“Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long.” There is perhaps no better description of depression than this statement by David in the midst of his emotional pain. David had every reason to feel deeply about the circumstances of his life. He had been both victim and perpetrator in all kinds of very troubling situations. But, as a leader, he kept the stiff-upper-lip of stubbornly holding everything inside. In fact, the word “depression” literally means to depress the emotions and keep them tightly held within and not allowing them to see the light of day.
There was a time in my past in which I was so good at stuffing my feelings that one night when our neighbor had a blow-out of a party at 2 in the morning, I actually felt no anger. Just so you know: that’s not healthy. I had an anger problem. Not the kind where you explode, but just the opposite – the kind where you stuff every negative feeling in the book.
Recovery for me meant first recognizing that I had a lot to be angry about. Next, I began to let myself feel the past situations of my life, and I need to tell you that what was inside me wasn’t at all pretty. Like a wound that needs peroxide, dealing with depression hurt like hell. But I couldn’t heal without it. I couldn’t go around it, or avoid it; I had to go through it. Finally, I learned to not only identify my feelings, but to take charge of them. I discovered I could choose to say how I feel without apology, and I could say it all in a way that helped others, as well as myself. Like David of old, I had to get what was inside on the outside.
Gracious God, your stamp of approval is on the penitent – those who are brutally honest with the inner self and receive your mercy. I will not keep silent. I will declare to you the current state of my life and not run away from the ugliness within. Through the gracious Name of Jesus I pray with thanksgiving. Amen.