Skip to main content


Dear Friend,

It’s been a year since I’ve written, I thought everything was fine. Until I read this in the Summit Daily: “Summit County's suicide rate has now risen to three times that of the national average”. I wanted to shrug it off and move on to the Food Section because I’ve been feeling fine. Then I recalled the wolf of depression had been at my door more than once in the past twelve months.

In the Spring, I came down with a cold that turned into pneumonia. At one point, I was so sick that as I lay in bed I prayed, “Dear God, help me.” In addition to the fever and muscle aches, I felt so weighed down by sadness I was afraid I’d go to sleep and never wake up, not by my own hand, but simply because my heart was exhausted.

Not until my fiftieth year of life, did I embrace the truth. Instead, I rode the ups and downs of my mood swings as a normal part of my creative mind, exacerbated by too much alcohol and a youthful disregard for my health. I was too ashamed to admit what I’d intuitively known for years, that I’d lived with chronic depression for decades.

When my primary physician suggested an anti-depressant to cool menopausal hot flashes, I was so relieved that I might finally get help for my depression without having to publicly admit to it, I broke down in tears. Yet it took another three years, and only when my doctor asked if I still needed the pills for hot flashes, that I admitted I needed them for depression.

Despite taking an anti-depressant every day, there are still bouts of depression I know I will deal with for the rest of my life. From time to time, the dosage of my medication must be adjusted. Last year, when one pill stopped working we tried another, only to discover that it sent me into crying jags that were so devastating I couldn’t leave the house. So, another pill was tried, and once again a happy equilibrium established.

Binge drinking, binge eating, binge behavior (crying, angry outbursts, or dangerous behavior) are often resorted to when we’re feeling depressed. Perhaps it’s because only something equally as excessive will dull the psychic pain we’re feeling. But that’s the dangerous lie of depression. When we are depressed, what we really need is to seek help from a medical professional who can provide medication, or counseling, or whatever remedy will help us to find our way back to health.

You, like me, may have to manage depression for the rest of your life, or it may only last for a season. Either way, this means managing your prescriptions, and managing your health. Eating healthy, exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk. (Little efforts can feel enormous when you are sad.) Yet, you must make the effort because your health is important. You are loved. And it will get better, I promise.

How can our faith help us when we are depressed? When I have been in the depths of depression, two thoughts fill my mind: First, that I am beyond God’s love or forgiveness. Second, that things will never get better and it is impossible for me to go on. These thoughts are of course lies. Here’s the truth: God wants us to know that we are dearly loved. God’s love for us will never be diminished no matter what you, or I, have done. Here’s what God’s word promises:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
 (John 3:16,17, MSG)

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, MSG)

When I am blue, reading the Bible, and the Psalms specifically, is an enormous source of consolation and comfort. As I read, I discover I am not alone in my sorrow and I’m reminded that I have also had days of joy. My resolve to keep moving forward is strengthened because God is with me.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.” (Psalm 138:7)

The Bible leads me to prayer, my greatest source of grace. Even when the pain is so great that I cannot pray more than, ‘Please help me, God’. I know God is with me and I am held securely in his loving embrace. He will never leave us. Even when we feel that we have no words left to describe our pain, God helps us:

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

Dear Friend,
When the wolf comes to your door, seek help from medical professionals. Seek God through prayer, find your way to church. Seek the companionship of friends. Be strong and keep moving forward. Your life has great value, you still have much to contribute, we need you here.
With much love,

Suzanne Elizabeth

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Collard Greens with White Beans - A Vegetarian Take on a Classic

Could a vegetarian version of collard greens ever compete with the traditional goodness of collard greens cooked with a smoked ham hock?

I was skeptical until I made this recipe. It is every bit as delicious. Taking the place of the ham hock is the rind of parmesan or other hard cheese. I keep a small plastic bag of cheese rinds in the freezer, they are the perfect flavor enhancer of stocks and soups, and now collard greens.

Similar recipes call for dried beans, but sine I live 10,400 feet above sea level, dried beans are always a challenge unless I'm using a pressure cooker. For this recipe, I opted for canned beans and am just as happy as can be.

This recipe is quick, easy, delicious, and so rich and satisfying a bowlful with a slice of garlicky olive oil toasted bread makes the perfect week night dinner. It is also a satisfying side dish.

Let's get cooking!

Ingredients:
1 bunch of collard greens, touch center stems removes, leaves torn into large pieces
1 14 oz can of Nort…

Open to the Spirit - Book Review

Open to the Sprit is like reading a letter from a friend. McKnight writes a very accessible introduction to the Holy Spirit and its role in our spiritual life. McKnight uses several stories from his life and others to share how the Holy Spirit consoles and deepens our daily spiritual walk. A terrific book for those seeking an introduction to a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Dinner with Julia

What do Ina Garten and Martha Stewart have in common? Both women describe cooking through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking when they were young as foundation to learning to cook.
Julia Child is an inspiration to most home cooks of a certain age. I found her so inspiring that at one time, I had all of her cookbooks, including a first edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and had read almost every biography written about her, My Life in France, being my favorite. And yet! I confess that until this week, my cooking adventures in Mastering were limited to her omelet recipe, her iconic recipes for onion soup and Beef Bourguignon.
When the Food52 Cookbook Club on Facebook chose Mastering as its cookbook for the month, I jumped at the chance to finally use Julia’s first cookbook for its intended purpose.
I decided to start with something easy, a poached egg. I purchased the best organic eggs I could afford, read the recipe several times, and began. After I’d tur…