I didn’t really consider that I’d sunk into depression,
I just thought that I was deeply sad.
I just thought that killing myself really was the only option.
I just thought that I was really lonely, and really unnecessary with nothing to contribute to this world.
The one I spend my days with kept saying he couldn’t do this anymore—that I was sad all the time. I kept saying I didn’t need him to fix me, he just had to be there, but he said it didn’t seem to be helping.
I just thought I’d become a really anxious person, who dreaded going to anything and looked forward to nothing at all. A lazy person who didn’t want to do anything that involved moving.
I just thought that I was sick, the way my bones were weary within me, the way I pushed forward in slow motion.
I just thought that the headaches were from concentrating too hard. I didn’t know why I felt sick in my chest, in my gut. I was hungry but I didn’t want to eat. I looked forward to sleep, because that was almost like escape. The only escape I could envisage while awake was suicide.
But this is not the end. This story continues and there are three things that I remember:
There are other boats. Jesus and his disciples were out in a storm, and Jesus was sleeping on a pillow. His pals tore into him, telling him they were dying. They were consumed with their own deaths and forgot about the other boats around them—how they were being wrecked by this same storm. How other people were fearing for their own lives, too.
I’m not alone in my struggle to come up with a reason to stay alive. There are boatloads of us, people waiting out storms. And Jesus is in this boat, and he’s resting on a pillow and I’m kind of thinking that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than curling up right beside him there on that pillow. Even in this storm. Until he stands, and he stills it.
Jesus was rejected. I became consumed with the idea of making the kind of life people give a thumbs up to. I just wanted to be accepted. I think a lot of my depression came out of this—the fact that I decided that the things that mattered to me weren’t going to make the cut. I grew isolated and ashamed, despairing my inability to be accepted.
There are words in Hebrews that talk about how Jesus was crucified outside the camp. How Jesus lived with the outsiders, the outcasts, the unaccepted. I yearn to belong inside the camp—to fit in. Yet all the while, Jesus is outside, waiting for me.
Doing your best does matter. Usually, I only do the minimum required. If I put my heart into something, it seems that two things are likely to happen. 1) I will have wasted my time, because what I thought was important turned out to be irrelevant, and 2) If people think it isn’t good enough, then I can convince myself that I’m not really being rejected, because I didn’t really try.
If I stop forcing my way through the city gates, trying to fit in, and accept my place—the outside space where God lives—I no longer exist to earn acceptance. I can give up the fight to meet the world’s standards.
Accepting rejection and my position as an outsider and as an outcast is really accepting who I am as a human. This is the place where I belong, where my genuine best works out of my authentic self.
This the space I find my community,
This is the space I see every human soul for the broken, bruised people we are.
A broken, bruised people who are no longer fixated on themselves, but on this God who calls us to come share in Himself. This is the place we belong.
Depression pretends to meet me where I am. Depression pretends to be an honest friend. But this isn’t true, because depression lies to me. Depression lies to me about tomorrow. I press on to find truth that reminds me that depression lies.
It was dark, and I was sitting outside with the boy I spend my days with. “Look,” he said. “Those lights.” In the distance, they lit up the space around them. “That’s all you need,” he said. “All these little lights, they’re everywhere.”
In all my unbelief, I see that it is true. These lights are promises, and they are everywhere,
And they’ll lead us right on home.