“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.” -Abraham Lincoln 1864
The above quote can be found in the notoriously popular Gettysburg Address, a speech given in the heat of a brutal civil war. The blood of 620,000 men ran thick through the fields of the newborn nation. It was at this time that Abraham Lincoln spoke some of the most famous words in history.
Today I write to you reiterating those very words, yet in a different context.
It may seem arbitrary to use a wartime quote to get my point across about depression or it may not. What isn’t arbitrary, however, is drawing the distinct line between Mental Illness and a matter of situational sadness.
My friends, there is a very fine line between the two. What so many fail to understand is that depression is a very real illness. They also fail to realize that those who suffer are currently waging a civil war on the battlefield of their mind.
Is there any better way to say this?
We wake up every day to the staggering realization that our very own brains, our own emotions, are trying to kill us. We fight against ourselves on a minute-by-minute basis. When one battle seems to subside another one has quickly taken its place. It is an exhausting war and what makes it more difficult is that we often fight it alone.
It’s chaos inside of our brains. Nothing that goes on in our heads makes sense. We wage a war that we didn’t sign up for. We didn’t ask for the uncertainty. We didn’t wake up one morning and ask for misery beyond comprehension. This is the card we have been dealt. This is the demon we have to fight.
Walk a mile in Depression’s shoes and I guarantee that you’ll feel like you’ve sprinted a half marathon up the side of a mountain.
Sometimes our enemy gains the upper hand. Sometimes hope disappears from our sight. It is in these tragic moments that the final drop of blood is spilled.
Below is an excerpt of one testimony that I received from an anonymous person.
“When people would say, ‘you’ll be okay. Everything will work out.’; ‘Just pray about it’; ‘Suck it up’; and the inevitable, ‘It’s just a bad day’. I would look at them and think “You have no idea that every day is a bad day!” I wrote a suicide note and even attempted to commit suicide several times. My biggest thing was to google ways to kill yourself and how I could do it without having my family to clean up after me.”
Thankfully, this person had family nearby to stop them, but some people aren’t as fortunate. Sometimes attempts become successes. We are waging war against our merciless selves and sometimes we don’t come out on top.
The truth of the matter is that we need someone to love us.
I think I speak for all of my friends who suffer when I say we just need someone to fight with us. This battle is an incredibly lonely one. We need someone to hold us, to tell us that our lives are worth something, that Jesus can love even us.
You have a life to live and that is worth something.
We only need someone to come along and show us because our own brains are currently trying to convince us otherwise.
The use of Lincoln’s quote above was for this specific reason. As we trudge through the battlefield of our minds we press on in remembrance; the remembrance of our fallen brothers and sisters. We also press on in this fight for awareness in the world because we, the survivors, know what it’s like to be an outcast.
We won’t stand for it any longer.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
You are loved.
You are valued.
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