Depression and isolation

 

Are you alone during this season of having to be quarantined? Are you in a house full of people and still feel alone? Do you hear God? Can you feel encouragement? He is the God who is with us, the God who stays.

 

Depression and mental health, in general, has been a hot topic even before this pandemic. I feel that it is even more critical to kick down the stigma for people who struggle with unseen struggles.

 

I understand that it can be hard to sympathize with someone struggling with depression if you have never felt it. Everyone gets sad from time to time, it is something different, though when depression takes hold.

 

It usually takes someone speaking truth and love into that person’s life to fight the negative voices in their head. Depression isn’t something that you get to stitch up and your cured. Depression is also something that, if you have it, you might have to fight it daily, monthly, or seasonally.

 

It is a fickle thing, which is why I think that if you do not have depression, it may be hard to understand.

 

Depression is something I have been very intimate with in the past. During my teen years, I felt like I was continually drowning and fighting for air. I didn’t know how to ask for help; I just wanted out. I had things going on in me that no one understood, and I felt utterly alone. My parents did not know how to reach me. My siblings and friends could not see what battle I was fighting inside.

 

Thankfully I had people breathing life into me, and I was actively seeking God. God in His gentleness met me right where I was. He healed me in a way I can never fully explain.

 

Does that mean I do not get sad? No, of course, I do. I have mourned the loss and suffered sadness from things far beyond my power. But I had scripture in my heart that I never let the depression overtake again.

 

Not everyone has that, though.

 

In this pandemic, people are feeling more alone and more isolated than ever.

 

My brother suffered from depression and PTSD. Some of the things he went through; he just could not find the light. The VA has some great programs for Veterans suffering from depression, but it seems shameful to some to ask for that help.

 

In the military, there are always people who have done more and people who have done less. “So who am I to ask for help” – mentality. But that doesn’t make the struggle any less real.

 

This month a few years ago, we lost my brother to suicide. It still breaks my heart, thinking about it.

 

Whether you are military or civilian, woman or man, there are people out there to help. As we go through this social distancing time in our history, I can’t help but think about people like my brother. People who have a hard time reaching out in normal circumstances, let alone during this global pandemic.

 

I want to challenge all of you, no matter which side of the coin you are on, to reach out and encourage someone else.

 

 Don’t judge other’s actions and feelings when you don’t understand them can only lead to further divide. Just love through the things you don’t agree with or understand. It will stretch you, but that’s good. Give mercy that the Father in Heaven has given us. You won’t regret it.

 

 

Love is the only answer. Even when you can not see the struggle of another, you need to commit to love them anyway.

 

With JOY!

Jenny Cioto 

Pursuing true North