“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
Proverbs 25.25 NIV
Here I am. Helpless. Hopeless.
The last of my energy is gone—burned up by both my manic attempts to maintain control and my enraged outbursts at the inevitable failure of my efforts.
I do not know what to do anymore. I cannot think. The will for most everything is gone.
Somebody give me a way out. An escape. I no longer care what it is or the negative consequences that may follow. I just need relief.
This is the fifth stage of relapse.* I am Exhausted.
F – Forgetting Priorities. Start believing the present circumstances and move away from trusting God.
A – Anxiety. A growing background noise of undefined fear.
S – Speeding Up. Trying to outrun the anxiety, which is usually the first sign of depression.
T – Ticked Off. Getting adrenaline high on anger and aggression.
E – Exhausted. Loss of physical and emotional energy; coming off the adrenaline high and the onset of depression.
R – Relapse. Returning to the place you swore you would never go again.
Exhaustion can be a terrifying experience. Even small problems become overwhelming. Confusion and panic ignite when previously manageable obstacles suddenly feel insurmountable. Baser feelings and instincts fill the void logical thought has left behind, driving us to coping mechanisms we never would have considered before—drugs, alcohol, self-harm, etc. These behaviors, no matter how illogical or irrational, feel like a welcome relief from the suffocation of depression.
Every stage leading up to Exhaustion has only increased the level of isolation in our lives, which means that when we need human connection and support the most, it is the least accessible to us. Powerful yearnings for unhealthy relationships and behaviors disintegrate our internal boundaries and the allure of past coping mechanisms grows too strong to resist.
But no matter how we feel or what we believe in this state of depression, the despair and emptiness are too deep. An endless supply of momentary relief and artificial happiness will never work. It will destroy us.
Our only hope is God. Even when we have nothing left, even when our hearts fail us, He is there. Please remember who you truly are. You are not empty. You are not the void you feel in your soul.
You have an identity in Him.
I am a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. (1 Corin 6.19)
I am redeemed. (1 Peter 1.18-19)
I am holy and without blame before God. (Eph 1.4)
I am complete in Him. (Col 2.10)
I am beloved. (Col 3.12, Romans 1.7, 1 Thess 1.4)
I am forgiven. (Eph 1.7, Heb 9.14, Col 1.14, 1 John 2.12, 1 John 1.9)**
Contributor: Jordan N.
*FASTER Scale developed by Michael Dye from Genesis Process
**“I am” statements adapted from Who I Am In Christ resource in Pure Desire’s 8 Pillars to Freedom