…and I’ve been treated for depression. It’s part of my family history. Depression is certainly no friend of mine, but God has used those dark times to teach me about Himself and to draw me deeper into a relationship with him.
Shaun Groves is not a personal friend of mine. I’ve downloaded his music on iTunes but I really didn’t know anything more about him. I started reading his blog when he led a group of bloggers on a trip to India sponsored by Compassion International. I like the way he writes, but like the authors of most of the blogs I read, he has no idea who I am. I haven’t read enough of his writings to even know if we agree or disagree on many matters of theology. I don’t know if he has a favorite baseball team or even how old his children are. Yet as I’ve read Shaun’s blog over the last couple of weeks, I feel like he’s become a personal friend.
A few weeks ago, Shaun started a series of posts about how he recently experienced a time of severe, clinical depression. Unless you’ve “been there,” depression can be hard to describe to someone who’s never experienced it. Shaun has chronicled his experience so well that when I read his descriptions I’m almost overwhelmed by two simultaneous events: First, my heart cries out in recognition, “Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like!” I can’t wait to read ahead, because to know someone else has felt the same is like a validation of my own experience somehow. But second, I don’t want to read ahead because I can remember in vivid detail what it feels like to be where he was. I not only read his words, I can actually feel them.
These posts were timely for me, because depression has been knocking on my door lately. My life has given it the perfect setup: plenty of stressors, not enough sleep, disappointment over changed plans, loss of control over many areas in my life (Ultimately I know God is in control, but lately I haven’t even had the opportunity to pray that God would show me the right decisions because the decisions have been made for me.), chaos in my physical world in the form of a move…even good events can have stress attached to them. Since I’ve struggled with depression before, I’m more in tune to cues that I might be headed toward a bad time. I’ve seen this storm brewing for awhile now. Shaun’s words have been an encouragement to me. They’ve also been like a lighthouse warning me not to sail too close to those rocks again. Today’s post especially made it clear to me that no matter how busy and hectic the next few days are going to be, the wisest thing I could do is to pull away from the noise and spend some quiet time listening to only what my Savior has to say.
Instead of reading more words from my jumbled thoughts, your time would probably best be spent reading Shaun’s series of posts about his depression. If you want, we can come back and talk about this again some time soon. I’ve linked to Shaun’s posts below. He has one more post (Part 9) that had not been posted when I published this entry so you’ll have to check back with Shaun’s blog to read the conclusion of this series.
It seems like a lot to read, but I promise it will be worth your while. I appreciate Shaun’s bravery and transparency in sharing such a personal and painful part of his life with us.