Have you ever heard the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin? He talks about how, as the title suggests, we should stop letting the things around us stress us out and get us down. He tells us to just “Be happy”. This was not the song that described me even 3 years ago. You see, (and I have not told many people this) I have struggled with depression practically my entire life. I never allowed myself to admit this fact out loud as I saw it as a weakness that was to be ashamed of. As a result, I went through 19 years of my life not listening to the wise Mr. McFerrin. I was not happy.
There were many things that added to my overall misery. I was larger when I was younger and some people found it easy and fun to remind me of this fact on a daily basis, I spent much of my time indoors and on my couch, and being home schooled left me with way too much time to watch the depressing news with my grandma. It seemed that the more depressed I got, the more I would start to do things that only made it worse. I started eating more, sleeping far too much, and wearing pretty much only sweats.
As I rolled down this downward spiral of depression, loneliness, and misery, I began to hurt less and less; it may seem strange, but it is true. However, the hurt didn’t go away like taking a pill for a headache or a wound finally healing. No, it was nothing like that. Have you ever been in a walk in freezer? One of the really cold ones I mean. When you go in, initially, you are cold. This cold turns into REALLY COLD. Pretty soon, your fingers start to tingle, then sting, and, finally, you can’t feel them at all. It isn’t that the cold has gone away or that there is no longer any potential damage, but that your body has finally decided to stop feeling. This is what had happened to me. I guess you could say that my soul had become numb.
I didn’t really notice that I had lost feeling; it just kind of happened. I then stayed in this state for years. Yes, YEARS. I spent those years going through the motions. I went to church, spent time with friends and family, went to school, and watched TV. I remember looking back at this time and realizing that I hadn’t shed a tear, really laughed, smiled, or even yelled in multiple years. I was simply there, and that was it. I put on a show (probably not a very good one though) for my parents and other family, I had all of the right answers for Sunday school, and I always made sure I maintained a high standing with those in any position of authority.
Eventually, anywhere I went, I searched for feeling. I didn’t even care what the feeling I had was. I would have been fine with pleasure, excitement, nervousness, happiness, sadness, anger, or even pain. ANYTHING! But nothing came. The more I tried, the farther and farther down the spiral I went and the more numb my soul became. Until, eventually, I was essentially lost, gone, and nothing but an empty shell.
Now, I am not writing this to make you feel sorry for me or to talk about the darkness’s of this world. Yes, the world can be dark, and yes, I was immersed in that darkness. But, you see, all darkness is is the absence of light and, if given a strong enough light, can be dispelled. I was given access to a portion of that light and, where there was once darkness, there began to be light. I began to feel. My cold, numb hands began to thaw.
I am not unique in my experience. I had my trial and you have yours. I cannot even begin to understand how another person feels in their darkest times, just like I would never expect any of you to know exactly how I have felt. However, for every single one of us, there is a common light extended. I am not ashamed, nor will I ever be, to say that Jesus Christ is my light. He lives. He guided me through my personal damnation, my numbness, and my darkness and brought me into His light. Sure, I still have my dark days and sometimes I get a little cold, but He is always there to bring me back, and will always be.
Just as I am not the only one to feel the darkness, I am not the only one that can feel His light. He calls to you. He will forever shine His light for you. Allow His light to dispel the darkness that may be holding you captive and forever feel the warmth of His love.