What I learned in the dark (and by in the dark, I mean after the dark subsided and I could see more clearly in the light):
Just because I can't seek God doesn't mean He has abandoned me. I am learning to trust that he understands when I don't have the strength to come before Him or even to call His name. He understands my weakness, the things I can't control, and He can see in those dark places even when I can't. I'll trust He's got me in His hands, even when I feel destitute and alone. By the way, that trust during the dark times is not a source of strength or comfort. It's more an acknowledgment despite the pain. A verbal confirmation that even when I believe it will never be over, it will. That it is out my hands. Though it is not a comfort in the dark, it is a reminder when the darkness lifts. That this is never up to me. Regardless of how I may feel. That my coming before the Lord does not change how much He loves me, or His promise to carry me. When the darkness lifts, those words become the beginnings of hope. Truth. Freedom. And I thank Him for not letting that time in the dark go to waste.
Do I believe that God leads me into the valley of death for the sole purpose of teaching me? Not really. I don't think He wants us to learn that way, I don't think He ever wants us to experience that pain. I believe depression (like any illness) came with the fall. I believe God uses the pain and darkness to bring us closer to Him, but I don't believe He brings it upon us. I used to kind of see it as a test: could I trust God regardless of the pain, confusion, and blinding darkness? The answer was always no, and when the "test" was over I would beat myself up that I couldn't trust in Him. I saw it as weakness and lack of faith. Something that I somehow should have had control over. Now I am learning what a huge lie that is.
If you have never been in a dark place, or even just aren't in one at the moment, but know someone who is: remember to go easy on them. Don't expect them to change themselves or "see the light". Remember to intercede for them because they can't for themselves. Be kind and patient. Don't be offended if they don't "get" what is so clear to you. Don't be discouraged if your efforts feel in vain. They need someone to help them admit where they are at, get help, and to believe for them that it will be over even if they can't. Your job as a friend is not to force them out of the dark, but to be there for them through it.
I never want to be there again. Each time the darkness overcomes me, I am afraid I won't return. But I am thankful for the light, and the clarity that comes with it. Why does God allow depression? I don't know why, I've actually stopped even asking. I've come to the conclusion that I wouldn't understand the answer anyway.
By the way, posting to facebook is getting harder and harder. I may stop posting my blogs there, if you wish to continue following just come straight to the blog!