I have seen the “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” Anyone with depression has. The past seven months of my life have been spent wandering in darkness, fearing what may lurk in the crags of my life and behind the boulders of my brain. But in my aloneness, I have not been lonely. I have felt the gentle nudge of Christ’s staff as a reminder that He is with me, comforting me from the dangers of my own mind.
For 22 years, I have taken medication for depression. But suddenly, at age 40, the affects of this one medication were no longer effectual. The gears that had been calmed, rusted in place, once again began turning, churning my mind, sucking me into the center of myself.
My diagnoses: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They… are… real. This mental illness is real, as real as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or high blood pressure. My brain is broken… but my God is not.
Part of my healing journey has been a call from God to create a piece of art, one day at a time, for every day of October, which I will be posting for the next 31 days, beginning tomorrow. God’s charge?: live mindfully, one day, one moment, one breath and a time, breathing in sync with Christ as I stare into his deep eyes. The control with which I struggle causes me to hoard moments of life, gobbling up time without tasting it, swallowing without chewing, and then choking in anxiety and panic, unable to breathe. And this entire need for control is rooted in past pains, regrets, and even genetics.
But Christ offers grace for my faults, flaws, and fears and in the midst of this journey, I have experienced his growing sanctification of me as I have been stripped of everything but gravity, pulling me to His arms, and all I have is our Holy of Holies behind a locked door, a sacred space where only He and I dwell, and all that is there is all that I need: His grace, His love, and this one breath.