I sit here this evening, after a crazy busy day, watching the kids play in the yard. And I realize, I’m more at peace than I’ve been in years. Not just tonight, but overall. I sense it more, I think, as I’m on the upswing from 7 or 8 years of depression and anxiety. What a gift–and yes, I’m being intentionally vague. I’m coming to see both the peace and the depression as a gift.
Over the past two or three years, I noticed that the depression I’d become aware of was trending decidedly downward and that I needed help. So I asked for help from friends, pastors, and a mental health counselor. I’m grateful for all the advice and insight, but ultimately it was a psychiatrist and an antidepressant that brought about a change. So now I’m at the point where I’m at peace; I can honestly say that my life will feel complete if I can raise my family faithfully and leave the areas under my influence a little better. I would’ve believed that on some level before, but it’s true in a fuller sense now. Emotionally as well as intellectually, perhaps.
But, if given the opportunity to go back in time and erase the depression, I don’t think I would (not that I’m eager to get back, though). Here’s a few quick reasons I could think of:
- I now understand peace in a way I just didn’t before. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” or something like that.
- I have a richer understanding of how we humans operate as a whole person, how intricately interwoven our mind, soul, and body are. One thing in particular my psychiatrist said really punctuated it. I said that I was struggling to understand whether this was more mental or physical, and where the line was. His response was that there is no line. There’s no way I could’ve really grasped that without feeling the intensely crippling physical effects of a mental disorder and the mental relief from a chemical change.
- I was able to create and interact with some art. Yellow is my best attempt at explaining the mental turmoil I faced (and continue to face) in story form. I connected with a handful of songs and artists that I just don’t think would’ve been as meaningful with a different mindset.
- I have a few hundred more reasons to love my wife, who picked up more and more slack as I slid lower. Seriously, the woman’s amazing, I can’t say enough good about her.
I’m sure there are others, and it certainly was no fun. But I’m grateful to be able to start to see some good come out of it, and I’m ever grateful to the One who is able to make all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.