A Depression Analogy:
Imagine your brain is a library. A beautiful grand library, full of gorgeous books and things that make up your personality. As you grow, your library grows with books which are your memories. As a little one most of these memories are good. However, at some point in your life something traumatic happens. This can be something like bullying for some, but for others it is intense abuse from parents or siblings or even strangers.
This traumatic event triggers a change. We call this change depression, but depression is just a symptom of a much larger monster; PTSD. Sometimes, some of us get C-PTSD if the trauma is repeated over and over.
So now, let’s say all of your books are pink because they are good and loving happy memories. You love to go through your library and read your books, because they make you feel happy all over again.
One day as you’re in your library you see Depression walking through.
Imagine depression as a lady with wild hair a rabid look on her face. She’s walking through your library just nonchalantly touching all of your books. As she does this, you notice your books changing color. It is so distressing but all you can do as a child is to yell at her to stop but she just stares at you and keeps touching books. “Oh no!” you think. Crying and screaming at Depression, “Please stop! No! Leave my books alone!” She just continues walking through touching things.
You walk over to the books Depression has touched but now these books don’t make you feel good and happy, they make you feel sad. You faintly ask Depression to stop again, but she refuses and continues walking through. Being a little one without the skills necessary to battle with Depression; she is allowed to ravage your memories and she even takes a few of them and hides them away from you. You search and search but Depression refuses to tell you where she hid them.
You get older and notice that Depression has become more than you can handle alone.
When you get older and realize what a problem Depression is your life, you begin therapy and this starts you on a road to healing. It is painfully slow repairing the damage that Depression has caused. Sometimes there is more abuse to work through than you realize because Depression is great at hiding books. You learn coping skills in therapy.
You learn mindfulness. Each time you practice mindfulness, you reach in your library and what do you see, you see a book or two change back to pink. You learn that exercise can help you produce endorphins so you do that. Each time again you see your books change color, maybe to yellow. It’s a magnificent and powerful feeling. But your old friend Depression never really leaves, maybe she doesn’t look as rabid but she is there. Maybe she doesn’t touch your books as often, but she’s still there.
Maybe you become a Christian and the love of God is able to penetrate through the depression for you and there is great rejoicing. You learn to pray and find fellowship with other believers. This gives your books a new brighter color. Worship gives your books a new light. We were made to be worshipful creatures after all. (My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name, for ever and ever. Psalm 145:21)
Not to say that the Bible promises we won’t have Depression, but it does promise that as soon as we “confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead that we will be saved” (Rom. 10:9) that Yahweh will send us a helper, called The Holy Spirit, to live in us and help us fight these battles. Holy Spirit works to fight Depression off for you.
If you’re not a Christian I encourage you to do a few things:
Call out to the Lord (Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved – Rom. 10:13).
Know that he loves you. (But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom. 5:8)
Recognize your sin. (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Rom. 3.23).
Believe that, paying the price for your sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life – Rom. 6:4 )
Then ask the Lord to forgive you of that sin. (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9).
Turn away from your sins. (If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land – 2 Chron. 7:14 )
And return to the Lord your God, surrendering your life to Him. (But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him – 2 Chron. 5:14)
If I may add one more thing . . .
I am positive that The Bible provides us the ultimate power to fight Depression. I have seen this evidence in my life and in the lives of others around me. That when we choose to give our lives to The Lord and to not continue walking in sinful lifestyles, The Lord provides us everything we need. He sends therapists to teach us coping skills and facilitate EMDR. He provides us medications that level our hormones and brain chemicals. Yahweh uses and sends us things that will ultimately bring about the healing that only He can.
But each time you make the choice to practice your coping skills, you’re retraining your brain. This is hard but powerful work. Each time Depression tries to come in and take books, you reach into your toolbox and pull out, maybe you pull out your journal, and this steals a little more of her power and gives it back to you. When Depression tries to touch a book and change it’s color you pull out, maybe it’s going outside with your kids this time, and Depression loses even more of her power over you. Every time you choose to use one of these coping skills you are retraining your brain and Depression loses more of her power as you grow in yours.
Eventually, your power, The Spirit’s power works to diminish the power of Depression and you’re even able to have an optimistic attitude. You enjoy life and writing new books to fill your library with. You smile and you know that though depression may be a small little voice in the corner you have the skills and the power tell her “No! Depression, I am in control. You cannot defeat me. My God is more powerful than you will ever be!”