Posts Tagged ‘ depression ’
Research shows that most adoptees suffer from recurrent bouts of depression. Although I was only formally diagnosed with the illness at around 38, once I was familiar with its symptoms I was able to identify earlier episodes in my life.
Studies have also revealed that if you’ve had depression once, there’s a good chance you’ll get it again. This is certainly the case with me. Even though I’m no longer clinically depressed, the propensity for the illness to take hold of me again has become an ever-present factor in my life.
It’s not unlike the disease of alcoholism. Even if an alcoholic stops drinking he is still an alcoholic, albeit a recovering one. The craving to drink is always there, and often becomes more intense during difficult times. Alcoholics know that the tiniest sip of of alcohol can set them off on a drinking binge, from which they may never recover.
My depression is much the same. I have to work every day at keeping it at bay. Some days are easy. On others I can forget totally that I ever had those awful dark days in the black hole.
But as it is wont to do – life happens – I experience a “wobbly” and all too quickly I can feel the dark hole beckoning. Thankfully, now I have the tools to resist succumbing to its black emptiness. And as long as I use them I’m okay. To quote a dear friend who is a recovering alcoholic: “If you don’t want to slip, stay away from slippery places.”
For him, this means anywhere where alcohol is present. As a depressaholic, it’s anything or anyone negative. I make it a point to surround myself with things positive and to avoid people who habitually grumble and complain about everything.
In every situation there’s a bright side. For every problem there’s a solution. I challenge myself to look for it, focus on it and apply it. It’s not always easy, but that’s where I have learned rely on the promise contained in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
But He can only do that if I depend wholly on Him. This means giving the problem over to God. Completely. As my late faither-in-law often used to say: “Let go and let God.” Once I do that the relief is overwhelming, because now I know that the One who is omnipotent is taking care of it, and whatever happens will be right, because His will is always perfect. And what’s right for Him is ultimately always right for me.
I try not to wallow. Rather than dwell on the bad, I constantly strive to renew my mind, thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) – all qualities epitomised by Christ, thus I focus my thoughts on Him.
Finally, while I am still able to do so, I tell myself to snap out of it – before I sink so deep into the inky mire that I lose the ability – and the will – to claw my way out and become completely engulfed in the blackness.
It’s hard work, but with God at my side I always get through it, each time emerging stronger, wiser and best of all, closer to Him.
Mary Beth Wells chats to Aurette about her discovery as an adult of her closed adoption, and her journey of healing.
Stress happens. All the time. And it’s not uncommon that just as one stressful situation resolves itself, another develops to take its place. Often there are two, three or even more to be dealt with simultaneously. For previously diagnosed depression sufferers this can make that deep, dark, black hole look increasingly inviting and the urge to crawl back into it too tempting to ignore.
Sometimes I am tempted to sit on the floor and let all the painful emotions surrounding my adoption completely overwhelm me. All the unfinished business, the unresolved issues, the unanswered questions. I have to work extremely hard every day at keeping them at bay, and sometimes it just becomes… exhausting.
That’s when I feel that black hole looming ever larger and larger. And it looks so enticing. It seems so peaceful in there. So quiet. Far away from all the pressure. All the stress. All the stuff. Like a thick, warm, wooly blanket. I can almost feel myself being pulled closer and closer into its looming folds, until eventually my legs are dangling inside and it’s only my fingers clinging tightly onto the edge of the hole that are keeping me from letting go and falling… falling…
That’s when I know I have to waste no time in heading straight for my Safe Place, my “refuge in times of trouble”.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want,” I recite to myself over and over again. “Tho’ I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil.”
And then the one that gives me the strength to claw my way out of the hole: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
And as I move farther and farther away from the gaping blackness I begin to feel it. The fear dissipating, and I am left with peace. “My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you…”
And as I breathe Him deeply in, so that once more “in Him I live, and move, and have my being” I hear Him whisper: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
And as I slowly exhale I know that I am safe. And I can see the hole for what it really is. A black shroud of despair where there is no light, only endless night.
And as I continue to “renew my mind” I am once again reminded that “without Him I can do nothing.” But with Him “all things are possible” and I no longer have to fear. I can see my adoption for what it really is: a gift from God to my parents, a gift of eternal salvation to me. I am blessed.
The story of the discovery of my secret, closed adoption is intensely personal and brutally honest. But it's also a journey of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.
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