There are few times that I don’t feel light-hearted and joyful. My brother says that it’s only because I’m stupid. I think it’s because God has given me the ability to see beyond present pain and embrace the joy of a new day.
Don’t get me wrong. I went through years of depression. In fact, at a time when I knew that I was in big trouble, I consulted a good friend who was a therapist. “You have what is called a ‘smiling depression,’” he told me, laughing. Even though, I thought this was a contradiction in terms, I knew that he had struck a deep chord of reality in my soul. My life was filled with methods to hide, camouflage and disguise my real emotions, especially anger.
He gave me a book to read, Happiness is a Choice authored by Frank Minirth, M.D. and Paul Meier, M.D. I learned how to resolve the anger that was causing the depression and work toward allowing the Lord to control my emotions.
It is interesting to me that IQ doesn’t seem to matter regarding depression. My husband’s IQ was off the charts; but from his childhood, he battled with depression almost every day of his life. He died weeping. Therefore, it’s easy to see how people who are intellectually disabled (ID) can easily fall into a state of sadness that leads to depression.
We are told by the experts and our own experience that more people become depressed during holiday seasons than at any other times. Where is my family? Who cares for me? What wrong with me that I don’t have the joy that others seem to have? are only a sampling of the questions that dance like sour grapes through our minds and thoughts. There are more suicides committed during Christmas time than at any other time of the year. We become angry and depressed.
Much of our anger comes from a lack of control. People within the mentally challenged community control almost nothing in their lives. They live with their parents or surrogate parental figures all their lives. Depending on their personality–rather than their IQ–this can lead to depths of sadness that would be hard for anyone to express. Couple this with the fact that the ID community has a limited vocabulary and a limited ability to express it; and you have a powder keg waiting to ignite into explosives depression.
Yet, God in his infinite wisdom gives us a new beginning with every sun rise. Recognizing your sadness and anger are the first step. The second is forgiveness. When we forgive, I am not excusing the behavior. I am simply releasing them from my judgment and turning them over to God. After all, he is the one true and righteous judge.
No matter how difficult and painful yesterday was. It is gone and we have the morning. This morning. Great, powerful and joyful things are about to happen. Rejoice!