5 weeks ago I started to slip into depression. This in itself is not unusual, because I have suffered from depression since I was 18.
I have learnt to recognize the triggers, and to pick up on when I am going to start taking a dip. This time was different. Although my testimony may end up being very verbose I invite you to please keep reading.
My Journey back
I started with a visit to my GP, who immediately changed my medication, which resulted in me feeling like a zombie for most of the ensuing week. My wife had to take me for blood tests to check my vitamin D levels. She took me to the smaller less busy lab because, for some reason, I have been struggling to be around many people, becoming very anxious most of the time. Even the small lab was too much and somehow my wife picked up that I was feeling very overwhelmed and managed to get me into a room by myself.
What I share next is really personal, it makes me vulnerable, but I feel that I need to share.
We returned home, after the blood tests, bursting into tears, I said to my wife: “I want to die”. I wept not because I felt my thoughts were wrong. I wept because I felt relieved that I could tell someone. I eventually said to my wife that I think that I should be admitted, by this time I was suicidal and planning me death.
I needed help
I was admitted, began therapy but could not care about anything or anyone. I was angry, frustrated, confused and exhausted. At 20:30 in the evening I discovered we had happy hour. It was the time we got our meds and although I call it happy hour we were normally out by 20:45. I was not getting better.
I want(ed) to die! Friends and family surrounded me in the best way they knew how. People were sensitive by not overwhelming me with messages, but made sure my family at home were OK.
That Friday night, after some planning and careful thought, I took my meds as usual and slit my wrist. The sedation was to help with the pain. It took time; each cut was a little deeper. The sister came into the room to ask me to get into bed because it had been an hour since I had my medication and it was now dangerous to not be in bed. She had not yet noticed what I had have done. I tried to buy some time because I was not done yet. She became sterner. I responded saying that I am unable to get into the bed because I would dirty it, it was at that point that she saw what I had done and suddenly I was surrounded by people.
As she cleaned away the blood to see if I needed stitches, I became more and more disappointed. I was nowhere near the amount of damage needed or thought I was inflicting – I had failed!
I always seem to fail. I am for the most part average. I have never been chosen first or been first. I AM A FAILURE! I don’t want to be but that is how I have felt most of my life.
God-Centric and Kingdom-Centric
I would like to be the best that I can be, not for my ego, but for God and His Kingdom. I would like to have a gift that helps the Church, a gift that when churches experience certain struggles in certain areas, they will know that aside from God being in their midst, I can offer some practical tolls to help them. But as I said I, am always second!
The journey back
I would like to say that I am OK now or safe. I am not safe yet. Yesterday was a good day that provided something that is helping me back. It’s helping me find my way back.
Years ago I worked in Cape Town. The secretary at the time often told me that, no matter what it looked like outside, he would always open the curtains and proclaim: “Today is a beautiful day”. I started doing the same, even more so when my friend Tony lost his battle to cancer a while ago. It may be trivial to some, but if you had known Tony you would understand what I am sharing.
Yesterday through my tears I drew the curtain back in my room and with every little bit of strength I had, declared that “Today is a beautiful day.” Today I did it again, it was a little easier, but my tears this time were for the friends I have lost, my fathers in my faith journey. Today I grieve their loss, but thank God for knowing them.
“Today is a beautiful day!” has given me that something I was looking for to grab onto. Some of you might say: “but what about hanging on to God, to Jesus?” I believe it was God! I believe that God knew “Today is a good day” would help me find my way back. I have seen God through many things while staying here, having had a few opportunities of sharing just a little with others.
However, I do believe some might feel: “Ag! all you needed to do was pray”. Let me say that until you have walked in my shoes don’t label me and don’t judge me. I am not broken but I am damaged – That is OK for me right now. I cried out to God many times, Just like David the Psalmist cried out to God in Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I have cried out to you” (NIV)
Seek to understand the depression, bi-polarity, etc. before you make an ignorant judgment. Pray for those who may have revealed to you that they suffer from depression. Pray that God will give you Godly wisdom to understand, love, embrace and care for them without passing a judgment. Think before you say: “snap out of it”. If I could I would but it’s more complicated than that. Please remember that I do not chose to be like this, no one suffering from depression wants it, the Lord knows it’s a battle everyday between life and death. Please be Kind!
Tomorrow I return home.
I return to work.
I return to my Town.
I am anxious
I am glad that the team I work with did such a great job of keeping things running without me. But there is a part of me that would love to hear, “We are glad you are back because you are good at what you do, and we are a good team and now complete because you are here.” But that will not happen and I need to be OK with that.
At this point you might well ask, “So what is the testimony?”
The answer is simple: through a simple phrase God shone the light throw the darkness and proclaimed to me, “I am The Way”. Jesus wrapped a cloak around me and said: “My son, you are loved. I will walk back with you to Dad, just in case you stumble or lose sight for a brief moment.” The Spirit filled me and said, “let Me heal you with some truths that cannot be denied.”
I am on my way but would appreciate your prayers because the journey is tough, it really is a constant battle.
“Father, I pray for all those who suffer from some or other mental illness, I hear their cry
I see their pain, despair. I ask that you get their attention like you did for me.
I pray for the families living with someone with mental illness, be with them and help them understand.
Today is a Beautiful Day and
MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET!
For more on the meaning of this phrase have a look here http://www.projectsemicolon.org/
If and when this Testimony has spoken into your heart, please go to the Commitment page.