At first, the sadness entered her body silently on tip-toed feet. A furrowed brow and a few uneasy thoughts were the only signs that something was wrong. She paid no attention, for life was busy and she had no time for such nonsense. Besides, she was a child of God. That alone meant there was no reason for her to be sad. Ever.
Soon though, her face hurt from the smile she pasted on to hide the pain. And, when she caught glimpses of herself in windows or mirrors her face looked strained and tired. She was surprised that the world couldn’t see the sadness. Should she be proud that she hid it so well?
Wasn’t her faith all about truth? The truth was that the sadness was killing her. But, when she made tiny, exploratory remarks about how depressed she was, they were not well received. The truth was too big and messy and no one knew what to do with it. Some looked away and refused to meet her eyes. Some hurled platitudes and clichés at her like weapons, wounding her to her very core. She quickly learned that it was far better to hide the sadness.
She sometimes escaped into the shower, opened her mouth wide and silently screamed. She let the tears run down her face until the hot water gave out. And then, she dried herself off and pasted on her fake smile once again.
She struggled to perform the daily necessities of life. Making meals and washing clothes became like mountains to climb. She began to cut corners. Fast food and canned soup replaced home-cooked meals. Floors went unwashed and laundry stayed dirty. She felt ashamed, but she was too tired to do anything about it.
She attempted to battle the sadness. She looked around at all her blessings. She tried doing those things that used to bring her joy: reading the word, sipping a coffee … but she felt nothing. The sadness had invaded her to her very core.
Sleep was her only refuge, the only time she was happy. She lived to sleep. Mornings were hard, for mornings meant there were too many hours before bedtime. By late afternoon, she already began counting down until she could escape to the solace of her bed. And when bedtime finally came, she felt a tiny spark of hope. She had made it through another day. Perhaps, tomorrow would be better. But, in the morning, sadness was there to welcome her once again.
If you struggle with depression, you are not alone. As many as one-quarter of all women will suffer from a major depressive period in their lifetime. Please talk to your doctor or a counselor to work toward healing for depression. More information is available at https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression.