Now that I am going on my 3rd month not being deeply depressed, I am able to see the benefits of being in a major clinical depress. Yes, there are significant benefits which actually protect us by not giving us more than we can handle. Depression allows us to deny everything outside of ourselves.
• Nothing matters except living through the day… the next hour even.
• Relationships take too much energy. It’s hard to take others feelings into consideration when you can’t even tend to your own.
• All you want is people to leave you alone so you can sleep. The bills pile on the table, laundry piles in the basket, and housework ‘to-do’s’ do not exist since you don’t care about your surroundings.
• You save money by not taking care of yourself… who cares if your hair is so overdue for coloring that you have a line around your head where roots are contrasted with last year’s dye?
When depression has lifted:
• Your future matters. There’s a sense of urgency to accomplish all you should have accomplished 6 months ago.
• You start thinking maybe it would be nice to be in a romantic relationship. Loneliness appears, as does the longing for quality friendships who understand and challenge you to be a better person.
• You are bothered by the clutter and disarray of your home, and suddenly, NOT doing housework is no longer an option.
• You look in the mirror and suddenly see everything wrong with your appearance… and you want to fix it, to better your appearance.
I am definitely in the latter category now. While my situation has been MUCH worse since June, I have an ongoing sense of urgency to get out of this mess. Suddenly, I don’t want my electric shut off or my car repossessed. I want to get my hair done and buy new clothes. And I feel empowered to do whatever it takes to get away from taking from others, and am ready to be the one who gives to others. Who surprises a friend with flowers, or buys that Life is Good shirt for the friend who loves the brand.
I heard the following explanation of denying oneself as addressed in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11: We deny our selfishness, ambition, pasts, or damaged emotions the right to cheat us of His far higher plans for us.
When depression lifts, so does our self-absorption. Suddenly, we realize the best way to tend to our needs is to deny ourselves and tend to the world outside of us.