Escaping The Vicious Cycle   12 comments

Usually when I am absent from this blog for a while it indicates that I’m fighting to keep my head above the water.  For the last several weeks, melancholy has been dragging down my spirit.  I think I am beginning to understand the cycle.  Many folks suppose that depression comes from current external circumstances.  Certainly there are trigger situations that fire up an emotion, but if the emotion is more than brief and reactive, if it hangs on for some time, then something else is at work.  The feelings were awakened by the situation, but they are being powered by old, deep wounds of the heart.  A  pinprick will make little effect on a flat balloon; it is the balloon packed with the tension of air pressure which the needle will explode.  The power is from the balloon, not from the needle.  My melancholy comes from within, not from without.  It is my soul purging the muck from within.

The balloon analogy would suggest that all melancholy is from a single source, a single wound, but I have discovered countless wounds  in my own soul, a multilayered mosaic of pain.  It is a web of entanglements, and I can only work on a bit of it at a time.  Thankfully, life seems to bring these to my attention consecutively, activating the same emotional struggle repeatedly and so giving me plenty of opportunity to work through the issue involved before moving on to the next concern.  I say “life” because it is the stimulating events that activate the feelings, but I am realizing now it is my own soul that directs the progress.  I cannot reach the feelings below and behind until I have unpacked the ones above and in front of them.  My issues seem to come in layers, and a fear cannot be identified (for instance) until the anger or defensiveness covering it has been understood and worked through.

Unfortunately, I can’t figure out the basis of my current melancholy.  It has been very disheartening.  But even as I write, I am realizing a pattern.  When a new emotionally charged issue crops up, I cannot sort it out easily.  It has been silenced for so long that it takes time for it to develop a clear voice… or I could say that because the sound is new, my soul does not recognize the language yet.  The melancholy feels so repetitive, the same old misery cropping up again, stuck in an endless repeat cycle.

But the truth is quite different–as I work through each issue, it really does slowly heal and the next wave of depression arises from a different wound that also needs the healing touch of grace.  Perhaps I will never reach the end of this progressive redemption, in which case my depression will be life-long, but it is a great encouragement to know that I am on a path of hope and healing and not trapped in an inescapable morass.

That thought gives me the patience and hope to deal with my present depression.  It is not my failure or stupidity that blocks me from quickly identifying the source of my depression, and it is not a meaningless melancholy, suffering without purpose or benefit.  My soul is doing its vital work, and it will just take time to come to more clarity and resolution.  I have hope again.  Thanks for being there to listen!


Posted May 12, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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12 responses to “Escaping The Vicious Cycle

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  1. Good post on depression. Have you read Restoring the Christian Soul by Leanne Payne? Coming from a fundamentalist background as well I found her book to be incredibly helpful in my healing journey.

  2. Very interesting perspective Kent. I really wish you would consider writing something for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You are a very good writer and express you thoughts in ways that others only wish they could express. Are you a NAMI member? Look it up online, it is only 35.00 per year and the newsletters and magazine alone are worth it! Do you have a good psychiatrist who is monitoring you meds? I go every 3 months to keep my depression meds in check. Keep writing, it seems to be therapeutic for you.

    • Susan, I followed your advice and got on their email list, but I don’t have the energy to pursue a platform for what I write. I don’t know how NAMI works, but if you think it would be helpful to others, feel free to take whatever I’ve written to share in that format. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  3. Strange how blaming emotional and physical, sexual abuse on the abusers doesn’t resolve the issue, or even remove it. When a person does wrong to another the person who took the abuse is also called to rise above it all with God’s power as that is the only option, but what does one say when that is not what happens soon enough and when a person’s life is sacrificed for others unwillingly? I’d like to know that love is worth my life being sacrificed. I have to as the result of horrible things done to me, or that I have committed on myself and purposefully not done the same evils to others, rise above it all with God’s help. Working on repentence, and moving forward. Have realized I can do nothing without God and though I believe I have, know Him, I still can do very little. Stuck in this “lovely” depression cycle. Health and healing are the greatest desire, but it’s borderline because of the heavy weight to deal with.
    Typically over my history have realized there is a hush, hush attitude attached to that was and is taken in situations of emotional, physical, sexual abuse which in essence protects the abuser which is infuriating to me – cycle after cycle. There is no more hush, hush as far as I am concerned.
    Over my history had parent’s who blamed my emotional struggles, depression they witnessed in me on me who also assumed because of my brother’s drug, alcohol abuses that this was my problem when I had no strength to step up to their “plate” and live an abundant life; hard work, wealth, success and they then sought to put me in rehab attributing my struggles to drugs or alcohol. Drugs or alcohol were not the cause of my emotional, mental distresses and this rehab attempt was an insult to injury to me.
    Father was one I would term as having a bipolar disorder. Very seriously stressed and so woundly tight that I thought he would snap one day. He would explode randomly and to the point I wondered if I might die at one, or another event. Yet, because he had money his (our) family lived as upper, middle class; took nice vacations, had our physical needs met though honestly felt myself and youngest sibling got the leftovers of whatever it was. How I grew to hate this man by the age of 5 for his abuses of his family which caused me serious guilt in me all my life and likely because of God’s prodding then sought to achieve love and approval from this man which I could not attain…..He could not love me, or his other children as I had hoped. He died without there being resolution. Mother relayed to me in one of my final attempts to tell him I loved him that Dad, was a father, not a friend. I respect this of a father, but not the associated emotional abuses that went with it for which he was never held accountable for, or did he apologize to me or any of his kids for which caused in me such confusion and pain, in addition to an established mistrust. Brother’s, and their friends sexual abuse of me caused such a repulsion in me for men as a whole. I tried to rise above it all yet rejected every man who tried to pursue me and ended up a single parent. Go figure. All the while had sexual abuse occurring on me by my very own brothers, their friends in the midst of my being reared by parents who had the money, love, and more disorder and learned to watch my back and have mistrust for everyone, everything losing the strength and desire to attain anything on my own….coming to live in a state and cycle of depression.
    Parents were limited in their capabilities, or did their best to their capabilities to deal with evil realities that occurred right under their noses and as their child because of utter terror could never bring myself to come to them or anyone else for protection as I knew I could not protect myself should this backfire on me and so I lived as a fearful victim for the first 26 years of life then attempting to grow to a normal adulthood. Some years after father died went to mother to receive her support for the abuses I experienced and she cut me off for the rest of her life. Trying to live a normal life in the midst of these tragedies held on by a thread of hope another 24 years.
    Others will say, give it to God. Well, here it is. I have asked to forgive my abusers and now I have to do whats necessary to rise above it all. Wonder if I will be able to do this before I die? It is very painful facing the reality of these evils that had even an inkling of an entrance into my life, or the life of anyone else. God evidently has allowed satan to have his way with me for way to long as far as I am concerned. Knowing what his purpose in it is difficult for me. It makes me feel as if nothing is worth it, but something in me keeps me pressing on. What else is there to do?

    • Anonymous, you have suffered a great deal in life, and at this point there is not answer to the question ‘why.’ I do hope you can find some trustworthy friend or perhaps a therapist with whom you can unburden yourself. We really need others to help us through life’s traumas.

  4. Kent: Thanks for your offer for a psychiatrist, counselor, therapist, etc. But, believe none of that will take away what has happened and His will is the only way. Not sure why your offering me a therapist to unburden myself other than the fact you have no answer for me when you stated we all need eachother or, wonder which one you believe in more the psychiatrist/counselor/therapist, or God. That is the reality of it all. Psychiatrist will cover up problems with a drug and a counselor/therapist may offer consolation. Doesn’t take away, change any of the horrible sins of the past done to us or damage that we ourselves caused, etc., but Romans 8: 18-19 (NASB) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
    Titus 2:13-14 (NASB) 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
    Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ANONYMOUS

  5. As a fellow melancholy, I have often referred to the concept of peeling an onion – layer by layer, tears upon tears (grief). I am once again at the low spiral of depression and feel very discouraged and disheartened, However, I have composed and arranged more music, written more profoundly and discovered another layer of healing. Medication and counseling have helped to some degree. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) has been a wonderful resource. They do have a website nationally and locally. Thank you so much for this blog –

    • Rebecca, it is an encouragement to know that others struggle as well since it provides a sense of mutual understanding and connection. It really is miserable to be in the low spots, so I hope your soul soon finds a way up and out. Blessings, Janathan

    • Rebecca,
      I am glad you found a resource in NAMI. I have been a member for about 6 years now and seen the help they have given to those of us who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. Hang in there. It does get better with time, medication, exercise, sleep and eating right. At least in my case, I have to do all those things to make my mental health stay balanced. Prayer is also helpful and the knowledge that you are not alone in this battle. Have you ever considered group therapy? That helped me when I was at a very low point. You would need to contact NAMI to see if they have a support group in your area or talk to your psychiatrist to see if there is one at the office where you seek help with meds or counseling. Many have suffered through depression and come out of it without a negative ending. I pray that you will come out that way. Susan

  6. I really like the balloon analogy…that’s really helping me to understand what’s going on when I begin to slip into depression. I’m just at the beginning stages of beginning to learn what my triggers are, but I still don’t necessarily know WHY these are triggers…and what it is from my past that I have yet to face or deal with that certain situations are triggering. I guess that’s the whole journey and process though, huh? But that really helped me understand…it’s not the trigger in and of itself (the pin prick) that needs to be processed through, but the built of pain (the air in the balloon)…because that’s what has power over me. Am I getting that right?

  7. Katy, I’m glad my description was clarifying for you. You are on a journey of self-discovery and I’m so glad you have started young since there is so much great stuff to figure out about yourself. I would suggest that one of the most important steps in beginning to understand your issues is to learn to care for, love and support yourself. Often we are told that we are “over-reacting” to something, and so we learn to shame our feelings. Our feelings never over-react, they simply are what they are. In fact, it is when our feelings are stronger than how others might feel in a given situation that it is the most important time to be empathetic to our feelings and listen to what they have to say, because they are probably touching on a significant wound. We embrace our feelings not to justify them (they do not need justifying any more than weather needs justifying), but to learn from them. May you find companions for this journey, safe people who will support you in whatever way you are experiencing life.

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