When I glanced in the mirror, I hardly recognized the face reflected back at me. I no longer knew who she was or how she got there. She was a mere skeleton of her former self.
As I looked back, one day I was alive and thriving, working and contributing to my family and society. Without warning, almost overnight I became deathly ill, underwent two surgeries, was confined to bed, was kept alive on IV-hydration and nutrition, wasted away from a petite 113 pounds to a skeletal 74 pounds and weaker than any other time in my life. The longer I was ill, the more depressed I became.
Depression stole my joy, killed my peace, and threatened to destroy my identity. It’s just what the enemy does. My physical and emotional state left me feeling worthless, helpless, and hopeless. If this is all my life was going to amount to, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on living.
One day during my recovery period, as I lay in bed in an empty house, the clouds outside mirrored my spirits. Deep down, I felt so alone. I could barely tolerate it—being ill and in that bedroom day after day for weeks didn’t help. Isolated and lonely, I feared that was all my life would ever be. Who was I? What good was I if I could no longer work and treat my patients, and no longer care for my family?
Sleep occupied the majority of each day. I lost my appetite, and with it went my energy, and the desire to do any of the things I’d always loved to do.
What about the “Joy of my salvation?” Where was that? What was that? Maybe I was just joy-immune. That’s what I began to believe.
I knew what to do. I’d counseled depressed patients for over two decades. I did what I had always suggested to them: I’d gone to counseling and done the work. I paid ensured I was getting enough sleep, ate the best diet, and resumed exercise. I even tried medication. All these things helped but they weren’t enough. Something was missing.
Read the remainder of the article at joleneunderwood.com.
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For more about what not to say to a depressed loved one, read here: http://drmichellebengtson.com/what-not-to-say-when-a-loved-one-is-depressed/ while here are suggestions about supportive things you can say to a depressed loved one: http://drmichellebengtson.com/what-to-say-when-a-loved-one-is-depressed/
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