The Deception of Depression

“I did not loose my tools!” I said with confidence as my caseworker took notes from the last two weeks of my program.    “Matter of fact, they were there all along.”  I took a deep breath as I smiled and shared.  Funny thing about depression, it has away of deceiving one into believing that everything one knows to be true has gone forever.

I had just finished up with my OB when I decided to pop into the psychiatry office as if I had an open-ended invitation.  Who does things like that, one minute at the gynecologist the next at the physiologist?  Me, that is who does something like that.  With a background in recovery, depression has away of sneaking up on me and ten years of tools had told me to get it checked out. 

Fear of going backwards in my recovery made me confidently show up at the counter in the psychiatry department without an appointment, asking to see someone, anyone who might be able to help me with my anxious feelings that led to my depression. 

Maybe it was the tone in my voice or the look in my eyes, whatever it was, and the woman behind the counter took my cry for help seriously and within in minutes I was led to a room to meet with a therapist to be evaluated.

She was gentle and kind and by the looks of the books on her shelves, I could tell we had something in common.  As she spoke, it came out, our faith.  We both agreed, if I could pray it away, it would be gone by now.

I could feel her faith come out in the way she encouraged me through the questions she asked.  No shame or guilt but rather encouragement, stating I had taken the right action, reaching out for help.

She directed me to an intensive out patient program for people just like myself.  Two weeks of tools, ding, ding, that was just what I needed to hear.  Ten years of collecting, training and applying tools, she spoke my language. 

I cried a lot as I told her that I felt like a total failure and that I honestly felt like the last ten years of hard work and tool collecting had gone out the window. I felt like they did not work anymore; I was lost and could not find my way out.  That was how I felt.

She listened well and encouraged me to enter into the two-week program, explaining to me that much of what I would be taught would be lessons I had most likely heard before.  We both agreed that a refresher course would be good.

When I walked into my first session, my anxiety was high, it felt familiar, like my first group meeting in rehab, all I thought was, how did I get back here?  As if I was back ten years ago sitting on the couch among strangers struggling to just breathe.

I was sad, angry and feeling like I had failed my family and God again.

I was assigned to a recreational therapist, a nurse, doctor and psychiatrist as well as a caseworker who looked at my whole history. Not just the symptom in the moment.

As the days progressed and I participated in the group activities and discussions, I came to the realization that my depression had played a big role in me feeling as if I had lost my way.  That the truth was my tools were still there, not one had been lost.

By the end of the program, I also realized that I needed to modify some of the tools and even replace some of them, as my family and I have become healthy and whole, tools I needed ten years ago were not needed today, at least not in the same way. 

Ten years ago, it was about surviving; today it is about maintaining, different tools for different reasons and different seasons.

Another realization came to me while in the program.  There are times I get this overwhelming feeling that I loose my voice when depression sets in, this triggers anxiety and I spiral down even deeper into depression.  The thought of not being heard overwhelms me with anxiousness. 

However, one of the activities I had done was art therapy where I had to make a collage of where I was in the moment and where I wanted to be. 

I had done the exact same activity ten years ago in rehab.  Ten years ago, my collage was filled with pictures no words at all.  I had no words to describe how I felt or where I saw myself going.

Now ten years later, my collage was filled with words.  I did not loose my voice; it was there stronger then ever.  It was an amazing gift that day.  Sitting in front of my glue stick, and magazines to realize not only had I not lost my voice, it was stronger then ever.

Thank you God for this amazing program and those who pour into it.  There was no amount of praying this away, I tried, and it was not a lack of faith but rather a lack of correct use of tools.

I love what Rick Warren said recently.  Broken trees still bare good fruit.  Love love love…..

Though I feel like a broke tree I am baring good fruit, all I have to do is look around.  Though at times I feel lost and lonely, I am not!

Remember, if you get anything out of this entry is that depression causes deception.  Reach out to those equipped to help in this area. My prayer is that everyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness would have the resources to get the help they need.

Please, if you are suffering and need help, send me a private message and I will be able to direct you to some incredible resources. 

Thank you for letting me share.


Nancy Ryan said...

Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability Cris and a well written narrative of a beautiful journey.

Chaplain Cris Nole said...

Thank you my friend. I am blessed to have you in my life cheering me on through this journey.

Love you bunches.