Lonely. Isolated. Depressed. How easily these words seem to go together.
I’ve (Amy) spoken with some friends who are professional counselors, inquiring about how serious my depression is/could be (I found out a couple years ago that it runs in my family…which explained so much about my life). The point they kept coming back to is, “Have you ever made a plan to kill yourself?” Thankfully, no, but there have been days I was *that* low that such thoughts wouldn’t be beyond my realm of possibility.
So what? Yay, I’m not “clinically depressed.” But… I still have days where I just feel “down in the dumps,” as we called it when I was growing up. In recent years, I just say, “I’m in a funk.” Not the groovy music kind, unfortunately. I am used to feeling alone because of how long I’ve been living the single life. I’m past the age where all my friends are getting married; now they’re all having babies and the teenagers I used to work with are starting to get married! Then there’s just little ol’ me, soldiering on. Some days are definitely harder than others.
What I’m noticing is that many of my friends also go through a “funk,” but we feel like we’re the only ones who feel that way. They still feel lonely. They feel like they’re the only ones going through the struggle. I can’t help them, though I desperately wish that I could. I’ve felt like the only person in the world. Not a fun feeling.
I think that’s Satan’s plan. I think he wants us to feel isolated, that there’s no way anyone else could be feeling this way. Then he taps into our insecurity; there must be something wrong with *me* that I feel like this. I’m just not good enough. My personal war with my “funks” has led me to believe that one can stop living even while the heart still beats and the lungs breathe. My depression is not serious enough to warrant a medical fix, but that doesn’t make it any less serious of a battle that must be waged.
I firmly believe this is why community is so important, to have a place where one feels completely accepted and free to talk about these secret struggles. For as long as we try to hide them, put on the mask that says, “I’m fine, thank you, how are you?” without admitting something is wrong, we let the enemy have a foothold in controlling us. Because who can fix a problem that isn’t there?
This may be easier for some than others, but I guess we weren’t promised an easy life. If you do not have someone you see regularly that you can bee 100% open and honest with, please find someone. At least one person. Can’t think of someone? Pray. God knows your needs, dear one. He knows your struggles. He never said you had to face them on your own. He is always with us, and He knows that we mere mortals need each other for support just for living.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT