The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Tide

When I was released from the hospital the doctor told my wife that I could most likely expect some depression as a common response from the heart surgery. When she told me this information I was somewhat defiant. I had done the depression thing 10 years ago and I wasn’t going to do it again.

Now that I had the foreknowledge of this possible depression I arrogantly started building my fortress and I was ready to fight. I have written a book on depression, therefore I thought I knew everything I needed to know.

Needless to say, my fortress didn’t withstand the oozing of depression under the doors. I was going down and I didn’t understand what was happening. The tools I had used in the past were not working this time.

Last Tuesday evening I went with my wife to her college class. I had 3 hours to do some thinking, and then as I realized I was alone, alone with my thoughts. I reviewed the details of my life and the last few weeks. I could not conjure up one good reason why I was feeling depressed. Many great things were happening in my life and there was no really good reason to be down. The only answer was that these feelings were physiological, not spiritual and not just my emotions. Understanding this alone, after some wrestling with pride I actually took comfort in accepting this new concept.

My wife and I spoke about this new revelation on the way home and she made the suggestion that I gave the depression a new status. It was no longer the monster I had created in my mind. I had now turned this problem into something smaller I could possibly deal with and had a chance of conquering.

That was when I realized my depression is more like “The Tide” going in and out and not the tidal wave I had been expecting to crash down around me at any instant. Imagine for a moment how the tide moves in and out. If you have ever been to the Pacific coast then you can understand the power of the tide. It has nearly as much force pulling back as it first did when it came in. This is where I had to stand firm and not allow the sand to shift beneath my feet causing me to be pulled down without a chance to get my stability for the next wave, or possibly being taken back with the force of the water. The Pacific coast has a lot of riptides and if I would have allowed myself to be pulled in and continued to fight I would have found myself pulled out farther to sea and overcome by the constant movement. The only way to resist a riptide is to stay calm and go with the flow and eventually you’ll return to the beach.

I had to realize the “Truths” of my situation and to stand firm on the truth until the tide receded and things returned to normal. I have to admit the last few days have been much better and I can see the tide returning to sea. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:13-14

Ask yourself these questions and be honest and truthful…

  1. Do I have any friends?
  2. Do I have any talents or abilities?
  3. Am I loved?
  4. What are my good points?
  5. Do I care about others?
  6. Do I have a good heart?

If you answered truthfully yes to any of these questions when the tide comes in, just be patient for the tide to return back to sea. During this time stand firm on the truth. Realizing only real truth comes from God’s Word. I’ve attached the truths God says about you to help when you are feeling the crashing and pulling of the next bout of the tide. The truth is not based on feelings.

When I had acknowledged and accepted my situation I have to agree that this wasn’t my only bout with depression in the last 10 years. I have had several over the years that I had refused to acknowledge as depression. I called it discouragement, under the weather, anxiety and many other names. I didn’t want to admit I still had this problem occasionally. Admitting depression would be like admitting defeat when I thought I had overcome this so called monster.

You may have found yourself in this same situation or with others close to you. This principle of reducing problems in your life isn’t just with depression. We need to see fear, worry and many other struggles by reducing them to there actual size. Don’t give them the power to control who you really are.

When I first learned of my depression at first I looked at it as a blank check. In other words, anytime I felt like I didn’t want to be responsible, or I wanted to do something wrong I would play my depression card. I was a victim I had an excuse to get away with anything. Wrong! As long as I remained a victim I could try to use this to do whatever I wanted. I always paid a price for this. Now, I believe, I’m a survivor and not a victim. I am still responsible for my feelings, actions, beliefs and daily responsibilities.

The great thing about the tide is that it may come in, but from just watching I know it will be returning back. I need to have God as my center and my truths at hand and plant them in my heart so I can stand firm and not be open to being pulled in the down direction.

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