The weblog of Darren Friesen

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some of you have noticed that I haven't been writing here much at all lately. I have intended to, but haven't had the strength or desire. My depression seems to have it's way with me these days. I am lethargic, frustrated, and muddled much of the time. This reaks havoc on family life, work, and all else that is around me. There are moments that are clear, but mostly I am in a fog, not knowing what to do next, not knowing how to take the next step to where I should be.

For those of you who have dealt with/are dealing with depression, you know what I mean. For those of you who (fortunately) have not entered this realm, I know that it is hard to understand. People don't get why you can't just "get up and do what you need to do". That's the thing; you can't. The brain knows intellectually what needs to happen (i.e. - do the laundry, make a phone call, etc.) but the "why should I" doesn't make any sense. Some of it has to do with my own attitudes, or the circumstances I find myself in, but there is no ability to push through that, to believe in yourself and that what you do actually matters. And so you just sit...and think (not clearly, mind you)...and sit some more.

And because of this, there is guilt...lots of guilt. "if only I could...". "I should...".

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Do you you suffer from depression? How do you cope?

I recently had the chance to meet and visit with Diana Pops, a singer/songwriter from Winnipeg. She is a wonderful young woman who is very talented and has an amazing voice. One of her songs has been flowing through my head.

Turning Around
- Diana Pops

True love is silent (still letters 'til you fall)
But who knows where the time goes when you stay the hard road?

I hope now to be softer
I hope now to be lovely
I hope now something better is just around the corner

I, I listen to me hurt
I tear my self apart
I break my own heart
I'm going to start turning around
any day now

Truth is I'm just lonely, but seeing as I'm never left alone
Who knows where my love shows up in lives I've never known?

I hope now to be softer
I hope now to be lovely
I hope now something better is just around the corner

I, I listen to me hurt
I tear myself apart
I break my own heart
I'm going to start turning around
any day now


Blogger Everybody's Auntie said...

Well; I would love to hear someone's solution too.;) Don't know if there is one.. It's like perma-grief..and I remember the quote from "Sleepless in Seattle" quite often.. You get through this moment... and eventually you don't have to mark each moment.. then you mark each hour as being endured.. and perhaps the day will come when you mark the days instead of those hours.. All you do is breathe in and you breathe out... and you anguish with the lethargy and hate the fact that deep down you want to act and feel something, anything..and the worst irony is not being able to affect change in your own body.
There is no solution, and that too is ironic in our quick fix society. I hope there is some peace in your fog in knowing there are those that love you, understand you, and will pick up the reins for the season you need to drop them -- for you do the same for us when it is our turn.

12:47 PM

Blogger Christy said...

I don't have any wisdom on the issue, but I'm sorry you're going through this, Darren. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May God feel near.

3:22 PM

Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

I've been wanting to say something too, but everything that comes to mind is the pre-programmed crap that we've all learned to say; and is utterly meaningless.
I was listening again to Steve Bell's playing of Bruce's "Pacing the Cage", and found the words to be good, and made me cry once again. I'm not sure why, but I think that the words,
"Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend"

seemed to remind me of dark places I've been and felt tied up because you are there now. It's horrible, and I can't recall the series of events which lead me out of those times. Music often helps, and when you wrote how you had one of Diana Pop's songs running through your head, I thought that it was good. "If they are there, then that is good." (ask me about this quote if you don't remember)
Depression is much bigger than most people think it is. Joyce's family is cursed with it. About half of her siblings, including herself, control it with Prozac or some knockoff of the same. It's also something that needs to be taken seriously enough to see your doctor about. This is what has worked for Joyce. There are times when her perscription runs out, and within a week or so, I'll be asking if it has, because it makes all the difference in the world for her mental state.
There are many Christian things you could do like, pulling up your socks and facing the day, or pray without ceasing, and always look on the bright side of life (Life of Brian...whistle, whisle)but eventually the quick fix, denial kind of crap will set you on a curved line which eventually leads to back to the beginning. Don't get me wrong...prayer works, but there are other things that our un-understandable God has for us and wants us to know. Is using medicine a lack of faith? Hell if I know...I don't think it comes down to that. Some people like to think it's so bloody simple. But medication has saved our home, faith or no faith.
I think what you are doing by telling us all is a good thing. Keep talking about it and know that you are not judged, not by me anyways. I just wish that I could be there to help in some way...I miss our fireside chats. All I have now is Bullshit Mel, and he's quit drinking, so he's no fun. :)

Chin mean God mean...Oh hell, I don't know what I mean. I only know how I feel, and I feel that you're a good man, and you deserve to feel better. I hope you do soon.

6:21 PM

Anonymous Norman Viss said...

Also been there done that.
I've written about some of it on my website:

In the upper right corner of the screen you can click for the English version of the site.

Under King David I also have a piece on Depression.

Perhaps it will help you in some way - but I know from my own experience what it is like, and there are no quick or easy answers.

God Bless.

1:04 AM

Anonymous Donna N. said...

Hi Darren,
Just one more person to add to the list of those who care about you and hope you pull through this dark time quickly.
hang in there.

1:08 PM

Blogger Stephen said...

we are with you darren. pls feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat.

2:40 PM

Anonymous Nolan said...

I have nothing to add that someone else hasn't already posted more eloquently. I miss you and it hurts me to hear about the "fog" around you. Yeah...I miss you.

1:51 PM

Blogger Joyce said...

Darren- You've been on Brian's heart/mind for quite a while now- that's how I know that God is good, and he has a purpose in all this. Yes, I know the fog. I've got the T-shirt, and all the other souveniers. Because I know what works for me, I'll say this: go see your Doctor. If you go on meds, it's not like joining the happy crazy la-la landers. All your realities still exist, all your problems will still be there to grapple with. BUT somehow you gain the ability to put one thought in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, find a reason to shave in the morning (other than the guilt of being a useless piece of humanity). The physical, emotional, and spiritual realities are all enmeshed, and when one area is pulled way out of line, the other areas also suffer. Surround yourself with people that you can trust, take when people offer to give, and press on for resolution. Don't believe the lies that keep whispering through your head. God is good, all the time- when it feels shitty, no matter what- God is good, and there is wellness in store for you. I get all tingly just knowing that.

5:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Darren,
I really appreciated and was encouraged by the last comment from Joyce as it affirmed my recent decision to finally take the same advice to go see my doctor! I'm still in the process of figuring out what meds work for me, but look forward to the day that I can say that somehow I've gained the ability to put one thought in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, find a real reason to get up in the morning, other than the guilt of being a useless piece of humanity. Like was suggested, I'm working on surrounding myself with people that I can trust to support me and love me through the mire of this. Also, trying to block out the lies that keep whispering through my head, and instead believe that God truly has a wonderful plan for me! So, Darren I'm believing this for you right now too and I'm praying for you. I've missed being in touch with you and your family and so feel free to drop me a line sometime ( --Joy

12:12 AM

Blogger Mordecai said...

As someone who just happened upon this blog . . . I can only think it's God's will for me to have done so. I've never read your blog before, so how else to explain it? I've suffered through four depressive "episodes" in my life: my junior year in high school, my senior year in college, my fifth year in marriage, and in my 41st year of life. In my first episode, I discovered that alcohol can numb your pain. And if you drink enough of it, you'll forget your depressed. I wouldn't recommend that approach tho. The addictions and hang-overs are worse than the depression. I got over my second episode when I decided that being helplessly in love with someone who just wants to be friends is not a great formula for long-term commitment. No she didn't dump me, we just stopped calling each other. My third episode ended when my wife said she was pregnant. Suddenly only one thing mattered.

But my last episode was many, many times worse than the other three. Three things have helped me see life in the light: God, Zoloft, and behavioral therapy. God told me to seek help. He sounded an awful lot like my wife, but it was in her prayers that she learned God wanted her to tell me to get help. You see, I was so busy being depressed I couldn't hear God yelling in my ear. But I could see my wife's face, her tears, and her love . . . and knew that it was God talking.

By sheer luck, my therapist was also an ordained minister who practiced in a local hospital setting. God used him to lead me back toward Jesus . . . and to convince me to see a psychiatrist. You see, clinical depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is possible for your brain to self-correct. I'm reasonably certain that happened the first three episodes I've had. But it wasn't going to happen this last time. I was too far off-balance. My body couldn't produce enough of the chemicals I needed. I needed help through medication.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for anyone suffering from depression to seek help, in several different layers. Work with your pastor to re-open your communication with God, and to find a good behavioral therapist. Your therapist should help you identify the triggers and responses in your behaviors that feed your depression. He/She will then help you work on appropriate responses to those triggers. Your therapist can also help you determine whether you need to see a psychiatrist.

Hope this helps! God Bless!

2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respectly disagree with most of the postings, and your posting in general. I just discovered your blog, but I'm going to chime in aggressively out of love.

Depression is caused by actions. By definition, if words have meaning, you are depressing something or not confessing something.

Scripture is forthright to those who have ears, agreed? That's a safe bet, at least in the simpler more ethical issues. Depression is an issue paramount to God, and is one of the primary indicator, the "red light on the dashboard" that we are not doing something right. How can we deduce this?

As early as can be in the Bible, we meet Cain, the worlds first depressive. His "face was cast down" you will read. His that is a euphemism for depression. God tells Cain, "if you do what is right, won't your face be lifted"? That is the rhetorical question God leaves for all of us.

By God's grace - His power for living - we have a choice. We can choose all day how to behave. When we behave badly, we feel bad. This is the whole point of what sin is. Acting in a way that is out of accordance with our conscience results in depression.

It's arrogant to say there is a fog around your mind, in a way that leaves the ultimate responsibility with God. In essense, you are saying you are not a fault. If you said "I put a fog around my mind" you would be correct because that is the case. You can also remove it by God's grace, through Jesus, who encourages us to tell the truth and choose what is right.

"If you love me you will obey me". The hallmark of someone who wanders from the faith is depression, as well as the being the hallmark of someone who has not submitted their will, their daily living, their pride to the living God.

There are two kinds of depression. One results from something happening to us, like the loss of a loved one. That kind of depression is temporary if we are believers. The other kind is the "red light in the dashboard" that says we have neglected to change the oil.

You say there are days you simply "can't" do things. I forthrightly disagree with you, and urge you to not spread that kind of misinformation around and darken your readers. You should, right now, choose to do something different (start by praising God) and then repent by posting a retraction that that you have no choice.

If you have no choice, you are not a believer, because the hallmark of faith is choice. Jesus rose from the dead, and rose above all powers and principalities and "fogs". He who is in you, if he is in you at all, is more powerful than he that is in the world. Therefore, the condemning fact is that if you ultimately choose to believe you have no choice, you have effectively by that choice removed yourself from the kingdom of faith.

This is the record and testimony of all the Scriptures. Not that we can't make mistakes, even big ones, but we have to choose to be humble and move on and take responsibility.

God Bless you as you choose to act like a Christian and take full responsibility. Do not be like Cain.



1:26 PM

Anonymous KehlerHildebrand said...

Holy cow, Doug- that is neither respectful, nor helpful.
A) You are so completely erroneous to diagnose a stranger on the web. Do you also locate tumours , and do liposuction via cyber space?
B) your definition is not applicable to "depression" but rather "suppression". "We are not doing something right?" Ever read the bit about our righteousness being as filthy rags? Did you think that by doing everything right, you can avoid pain and difficult circumstance?
C) clinical depression is not about "choosing all day how to behave". Depression strips a person's brain of the necessary chemical exchanges in the synapses and actually makes decision making of any sort very difficult, sometimes impossible to do. You know you're depressed when YOU CAN'T CHOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(don't throw a Bible verse at me now).
Just to be fair, it is true that "acting out of accordance with our conscience" feels bad. But, that's not the depression that is being spoken of here.In your world, a simple system of doing absolutely everything right means that you will be happy evermore?!
D) Fog around the brain: this refers to the way the chemical malfunction actually FEELS to the brain. Again- the depressed person can NOT wake up and DECIDE not to feel foggy, any more than you could go for three days and nights without sleep but by the grace of God, CHOOSE not to be tired.
(and just for the record, Darren is not the ARROGANT one here.)
E) "the hallmark of someone who wanders from the faith is depression"-- did you know that some of the greatest hymns of all time were written by clinically depressed men? In their pain, they glorified God. Many people, while in the pain of depression- CLING to God, instead of wandering from him. (but some remain depressed)
If I didn't have the love of God in me, I would DARKEN your tidy self-righteous door and chuck a big old family Bible right through your pretty picture window.--- This in response to that idiotic paragraph where you tell Darren (forthrightly) that he is wrong in saying that there are days he "simply can't do things".
How about trusting that God uses people right where they're at- and that there are people right now who know EXACTLY what Darren is describing who are praising God for Darren's honesty and vulnerability
G)Here's the part where you suggest that Darren has actually fallen from the grace of God- "the condemning fact is that if you ultimately choose to believe you have no choice, you have ... removed yourself from the kingdom of faith".
wow, wow, wow.
ow, ow, ow.
Let's just break this down for Darren (since he's got the fog, and all...)
Do everything right, then God will dig up some grace for you.
H) "we have to be humble and move on and take responsibility"
I'm seeing a whole lot of humility here. (and I don't mean AMEN-DOUG
I mean that it takes a great deal of humility to reach out in honesty as Darren has done, and allow people to be the hands of God's love and compassion.)
This on-line honesty is also "taking responsibility" instead of zillions of other Christians out there who hide their struggles because of shame mongers such as yourself.
I) "God bless you as you choose to ACT like a Christian"-
Now, doesn't that just say it all? It must be exhausting to spend your life ACTING like a Christian. I find that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit pretty much takes care of that for me. I don't do much acting at all, and when I do, that's hardly Christ in me.
J) Ever read that passage about love where it speaks of cymbals and the futility of knowing all the scriptures when your first aim is not love?
well, GONG!!! GONG!!! GONG!!!
K) What's with the "amen" at the end of your stone throwing? Are you in third year seminary and practising for oral presentation?

10:20 PM

Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

Hi Doug,
you really dug yourself a nice hole.. now jump in it.

I cannot find one redeeming quality about your ignorant response. Hey did you hear the latest, some guy named Newton discovered GRAVITY!

Let's start with your Opus Dei-like secrecy oooh mysterious anonymous Doug. Were you worried that your GOD! wouldn't protect you? Aren't you his official spokesperson? C'mon tighten up your Cilice and suck it up.

I can tell that you really love to chastise people of lesser faith who have succumbed to diseases of the 'mind'
like miocardial infarctions
and sudden impact syndrome
or is gravity not a factor up their on your cloud?

Do everyone a favour and stay off the internet. Compassionate love machines like you give Christianity a really bad name.
Go handle your poisonous snakes with your zany group of Alpha Super Perfect God's Favorite All 9 Gifts of the Spirit Uber Christians
and just ignore the rest of us in the REAL WORLD! Really, we'll be fine without you...go on...don't be scared..go on...shoo shoo!

7:56 AM

Blogger Jason Silver said...

As someone who struggles myself with depression, I have to say I agree with Doug. Sure, there are times when perhaps only medication can help-- but for me, I think usually it's a choice to immerse myself in self-deprecation.

Love you Darren, hang in there.

7:39 AM

Blogger Joy said...

To Doug...

Spoken like a person who has never experienced depression! It also sounds like some arrogant drivel I would have come up with 6 years ago!

My prayer is for you to never have to suffer the reality of depression to be humbled.

7:25 AM


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