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.