Saturday, 21 April 2012

I’m Depressed Again

I’m depressed again; I know I am because I feel stressed out and the slightest commitment taxes me to the hilt, and I don’t want to get out of bed.  When will I ever be able to just be me?  For a long time, I have wanted to get beyond my depression, my almost inevitable descent into this illness, and all that goes with that.  It is curious to say this but I think that struggling against something has forged my character to a very strong and extreme degree.  I certainly wouldn’t be the person I was without this struggle in my life, but at the same time I earnestly wish I didn’t get depressed from time to time.  But the sad fact is, I do; so I have to live with it and accept it.

There’s something that’s been troubling me for a long while now.  I am a Christian but none of my immediate family and friends are Christian-will I be on my own in Heaven?  I am asking a serious question.  If all the people who haven’t come to Jesus are going to be lost, then that makes me unhappy.  God has called me out of a background where few if any of my family and friends are Christians-where does that leave me and why does God pick someone like me?  If God picks some, and not others, how can someone He didn’t particularly pick be blamed for not becoming a Christian?  Surely it says in the Bible, words to the effect that God draws each Christian to Him; so then how can anyone be blamed for not approaching Him when they haven’t been called?  I’m confused!  If only Christians are going to get to Heaven, then what about Moses or Abraham or Joseph or Daniel?  Will they be in Heaven?  What about all those millions and millions of people on the earth before Jesus’ time, and all those gentiles who were not the Chosen People; what about them?  

I wonder if I’d lived long ago, like one of those Victorian fishermen caught forever in a photograph, would I have been any happier, would my life have been simpler?  Isn’t that what we all really want, a simplified life, a life where there are no unnecessary complications, no unnecessary situations, where we know what we have to do and we can simply do it?  I dream of such simplicity.

Most of us settle for 2nd best; we are sort of forced into it for so many reasons.  Because we lack wealth or connections, because we are seen as low on the social scale, maybe because we are unemployed or because we have a low-paying job of some kind or even the colour of our skin or ethnic background; whatever the case may be, for some reason we have accepted 2nd best and we never really expect anything good to happen to us; this was certainly me for large chunks of my adult life.  We think that someone more worthy or more educated or ‘posher’ than us has the right to a better life, whereas we feel that we only have the right to a crappy life, punctuated by occasional unpleasant things we have to face and grin and bear and accept through gritted teeth.  If this is democracy, then I dread to think of what life must be like in other more backward countries.

The hardest thing in my life is looking for a job while I am unemployed.  I apply for dozens and dozens and am lucky to hear back from one in twenty, and that’s usually a no-thank-you.  I think of all the millions of people out in the world, struggling to get by, and holding on to whatever dreams they might have that keep them going through the worst times.  Life is hard for some people, and we don’t all see life through rose-tinted glasses.

We’re a curious mix of average and unique; how can that be?  Many of us are normal people, we don’t really stand out, we don’t dye our hair green and we don’t festoon ourselves in tattoos or body-piercings; we don’t feel the need to foist our opinions down people’s throats; in many respects we’re just gloriously ordinary.  But is there something wonderful in being just ordinary, even being gloriously ordinary?  I think when we strip away all the pretence from people, all the things that make one person different from another, or better than another, or richer than another, then all of us are just ordinary people at the end of it all.

It seems like I’ve been lying in bed all my life.  We are looking for that perfect moment, of peace and happiness and then hope we can hold onto it.  What constitutes peace and happiness for one person might be different for another person.  My dream of peace and happiness would be to be earning my living as a writer, to be living in North Wales somewhere and from time to time to be able to take walks along the coast or through the wild countryside there.  Of course, I pray for peace and happiness every day as a Christian and I know I don’t need material things to make me happy, God can do this for me whatever my circumstances; but I can dream.

Sometimes we hide behind drink or a drug or an attitude, to say to the world we don’t care or to try to be hard or cool or indifferent to other people, or for whatever reason; but the fact is, we are hurting in some way and we do want to connect with other people in a real and lasting way; but often we just don’t know how to reach out to other people without the risk of being rejected or seen as a little odd or needy.  The dichotomy of life is that we do need other people at times, but we think we are happy behind our wall of toughness, our wall of loneliness that just won’t let other people in.

Sometimes, I don’t want to face life at all, I just don’t want to face my life at all; it’s as simple as that.  And the hardest thing to do when feeling like that is to pick yourself up and just get on with what you have to get on with.  I envy those who have happy lives and good careers, or are doing in life exactly what they want and doing what makes them happy; I really do.  But it’s not an angry envy, just an envy that makes me work harder to be doing in life what I want to be doing.

We want it all to mean something, that it all makes sense, that we can tie all the loose ends together and they all fit.  And when it doesn’t, we can get disappointed.  We are meant as Christians to leave it all to God, to let go and let Him work in our lives, but at the same time if we are ambitious, or we want to start a business or carve out a career in some field or endeavour to better ourselves in some way, aren’t we saying that God can only be trusted so far, then we have to take control?  It seems to me that in some way we are doing just that; but what is the answer?  If we want to paint, even in spite of whether we are Christian or not, we can’t pray for a painting, we have to do it ourselves!  How far do we lean on God and how far do we lean on ourselves?  I believe we need to pray on this regularly and ask God to make sense of what can seem baffling and impenetrable.  Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you can’t think for yourself.

I want to say a thousand thousand things and then, sometimes, I don’t want to say anything at all.  But for some reason, I’m never lost for words when it comes to writing.  Whether these words have any value, that’s another story altogether.

I know I’m depressed because I don’t want to go to bed at night, but when I do stay up later I get tetchy, stressed and overtired; I feel restless and don’t know what to do with myself.  I want to sleep, but I don’t want to sleep; how can you find a solution to that?  Am I a genius, or a madman?  Or both?  Or, more likely, neither?

Instead of trying to change the world, it just might be better to change myself.


  1. T-Childs, I have a good news. Everyone struggles with this! You are in good company. Many choose to cope by simply pushing it out of their minds. You stare it right in the eye and dare it to blink. I admire you for that. Keep praying to God and trusting Him. I know I've had times of sadness and it brings me closer to God. It's a double-edged sword because we hate the pain but in the pain, God draws near.

    I've been thinking about this passage lately and I think it applies here.
    11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
    12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
    13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

    Do you see? The flashy, the mighty, and the glorious was not where God was. God is, of course, even more glorious than any of these things, but He chooses to reveal Himself to us in the details; in the still small voice. It's unimpressive. It's almost... ordinary. I've found that thanking God for the small details brings me closer to Him. Throughout the day I simply thank Him quietly for a green traffic light, a friend's warmth, an achievement. I don't know if this will work for you, but it helps me keep God before my eyes. It's so easy to forget about Him and put Him on a shelf, but if you keep Him ever before our eyes, the world is so much more marvelous and God so much more real. I pray that your time of depression passes. God Bless.

    1. Hi Stanley. I suppose I have had so much depression in my life that I do sort of stare it in the face, and have come to a resigned acceptance that for the time being it will be a part of my life; for the time being.

      The scripture you quote is some of my favourite scripture; it is poetic, stark, otherworldly and even surreal; it is telling us that no matter what we know, there are things that we just do not know about God!

      Thankyou for your positive comment; it's always appreciated.

  2. Tim,
    I'm sorry you are struggling so deeply. Many of the questions you are asking are the same ones many people..including me.. have asked. We don't have the answers..we see through a glass darkly. For me, the peace comes in knowing that God is still in control.. that He has a plan and that yes.. I have a part.. but sometimes that part is just waiting.

    Some of us struggle more with wanting answers.. it is probably our temperament. We are curious and feel things deeply..we may be very sensitive. Like you, I always long for a more simple life..feeling like I was born in the wrong century. I haven't found the answer to that, but I know that as I realize the goodness of God.. it really helps.

    It is clear to me that God has His hand on you, I do know what it is like to chosen and not know why.. I ask myself that question all the time.

    We have to trust Him.. that is all we can do and to remember that we are not forgotten. He is with you and will continue to direct your steps. Maybe like me you need to learn to stop driving yourself.. all we can do is the best we can do.


  3. Thank you Alicia. Yes, I am always asking questions, as I gather so many people do. Isn't it wonderful now that we have these blogs to express our innermost selves and being, in a way we couldn't before! Some Christians seem to think that we shouldn't question, and we certainly shouldn't question God; but my answer is that I believe God puts that questioning nature in us, so we should question from time to time.

    Yes, I sometimes feel like I was born out of time, and then when I reflect on the real hardship and poverty many of our ancestors went through just to survive and put bread on the table, I sort of am glad that I was born in the mid-late 20th century! But I certainly yearn for a simple life, without undue complications; don't we all?

    Yes, God calls many people; it doesn't necessarily mean we are wonderful because of His calling; I am hardly anyone's idea of wonderful after all. I now want to live out that calling as best as I can each day.

    Yes, in the end, we have to just trust Him. And perhaps we do need to stop forcing everything and just let events unfold as they will. Thanks for your comment; it is much appreciated.

  4. Dear TChilds,
    I can identify exactly the cause of the depression you are feeling!
    I too am the only true believer in my family. My parents, though still alive, are in their mid eighties and are Roman Catholics, the faith I grew up with - from which I became an atheist during my teenage years, and my younger brother remains an atheist to this day. But at least my parents had always acknowledged that there is a God, although they see themselves as agnostics.
    But like you, I too can visualise being the only member of my family who will reach Heaven. And that is not a pleasing thought at all.
    Worse than this, my wife, who I love so much, was brought up in a very strict "Lordship Salvation" environment, where children are seen but not heard. Since the loss of our children, my wife too has hardened her heart towards the church and Christianity as a whole, but still believes and acknowledges the "one upstairs".
    Then as you mention about our occupations - as a window cleaner, an outdoor job, whenever it rains I too wish I could sit in a comfy office and push a pen. And I curse the day I left school without any qualifications - a reminder of Job, who cursed the day he was born.
    But as I have written in one of my blogs, God is in control.
    I know, this sounds like a copout, but it is the ONLY truth which seems to be capable in lifting me out of my depression. It is to acknowledge that God knows what's in my heart and is aware of how I feel.
    If this is of any help at all, think of these things. God knows exactly what's in your heart and the prayer of a righteous man (a believer in Jesus) goes a long way. Try too, not to forget that it is not the will of God that any should perish, but all should come to repentance...
    God bless,

    1. Hi Frank; thank you for your testimony. I definitely needed to hear this. I am uncertain about how God will treat all those people who have, for whatever reason, decided not to accept the message of the Gospel; I don't worry about it all the time but I have given it much thought before today although like most people I haven't really got any answers.

      I can understand why your wife would be bitter and angry about the loss of your children; after all, who wouldn't be? I truly hope and pray that things work out for you both in that respect.

      I left school at 15 with one cse in art! That was a bad mistake but I hated school, or at least I hated the school I was going to anyway. I have tried to make up for that by getting some education; but education isn't everything after all. I am glad you have a job, but I understand completely the way you feel. Perhaps God has better things for us both; I do hope so!

      Yes, my prayer life is good, even though at the moment I am going through a bout of depression, thankfully not severe.

      Thanks ever so much for your comment Frank; I'll say this about you; you write like an educated man and your posts are some of the most well-researched and well-written I have come across; that's why you get so many people visiting your blog!

  5. Hi Tim,
    It is lovely to see the comfort you are getting from people who have experienced the same feelings of sadness and loneliness that you are experiencing in your everyday life. Empathy will always bring sympathy, and I believe this comfort is part of God's way of helping you to come through what you are going through at the moment. I have 'been tested' in two areas for the thirty years that I have been a christian, sickness and finances. Always the Lord has brought me through those times. He has sustained me mostly through two scriptures which He gave me right at the beginning. They are 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don't lean on your own understanding...', and 'Take every thought into captivity'. Many of my family have not come to the Lord but, as your sadness for your relatives and friends portrays, our concern can be used as a perfect tool to bring us to pray for them and, because that concern is genuine and according to God's will for them, I believe that prayer will be answered. One plants, one waters and God adds the increase. We do not see all that happens in a person's life, and we deffinately do not know all that is in their heart no matter how long we have known them. One thing we do know, as one of your blog friends has stated, is that God loves us and wants all of us to come to the knowledge of salvation through Jesus. The secret things belong to God, those revealed belong to us. If I try to fathom out the things of God with my carnal mind I shall be totally confused, but when I think that my sadness for someone can bring me to pray for that person for that which only God can supply, then I realize that there is purpose in all things. I am finding more and more that if I search for answers to my questions in God's word, eventually I find them. I also think that we are given something sometimes not necessarily to be used in the way we have imagined. You may not be publishing books, but look at your blog! Every day of our lives was written in His book before even one of them was formed.
    God bless you and bring you peace and happiness.

    1. Thankyou Brenda. Yes I think you are right; a genuine kind word or two works wonders for me, that's for certain. Yes, I pray for my family everyday, and I pray for friends regularly too.

      I know that if we trust God, He will see us through. Who could have believed that God would part a sea, when the Israelites were up against it, but that's what He did sure enough! He will always 'part the sea' for us if we have faith and trust in Him; having faith is vital, and I think being faithful to God is vital too.

      Thankyou for your comment; it's always welcome and most appreciated!

  6. TC - remember this. However low you get, you're still TC.

    Nobody can take that away from you!!

    God bless,


    1. Hi Daz; thanks for reminding me! Seriously, thanks for the comment, it is always appreciated.

      If it wasn't for you guys reading my blog and leaving a comment now and again, I don't think my blog would be half as good as it is; it might sound corny, but it's the readers that really make the blog what it is.

  7. Hello,
    i appreciate your honesty regarding your family. I take comfort in the Thief on the Cross and how in his last moments Jesus extended the hand of salvation to him. Take comfort in this and let go of your burden. Christ is the one who saves. Live your walk and LOVE unconditionally, pray. You have heard the saying..."Let Go, Let God" I am sure. Take comfort in knowing that all things are possible through Christ our Lord.

    I am a brain tumor survivor and recently started a blog of encouragement as I want to comfort others with the comfort I have been given by God. I suffered from clinical depression for years due to the location of my tumor. As it went undiagnosed for nearly ten years, I almost died last year. God was not finished with me yet. Though I long for my heavenly home, I know He has numbered my days and there are more for me to live. Please visit my blog. I think you will find it comforting. If you want to know more about my story go to CATEGORY and look up MY BRAIN TUMOR STORY. Blessings and don't let the enemy steal your hope.

  8. Hi Cheryl; I'm ever surprised and thrilled by the comments I receive for my posts. You wrote: 'You have heard the saying..."Let Go, Let God" I am sure. Take comfort in knowing that all things are possible through Christ our Lord.' I think I need reminding of this often. I've never had a brain tumor or anything really serious, but have suffered severe depression at times in my adult life.

    I am glad God has better plans for you. I will check out your blog; thanks for contributing!

  9. If you are feeling broken inside there is healing. This is a great song.

    I have an encouragement blog you might want to visit some time…..

    1. Thanks for the link Cheryl; I am going to be reading your blog from time to time and have included it on my blogroll.

  10. Everyone will have an opportunity to hear the gospel whether in this life or in the life to come. As those who hear the gospel on the other side, they will have the opportunity to be baptized. Baptism for the Dead. It's done today as when Christ was on the earth. 1 Corinthians 15:29 Have hope.

  11. Some people say, some Christians that is, that if you don't hear God on this side of life, that's it, your number's up! I don't know what to think. For instance if God hasn't called someone, how can that person be blamed for not approaching Him? The full ire of God's wrath may very well be visited on those who knew Him, but decided to ignore Him; that's my view anyway. Thanks for the comment; always appreciated.