I went on a vacation four years ago with my brother to an absolutely beautiful coastal area of Mexico. He had just graduated from college and it was our first time traveling together as adults. The area we were in was scenic and warm and beautiful, with warm blue-green oceans. The food was incredible. I was horribly depressed.
I couldn’t find a reason. I did my best to hide it but my brother isn’t stupid and figured it out but I don’t think he knew what to do. I found myself in an area that was as close to paradise as I’ve ever been and I was absolutely desperately sad. The kind of sad where you find yourself at the bottom of a well with no light shining in. There’s not even a hope of feeling better. I took walks and cried. I made really expensive phone calls to friends in the US and sobbed. They didn’t know what to do or how to help me but listened to me. I tried to pretend like everything was fine around my brother but I just kept crying. At one point I was driving our rental car alone and started thinking about driving it off the cliff into the ocean.
I think the setting made it worse. Being depressed in the winter if things are going badly is one thing. Being this depressed in the summer with tropical fruit, a warm ocean, and total relaxation makes it very clear that something was wrong with me. Not my situation, not my job, not the weather, but me.
Four years later, I’m spending a week and a half in Hawaii. There are so many similarities – I’m with people I love (in this case, it’s two good friends), the weather is warm and humid and wonderful, the beach is beautiful and the water is turquoise and warm. I am relaxing and snorkeling and getting sunburned – all the same as the trip to Mexico.
The difference is more than I can explain. And in fact, I wish I could explain it. There is not even a drop of depression in this trip. There is not one moment when I have felt like crying, felt weepy, felt desperate, felt hopeless. There are not words to describe what a miracle that is – and I am not using the word lightly. Yes, I’m on medication, but I was on medication four years ago too. I am just enjoying my time with friends, on the beach, and relaxing, without the precipice or the dark howling storm coming to swallow me up.
When I was feeling at my worst – which happened more times than I want to think about; it seemed like I would never NOT be feeling my worst – I thought the best I could ever hope for was to live a life that was sort of neutral-feeling, with bouts of really bad depression that let up sometimes. That letting up sometimes was all I was hoping for, and THAT felt like too much to ask. So to spend ten days feeling joyful – the whole time – and then realizing that the month before that at home was the same… it feels like I’ve possibly made it to heaven.
I have no idea why God took so long to answer my prayers and the prayers of so many other people who were interceding for me. I don’t know if this will last – although somehow it feels like it will “stick” this time. I just know that right now it’s wonderful – better than I could have ever imagined.