It was a rough depression day today. I’m leagues better now after making sure I rested, ate, and kept myself taking care of needs such as laundry.
It sucks! I know that this whole week, I haven’t been sleeping well for a number of reasons. I really don’t sleep well in summer heat, for one. Of course, I’ve been having a lot on my mind the last couple of weeks, including me mourning both of my paternal grandparents and Dad’s cat Harvey, who all passed away in the course of a week. I’ve been staying up at night trying to make sure that I’ve worked through my thoughts so that I can sleep peacefully.
Well, last night didn’t work out as planned. I woke up about five times in the middle of the night. As one can imagine, that didn’t do me any good. I went into work feeling tired, but not too shabby! But once the afternoon came along, it went downhill.
I’ve been having acute sensory overload episodes daily for the last few months now, and when they come along, every single noise becomes a vicious cacophony. I do my best to not let them get the best of me, but with my lack of sleep and frazzled mood, it felt like my depression had me set up for failure. I had another overload episode today, on top of what must’ve been a depression manic episode, and it was an emotional disaster.
I feel so guilty, because I snapped at my coworkers today. Nothing serious, but when one of them shouted my name, I snarled back, “WHAT?!“, which is completely out of the ordinary for me. I felt like my head was going to spin off my shoulders, with all of the noise happening in our thrift store’s back room and me unable to quiet my thought storm.
I could hear (by hear, I mean feel) God and both Saints Michael and Gabriel urging me to speak to them the entire time this happened. Thank goodness for them, because I was seriously scared I would start cursing up a storm from the turmoil I was in.
I think I’ll refer to these as “depression attacks” from now on. Because good golly, it really felt like my depression ambushed me! It was terrifying, trying to fight against the irrational lies this thing was feeding me. It took a whole lot of prayer and willpower to somehow remain grounded.
When I came home, I finally started crying in my bathroom as I prayed about this mess. I remember telling God that I was utterly exhausted, and when I did, I remembered this dream from six summers ago.
The First Encounter
I’ve encountered Saint Michael the Archangel in my dreams for years now, and every time he shows up, he brings with him a sense of big brotherly calm and protection. I love analyzing my favorite uplifting dreams from years ago, and I know now that while I didn’t realize it at the time, this particular one was in truth my first meeting with him.
Boy, that was really not a good time for me. The summer of 2015 was the summer after I went through that homophobic dorm nonsense. The trauma was still fresh, and on top of that, this was the summer my ex-stepdad decided to leave our family after Mom made it clear that she wouldn’t tolerate any more of his nonsense.
I had a hard time recuperating from the sheer stress and paranoia I suffered from that trauma. It took me a while to let go of my grudges against the people responsible, and after I did, I had to face how wiped out I felt. The more I think about it, this was an early indicator of my depression. I tried to avoid acknowledging it. Or maybe, I couldn’t fathom that it was anything else besides me battling the emotional fallout of everything going on.
I believe this was a June day. I went to bed exhausted from my job at the bagel shop, and emotionally drained from knowing that our home environment was frazzled from our ex-stepdad’s intent to leave. I didn’t feel rested at all, and that anguish manifested full-throttle in the dream.
The background for this was kind of ludicrous. All of a sudden, it was winter (the stereotypical “depression season”), and our ex-stepdad made us go out and chop firewood. That’s even more ridiculous, since we’d surely get in trouble for chopping down the lovely trees in our quiet suburban neighborhood!
I sat on our snowy wraparound porch, and wailed to God that I couldn’t rest. I was fully lucid, and intimately aware of how I was having issues overcoming my emotional exhaustion. It felt inescapable.
Down the street, a big brotherly guy I’d adored from high school suddenly appeared, walking towards me through the snow with his eyes closed. He walked with confidence, and somehow knew how to walk to me without seeing anything.
When he came to the porch, I bolted off the bench I was sitting on and into his arms. Immediately, he pulled me into a big hug, holding me close and comforting me as I finally broke down sobbing. I was confused at his ephemeral appearance, but grateful.
And then, “Mom” appeared behind us, screaming at my friend to get away from me. That was when he opened his eyes.
He glared “her” down with a look seething with contempt, and scrutinizing her. He knew something I didn’t at that moment.
The last scene of the dream was “Mom” glaring up at me in my bunk bed, her eyes filled with malice.
Years later, I know now what was going on. Obviously, that wasn’t Mom. My real mother was enraged for my sake at what I’d gone through in my dorm, and she knew my big brotherly friend decently enough to like him.
My theory about “her” true identity was confirmed the next summer. I saw “her” come towards me in another dream, sneering at me. I said an angry prayer with the intention of defiance against evil, and it caused “her” form to flicker. I saw something scarlet, reptilian, and monstrous for a second.
For all intents and purposes, this was the Devil trying to use my Mom’s form to psychologically screw with me.
And that young man? That was Michael, using a friendly form to encourage me to trust him. He must’ve seen through that disguise the enemy used, and was unafraid.
I have my own theories to tie this past dream in with my dorm trauma. I think I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but I really think I felt the Devil’s presence on my dorm floor the week before everything hit its peak. It might be a stretch, but with how alone I felt, and how ludicrously obsessed those girls were with me, I think the Devil was aiming to make me be overcome with despair…and maybe even attempt suicide. I wouldn’t be surprised.
Which also means that Michael’s appearance in this dream was a clear indicator that God responded lightning-fast to my anguish-filled prayer. I knew I was safe, and I know that Michael has a reputation for defending us meek kids from the Devil’s malice.
I Will Triumph
That was a traumatic time for me, and remembering that helped me acknowledge that I’m going through the aftermath of a different kind of trauma right now. Trying to grieve the loss of two grandparents and a beloved cat in the course of a week is too much. That rapid-fire grief is a monster, and of course it would be traumatic! I thought I’d recovered from this, but I can tell after today that I was wrong. Healing doesn’t have a deadline, after all.
Of course, it doesn’t help matters at all that I’ve been dealing with existential dread on top of my grief. While I ultimately know that things will get better (if my repeating dreams of my future husband are any personal indicator), I feel trapped in this current moment. My current job isn’t where I want to be for much longer, especially with how much this mini-retail environment triggers my depression symptoms on a daily basis.
I know that God has a plan for me that’s so much better than the gloom I’ve been dealing with, and that the work I’ve done to further my passions will pay off in their own time. That objective knowledge keeps clashing with my depression’s cruel, irrational lies that I’m stuck and can’t escape. Like an emotional civil war! As you can imagine, it’s tiresome.
Oh, but I won’t give up. I assure you, whoever’s reading this, I will never consider suicide an option. In large part thanks to my enduring anguish over my school friend Will‘s suicide, I’ve been lucky to never have struggled with suicidal ideation, no matter how bad things have been for me. God assuring me of how deep His mercy and compassion is for those of us who struggle with depression keeps me anchored here.
And as I’ve told God (making us both cry in the process), if the Devil really wants me to perish, then NOPE. My everlasting revenge against the Devil’s attempts to bring me down is my refusal to give up on life and hope.
Like my dream from six years ago proved, and just as it happened today, God always responds (sometimes in “unlikely” ways) to calls for help when we feel broken. May we always remember how He helped His prophet Elijah, who was likely depressed as well.
Grateful for all of the awesome people I’m lucky to have in my life, who always find ways to cheer me on during my darkest days. This is what one of my cousins sent me today, and boy, I needed it.