My Black Dog, Depression

I was first diagnosed with depression at age 22, and I was certain the doctor was wrong. Didn’t everyone feel the way I felt, like their feet and their brains were stuck in quicksand, inching deeper into the mire by the second? Wasn’t it just a normal part of adulting, growing older and sadder and more miserable with each passing day?

Apparently not.

Depression is a funny thing. It can come roaring in like a lion, catching a person off guard and without ready defenses, ravaging a life in what seems like an instant. It can also come creeping in like a sloth, slow and unassuming, stealthily easing its way into your everyday routine. This, too, can send life into a tailspin, albeit much more slowly and much less noticeably. (On a side note, did you know that sloths usually trek only 125 feet in a day? Lazy much?)

My depression was super sloth-like, moving in like an overlooked-but-unwanted guest. Over time I cleared out an entire room in my brain and allowed it to move in rent-free. Depression is very needy, and pretty soon it demanded all of my time and attention. It happened so slowly, though, that it didn’t seem out of the ordinary, and I thought I was feeling fine.

I wasn’t.

After six months of paralyzing anxiety and drowning in a sea of unending mental darkness, I saw a trusted counselor who bluntly told me, “You’re depressed.”

I thought surely he was mistaken, but because I trusted him, I saw my medical doctor, who agreed with my counselor. They both felt strongly that I needed to start on an antidepressant immediately, and, being desperate, I agreed to try it.

There’s something you need to understand about me. I’m not granola by any means; I’m actually about the farthest thing from a whole-foods-eating, chicken-coop-in-the-backyard, essential-oils-cure-everything lady you’ll ever meet. I eat GMOs (I happen to like blackberries the size of my fist), I use store-bought fabric softener, and I am not opposed to taking medicine when I’m sick.

That said, in my early 20s I was very much of the mindset that antidepressants were over-prescribed and that the people who regularly took them were just looking for an easy out. I am also a follower of Jesus Christ, and I was sure that any problems I was having were due to my own lack of faith, or something lame like that. So, you can see why agreeing to an antidepressant also meant I had to take a big ol’ bite of humble pie.

Eating that pie was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I started taking Prozac. A few days passed and…nothing. Still ridden with anxiety and sadness. A few more days passed and…nothing.

The morning of day 10, I woke up and felt…different. I remember it like it was yesterday. I climbed out of bed, walked down the hallway, and rounded the corner into our living room, where my husband was sitting on the sofa. I stood there, staring, with a massive (probably-disconcerting-to-him) smile on my face. Just hanging out, not moving, looking like a total weirdo (and a happy weirdo, at that).

Finally he looked up at me. “Uh…you okay? What’s up?”

“I feel happy,” I told him.

My poor husband is so sweet, and I love his guts. It still makes me giggle to think back to that encounter, because his face gave away the fact that he was unsure of what to say in that moment. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing, so he gave a basic “that’s great” response.

“No,” I told him. “You don’t understand. I feel happy. Like, so-happy-I-could-burst happy. Giddy, almost.”

Jordan Baker Watts
Jordan Baker Watts
Jordan Baker Watts is a wife, mother, worship leader, speaker, writer, and former Miss America. Ok, that last one's not true, but one time she watched it on TV. Jordan's heart is for sharing Jesus with those around her, whether through song, speaking, or the written word. She shares from a real, raw place and loves to encourage those around her to come honestly and comfortably before the Lord just as they are, not as they "should" be. She uses the medium of humor to engage her audience, and she loves to laugh! Her story is one of freedom from the lies of the enemy, and of triumph over bondage, all solely by the grace of a merciful and kind God. When she grows up she wants to run a marathon (but only if there are snack breaks along the way). Follow her blog at

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