NEEDING NEW GLASSES

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Part Three in a series about my long struggle with depression and how I was shown the way out.)

In my previous column, I talked about how my depression had reached a very low point about two years ago. The large part of the cause of this depression was bullying in school which lasted about 10 years. What the bullies said to me – derogatory names and disparaging remarks – became little recording in my mind over the years.

In time, the recordings came back to haunt me, replaying themselves whenever situations went wrong, and becoming part of my belief in who I was. For instance, when I was unable to do something, the jeers about being a “failure” returned. And whatever I was unable to do something, that became proof that the bullies were right in calling me a “failure” or “loser.” (That is just one example of various lies I believed.)

Eventually, I developed an attitude of why even bother trying when it came to anything new. I would probably fail anyway. Afterall, I was a failure in my mind. Why add another failure to the list of previous ones my mind was already keeping track of? And trying would just prove to my classmates I was a failure too. I didn’t need more bullies to remind me.

The other problem which developed was sensitivity to teasing of any kind. Emotional insides become raw. After all the real bullying, I found it difficult to handle even light teasing or joking. Even those who were just having playful fun became images of bullies. 

Carrying around all this emotional baggage is what led me to a psychologist at that point two years ago. He suggested I read a book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge. I also began studying the book, “The Purpose Driven Life” with my daughter. These books were not miracle cures for depression, rather they pointed me in the direction of a new set of glasses to view life from. Those glasses came from faith.

Because I saw myself as a failure, I had assumed everyone, including God, saw me as a failure too. The truth, I was soon to learn, would prove to be quite different. God’s eye sight was far better than my own.

(More to come in next week’s edition of the Good News Cabin.)

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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