The Bad Day

I am having a bad day today. I won’t go into why, but everyone has bad days. I can mentally recognize that overall, things are good. My medication is working, counseling goes well, and I am moving along in many other areas, which makes me very happy.

But today stinks.

Now of course, everyone has bad days. Things don’t go right. You’re stressed. You’ve messed up or someone else has messed upon you, whatever. We all have our bad days. This is what we on planet earth call “life”.

But not for the depressed person.

For someone suffering from depression (or it’s kissing cousin, anxiety), bad days aren’t simply bad days. In depression you cannot look past yourself, your problems, and you can’t look into the future. In other words, depression sucks away hope. It can often attack faith itself. Other things may do this as well, but I know depression does it.

So for someone suffering from depression, a bad day becomes an event, with a whole host of questions swirling through one’s head:

  • How long will this last?
  • What can I do to get out of it?
  • Has my medication stopped working?
  • What if things go back to the way they were?
  • What if I am always like this, slowly turning into a vegetable that has been overcooked.

There may even be darker questions about life and death asked. I’ve been there. It stinks.

So what do you do when these questions won’t go away, when you stay up at night fretting over what may be nothing, but even over things that may be a big deal? This isn’t rocket science, but here are a few ideas:

  1. Remind yourself that Tom Cruise is an idiot. That always makes me feel better. Depression exists. It’s a medical condition and not a question of willpower. Sometimes things will be worse than others. But because you’re depressed, you look at these things under a microscope and forget to ever look up. It’s kind of the ultimate incurvatus se (turned in upon oneself).
  2. Give yourself a break. Take a nap. Sit in the sun. Go some place quiet for a while. But DON’T beat yourself over the head with it and try to “work through it”. In all liklihood, that will make it worse.
  3. Pray and sing. Nothing long or fancy. A kyrie may be all you’ve got. Check out a few cross and comfort hymns.
  4. Trust that the God of comfort, who takes care of all things, continues to take care of you, even when you feel like your world is crashing down.
  5. If it persists, call your counselor or doctor and/or father confessor. Don’t try and fight it alone. God has given these people to you. They want to hear from you if you need help. There is nothing more satisfying that giving to another person. They are waiting for your call.

Those are the few thoughts off the top of my head. What have I missed?

Now let’s see if I can take my own advice….

-DarkMyRoad

0 thoughts on “The Bad Day”

  1. I’m sorry for being a contrarian, but I’ve got to speak from experience. My depression is sometimes very severe. For the past several weeks. I was in the black cloud and was on the verge of giving up everything. I refuse psychiatric medication, though my significant other almost begs me to see my DR to be prescribed for them. Most of my depression comes from sin that I have committed or that I am committing. I have to work through my depression by willpower alone. My last serious bout was lifted when I finally confronted the person that I had sinned against. Maybe there really is a chemical aspect to depression, but I can’t help but think that there are far too many people on medication today and that people with depression have lived productive lives for centuries by willpower and the help of our Lord Jesus Christ without the help of medication.

  2. While our religious beliefs are very different, your description of depression resonates with me. Instead of reacting to the little things that conspire to make a bad day, I see even the slightest hiccup as a symptom of depression. I recently had consecutive bad days during which I moved from bed to couch and back again. It was miserable. I imagined that I couldn’t drag myself out of the house, and I punished myself by cutting all lines of communication with my network. Looking back on those two bad days, I wonder at how warped my perception became. The prison was entirely of my own making. I’m reading a book called, “The God File,” in which the protagonist is imprisoned for life for a crime he didn’t commit. He managed to create small pockets of freedom for himself. When I am depressed, I manage to discover islands of self-imposed isolation. I’ll try the things you suggested the next time a bad day looms. Thanks for your insight.

  3. Dear anonymous,

    You certainly don’t have to apologize for your views, and thank you for responding.

    I in no way wish to minimize how much sin can affect the human being, body and soul. Read Psalm Six.

    In the very same vein, the forgiveness of sins is utterly releasing and liberating. It is a wonderful (the most wonderful) gift from God. Certainly harboring sin against another person will have physical effect. And certainly it could be that your depression is simply caused by unconfessed sin. Personally, I find that very unlikely.

    The medical evidence demonstrating the existence of depression as a medical condition is overwhelming. To simply refuse to explore medical treatment strikes me as more a matter of pride than some theological position. If you’re sick, get a doctor. They are many paths to healing, but I can’t understand the logic of simply eliminating a major path without seriously exploring it.

    As to willpower, we are weak and frail. Our willpower is tarnished and broken by sin. Certainly human beings can overcome incredible obstacles. But we should never trust in our willpower to get something done. I think the hymn could have been rewritten, “Trust not in willpow’r we are but mortal, earthborn we are and soon decay…”

    My 2 pfennigs,

  4. Listen to some Irish drinking music by the Clancy Brothers and some others whilst having a few pints! Ahh, it is lifting my spirits right now!

  5. Dear anonymous,

    I’m a sinner. I’m a depressed sinner. I’m a forgiven, depressed sinner and I need medication or I’ll tumble back into the dark bleak hole of hell that used to be my life.

    No one has asked you to abandon your faith or your desire to reconcile with those whom you’ve sinned against. You are being asked to see just how much medicine can assist you physically and mentally so that your depression doesn’t consume you, your life and your wife.

    It is pride, indeed, to imagine that you can fix this yourself. God’s good gifts include medicine. Time to get off your high liturgical horse and get some serious medical assistance.

    I speak as one who tried it your way and nearly lost my life. Get help.

  6. I particularly like your second suggestion. It has helped me, oddly enough, to work less at overcoming my depression.

  7. Dark wrote, “And certainly it could be that your depression is simply caused by unconfessed sin.”

    And sometimes depression is caused by sin that IS confessed, and that we just have a very hard time believing the absolution. It truly is a lovely thing that Jesus told Peter to forgive “70×7.”

    “The medical evidence demonstrating the existence of depression as a medical condition is overwhelming.” I still wonder whether the medical evidence is caused by the depression and the unbelief and the turn-inwardness, or if the medical condition causes the despair. I suppose ultimately it doesn’t matter. If the medication helps arrest the downward spiral, it doesn’t really matter whether physical symptoms or faith problems or mental problems were the instigating cause.

    That said, however, some of us are very leery of medication and its side effects. Some of us would rather live with the depression (no matter how debilitating) than endure the risks of medication.

    As for willpower, it seems to me that depression means I don’t even have the willpower to get dressed or wash the dishes or read a book to my preschooler. How on earth would I ever come up with the willpower to work through depression on my own? Now, it’s a different story when I’m “working through it” with my pastor and my hymnal, as well as a husband who lavishes on me not only love and acceptance, but also a lot of practical assistance.

    — a no-longer-quite-so-rebellious pastor’s wife

  8. This may sound off the wall, but I have discovered that watching Laurel & Hardy has helped me. I hope no one thinks I am making light of their depression. But those two guys have done as much for me as all the counselors and medication in the world.

    I taped their films over the course of the years. Whenever I am having a bad day, I have often paid a visit to these two old friends of mine.God bless ’em.Give them a try.

    Anonymous

  9. Well, if you can call it “good news,” this post (including the insightful comments it’s spawned) has won the Golden Aardvark Aaward for excellence in blogging. As another who battles depression and other mental health issues, I appreciate the honesty and the effort you expend even when your reserves are lagging.

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The Bad Day

I am having a bad day today. I won’t go into why, but everyone has bad days. I can mentally recognize that overall, things are good. My medication is working, counseling goes well, and I am moving along in many other areas, which makes me very happy.

But today stinks.

Now of course, everyone has bad days. Things don’t go right. You’re stressed. You’ve messed up or someone else has messed upon you, whatever. We all have our bad days. This is what we on planet earth call “life”.

But not for the depressed person.

For someone suffering from depression (or it’s kissing cousin, anxiety), bad days aren’t simply bad days. In depression you cannot look past yourself, your problems, and you can’t look into the future. In other words, depression sucks away hope. It can often attack faith itself. Other things may do this as well, but I know depression does it.

So for someone suffering from depression, a bad day becomes an event, with a whole host of questions swirling through one’s head:

  • How long will this last?
  • What can I do to get out of it?
  • Has my medication stopped working?
  • What if things go back to the way they were?
  • What if I am always like this, slowly turning into a vegetable that has been overcooked.

There may even be darker questions about life and death asked. I’ve been there. It stinks.

So what do you do when these questions won’t go away, when you stay up at night fretting over what may be nothing, but even over things that may be a big deal? This isn’t rocket science, but here are a few ideas:

  1. Remind yourself that Tom Cruise is an idiot. That always makes me feel better. Depression exists. It’s a medical condition and not a question of willpower. Sometimes things will be worse than others. But because you’re depressed, you look at these things under a microscope and forget to ever look up. It’s kind of the ultimate incurvatus se (turned in upon oneself).
  2. Give yourself a break. Take a nap. Sit in the sun. Go some place quiet for a while. But DON’T beat yourself over the head with it and try to “work through it”. In all liklihood, that will make it worse.
  3. Pray and sing. Nothing long or fancy. A kyrie may be all you’ve got. Check out a few cross and comfort hymns.
  4. Trust that the God of comfort, who takes care of all things, continues to take care of you, even when you feel like your world is crashing down.
  5. If it persists, call your counselor or doctor and/or father confessor. Don’t try and fight it alone. God has given these people to you. They want to hear from you if you need help. There is nothing more satisfying that giving to another person. They are waiting for your call.

Those are the few thoughts off the top of my head. What have I missed?

Now let’s see if I can take my own advice….

-DarkMyRoad

10 thoughts on “The Bad Day”

  1. I’m sorry for being a contrarian, but I’ve got to speak from experience. My depression is sometimes very severe. For the past several weeks. I was in the black cloud and was on the verge of giving up everything. I refuse psychiatric medication, though my significant other almost begs me to see my DR to be prescribed for them. Most of my depression comes from sin that I have committed or that I am committing. I have to work through my depression by willpower alone. My last serious bout was lifted when I finally confronted the person that I had sinned against. Maybe there really is a chemical aspect to depression, but I can’t help but think that there are far too many people on medication today and that people with depression have lived productive lives for centuries by willpower and the help of our Lord Jesus Christ without the help of medication.

  2. While our religious beliefs are very different, your description of depression resonates with me. Instead of reacting to the little things that conspire to make a bad day, I see even the slightest hiccup as a symptom of depression. I recently had consecutive bad days during which I moved from bed to couch and back again. It was miserable. I imagined that I couldn’t drag myself out of the house, and I punished myself by cutting all lines of communication with my network. Looking back on those two bad days, I wonder at how warped my perception became. The prison was entirely of my own making. I’m reading a book called, “The God File,” in which the protagonist is imprisoned for life for a crime he didn’t commit. He managed to create small pockets of freedom for himself. When I am depressed, I manage to discover islands of self-imposed isolation. I’ll try the things you suggested the next time a bad day looms. Thanks for your insight.

  3. Dear anonymous,

    You certainly don’t have to apologize for your views, and thank you for responding.

    I in no way wish to minimize how much sin can affect the human being, body and soul. Read Psalm Six.

    In the very same vein, the forgiveness of sins is utterly releasing and liberating. It is a wonderful (the most wonderful) gift from God. Certainly harboring sin against another person will have physical effect. And certainly it could be that your depression is simply caused by unconfessed sin. Personally, I find that very unlikely.

    The medical evidence demonstrating the existence of depression as a medical condition is overwhelming. To simply refuse to explore medical treatment strikes me as more a matter of pride than some theological position. If you’re sick, get a doctor. They are many paths to healing, but I can’t understand the logic of simply eliminating a major path without seriously exploring it.

    As to willpower, we are weak and frail. Our willpower is tarnished and broken by sin. Certainly human beings can overcome incredible obstacles. But we should never trust in our willpower to get something done. I think the hymn could have been rewritten, “Trust not in willpow’r we are but mortal, earthborn we are and soon decay…”

    My 2 pfennigs,

  4. Listen to some Irish drinking music by the Clancy Brothers and some others whilst having a few pints! Ahh, it is lifting my spirits right now!

  5. Dear anonymous,

    I’m a sinner. I’m a depressed sinner. I’m a forgiven, depressed sinner and I need medication or I’ll tumble back into the dark bleak hole of hell that used to be my life.

    No one has asked you to abandon your faith or your desire to reconcile with those whom you’ve sinned against. You are being asked to see just how much medicine can assist you physically and mentally so that your depression doesn’t consume you, your life and your wife.

    It is pride, indeed, to imagine that you can fix this yourself. God’s good gifts include medicine. Time to get off your high liturgical horse and get some serious medical assistance.

    I speak as one who tried it your way and nearly lost my life. Get help.

  6. I particularly like your second suggestion. It has helped me, oddly enough, to work less at overcoming my depression.

  7. Dark wrote, “And certainly it could be that your depression is simply caused by unconfessed sin.”

    And sometimes depression is caused by sin that IS confessed, and that we just have a very hard time believing the absolution. It truly is a lovely thing that Jesus told Peter to forgive “70×7.”

    “The medical evidence demonstrating the existence of depression as a medical condition is overwhelming.” I still wonder whether the medical evidence is caused by the depression and the unbelief and the turn-inwardness, or if the medical condition causes the despair. I suppose ultimately it doesn’t matter. If the medication helps arrest the downward spiral, it doesn’t really matter whether physical symptoms or faith problems or mental problems were the instigating cause.

    That said, however, some of us are very leery of medication and its side effects. Some of us would rather live with the depression (no matter how debilitating) than endure the risks of medication.

    As for willpower, it seems to me that depression means I don’t even have the willpower to get dressed or wash the dishes or read a book to my preschooler. How on earth would I ever come up with the willpower to work through depression on my own? Now, it’s a different story when I’m “working through it” with my pastor and my hymnal, as well as a husband who lavishes on me not only love and acceptance, but also a lot of practical assistance.

    — a no-longer-quite-so-rebellious pastor’s wife

  8. This may sound off the wall, but I have discovered that watching Laurel & Hardy has helped me. I hope no one thinks I am making light of their depression. But those two guys have done as much for me as all the counselors and medication in the world.

    I taped their films over the course of the years. Whenever I am having a bad day, I have often paid a visit to these two old friends of mine.God bless ’em.Give them a try.

    Anonymous

  9. Well, if you can call it “good news,” this post (including the insightful comments it’s spawned) has won the Golden Aardvark Aaward for excellence in blogging. As another who battles depression and other mental health issues, I appreciate the honesty and the effort you expend even when your reserves are lagging.

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