As a person who has dealt with serious depression I recognize triggers that can lead me into the whirlpool of disconnection. I use that word particularly because I feel like it expresses my experience. Disconnected. I recognize when the plug is pulled from life and what is life-giving and how I begin to live as if I am untouched.
It’s been hard for me to write my blog for a period of time now because of the internal wrestling. So, if you look at the last few with that in mind you’ll recognize that they speak of light, life, hope, relationship. But you’ll also notice that they come sporadically and that’s because of the wrestling. I make no excuse for it. I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t worry over having it. I recognize it. And then I work against it. In following that direction, I discovered that depression gets me in touch with real life and real hardship in mine and others’ lives. I also discovered that it is a feeling and not reality itself.
I can’t tell you why the feeling arises. I can and do reflect on my life and what kinds of trauma may have led to the power of the triggers later in life. But the triggers, themselves, are just happenstance. They are just comments or memories or bit of worry. They just happen along at a particular time. And that’s the thing, the particular time is one that includes an atrophy, a decline in effectiveness because of underuse or neglect.
You see, that “particular time” is already upon me. The trigger just takes advantage of that. It’s an aspect of spiritual warfare. Our spirits are supposed to be connected with the source of life. We are supposed to be living in relation with the fullness of reality – we are creatures in the same way that trees and streams and bees floating through lavender and dandelion seeds in a breeze are creatures. When we forget that we lose touch with the sense of being created. That sense, that connection with the source of life is what provides our way forward. It is that voice speaking behind us that guides us into the future. “You have come from somewhere and you are going… somewhere.”
The ancients used to describe God in these terms. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” When we lose touch with the ends we wander into disconnection, doubt and we are left to make up our best bets on living without guidance from behind or direction ahead.
Maxfield Parrish painted a cover for Life magazine and they held a contest for the best caption. The winner was something like “He is a scoundrel indeed who robs life of its ends, leaving only doubt.”
When I wrestle I realize sometimes that I’m not wrestling with depression. I’m wrestling with God. I’m wrestling with the one who wants me to know that I don’t have to do this on my own, I don’t have to worry myself into oblivion, I don’t have to think the stresses and travails of life are biggest and only things that matter. There is more. He is wrestling with me to release my claim on power, my claim to be able to handle whatever life throws at me. He shows me my weakness without removing my dignity. He reminds me I am Israel… which means “one who wrestles with God.” He is wrestling for my heart.