Honest reflections about marriage and mission work when dealing with the anxiety and depression

  • Charlie Clayton

The Real You Part 1: It Crushes Your Soul

In my last post I talked about how depression is a flawed protection mechanism. One that is trying to protect you, but in its doing so, damages you.

An extract from the blog:

The sad reality of course, is that when anxiety and depression are experienced, the body is strained, the mind is overwhelmed and, if prolonged periods occur, we can incur long lasting damage.

And this is certainly true. Depression does cause damage physically, mentally and emotionally.

But this doesn't describe the impact nearly enough.

Depression crushes your very soul.

And this is the hardest battle. You see, you never change when experiencing depression. Certainly externally people may notice things, your reactions may be harsh, you may change patterns and withdraw, but you, the real you, doesn't change.

Your desires, hopes, personality are all the same, but depression covers you so much that it crushed them down. You can see the person you truly are all the time but depression's defences don't allow that to shine through. Every time you rise up, it pushes you down until you decide that it isn't worth rising up again.

It is like being underwater, trying to get up for air, but ice is covering the surface. You are screaming to get out, but no matter how much you struggle, you can not break through.

And so, when you meet new people whilst experiencing depression, they don't actually get to meet the real you, and so they make assumptions and judgements based on what is presented by depression rather than encountering the real you.

He doesn't talk much......he is often quiet......she doesn't turn up to things that much......they are always ill.....they can't concentrate, there is something wrong with them.

As you hear these phrases, more of the real you screams as you desperately try and break through.

And all throughout my time in Ibiza, I wasn't my true self. People experienced me through the ice ceiling. Sure, there were glimmers, but on the whole I was trapped behind the ice unable to really express myself to those around me.

Of course those people that have known you prior to experiencing a time of depression, will say, "you have changed". There is a difference between who they have encountered before and who they encounter now. But you haven't. You are you. Its depression that they are meeting. And you are desperate for people to still see you exist, for the ice to break and you to come up for air.

And I think that it is this experience of depression that is the one that causes the deepest impact and sadly for far too many, takes away the very driver for life.

Desperate, sad and soul crushing messages repeat in your mind... 'If you cannot be you then why carry on? ...If you are going to spend your life being crushed then it isn't living at all.'

And if left to your own cycle of thoughts, if you don't have people around cheering you on, if there inst a counter to these messages, if you keep it all to yourself, then it is easy for these messages to take away your hope.

But please know that there is hope

There is ALWAYS hope. Don't give up. The ice can break, you will be able to come up for air, you can be you again. You may need people from the outside to break the ice, you may need to push a little harder, you may need to recognise that the ice is there, but you will be able to breathe again.

I have experienced this dramatic difference in recent months. The ice ceiling has been broken. I am able to breathe. I have experienced the hope.

My challenge now is to not live like I am still trapped under the ice, but allow the real me to climb out of the water and live.

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