“Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there, though.” Jeffrey Eugenides
Has one of your kids/siblings ever poked you in a bruise? They think it’s funny to watch you jump. But even if the surface of your skin is starting to heal, underneith it can hurt. And hurt bad!
This post is for all of us that have been “healed” of depression. I put healed in quotations because one who has a chemical imbalance in the brain is never fully healed. Depression always seems to lurk in the dark depths of the brain, waiting to pounce.
For those who haven’t suffered with this illness, hopefully you’ll learn something about the depressed brain. I don’t expect you to fully understand, and that’s ok. How can you truly understand something you’ve never experienced? However, please don’t judge. Be compassionate and understanding.
The thoughts can come at the weirdest times. I could be driving down the highway and singing (badly!) at the top of my lungs, smiling to myself, feeling confident in my world. Then…boom! All of a sudden I feel like I’ve been smacked in the face. I don’t have a right to be happy. I hear “Stop it!”. The clouds roll in and my world becomes dark, even for a moment.
I’ve learned to ignore those fleeting thoughts. They don’t own me and they aren’t the real me.
Yet, there’s comfort in the known. Those that have suffered with depression throughout their lives will understand. Even though I’ve been healed for almost five years, the thoughts are never far. It’s like they’re lurking just below the surface of my brain, waiting for a moment to break through to overtake me.
It makes sense for the thoughts to surface when I’m overtired, stressed or overwhelmed.
It doesn’t make sense for the thoughts to come when I’m in a really good space. It’s frustrating and truthfully it just plain ticks me off. It’s like Satan grabs hold of my thoughts for a brief moment. He tries hard to make them seem real. If I’m driving, I literally have to hold the steering wheel with two hands, forcing myself not to swerve into oncoming traffic. It would just be too easy.
Thankfully, when I’m in a good space I have been able to overcome those passing thoughts. I use prayer and cognitive behaviour therapy . Turning my thoughts to what is good and what is true can stop the bad thoughts in their tracks. When that happens, I feel powerful and strong!
I’m writing this post to those that have suffered and have “healed” as a reassurance. If you too have had those fleeting dark moments or thoughts, you aren’t alone. You need to protect the bruised part of your brain. Take the thoughts for what they are…just thoughts. But remember, if they become recurring thoughts and you feel yourself slipping, it’s time to get help. Call your counsellor and/or your doctor. You of all people know what can happen if you don’t. You don’t want to go there, again.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.