The Battle Continues…

The last couple of months at the Lam Household were marked by the usual summer busyness (craziness) that comes with having young children: Summer camps, day trips, figuring out activities that get the kids out of the house and enjoying the good weather, getting caught up in Blue Jays fever…frankly I have barely touched my laptop for a couple of months, let alone sitting down to do any writing.

But about two months ago, I began to notice some familiar, troubling emotions…the feeling of dark despair at nights, the inability to sleep, the anxiety that sometimes washes over me like a tidal wave out of nowhere, as the days wore on and those feelings began to intensify, I said to myself, “uh no….”

After visiting and discussing my situation with both my doctor and therapist, we all came to the same conclusion: I am facing a recurring episode of depression. My doctor immediately recommended me taking a week off, and prescribed me a new round of anti-depressants.

I am not surprised that the depression has returned. From what I have learned about the illness, I know that it is quite possibly something that I have to deal with for the rest of my life. What surprised me, however, was my reaction to the news. For those who have read “Among the Ashes”, how I described my feelings upon being diagnosed for the first time was EXACTLY how I feel this time around. Apparently, I have not learned anything:

The feeling of shame (I am weak, I have lost…AGAIN)

The feeling of embarrassment when I filled the prescription for the anti-depressant (Does the pharmacist have to speak SO LOUD??)

The fear (What if I don’t get better?)

In fact, NOTHING has changed compared to my first diagnosis 8 years ago…the sleepless nights returned. The drinking to numb myself returned. The inability to get through the day returned. The occasional dark suicidal thoughts returned. EXACTLY like how I wrote about it in the book. Word for word. Except this time, there is a new twist…

After writing the book, after receiving so many positive feedback from those who found the book encouraging in their walk with depression, I feel like…a “fraud” now that the depression has returned, and I am no “better” at dealing with it.

I spoke with a friend who also has a life long experience with depression, and he reminded me of something that I once knew in my head, but now know to be true: When it comes to depression, no one gets “better” in dealing with it. It never gets “easier”. He reminded me THAT is precisely the message of “Among the Ashes”: It is not a “how to” book. It is a “let us” book….Let us learn to walk through this together, one day at a time, one step at a time…

So the story continues. The battle resumes. Rather than “discrediting” what I wrote, I hope to share my continuing journey here over the next little while as a “validation” of the book. I will be making some difficult and significant life choices over the next weeks and months, so I would appreciate any good thoughts and prayers you can throw my way. For now, especially for my friends who live with depression as a daily reality, I hope you can be encouraged by the fact that I walk with you together. May our journey forward be our way of “rising from the ashes”, together, one day at a time.

Keep journeying, friends.

One thought on “The Battle Continues…

  1. Dear Alfred, please don’t blame yourself. Depression can come back again and again , it’s not something that you can prevent or control, and that’s the hard part. We just have to go through it. However you have good support, and you know how to seek help. That’s great steps in recovery already. It’s about rising out of the ashes again and again, even when sometimes we find ourselves in it again and again. Every time, you learn something new, and sometimes we relearn it again and again. That’s OK. You’re not alone, and you don’t always have to try to be “normal” or “stronger”. Its ok to be weak because Jesus got you in the palm of His hand. You’ll get through this, you’ve been through this before, and you’ve lived. You’ve inspired all of us. Just remember not to put pressure on yourself. Just continue to share and I know you will deal with it the best you can. Stay hopeful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.