Thursday, 26 September 2013

Light in Darkness (God in My Madness)

Things are a little complicated at the moment, but what with this being a Blog and that, I thought I might use this white screen to render order to the chaos.

I, together with what seems to be the rest of society, am struggling a little with depression. My own Black Dog took hold this time in early summer and to be honest, it is not a favoured pass time for me. The causes are historic and perhaps even pre-ordained as I am a son to a depressive. Outwardly, I am still me: outgoing, jolly, hurried and largely energetic. Inwardly, it is a different story but I needn't trouble you with the Beast within me. I can't ask my father about this stuff either, being that he is deader than a dead person's dead bits. So, plod on I do, take the pills and get on with it. 

But, dear reader, all is not lost. This is a strange place to be, this depression lark, because it brings all sorts of things into question, or else into relief. Intellectually, I know that it is a chemical thing. Emotionally I think I am going slightly mad. Spiritually, the landscape has become very different. Things about which I was certain seem less so and I have now experienced a dimension to life that hitherto has been hidden from me. This has two conflicting components for a God Botherer like me: first is the hard one - is God and my faith a symptom of mental illness, a chemical imbalance, a quest for surety in a mind that feels displaced and dislodged by uncertainty? The second is nicer: I feel God more. 

Henri Nouwen probably wrote about this in his books, but my experience is that in a new vulnerability comes a new openness, and with that openness of spirit comes a closer walk with God. I have lost my balance, reached out, and found the Lord's hand there. Simple as that. 

Without labouring the point too much (as that constitutes navel gazing, a faux pas in this manor), it feels that life through the lens of depression is a little like the back panel of C.S. Lewis's wardrobe - to look through it, or else to step through it is to enter another world that rotates on its own axis. To return from that world is to discover that all is as it was before, in all that is good and bad. Put another way, in learning that so many people have or do suffer with the same thing, I am starting to see life with a greater clarity, and I believe that I understand humanity a little more than I did. To put it another way again, in having my own Cross lashed to my scapulae I have become only too well aware of the shoulder burden of others and it is not an unhelpful perspective to acquire in life. People whom I just didn't understand have adopted a sort of transparency, their foibles more quantifiable. It is even the case that I am becoming gentler with other people, less grumpy - and that can't be bad. 

Anyway, thank you for reading, if reading is what you did. I have written this only for myself today because for reasons beyond the content of this post I cannot think straight at the moment, and writing is as good a filing system as any.


  1. Just to state the (blindingly) obvious, many of us have been and some still are, where you are, so airing this state from your own perspective is not navel gazing - not that there's anything wrong with that activity either.

    I'm glad you say that this experience is having some positive affects on you, such as instilling a gentler view of other's peculiarities.

    Gentleness is a greatly undervalued virtue.

    I well as taking your medication, you are also 'talking' to someone. I know from experience that that is the most valuable of all medicines.

    I also know from my own experiences with the 'black dog' that severe bouts can make you question everything you ever held most dear.
    Dare I say, that is 'normal'. As is the inability/desire to talk to your nearest and dearest about the roots of the problem - even if you know what they are - and finding outside help can be a difficult process.

    Be patient dear friend and the world will turn on its axis again.


  2. Hari om
    From one to another, writing is the saving grace. Once that writing was done in a journal. It helped. Not as blogging has though. I do manage to be 'drug free', but am very aware that there are times when I must withdraw from society in order to not drown. Many are the similarities, but of course, many are the differences also, for those who are taken this way.

    For those of us travelling in Spirit, I wholeheartedly believe He is there to catch us and due to our propensity, the result is a closeness to Him that many would envy. My favourite line here?

    "I have lost my balance, reached out, and found the Lord's hand there. Simple as that. "

    Amen. YAM xx

  3. What amazing honesty David, so often people in ministry don't talk about it when things are not going perfectly. It's so refreshing when people open up publicly and I'm sure it's massively helpful to readers and not just yourself.
    red x

  4. God & faith are a symptom of sanity, not insanity (imho) and you are no madder than you have ever been (imho).

    (But who am I to judge?)

  5. David, I can't offer sympathy and understanding from personal experience, but I have seen friends and family members struggle with depression and know how very black the world seems to them at times. However they've all told me at one time or another that finding themselves able to put their feelings into words, whether spoken or written, always felt like a step along the path out of the pit. I can think of much worse uses for a blog.

    You and your family are in my prayers.



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