The following is a discussion between Mitch Jasper and his best friend Dave Logan on a golf course west of Minneapolis, from my book, Too Late in the Afternoon: One Man’s Triumph Over Depression.
Sharing the same golf cart was conducive to ongoing discussions.
“How’s it going? Are events in Chicago meeting your expectations?”
How was it going? What happened to me happens to those who
have weathered extreme emotional stress. I entered one side of a black
box, where confusion, anxiety, and mental anguish were waiting.
I was tossed around in that box, unable to find a way out. I needed others to guide me to the other side. And four formidable guides came into my life—Dave, Daniel, Zeke, and Wally. A year later, I finally came out on the other side of the box. I was no longer anxious, no longer depressed. Was I healed of depression forever? Not quite. Dave told me depression was not far from me. I needed the distance of several months to be able to finally say, “I have triumphed over depression.” I had listened to Dave from the start. I was not cocky. I respected depression with a silent humility. I would not let my guard down. I would triumph.
“I am doing well, Dave. I am doing well. You know what I went
through. How do you think I’m doing?”
“I think you’re a new man, Mitch. I can see it in your eyes, hear it in
your voice, observe it by the way you walk. You have turned the corner.
God has blessed you by bringing you out of a terrible depression. You
will never be the same.
“This may seem a strange perspective to you—depression, which
has seemed like an arch-enemy, has in a way been your friend. It has
brought you out of your isolation and self-centeredness. It has given
you your family back. You have learned to connect with others as a
true friend. You have started a meaningful walk with God.”
Dave’s portrayal of depression as a friend was a novel thought.
He was right. Without depression, I would have continued on as the
old Mitch—self-sufficient, without deep friendships, without a family,
without a God, in poor health, without meaningful volunteer work,
trying to stay active by shallow pursuits and a focus on my investments.
I would have been a lost soul.
“That’s a fascinating thought, Dave. Depression has been a friend
as much as an enemy.”
Dave respected my silence for the next two holes, as I meditated on
what he just said. Depression as a friend? I would never have thought
that. As Dave was replacing the pin on the 12th hole and gathering up
his clubs, I bowed my head in the cart and thanked God for His great
grace in allowing depression to run its course in me and change me
The book is fiction, but the portrayal of depression – it’s terrible ravaging of body and soul – is my true experience. And seeing depression as a friend? It took a long time for that to sink in. It sounded stupid at first, but I eventually came to that conclusion. If I were offered the chance to wipe out those five years of depression, I would say, “No, a thousand times no.” That depression has changed my life for the better. But I would not want to go back into major depression again. That’s why I work so hard to keep my body, soul, and spirit in a healthy condition.