In light of Robin William’s suicide, there has been lots of web chatter on depression, suicide and darkness. Some quickly dismiss these things as solvable. Easily solvable. Easily categorized. Easily, conveniently other. Someone even suggested joy and depression cannot co-exist.
They live side by side.
On the mornings I don’t want to get out of bed, on the days I cry when no one is looking, on the days that darkness is crashing over me in waves, I still see glimpses of joy, of hope. I still smile when my kids are silly, still notice the comfort and warmth of my home, still remember how many moments I’ve had of peace, of community, of love, of gratitude. I live in the tension.
Joy isn’t swallowed whole; there are glimpses still. But depression isn’t irradiated by those glimmering dots of hope.
They live side by side.
The hope is in the possibility of living on in that tension, of purposefully walking in it. That there’s some reason this is my road.
A sunset is tension – sun set, but light still in the sky. Childhood is tension – beautiful joy in the now, so much to look forward to in the future. A seed is tension – only dirt, but soon there will be fruit.
Life is tension.
Depression is tension – a constant sense of want, of need, of yearning, a feeling that this cannot be all there is. That life must be more, must offer more. It’s an unquenched desire for intimacy, a pain that makes room. It’s a cultivation of compassion; a weakening, not a weakness. It’s prophetic in nature – a stark reminder that this is not really our home. It’s a sharpening of our eyes – forcing us to see tension, to cherish tension, to discover the beauty in the ugly. It’s strengthening – forcing us to push and push despite no movement. Nothing changes, but we do. We grow strong, steady, steadfast in determined hope. No simple, major key praise music. It’s a haunting melody of minor chords that wield a miraculous tune. It’s a tune that says, “dammit I’m going to keep standing.”
But even when people don’t. Even when they fall. Our response should never be disdain. It’s should be dismay. Why is our world so hurt that some people can’t face tomorrow?
To keep living in depression, interdependence is vital. At its core, depression screams that being alone is not okay. Our experiences are connected, whether we like it or not. Depression is isolating, but it’s roots are born in a fallen community, a fallen land. That’s why blaming, eye-rolling, dismissing does no good. That’s why when someone falls victim to themselves, it’s really a testament of our world, our society, our communities, not just a testament of themselves. It’s really a reminder to beg for His kingdom to come. Now. Quickly.
In all its darkness, depression can suffocate. But I believe there are smidgens of hope even in the pervasive pitch black.
It’s a dark hope.
If you’ve had experiences with depression, how would you describe it?
I hope to be a little more brave, a little less self-concerned and write more about what it means to have faith and hope and also live with depression. Keep reading as I add to the Dark Hope series.