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The Bottom of the Lake

Depression is fierce and mean and heavy and angry.

I am in a long black tunnel that has stretched for nearly two weeks. I write these paragraphs on behalf of those who are slogging through the thick mud of it, those who don’t have the energy to think or the words to say: Hey, what she said. I’m there now. And I need help.

I remember swimming in a lake at summer camp. I remember diving down to the deepest parts, never quite able to see or touch the bottom. I only remember that it was cold and dark down there, colder and darker the deeper I dove.

The surface of the water felt miles away, and sometimes it felt like my lungs would burst before I could find air again.

Depression lives at the bottom of the lake.

It is three-fold.

There is the physical element. Sometimes depression is the result of an imbalance or a dip in physiology. There are doctors to monitor these levels and medications to keep your brain from misfiring and sending error messages.

There is the emotional element. Depression feels like a cold, weighted blanket that pulls on your neck and shoulders. It makes everything heavy, too much to lift. You cannot carry thoughts, energy, friends, routines, or self care.

There is the spiritual element: Depression can make you question everything you think you thought you maybe knew before. It can pierce your faith and rock your core. It is relentless in its pursuit of your joy.

When these three elements draw you into their darkness, you can feel like you’re at the very bottom of the lake. Cold. Black. Too far to from the surface, close to running out of air.

If you feel this way and you’re all alone, forward this post to someone. Anyone. And say, “Hey… what she said. I’m in that place. Help me.”

If you know someone who feels this way, forward this post to them. And say, “Hey… what she said. You’re not alone. I can help you.”

You who are in this place, please hear me: I get you. And it won’t always be this way.

(That’s what they tell me, and my only hope is to believe them.)

I’m still underwater, but I’m not in the deepest depths today. I can see the sunshine at the top, even though it’s blurred through the murky water. Someday I’ll emerge and take a deep breath.

Someday, I’ll picnic on the shore.

For now, I’m holding onto the life preserver, believing it won’t always be this way.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Well said! Great visual, because it’s exactly like that. It won’t always be that way and it may come back, but it always gets better.

  2. Thank you for describing so well what many go through for those who haven’t been there. Your blog posts are such a blessing and I know that you will persevere and come out a champion–because you already are–and because you are His beloved child!

  3. What you said – I get it – I am praying for you.

  4. Resonating yes. You describe it so well. This morning I just found myself curled up on the floor and hyperventilating through tears that I couldn’t explain. Think I must have let go of the preserver. I needed to remember that there is sunshine up top. Thanks for writing this, Tricia. You bless me.

  5. thank you. what you said.

  6. You are strong. I love you

  7. Sometimes the combination of metaphor and imagery work so perfectly for you…

  8. Suggestion: Schedule and limit your grief. Use your crying chair but don’t allow yourself to stay there–Rob’s love for you and the boys will see you through. Purpose/focus, appropriate self-care, and expressing gratitude are depression exits. Think of your substitute teacher, Mrs. Hess–think of those (I’m one!) who you have touched through your blog–I love you and your ability to share your journey, yet, we have never met! Oh, yeah, stay on your medication too!

    • Yeah, that… don’t let the darkness swallow you, lest it also take those that follow you.

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