Job 3:1-4 - After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’ That day--may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine upon it.”
Living with a mental illness can cause us further condemnation when people treat you like it’s somehow your fault and you can “snap out of it”. Bitterness creeps into our souls and we wonder why we were even born. Something that may help us is realizing just how many people in the Bible battled this demon. Cain was angry to the point of murder. Saul was a mentally ill king. David battled depression. Jonah wanted to die. Jeremiah and Job wished they’d never been born. Find comfort, my friend, in knowing you’re not alone in this. And God will walk us through the dark valley and bring us hope of a better day.
2 Samuel 22:29 - You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
Feeling down can be all consuming. It can be so bad that all we see in the world is tainted by dark glasses. There just isn’t any color in our world. We try not to cry. We try to look on the bright side. We try. Then, there’s no trying left. But then a fresh breeze arrives. You still are battling that downward pull, but when a friend shows up you find a moment in your day when you feel something other than just a negative feeling. Take those moments, receive them from the hand of your friend, and place it in the storage containers of your heart. When those dark glasses come out, rinse them in the fresh water that you stored in your heart. You’ll find the strength to be an example of color in an otherwise darkened world. Do you see color in your world or only darkness? I’d love to hear from you.
Psalm 62:3 - How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down - this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Sometimes you can feel older than your years especially if you battle emotional pain. You feel like an old leaning fence ready to topple over. Somehow you feel so much older. Find ways to feel young again even if you battle depression and anxiety: Get more sleep, eat food that gives you energy like fruit, pump some iron by using dumbbells while you exercise, take care of your body, mix up your routine like taking a different way home or creating meals you’ve never made, listen to music you listened to in high school, and get rid of focusing on the doom and gloom in our world and look for the positive.
Proverbs 2:9 - Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path.
Let me tell you it to you straight. Even though your heart feels like it’s been dragged over hot coals, life isn’t fair. Things don’t go the way you want them to and you begin to look at someone else – someone else who’s smarter, someone who doesn’t struggle with a mental illness, someone else who seems to have a better life than you. But remember, also, that there will always be someone else who thinks you’re smarter than them, someone who thinks you’ve got that mental struggle under control, and someone else who thinks you have the better life. Life isn’t going to be fair to anyone. We all struggle even if it doesn’t look like someone else does. Stop trying to make life fair, and try to take your eyes off others and even off yourself. Keep your eyes on God who gives us more than is really fair for us to have. He showers us with abundant rain out of his goodness and faithfulness. Do you struggle with thinking life isn’t fair? Would you be willing to share what you think isn’t fair and how you’re getting past it? I’d love to hear from you.
Isaiah 42:7 - To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Mental illness is an island. Depression fills the inner dungeon. Fear of rejection is the bars on the windows. Emotional pain isn’t a castle on that island, but a prison with bars on the windows and gates locked in place. Anxiety holds its hand over the mouth of the one who’s trapped preventing its prisoner from crying out. Who will risk their own sanity to help us escape our dungeon? Only one who has visited that island and been locked up in their own prison. They are the ones who know what you’re going through, and sometimes just listening to their story is enough to help the captive see there’s a way out. Don’t be afraid to tell your story to someone who’s hurting. You never know. Perhaps you hold the key. Do you find yourself locked up in an inner dungeon? Are you willing to share what’s going on with your heart to someone else who may be hurting? I’d love to hear from you.
Psalm 103:5 - Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
There’s so much in this world that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. I can’t let negative thoughts take over my life. I must try to find the good. When something difficult happens, I acknowledge that it happened, but also try to see something else around me that can bring beauty to my life. Do you struggle with finding something good in your life? I’d love to hear from you.
Isaiah 42:16 - will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Depression is like a dark bag over your head. You know the light is out there, but you can barely see it. If you were to look at yourself in the mirror, you’d see exhaustion and pain written across your face. This calls for trust. Trust that God sees the bag even though others can’t. Trust that God knows the way and will help you when you stumble. Trust that God’s purposes for your life haven’t been removed. And trust that someday you can lift off the bag and feel the light on your face once more. Do you ever feel like a dark bag is over your head? I look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.