There’s a fairly new Linkin Park song called “Heavy” that describes what it’s like dealing with depression and anxiety better than almost any I’ve heard. (Disclaimer: I’ve only listened to it on the radio with the profanity edited out. If you look the song up, look for a radio edit.) There will occasionally be a phrase in a song that resonates with me (like the line “You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness” in “Somebody I Used to Know” among many), but never so much of one song.
The first part that really hits home is
And I drive myself crazy/Thinking everything’s about me./Yeah, I drive myself crazy/Cause I can’t escape the gravity.
Depression truly does make me self-centered, but not in an arrogant way. I worry that everything I do will upset people, that it’s wrong, that people are annoyed by my presence. And it weighs on me. When I’m sort through the thoughts, I know that while make mistakes, of course, I probably don’t make too many more than anyone else does. I know that all the strangers I encounter don’t think I’m a weirdo, but if fact likely don’t think of me at all.
Then there’s the chorus:
Holding on/Why is everything so heavy?/Holding on/It’s so much more than I can carry./I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down./If I just let go, I’d be set free.
And that’s exactly what I do when I’m in depression. It’s so hard to motivate myself to do anything because it feels like I’m dragging around a weight, but it’s a weight that has been with me for so long, I don’t release it. I relive my past mistakes.
Despite struggling with depression most of my life, I’ve never figured out how to get myself to bounce right back out of the hole, but I’ve never given up on myself, either. Not completely. I may not know how to fix my mood, but I don’t have to know. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t have to be so heavy because I don’t have to carry it alone. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
No, relying on Jesus will not make your problems go away, even if most of them are self-inflicted, or even imagined, like mine, but He will be with you while you carry your burdens, and the forgiveness He offers means that sin is not one of the burdens we carry.
Sunday night, as we sang, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” I glanced at the adjacent page, and saw the neighboring song was, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
I have to admit that though my mouth sang the words of song 257, my mind was thinking of sing 255, and I teared up while singing. When I’m depressed and beating myself up about something or completely unmotivated to do anything productive, I do neglect to pray. Just this past, I’ve made an effort in these times, and the prayer is usually simple and repetitive, asking God to help me, but I can calm down more quickly and get moving sooner.
If you are struggling with depression, you don’t have to do it alone. Take it to God in prayer, and take it to your Christian family. After all, we are to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).