By: Jim Keller
It’s always a puzzlement to me whenever I experience depression. Not that I shouldn’t be depressed or am somehow exempt, due to my professions as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (it reminds me of James Bond, 007, licensed to… well, you know what).
It puzzles me because when I start feeling the depression, I just don’t exactly know where it comes from. I’m supposed to help other people know where their maladies and dysfunctions come from, but to determine the source of my own, I think that’s another story.
So… physician, heal thyself, or at least have a go at getting it a bit better personally. At least this is what I tell myself when I dip into the emotional netherworld. “Don’t have time to mess around with my own sadness… others are relying on me to make them better!” I make myself tired just typing and then proofreading this last statement. How should I respond? Or as I often ask my clients, “What would a healthy step look like?” I make myself irritated writing that… I just want to feel better. Do I have to move toward health? Do I really ask such aggravating questions?!
Upon further reflection, though, there is a silver lining in my own struggles.
I’m reminded of the several movies/TV shows where a physician unwittingly becomes a patient of other physicians, and, after the requisite amount of fluster and blather, becomes a bit more compassionate to his own patients. And sometimes to the world in general. I think my struggles get me, albeit begrudgingly, to a place where I have a bit more insight into my clients’ struggles. I’m not so quick to fix, and I’m not so prone to judge. My depression leads me into dark places, but those places have a purpose that only God can fully know, but eventually I can dimly comprehend. And that seeing “…through a glass darkly” can offer moments of insight that will allow me to understand a bit better my suffering friends, and allow me also to provide a bit more compassion as we make our way out of the valley together.