FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


October 2, 2014

I was up at 8:00 AM and read my Bible. I put in six applications and had three interviews. It was a long day. We went shopping at the Goodwill Store and my brother bought me a nice green shirt. Later, we went to the auction and  visited with some old friends afterwards on the way home.  I’ve been reading an interesting book entitled, “Disposition to be Rich.” I saw the psychiatrist’s notes. He reported being “disappointed” with my progress.Image result for journal

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FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


October 1, 2014

Although I was wide awake at 7:00 AM, I didn’t get up until 10:00 AM. I’m going out to put in applications at motels to satisfy my brother. My hips hurt to lay in bed, but it hurts more to face a new day. I got a call from the employment service yesterday. Hopeful they can help. I missed group today – lost tract of time. I put in five applications today. The doctor starts me on a new medicine tomorrow. Maybe it will help my apathy. I missed church again tonight. I intended to go, but I just didn’t have the power to make myself.Image result for journal

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


September 30, 2014

I was up at 8:00 AM, but I am feeling aimless, purposeless, useless. I applied to three positions today and cooked supper.Image result for journal

ELUSIVE REMISSION

I am in my fifth clinical depressive episode since 1999 and have been for more than 10 months. There are a few things different about this experience than the others.

It is not as severe. The lines between mild, moderate, and severe depression are blurry atImage result for yo-yo best. For example, in the DSM moderate depression is defined as somewhere between mild and severe. Dah! Like that really helps. For me, the line that defines severe depression is consistent thoughts of death and/or suicidal ideations. Thankfully, I have not traversed that boundary this time.

A second difference is that it is up and down. Not in a bi-polar sense of extreme highs and lows, but in the sense of better and worse days. My journal is full of yo-yo like recordings. In one entry my mood is improving, three days later it is depressed. Stable. Down. Lifting. Dark.

Another difference is the fixation with what might have been and what ought to be. In previous episodes I have been occupied with staying alive and putting one foot in front of the other. Now, however, my mind spins with credentials lost, relationships broken, spiritual abandonment, and incongruous Christian walk. Although the former is far more frightening, it is also much simpler. You have one thing to think about – staying alive.

These thoughts are filled with neglect, regret, failure, unimportance, anger. It is the unrewarded effort. The untouchable soul. The rejected logic. The dismissed rebuke. The futility of revelation. When the house is quiet and everyone is asleep or gone, it the roar that screams against my peace.

Just this evening (June 19, 2018) I was telling my counselor that there was this persistent feeling that my life was a mistake. Oh no, not that I should not have lived, but that I should not have done with my life what I did. From the time I was 14 years old, I sensed that I was called to be a pastor/teacher. Now, however, with the way things have turned out and my inability to handle stress, I wonder if the “call” came from God or was it me wanting to walk in the footsteps of my father and brother. Perhaps I should have focused on the teaching part of ministry rather than the pastoral side. Can a series of mistakes made at 14 derail his life for the next 40 plus years? Leaving him to wonder in the desert? Uncertain? Detoured? Lost?

This episode has had its physical dimension. Sleep has eluded me night after night until I am so exhausted that I sleep for 12 or 14 hours straight. Nightmares are abundant. For 10 months this cycle has not abated and little has helped. “There is no long-term remission without sound sleep,” one entry in my journal states. Physical exhaustion results in mental and emotional depression.

I have gained weight and although it is currently stable I seem incapable of losing. I’ve had three cancer scares. Diagnosed with second stage kidney disease. Gall bladder surgery. A bad case of the flu. And a knee and a back that just won’t heal.

Please! Please. I’m not complaining. It’s the old warning about the straw that broke the camel’s back. Most people can handle one thing or two things or even three things. But, even a healthy person will eventually break if enough pressure is applied.

Hence, remission has been elusive. On May 31 I wrote, “I think I’m in remission.” On June 3, “depression.” It’s almost humorous. Remission is stalled. Short-lived.

Letting go is the key to my recovery, but it is so very painful and difficult. I asked my wife tonight, “Do you think I am less than the husband and father that I could be because of my inability to let go of the hurts of my past?” It was an unfair question, but I could see the answer on her face. My past is robbing me of my present joy and my future happiness. This cannot, must not, continue.

I have a challenge before me. The way is unclear. I’m not sure how to proceed. But I am determined to face it. Defeat it. Be victorious. By the grace of God.

 

The LORD be with you.

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission 

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression. 


September 29, 2014

My sleep was interrupted by nightmares and fighting again last night. I kicked and punched the bed frequently. I looked at some pictures of my beautiful children on Facebook. It was bittersweet. I laid down for a couple of hours today – avoidance. Image result for journal

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission 

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression. 


September 28, 2014

I missed Sunday morning church today. I just didn’t have the will to get up and go. The same thing happened yesterday when I saw a couple of job prospects. I just didn’t have the will to apply. The fear that I can do nothing is pervasive.

I managed to fix a meal today and go to church tonight. It is a struggle to face each new day.Image result for journal

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission 

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression. 


Journal entry for September 27, 2014

It was a rough night. I had several nightmares accompanied by crying and talking in my sleep. I relived my mother’s death.

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MONDAY’S PRAYER

Prayers for our children from the book of Proverbs.


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, blessed Trinity, I pray my children will be content with what they have. Give them the strength to resist the temptation to accumulate. Open their eyes to the deceitfulness of riches. Give them the heart of a giver and save them from being hoarders and/or takers. O that they would give all that they have or ever will have and all that they are or ever will be to You. Deliver them from being possessed by or slaves ofRelated image their possessions. Rather, may they be possessed by You and use what they have to honor You and help others. Open their eyes to see that things are something not to possess, but to use as tools for Your praise and glory. Give them generous hearts ready to invest in others and spiritual causes. O that they would accumulate and store up treasure in heaven. Teach them to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and with that let them be content. Save them from the love of money and the temporary accouterments of this world.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.

From Proverbs 3:9-10 

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission 

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression. 


Journal entry for September 26, 2014

I got up at 8:00 AM today, but only at my brother’s prompting. We mowed three yards together. I had several nightmares last night that including kicking and flailing about.Image result for journal

NOTE TO A FOSTER PARENT

A few years ago when I was a mental health counselor in a foster care program, I wrote the following note to a struggling foster parent. (Names have been changed.)


Image result for foster careHenry, Amanda did not come from Macy’s or Nordstrom’s with the smell of newness and the feel of quality. She came from the Goodwill or Salvation Army store discarded, used, damaged, with a tag that said, “Needs TLC.”

Henry, when you signed up for foster care no one told you, you were signing up to have your heart broken and your feelings hurt. But, you signed on to this momentous task to give unconditional love, to share the love of Jesus, and to be a redemptive influence in a life. This you have been doing very well. Henry, it hurts because you love this child. It hurts because she does not know how to love you back. Love her still. Time and eternity alone will reveal the good you are doing.

Stay the course, fight the good fight, and the grace and the strength of the LORD sustain you.

The LORD be with you.

Jay