I am going to try but I am not sure if I can put into words how guilty depressed people feel ALL the time. Depression and many other mental illnesses feel like a little man/woman is sitting inside your head telling you you are no good, you are crazy, nobody likes you, you do everything wrong, you don’t believe things the right way. It is truly maddening and it can send you over the edge.
Why so many don’t get help is because they don’t think anyone will understand and they feel GUILTY for laying their burden on someone else. This is why it is so important for my friends to know they are not alone. Someone does care enough to help you get the right help. Professionals are trained to teach you skills to get you through the day. One of these is affirmation statements. Look them up online. You will find many websites and apps that will give you a long list. I will tell you right now I have not practiced them in a long time. Right now I am working on meditating to quiet my brain. Plenty of apps exists for this as well.
As a parent, the moment your first child is born, guilt sets in. You ask yourself a billion questions about whether your birth plan was right, etc. This list multiplies on a daily basis forever. Compound this with the depressed brain. Are you understanding this? This is a small part of the way we think.
Now take my depressed brain, guilt and God. Now, this is a personal perception. This is my story. I got into Young Life in high school. I liked it. I felt like I fit in. Not with the people my age, but with the leaders. I have always felt more comfortable with older people. I have my theory but that is for another day. I was pretty depressed during this time too. These leaders thought I was great and it boosted my confidence.
We met on Friday mornings for a Bible study. Now, I was a rule follower. I didn’t make waves. I did what someone told me to do without question. I learned that the Bible was full of all sorts of rules. When I broke a rule, I sinned. It was pretty black and white. If you sin, you are going to hell. This is what I heard. I did hear that if you asked for forgiveness then your sin would be abolished and all was good with the world again. But the Bible has so many rules that I sinned all the time. I didn’t like breaking rules. I felt guilty. Then my depressed brain would chime in and tell me I am not worthy of God because I keep breaking His rules. Do you understand where I am going with this? It is a vicious cycle.
It has taken my depressed brain 47 years to come to grips with some of this. I know I am a Christian. Jesus died on that cross for my sins. Now here is where my depressed brain needs to be reprogrammed. I AM FORGIVEN. It is by the grace of God that I am on this computer sharing my story so that someone else might live. Just like Jesus did for all of us. I am not saying I am Jesus or God. I am learning that the Bible is there for us to learn how to live a better life. There is some powerful scripture in there. Some of it can be down right scary.
I still feel guilty because sometimes if I don’t believe in God the way others are telling me to, that something bad is going to happen to me. Or bad things are happening because I am not believing right. That is the depressed brain. A couple of my mentors will tell you that is Satan trying to take you away. It sure feels like it some days.
I hope this helps those of you who love someone who thinks this way to understand them a little bit more.
I pray a lot. I don’t just sit there in my quiet time and pray and forget it. I pray continually about anything that pops into my head wherever I may be. I am not saying i am better because of it. It is just a way to quiet the depressed brain and let God take over some when I let him. I don’t just pray for me. I pray for lots of people, even random ones. It helps me to get out of my head and help someone.
I go to St Mary’s on the Highlands. I love my church. I feel like God is hugging me everytime I kneel to pray. I cry every time I go to church. I just get so overwhelmed by the whole idea of someone loving me to such a capacity. I have quit wearing mascara to church for this reason. I love the soft spirit of our ministers. When they hand out the sacrament and wine I feel they know the particular reason why I need the sacrament that particular Sunday. It overwhelms me to tears. When I first get to church and kneel, this huge anvil which I have been carrying around all week on my shoulders is gone. The rules are gone, the guilt is gone. It is just the Holy Spirit laying a blanket over my shoulders to smooth me.
My grandfather, John Golightly, aka, Pappy lived on ONO Island before it was cool. The story goes that he and two other men bought a third of ONO for three thousand dollars. They divided that up and Pappy got the East end of the Island. When he retired, he built a boat, bought a barge and brought a bunch of concrete from his concrete plant and built his retirement home. He hired five men and my older brother to build the house. He built a water tower and a guest house. The house was literally made entirely of concrete block. He had a master bed, bath, living room and kitchen on one end, a huge screen porch in the middle and then two bedrooms with an adjoining bath in the main house. He had a huge propane tank that supplied gas to all appliances. He also built a dock. You have to remember at this time no bridge existed on ONO. Pappy would have to come pick us up by boat at the marina.
Eventually, developers began to catch onto to the allure of ONO. They built a bridge and began building houses sporadically over the island. Pappy’s mailbox was at the other end of ONO where the bridge was…five miles. He rode his bike every day to pick up his mail. He and his five german shepherds. That worked fine until they got in his way and he wrecked. He then had to drive his Pinto, yes Pinto to get it.
My older siblings spent Spring Break down there. Needless to say the boys followed my sisters everywhere, even to the island. Pappy didn’t have a driveway, it was just sand. The boys always got stuck. Pappy was old school. “GD” was a mainstay in his vocabulary. That was his favorite word when the boys got stuck. The sign above reminded me of him and ONO. He had signs that said “No Outlet” “Turn Back”. The one above would have been fitting for the grumpy old hermit:)