Depression, part 3: Peeling Onions
Decoding depression is like cutting onions. Peeling their many layers can make you cry. By taking hormone supplements, I felt my inner pendulum swing towards joy. For a few months, I thought I had this depression thing whipped and felt triumphant. The contrast of emotions, before and after supplements, was so astonishing I thought it must be what normal felt like. Six months passed before I realized I had only peeled off the papery outer skin and thick surface layers of my onion. The extreme lows were indeed gone, but a level of gloom persisted. Like any raw onion, the odor of the remaining layers filled my inner house with a smell I had to cover daily with the air freshener of my pretend, cheerful personality.
I lived with layers of sadness for another 18 years, accepting the idea I was a melancholy person. I shouldn’t hope for any better. Anxiety attacks, another lifelong struggle, resurfaced with a vengeance during the end of those years. A stressful teaching job was fueling daily attacks. As my daughter’s wedding approached, I was frightened that I wouldn’t even be able to sit through her ceremony without bolting from the church.
Desperate, I sought help. Taking a friend’s referral I went to an osteopathic doctor who embraced more homeopathic techniques. She gave me a pamphlet about neurotransmitters, the chemicals our bodies must have for our nervous system to function. Key tests revealed that several of mine were dangerously depleted, specifically three that promote a sense of well-being and calmness. She also educated me about food allergies and sensitivities. I was unknowingly eating numerous things that were disrupting my hormones and neurotransmitters, like (Gasp!) chocolate!
Just like God designed every onion a little differently, your depression is unique from mine. May I make a couple suggestions to help you on your journey towards joy?
Accept- Your depression may have more than one cause.
Persist- Quick fixes are rare. Healing is a process. Determine to keep peeling layers one or two at a time.
Celebrate- Rejoice in any progress you make. Joyce Meyer, well known Bible teacher, says it best, “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.”