Having battled this disease for 35 years with only my bride knowing its full impacts, I recently came out about my depression publicly. I had opened up to a few close friends at church before and was feeling somewhat better but never “normal“. In this week’s musings, I wanted to share 3 potential ways to overcome those bad days. Please note that these may not be the be-all / end-all in your situation.
3. Duco, ergo sum (I draw, therefore I am)
I have never considered myself an artist of physical media, even today. Though I have always loved to draw, my doodles were mostly just that, doodles. My doodles never really amounted to anything and were typically thrown in the trash after being personally critique. I am by no means a perfectionist as I consider myself a realist instead. I know my art is horrible. Actually, looking back at that statement and some would like call me self-deprecating. I am my own worse critic.
I found several months ago a drawing app by the name of ProCreate on my iPad. Drawing on this app allows me to escape to a world in my mind where the pain is subsided a little. For that moment when I have drawing on the iPad with my Apple Pencil, I am free of the grieving pain. Free from my separation anxiety and free from the guilt and shame that I hold deep in my subconscious mind. In other words, I am free. Drawing is an outlet for me and a coping mechanism that I find very therapeutic.
As part of my “coming out” about my depression to others outside of my close circle, I mentioned the feelings that I experience to my medical doctor. I will not go into the details of our discussion as I am not yet prepared to share. My doctor listened intently and prescribed a medication by the name of Lexapro at a very small dosage of 10 mg. Those feelings that I alluded to earlier persisted so we increased the dosage to 20 mg. Still I was not feeling “normal” so he switched me over to Sertraline at 50 mg. Then 100 mg. And finally 150 mg. After being on 150 mg of Sertraline now for over one year, I feel better about myself. I still have days where flipping from good to bad can occur with one seemingly innocuous trigger.
1. Prayer and Faith
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
Written to the church in Philippi, the book of Philippians is a message of encouragement but also admonishment to the believers. By this time in Paul’s ministry, he had already experienced beatings, poverty, and sickness. However, being in a Roman jail at the time of the writing this epistle, Paul was consigned and content with his situation.
The passage above from Philippians 4 rings true in my soul. We see in verse 6 that Paul was telling the church at Philippi not to worry and instead to pray. Through all the pain these last 35 years, my faith in Jesus is renewed daily. Though my “thorn” as I wrote about last week is still apparent, I know that God is with me.
** Therapy (Bonus)
I had never been one to talk to someone, besides my bride, about my depression and the crux of the matter. I list here therapy as an option only because some of my close friends have benefited from such encounters. If you are hurting and need help, seek it. If you know someone who you feel could benefit from professional help, talk to them. Their life may very well depend on it.
If you made it this far, please consider commenting below and also sharing on your social media sites. I write this blog to help me but also to help others. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online stores. A vast majority of proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I truly appreciate your message on these pages. I have worked in suicide prevention for decades now, since losing my son Bryan to suicide. It has given me a tremendous source of meaning. But it’s really the process of making art that sets me free momentarily from all of the self-loathing. I’m working on a program to help individuals who are bereaved after suicide loss, to find relief and even a sense of joy, through mindfulness and art and experiencing nature. Your words are engaging and your fearless generosity of sharing your personal experience is inspiring to those who are challenged. Thank you 💙
Thank you, Peggy. My heart aches for you and your family. Losing our son was the absolute hardest moment of my life however his situation was different. Our Jacob was a premie and we lost him after his short three-month life. I can only imagine the hurt you feel. Art is just one of my coping mechanisms. Prayer, making music, meditation, and other important tools.
I would love to hear more about the program you are working on. Please feel free to share any links to your website you feel comfortable with sharing.