike a balance between laziness tendencies and genuine emotional tiredness and rest. I’m learning when to let myself rest and when I to let the Holy Spirit lead me to minister to others. I miss my zeal for the gospel. I still question my intent for my zeal over the past 3 years. Was it for the endorsement of men to stroke my ego? Was it to compensate for my imposter syndrome? Or was I genuinely “on fire” for Jesus? I’m learning to not let my guilt of such things get to me and put me down. I’m learning to preach to myself the gospel and cling to it every day. Every day! I’m learning to deal with constantly seeing my ugly, habitually sinful, stubborn, prideful, slothful and lazy self and let the immeasurable grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cover me with his blood. I’m learning to rest under his eagle’s wings. To sit at the foot of the cross and hear his words, “I will give you rest”. And, “you and wonderfully made by me and I love you.”
One year on… one year on and I’m thankful for my strong and understanding wife. Who stood by me. We cried with me. Who hugged me. Who tries, despite not entirely knowing what I’m going through, tries her best to learn to deal with me. I’m thankful for a loving church community and friends who prays for me. Checks up on me. Who gives me my space and distance. Who still accepts me for who I am knowing that I’m a bit different now socially. I know I’m lucky because depression is still a very unknown sickness among the community. I am thankful that to have older brothers and sisters who always back me and support me in whatever I do (Alvin, Kathy’s comment today really struck a nerve. I am eternally thankful for your support in all that I do through the years).
One year on… one year on and I’m sorry if I seem not as friendly. If I seem to be “buried” in my phone to escape a social conversation. If I seem distracted when talking to you because I don’t know how to hold a deep conversation anymore. Especially if I don’t really feel like talking about myself and my issues. I’m sorry if I don’t seem as helpful, physical, spiritually and emotionally anymore. I’m sorry if I reached out and connected with you over the last 3 years, but I seem to not be able to do that with you anymore and it may seem that I’m distant or not connecting with you anymore. It’s not that I don’t care or don’t want to catch up. I just no longer have the energy to.
Amidst all my struggles to get on top of my depression using medication, CPAP, psycho-therapy and prayer, God decided to bless us with a 4th child. God placed me in a high-pressure (although rewarding) job that demands a lot of my emotional and mind energy. I have no clue what the future holds. I feel physically heavy on my shoulders thinking about it. But I’m managing. So, one year on… I’m still learning… I’m thankful… I’m sorry… but most of all I see God clearer through the fog! And I praise Him for that.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
(Psalm 91:1-6, ESV)