Recently I've been noticing how many RevGals and Pals have written eloquently of their battles with depression. What makes this such a common challenge in this group? It can't be just that women are more prone to clinical depression (although we are), because some of the people I'm thinking of are men.
Does it have to do with our personality types? There are lots of intuitive feeling introverts around here, but surely not all INFPs or INFJs are depressed. Is it a result of our ongoing battle to keep from being consumed by others' needs, and to acknowledge our own? I don't have any data on whether people who are attracted to the helping professions suffer from depression at a higher rate than others, but it wouldn't surprise me. For RevGals, is it related to the still-ongoing struggle to follow your vocation when some people are telling you that you're wrong and that your call is not valid?
Winston Churchill, who struggled mightily with depression, referred to it as "the black dog". I have felt its teeth, too.
By the grace of God, I've been in a fairly healthy place for several years now. There are still occasional days when I can see the black dog's shadow, or hear it sniffing at the bottom of the door, seeking its prey. But I am grateful that now I can sense it nearby before it is actually upon me, and that those days are few and far between. I am learning to ask myself what is oppressing me and what I need to do, or seek, or ask for, to relieve the oppression. I am thankful for the power of prayer, love, Wellbutrin, and the human experience I've gained through years spent on both sides of the couch.
Can we share with one another some of the things that help us climb out of this pit?