Often times, we hear about mental health in the context of a clinical diagnosis. DSM V: Major Depressive Disorder is diagnosed if an episode of depressed mood lasts for at least two weeks, and fits the criteria, etc etc. Textbook definition.
However, human beings are not textbook. We can experience an imbalance in our mental health status without being diagnosed with a clinical disease. The tendency towards depression may not fit into a well packaged diagnosis, but the feeling itself is nevertheless valid.
In the same breath, there is variation in the way human beings cope because we are not textbook. Perhaps one leans into others’ wide open arms to cope, and perhaps one leans away to cope. Perhaps one prays to cope, and perhaps another drifts away from their faith to cope.
The following submission may reflect religious ideas that are not representative of the entire community. Iatros welcomes different viewpoints, and does not intend to alienate anyone by views individual testimonies might hold.
Depressive tendencies: A Beast and an Abyss
A beast. It howls and gnashes its teeth, clawing at the box—set to contain it.
An abyss. When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. Falling into it was never a hard fall. It feels as if you were submerged in the ocean. You continue sinking into deeper and deeper waters—slowly and surely—until you hit rock bottom.
This poem is a prayer for healing from my depressive tendencies. To refrain from inappropriate compartmentalization of emotions. To forbid pretension in times when I am not alright. To completely and honestly rely on God in times of need—without making myself look presentable. To seek help from the ones He sent in my life.
And by His stripes, I am healed.
When my eyes lose their sight,
My feet wandering through paths
Treaded by many than by few,
Taking me far from what is true
Thoughts in a haze of a gale
Hands pale in the thundering rain
Running on empty, I am guilty
Of relying on myself to continue,
Exhausting every fiber and sinew,
To carve a mask made of sunshine
And smiles, sweeping emotions
Under a rug as I walk these aisles.
A hypocrite, pretending to be alright,
Denying the existence of a mountain
Looming tall behind my small back,
When I am blinded from my purpose,
Dear God, from pretention may I refrain,
Lest I go my stubborn way again.
Through the storm, be my Lighthouse,
Light my way in the dark,
As a lamppost lights the pavement in the park.
Point me heavenward, O Christ,
As I navigate through these troubled seas,
For You are my reward.
Be my Polaris, the constant North
My Compass, my Saving Grace
To You will I look and face.
Tether me to Thee, like an anchor,
Lead me to the docks, where my soul
Finds its rest and is set free.