ABCs of Depression

By Patience Michaelson

“The Master declares, ‘I’m A to Z. I am the God who Is. The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I am the Sovereign Strong” (Rev. 1:2).

         This alphabet is a mix of stories and knowledge I have gained about myself and my thoughts about the dis-ease of depression in general. This is a living document that follows me as I change. It has contradictions and errors. It is a self-portrait and a telling of my struggle to survive in a world full of pain and suffering, it is not a self-help piece or a story about virtues. It has been my chance to question what depression is for me and why it is a part of my journey.

         Writing this abecedarian has helped me to map my feeling life and visualize my struggle with depression as a spiritual journey. The letters used are like the dots in the childhood game of connect-the-dots, when you get to the last number you see a picture of a recognizable shape. But here, it is the shape of my soul I am hoping to recognize.  I have found studying the Bible has inspired me to investigate faith and to discover my true north, using letters to find my way. My hope is that the letters illuminate a constellation that will help keep me on course, pulling me closer to Beauty. The key, however, is it takes much more than hope to get better from depression, it takes desire. You have to really want to see Reality as it Is and to give what it takes to move to a place where the view is clear.          I have been in treatment for depression for the last twenty years. I have had four therapists that I have great love and appreciation for. They all have saved my life and have helped me to grow and mature to find and give joy. Most of all, they have inspired me to be curious about who I am and to never ever, ever, ever, give up.

Cartoon is by Danny Shanahan and was Published in The New Yorker October 8, 2001

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