Dear Depressed,

    I’m forcing a smile at you despite the ache in my chest.

    I assume you know what I’m talking about – that stubborn heaviness over your ribcage that makes it hard to breathe more often than you care to admit. You sigh and heave, inhale and exhale, inflate and deflate those lungs in hopes of clearing away that weight on your chest, consuming your senses, clouding your mind, but it’s still there. It doesn’t want to go away.

    You try to explain to others, or even just to yourself, that you’re fighting, you’re fighting to make it go away, but that heaviness is a deep sadness that has coiled itself around your every bone. It’s an inexplicable misery that poisons your every interaction. It’s a soundless voice pumping lies into your veins. It’s hard to keep fighting when the fight happens within. The battle is invisible to those who refuse to see. But you feel it as a constant presence, a taunting companion.

    It’s exhausting, I know.

    I want you to know that I’m amazed that you were still able to get up this morning. I understand if you weren’t.

    It’s not easy, is it? To be depressed.

    People aren’t really aware how much of a feat your forced smile is. They don’t know what a triumph it is when you’re able to smile, really smile. I almost want to cry imagining it, because that smile, that rare, genuine smile of yours – it’s beautiful.

    You’re beautiful.

    I hope someone’s around to remind you of that.

    I hope more people around you begin to understand. I hope they give you a lot of genuine reasons to laugh spontaneously and to celebrate all that is beautiful about life. I pray they are able to find words that will give you enough hope and strength to get to the next day, hour, minute… even second.

    Because you are worth fighting for.

    Even if it feels like the only person fighting for you is you.

    But maybe that’s a lie from the soundless, insidious voice too.

    Because I know someone’s fighting for you. Not just you.

    They may be people you know or people you have yet to know, but they need you, and maybe they’re not even aware of it, but they’re fighting for you. They’re getting through the battles of each day to get to you.

    I don’t know how long you’ve been fighting. I don’t know how tired you are. I do know that after years of being as you are, I thought I reached the end of my strength. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I slept, with my last thought being that I wish I wouldn’t wake up. I woke up, greeting the morning with a question: “Why am I awake?”

    I was at my weakest, dear depressed, but Someone became strong for me. He took me out of the rut I was in. He gave me hope. He gave me purpose. He gave me a reason to rejoice.

    Sometimes, I still feel that weight on my chest. Sometimes, I’m haunted by yesterday, and I find it hard to breathe, but I know… I know… There is hope yet. I know that my depression can die without taking me with it.

    I’m worth fighting for. I have been fought for.

    The same is true with you, dear depressed.

    The depression ends. It won’t have its grip on you forever. There is a way out.

    Remember that you’re not alone. Many have gone before you and found a way out that didn’t include darkness, misery and death. They found a way towards light, laughter and life.

    I pray that you find that way, that better way, the way. I pray that one day, you’ll wake up and find Someone there, Strength in your weakness, Power in your exhaustion. I pray.

    But today, dear depressed, as you read these words penned by one who knows what it’s like, I hope you realize you’re not alone. I hope that at the very least, this will help you get through another day or maybe even give you a reason to smile that rare, radiant smile of yours.

    I hope that you find hope.

    Hope, dear depressed. Hope. Live to fight another day.

    Yours Truly,
    Someone Who Was Once Dear Depressed

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    Joanna Alonzo

    Author/Founder at Almond Tree Publications
    Joanna Alonzo is a walking paradox. She is a beautiful, albeit messy, mixture of thought and emotion, expressed in the form of hopefully readable – and relatable – stories. She is a kingdom kid, who looks forward to being a writer and storyteller even when she reaches heaven. She is passionate about the unreached, about those who have yet to know the Love she found in the arms of the Almighty. She is intrigued by the world and its people, who day by day, continue to convince her that God is the greatest Storyteller of all.
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9 Comments on "Dear Depressed"

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Trish
Guest

Oh my, Joanna! This is so beautiful! Having struggled with depression during my life, I believe you have expressed so perfectly what every person in the grips of its hold needs to hear. I am so thankful we have One with us always and He does fight for us! And I am thankful He thinks we are worth fighting for. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us!

Member

Dear Joanna, what a beautiful and supportive post. I have times when I feel bad and really down, but I can’t say I suffer from depression. It is so hard for me to imagine what these people are going through – I do write things about deeply sad people, but it sometimes feels wrong, because I have never experienced anything comparably traumatizing.
I am a big fan of Marina and the Diamonds. She is not only a very talented artist, she’s also been struggling with mental health issues for many years and included many references to that in her songs (I listened to everything she recorded that I could put my hands on). On her last album “Froot” she included a song called “Happy” about realizing that she’s finally found happiness. Listening to the acoustic version has made me cry many times. Marina now writes a personal blog called Marina Book. Here is a post that I think might be helpful to people struggling: http://marinabook.co.uk/post/166183335542/theres-nothing-wrong-with-you
By the way, I’m so glad you are better now, Joanna. I’m sure your faith helped you feel much more at ease. Yours is a beautiful story.

Jenna Arnold
Guest

SO good! Thanks so sharing

Tammie
Guest

Great post – I’ve lived with depression for years, managing it now with mediation and a supportive family. But I always wonder if I’ll fall into its grip again. I know the only hope I have is in Jesus.

Member

That was truly beautiful Joanna…! <3 Depression is b&%# and everyone who falls into its grip must fight it… even if seems like it strips them of all their powers. The shame and guilt that goes with it (when it seems that they have no reason whatsoever to feel this way) doesn't help either. But it's good for anyone to know that they're not alone in their battle. That there are others going through the same, or willing to help and fight for them too.
I am very glad to know that you are past this. You are a truly gifted writer and a wonderful person 🙂
Thank you for sharing <3

Susan Evans
Guest

What a beautiful letter of hope for the depressed! We also need to realize that the spirit of heaviness is often from the enemy, and that we can rebuke it. The fog that descends is a spiritual thing.

Member

Wow this was a heavy piece to read but beautiful and hopeful at the same time. I do find myself forcing smiles nowadays, so when those truly genuine ones come out, as you mention, they hold way more meaning and significance. Thanks for sharing this, it’s wonderful to know that you’ve managed to overcome it as so many others are still struggling.

Kymber
Guest

What an important and beautiful post, Joanna. I’m so glad you wrote this and that I had the opportunity to read it.

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