164. Back from the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Last week Monday I came down with one of the worst colds of my life. I thought briefly of calling it my worst cold, but one must be careful with superlatives.

My body experienced most of the symptoms of  the season’s flu, and perhaps I had that affliction as well. My head felt like a pillow filled with sleet. I couldn’t breathe through my nose and encountered five nights of sleeplessness, followed by five days of deepening depression.

All the manifestations of depression came knocking at my door: self-pity, hopelessness, confusion, thoughts of death, negative thinking, worst-case-scenarios, a predicted life of on-going mental anguish, the whole routine. These old friends frightened me. I was at the edge of the pit.

Then my wife encouraged me, “Of course you’re depressed. Who wouldn’t be? But you’ll get better. This isn’t permanent.” I needed those words. I immediately turned my thinking away from my deplorable condition and to the mercy of God, asking Him, “What do you want me to learn from this terrible cold?” I expect you’re wondering what His answer was, but that is much too personal to share with anyone. I became filled with His love and with hope for the rest of my life. I had come back from the valley of the shadow of death.

About Patrick Day

In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.
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