Daily stress slowly built up and became uncontrollable, plunging me into the darkness of depression for three years (1997 to 2000). By the time I realized my tears were more than the blues, I had slid into the quagmire of desolation. Besides the feeling of overwhelming sadness that draped on my shoulders like a heavy dark cloak with a large hood covering my head, hampering my view, almost suffocating me, I was always exhausted with very low energy, and yet I suffered with insomnia. Panic attacks struck anytime, anywhere, with screaming and wailing. Other symptoms were weakened concentration and memory. When I turned to my Bible for consolation, I’d read and re-read one short verse over and over without ability to focus or to remember it even after immediately reading it. I’d fall exhausted into my bed to toss and turn, and weep the night away.
God seemed far away; a fine vapor that once had form. I wondered if He even existed anymore. Hope was a thin worn thread. Even human touch failed to give comfort. A hug felt distant and unreal. I felt totally isolated from people as if I were in a deep narrow muddy pit, surrounded by darkness and demons. From the depths of the pit, I’d look up in search of a light but my eyes were greeted with more darkness. I feared I’d never recover. A sense of pending doom and destruction weighed in the air. I had fears of losing my mind and spending the remainder of my life in a straight jacket, sitting in a corner of a padded cell, segregated from the world. Since I couldn’t feel God’s presence, I hoped He’d at least hear me. In anguish I prayed for relief, for healing, not to be forgotten and left alone forever.
There was one Bible verse to which I clung. Every night I read Psalm 4:8; “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” (KJV) Finally, a verse I could focus on and remember! The thought of sleeping in peace and being safe comforted me. I clung with the little remaining strength I had to that verse.
Although, my heart told me that God had forsaken me because I could not feel His presence, my head said He was with me because He promised in His Word that He’d “never leave or forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5). I thanked Him for that many times throughout the depression.
Today, I am alive, healthy, and strong (physically and mentally) with the days of darkness far behind me because God kept His promises. He has filled my mouth with laughter and my lips with shouts of joy! (Job 8:21) Hallelujah!