Depression and Faith: Wailing, gnashing of teeth, and renting of garments

There’s been a fair amount of that kind of “biblical” activity in this household in the last few days. Wailing, gnashing of teeth, and renting of garments, I mean. Metaphorically, mostly.

Strong faith can be a real lifeline when depression hangs around. Strong faith can also be pretty darned elusive, when depression keeps hanging on, and hanging on, and hanging on.

My husband’s depression started in earnest about 20 years ago. First there were years of the darkest depths of despair. Then some improvement. Then lots of ups and downs, keeping me guessing and on edge at all times. Then several years of a good place of recovery. Then a few years of a downward slide ending in the pits. Most recently, we’ve experienced the most complete recovery in our 20-year journey. Enormous relief and great joy, but the scars are still there…wondering how long it will last.

Circumstances have not been in our favor. An injury put his recovery – and, quite honestly, my faith – to the test recently. For eight weeks he was unable to participate in the new career that brought about such improvement. The cosmic unfairness of it all made me rail against God. I know God can handle my anger. I’ve lived with my faith long enough not to worry about that. But when that enforced eight weeks off led to the all-too-familiar and all-too-ugly depression symptoms, one of the things that upset me the most was my lack of tolerance for them. Apparently I’ve pretty much reached the saturation point. My stores of patience, support, and kindness are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

And then good news came along, and he was back to work. Joy! Relief! Then another unfortunate turn of events, and it’s off again for a time. Hence the wailing, gnashing of teeth, and renting of garments. My main thought just now is “What the #^#$*@#! is God thinking?!?”

What I think I believe most of the time is that the whole “when bad things happen to good people” thing is absolutely a mystery but that God is right there beside us, crying along with us in those terrible times. Isn’t that lovely? Well, it’s all out the window just now. I’m just mad.

My husband has worked his butt off to recover and build a new life. The crap we’re dealing with is just plain wrong.

I’ve been strong and loving and supportive until I resemble a wrung-out sponge. Nothing left.

I’m thankful that when I put all this to my husband, his first concern was for my state rather than his own. That is a glimmer of sunshine. It means that, at last for now, the depression is at bay and he’s able to see beyond himself. Most certainly his resilience has improved.

But still, depression sucks. And just now, I’m blaming God.

And I guess I’m writing this to let other caregivers know that they’re not alone. It’s pretty normal for faith to take a beating when your life has taken a beating. My point, I suppose, is don’t despair when you get to that place. Because deep down I know – and God knows I know – that there is peace and comfort waiting for us when we’re able to see it.

-Amy

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2 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Mindocr’s Weblog.

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