“Must I then, indeed, Pain, live with you
All through my life? –sharing my fire, my bed,
Sharing–oh, worst of things!–the same head?–
And, when I feed myself, feeding you, too?”
Edna St. Vincent Millay
The critical issue we face is the reality of living with ourselves through an acute episode of depression or mania. I think that cohabitating with something that is trying its darndest to kill you is especially frightening. Depression is my mortal enemy, and here I am, actually enabling it. How disturbing.
In a way it is sinister, the stuff of scary movies and bad novels. It is the parasite is making its residence in the body of its host. It sounds like something from a crazy ‘story line’ out of Star Trek. I know how strange it sounds, but we some of us are enmeshed to melancholy. It is in essence, part of our personality. We instinctively carry a dark despair and a savage despondency wherever we go.
When it slumbers, life can proceed on. I can play with my kids, be a good husband, friend and neighbor. Everything seems quiet and normal. But when the dragon awakes, there will be ‘hell to pay.’ But exactly when, you can never be too sure. But living with this fear is equally as hard as the depression itself. How will I handle it next time? Will I be in shape for Christmas, or will my ‘cheese slide off my cracker’ again this year? I just don’t know. Under the veneer things can get very rough— very, very quickly.
My wife and kids lived in Mexico for almost three years. We had a trailer, and part of that time we parked on the slanted slopes of a volcano. Trust me on this, living on it was like living on a bomb! I reasoned and rationalized, but each day I spent time thinking about it. It wasn’t a big deal, but it worked its way into my thinking. Living on a volcano will do that to you.
There is this promise found in Psalm 139—
“You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!”
I am glad that God decided to intervene in my life. Without question, I need Him to watch me and deliver me ‘day-to-day.’ As a believer in Jesus, I know he has put his hands on me. He shields me from the dragon. I believe that he protects me from the worst of it. The Holy Spirit absorbs much of the venom Himself. I am glad I belong to Him! I’m thrilled that He loves me. The fear of a plummeting relapse is now His concern. I bear it no more.
- Climbing up out of the miry pit of depression (overcominganything.wordpress.com)
- Favourite Poems LVIII: And You as Well Must Die, Belovèd Dust | Edna St. Vincent Millay (torontoemerg.wordpress.com)