Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Psalm 143:7 (NIV)
Depression. I don’t know much about it but I live with someone who does. Since meeting Mark on the Internet five years ago, change and loss has punctuated his life. Some of it has been good – like our marriage – and some not. Sitting by his hospital bedside eight times during our marriage was not what either of us expected. In addition, loss of his musiccareer, longtime friends, and family plus moving twice finally took its toll on him. The last few months clobbered us with unfamiliar feelings and emotions to the point that we finally turned to professional help. My mild- mannered, easygoing, funny guy became sullen, reclusive, and angry. He did not want to do anything and had lost all hope. He knew God was there but he couldn’t hear or feel His presence. When it hits, I can see the change in his eyes as they become flat, expressionless. He closes in and wants no contact from anyone. He is in the pit. By the time we realized that this was not going to go away, we agreed it was time to see the doctor. It was immediately apparent that Mark needed some help and he prescribed an anti-depressant plus a recommendation to see a colleague who specializes in behavioral medicine. HOPE. I know Mark did not have much but I left that appointment with just the tiniest spark of hope that help had arrived. It took a few days but the medicinebegan to elevate his spirits and we believed that all was nowwell. However, we still ride a roller coaster of emotions, as anyone who has been depressed understands. Correcting the balance of the three brain chemicals that cause the depression requires different medications. Finding the right combination has proved to be a big challenge. Some days, Mark is back – the one that I know is in there—funny, affectionate, chatty. But, the other Mark still lurks in the background as we continue to fight him with drugs and therapy. Two things we know for sure: this does not surprise God and He has both of us in the palm of His hand. And, the hope we have in doctors, pills, and therapy is nothing compared to the faith we have in Him. This is a new journey that we take one step at a time. Even though the pit threatens to overwhelm, the single ray of light through the clouds leads us forward.