How Jesus Helped Melt My Glacier of Depression
My refrigerator doesn’t seem to be working right now.
My wife and I just returned from a weekend trip to the oldest city in America, St. Augustine, and soon after we arrived I went to grab a yogurt. The refrigerator wasn’t very cold. Items were still moderately chilled and the yogurt was still edible, but it worried me. So I started pushing some dials and twisting some knobs, trying to kick on some unit that would return it to its icebox state.
Unfortunately, no dice. I mean, it seems like it maybe, just maybe might be working. Like, it was slowly ticking when I first arrived, and now the engine seems to purr, sounding more normal. But that doesn’t mean it’s any cooler than when I first arrived. Because it’s not.
So, for fear of losing our ground turkey, yogurts and Hot Pockets, I finally gave in and called my landlord. He apologized for the inconvenience and said he’ll be over tomorrow morning to check it out. I then told my wife and she rejoiced.
I don’t know why I didn’t just give in earlier. And I don’t know why I didn’t use that logic with my bipolar and depression.
Melting a Glacier
Opposite of a melting freezer, bipolar and depression took over my life like a glacier. My manic phase came storming into my life and it flooded everything, and after that when I found myself in a deep depression the water froze. Hence, a glacier.
We don’t see many glaciers here in Florida, but did you know they can go as deep as three miles? And like I said, I was in a deep, deep depression, so three miles sounds about right for mine.
I stayed in my room when people visited my roommates because I was scared of how odd I’d appear. When I saw people I knew at the grocery store I turned and walked the other way, every time. I started pounding double rums and Coke at the bar in order to have the nerve to chat, and I’d wake the next morning with bruises all over from stumbling and falling.
Glaciers also completely reshape geographical regions. All observers can see that when a glacier melts the land ends up indistinguishable as land is moved away and new land is moved in. That’s how my depression left me, a completely different person with many of my good attributes gone and bad attributes added.
Over the years of my depression I tried some things. No drinking or partying for a while. A regimented sleep schedule. Reading and acquiring knowledge in order to become more well-rounded. So, as a result I was maybe making progress, but it was minimal like taking a chisel to the glacier. I was able to tell myself I was getting somewhere, because I was, but in reality I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Until I called my landlord. In case this analogy isn’t clear, I mean God.
Taking the Plunge
At that age I was really immature. Let’s just say my wife should be thankful for my growth because back then I would have let all of the food in the refrigerator rot while I went to the bar with the guys.
But more specifically, I remember eating my roommates Totino’s Party Pizzas without asking him. Like, no less than a dozen of them over time. And it wasn’t that he one time said to me “hey, mi casa es su casa, brother!” or anything of the sort. Rather, I just wanted pizza, so I ate it and pretended it wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, it was, as he told our other roommate about his frustration, who then told me.
I never approached my roommate to apologize for eating his food. So this involved both a sin of commission, doing something I shouldn’t have, and a sin of omission, not doing something I should have. The problem was that even if I wanted to, I didn’t even have a clue of where to begin. The little things I’d try, like saying hi extra cheerfully when he came home, were like chiseling away at a glacier.
Meanwhile, the sin of omission was glaring, and that was a problem. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) And worse yet, this wasn’t an exception, my life was littered with irresponsible actions like this and I was without the fortitude to apologize or fess up.
So one day as I stood with the chisel in my hand I finally cried out, dropping it to the ground. It was time I finally admit this just wasn’t working. So I called on the “landlord” to fix the whole thing. So he brought the sun out.
A three mile-deep glacier takes a while to melt, so it wasn’t overnight. But once the sun was out God started to show me how to humble myself and admit my wrongs. Or how to take the plunge and open my mouth to say “I’m sorry.”
I apologized to several people after the sun came out, and I think I apologized to my roommate. But in case I didn’t, here it is: I’m sorry.