A Story about Depression, Walking Towards the Light, Stories

A Story about Depression

A Story about Depression, Walking Towards the Light, Stories

I’m still trying to tell stories on Tuesdays, so in January I told a few stories about Walking Towards The Unexpected.

For the month of February I am writing about Walking in the Dark.

Because I was trying to choose a happier theme. (sarcasm)

Actually, if I didn’t feel light in my heart today, I probably could not have shared these words about being in the dark. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

A Story about Depression

Sometime in January I typed out a text message to my friend Sarabeth about how much I was dancing on the edge of depression. I told her that I was trying to stay “flipped up” and explained that I felt like a floatation device that is either sun side up or flipped over, face down and drowning. I actually typed the word struggling like this: “I am struuuuuuuugling.”

Then I considered deleting the whole message. Then I sent it but also told her that I had thought about deleting it.

She wrote back these words.

“Never delete to me.”

I hope you have experienced how seriously wonderful it is to have friends who say things like that to you.

Of course, by saying those words, she sort of opened the floodgates on hearing about very much on the edge I truly was, but she can take it. And she was reminding me that she can take it.

What is healing about an exchange such as this is that I gained the benefit of typing out all (most) of the darkness in my head and getting it outside of myself in some small way.

Which shines light, even the small twinkling light of a cell phone, into the dark.

And light is what it takes to dispel darkness.

The truth about why I spend my days chasing the light is that it is the only way to keep from drowning in the the dark.

To look for the light is why I get up in the morning. It’s why I flip open my Bible again. It’s why I go for walks. It’s why I read. Everything I do I do to bring light to the dark. Not just any dark. My dark.

Sometimes I think I have you fooled. That my life is all sunshine and rainbows. But the truth is that I am always chasing sunshine and rainbows because that is the story I want to choose. The other one, where I wallow in self-doubt and am utterly broken by my failures, is not where I want to set up shop.

But sometimes, I have to tell someone that “I am struuuuuugling.” Usually I tell Taido. And he’s not really that surprised. He is sorry. Yes, he heard me say that last week too. But he is not sure what to do.

That is where girlfriends are all grace. They do not take the place of husbands but they are different.

I would be remiss if I did not also point out that in the absence of (and sometimes in addition to) a girlfriend, a good therapist does wonders.

And here is the grace of typing out the ugly words about how I feel like I am drowning. Feelings put to words can come back to you.

A couple of days later, I was reading a little book I read every morning, a book that is written to be the words of Jesus into your day. And here were the words of Jesus to me that day,

My face is shining upon you, beaming out peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on me, the One who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves.

Hello bold references to seas and waves and drowning.

Um, who told Jesus that I was drowning?

Oh that’s right, I did. When I told my friend who was being the very face of Christ to me at that moment. Via text message.

Does this mean that I can give up the fight of trying to stay “flipped up” or that I don’t have to chase the light so hard anymore?

Not really.

But at least for a little while, when I am sinking I will remember that Jesus gave me the very words to say.

A simple script for drowning.

“Help me, Jesus!”


  1. Hi! What is the name of the book you read every morning? It sounds like something we all need to read each day! Thanks!

    1. It’s Jesus Calling. 🙂 Thanks for asking. I totally meant to link to it! It’s also an app but I like having the little book.


  2. light is the word i have picked for 2014, i am working to see it beyond all things. focusing on 2 Samuel 22:29
    “You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.”
    i love the picture that it isn’t as if all things are just light, but that with God our darkness is transformed.
    love you.

    1. Love it, Whit! Such good reminders. I love how much there is in the Bible about how God turns our darkness to light!

  3. Thanks, Allison. I particularly needed this today. I have “Jesus Calling” on my iphone because your mom gave me a copy, which I gave away, and kept buying and giving away, and finally downloaded, which I love because I always have it, and it has an alarm to remind me to read each day, and I can download, share and save the parts that speak to me most. Blessings to you and yours, and thanks for my new “book bag”. Karen

    1. So glad to hear that Karen! I do love the app as well! Blessings to you too friend!! XOXO

  4. Hi there! Just found your blog today. I have said those three words quite a bit in the last five years. During those five years I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety/panic disorder. And you are so right. Sometimes the most helpful thing is to just give the fears and dark thoughts a voice. That’s why I’ve filled almost 10 journals over the past five years. 🙂 Prayers for you. I understand the complexity and darkness of depression.

    1. Welcome Amber!! So glad you’ve dropped by and I am right there with you on filling journals as a help with the struggle of depression and anxiety. I’m a big fan of writing in down to get it outside of my head! 🙂 Thanks much for your prayers and sweet words. 🙂

  5. Oh, and I have a copy of “Jesus Calling” too. It’s a wonderful little devotional to have.

    1. It’s been a huge lifesaver to me this year in a time of so much change! So much about peace and trust in there.

  6. You read the same little book that I read every morning – sometimes reading the same words over and over to give me something to hang onto so I can face my day. Yesterday I was finally able to listen to the entire “Despair, Delight, Deliverance” sermon you posted. Through my tears I saw light for the first time in several days. I thank you for sharing your story so I know that I am not alone.

    1. I’m so glad that sermon was a blessing to you Letitia! I’ve relistened to it b/c I love it so much! Good stuff!! Hugs to you friend!!

  7. This is so true.thanks for sharing your heart and being so raw.this made me cry cause I feel this way at times and always a good friend helps me through it.

    1. …just what Whitney said!! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Thanks so much for saying that Whitney! Encourages me a bunch. XOXO

      1. And Kari too!! 🙂 XOXO

  8. “Never delete to me.” Love those words (and all the words you wrote here)

    1. Pretty great words to hear from a friend, indeed! 🙂

  9. I needed this today. Thank-you.

    1. Then it was worth posting! LOVES to you! XOXO

  10. All I can say is thanks for giving a voice to an illness that most do not understand. After constant prayer, my husband is my rock but sometimes you just need a girlfriend to lean on.

    1. Thanks so much Melody for the encouragement! So glad you have the support you need as well! Praise the Lord for that. 🙂 XOXO

  11. I think this is a great post. So many of us or our friends we have seem to struggle this time of year especially! Girl friends are so “different” than our spouses – in a good way.

    1. SO true about girlfriends. Special gifts from God they are!

  12. Proud of you for all you do to stay in the light. I know the struggle well. Such a good reminder that we can make choices that lead us from dark to light. Easy to feel like the dark is impossible to get out of. One of my memory verses right now is John 1:5. “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

    1. Thanks Mama!! XOXO

  13. I loved this post. What a wonderful friend to say “never delete to me.” I would say that I struggle with worry more than depression.

    We also read Jesus Calling, but the children’s version. The day before I saw your story, my heart was heavy with worry about where and when our next move will be. My son read the devotional out loud and tears welled up in my eyes. The words were meant just for me. Here’s what it said:

    “You never have to face anything alone-ever! When ou are worried, you are thinking about the things of this world – the things you can see – and you are forgetting about Me. It is easy to be distracted by what you can see, but those things are only temporary. And even though you cannot see Me, I am forever.”

    Thanks for posting such an inspiring story.

    1. Thank you for sharing this Tanya!! There is so much in Jesus Calling about trust and peace. It has been a special gift to me in the many transitions we’ve faced this year.

  14. I’m so glad you shared this Alison. It’s easier to only want to share the sunshine and rainbows, but there is sometimes a storm before or in the midst of it!
    I love what I’ve seen of Jesus Calling. I was a little put off that I would have to PAY 😉 for the app, but what I’ve seen seems like it is worth it!
    What sweet words from your friend! It’s so good you have that!
    Still basking in the joy of having lunch with you last week! Wish we were closer to do it more often!

    1. It does bother me that the app costs money! SOOO enjoyed getting to visit with you!! Hoping our paths cross again soon! XOXO

  15. Hello Alison. I love reading your blogs about your new life in Scotland and I’m sorry to hear that you’re currently suffering from depression.

    I’m a British person whose had relatives who suffered from depression, especially in the winter. So one thing that occurs to me is that you might be suffering from “SAD” – short for “Seasonal affective disorder”. This is a type of depression that affects some people in living in high latitudes (like the UK, and particularly in the more northerly parts like Aberdeen) during the winter months.
    It’s thought to be a hormonal complaint resulting from lack of exposure to sunlight – which of course occurs during the short days of northern winters, and in Britain is made worse by the preponderance of dull days during winter. This year in particular is the worst for dull rainy winter weather that we’ve had for a long time. Since you’re from the US, which isn’t as far north as the UK, I guess this is the first time you’ve experienced such short winter days and low winter light levels, and maybe your body just isn’t handling it too well right now.

    SAD is a mental disorder with a genuinly physical cause, and there’s plenty of info about it on the web, such as:

    *The NHS site here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Seasonal-affective-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx
    *The UK Voluntary Organisation http://www.sad.org.uk/
    *And http://www.patient.co.uk/health/seasonal-affective-disorder-leaflet

    One way to treat SAD is using light therapy – regular exposure to a high intensity ( at least 10000 lux) daylight lamp or lamps, to simulate the effect of higher sunshine levels – there’s more about this on the sad.org.uk site. Yes, if you’ve got SAD then seeking the light really is likely to work. Also spending as much time outdoors during the winter as possible, like going for a midday walk once a day, also helps.

    It would probably make sense to go and talk to your doctor about this. And on a positive note, the days are now getting longer and there’s only 6 weeks to go to the spring equinox, so if you do have SAD you’ll start to feel a lot better before too long. And what’s not to like about the forthcoming spring?

    I hope you feel better soon.

    John Evans

    1. Thanks so much John! This is really thoughtful, and yes, I am certain that the weather/lack of daylight is playing a big part! I’m very ready for spring! I think we’re headed to the North of England for Taido (my husband) to present a paper at Durham in April, so if you have any suggestions/tips, do let me know! Thanks so much!

      1. I’ve visited a lot of places in the North east and Yorkshire, but I always seem
        to miss Durham. But it is a lovely city, and of course you must see the
        cathedral, ” the greatest Norman building in England, perhaps even in Europe”. And if you get the chance, visit Beamish, the North of England Open Air Museum – http://www.beamish.org.uk/ (but check the opening times as they’re limited in the winter).

        Other brilliant places – though you won’t get to visit them all in one

        trip – the Northumberland coast, especially its castles (Warkworth, Bamburgh) and Lindisfarne (Holy Island) which was an important centre of Celtic Christianity under Saints Aidan, Cuthbert, Eadfrith and Eadberht and is the source of the Lindisfarne Gospels around 715 AD (now in the British Museum) + the Farne Islands for birds and seals (best in the summer!).
        Then there’s Berwick On Tweed with its complete set of Elizabethan town walls, Newcastle on Tyne with its famous bridges and the Angel of the North at Gateshead (Britain’s largest sculpture).

        The Stockton and Darlington railway in County Durham is the world’s very first passenger carrying public railway. And in Yorkshire there’s Richmond with its castle and Georgian theare, Ripon with its beautiful cathedral, York (Cathedral, Viking museum, medieval buildings, chocolate factories, and the National Railway Museum), gentile Harrogate, beautiful Wensleydale (home of the eponymous cheese), and the fabulous N York moors.

        I think I’ll have to stop there!

        I hope you’re feeling better now. Have a good conference.


        1. John this is amazing! I’m bookmarking this info for sures! Thank you so much!

  16. Please consider a VERY FILLED-FULL READ, Schema of A Soul by Kimberlye Berg. And know that where you are is His positioning of place! Oh, we only have the vantage point He gives us to see, so it must be the best from which to view Him!

    thank you for being straight wth your thoughts…not deleting…

    C. Roper

    1. Will definitely check that out! You know I love a good book. Thanks for your sweet encouragement, friend! XOXO

  17. Alison, funny how I “found” you after you left nlr! Tried to contact you all recently about a Japanese related event and discovered your blog. (We met once at church). So happy that you all have taken this opportunity and adventure following Christ! Having lived as an expat myself, I’ve had similar days in a gloomy climate! Today,here in AR, I woke up feeling like I could’ve written your post (well, not as skillfully or poignantly)…and, like you, read Sarah…”accidentally” opened up to 2/23 instead which opened rays of brilliant light upon the dark places in my heart! Thank you for sharing your light today! Blessings to you today and may His face shine upon you and your family!

    1. How fun, Tammy! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Hopefully our paths will cross again in AR. 🙂

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