Writing In and Through Depression

There is something to be said about writing in and through.

So many times we can’t write out the words in the midst of our own pain, our own trials, and we are so immersed in our  story that it’s hard to get perspective enough to share it. And I get that. Sometimes we do need time to heal, to process, to let it breathe.

But there is something about that perspective that is powerful which can’t be tapped in the aftermath, the rebuilding, or in retrospect. Because by then, you’ve had the breakthrough, the insight, the revelation that comes from retracing the steps lived until that point. But the problem is we don’t live our lives in reverse.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

- Soren Kierkegaard

Because even when all the pieces aren’t in place, what we do in the now matters.

I think of how sparse the Psalms would be if David waited for the perfect ending to each of his pleas, his cries for mercy, his dark nights. If he waited to cry out until he could get a better perspective on things. Surely God would come through. Why didn’t he just sit tight and keep it all to himself until God revealed himself?

And I know as a writer, as one who processes through the spilling of words, who finds insight on the page before I ever recognize it in my heart, that writing in and through is the stuff of soul baring. This is the moment when I strip bare to injuries and battle wounds. I trace my words along scars reopened and bleeding raw and the mending of those soul bruises is in the covering of my story with yours.

Photo Aug 12, 1 57 44 PMI wrote from the pit of my depression last week. I sat to write and it all just came pouring onto the page.

And then I waited. I sat on the post for a few days. Because I was scared. And I’m not one to scare off hard posts easily.

But this felt like a long line of misery being dragged out and I wondered at the use of this blog.

I wanted God to use it to reveal His glory in my life and instead I was beginning to feel it was one long cry of depressed monologues and the lost ramblings of someone who couldn’t seem to find the path at all.

I wondered, as I have monthly since starting this blog, if I should call it quits. And then I hit publish anyway. I linked it up and sent it out.

And  the comments starting coming, the emails, the stories shared, the understanding and prayers and gentle hugs with no expectations from me.

I stood in my pajamas with the front door stretched wide into the afternoon sun, arms wrapped around myself as tears streamed down and I felt no shame. She had just dropped by to see if my kids wanted to go to the park with hers, and had been ambushed instead by my tears and pain. My greasy hair and the dark circles of mascara unwashed from the night before casting bruises below my eyes.

And she got it, got me. And she loved me right there as she gathered coats and bundled my children out the door and into her care. And I’ve been loved right here by so many.

I’ve been blessed with these moments. The slipping of arms around my shoulders and my smile that can’t hold any longer and the words spoken soft from caring eyes, “ I understand, you don’t have to smile for me.” 

And my smile gives way. I breathe it out and my face goes lax and watery but my souls begins to fill. Because to be loved hard in this place is the stuff of souls and saints binding hearts.

I sit in tears again, splashing down onto the backs of my hands as I type. Tears too heavy to hold and the words blur as I read your emails, and my heart breaks for you, and yet, there is some small part still alive and burning that rejoices.

Because I do believe. I will see again. And when we come out of darkness to glorious light, everything shines hard and beautiful. Blinding with His glory.

But until then, as I wait upon the Lord to renew my strength, I thank God for the words to write in and through, because it’s always been about story. Always.

In the beginning was the Word. And it’s not a random coincidence that God taught in parables, or that the Bible was recounted from Holy inspiration into words and stories spanning the width and breadth of Jesus  and the entire range of  human emotion and suffering.

It all speaks of Him. Every story points to a redeemer. Every single one. Even the ones written in and through.






  1. says

    Ok, I clearly missed out last week when I had company in town and lost track of the blogging world. I’m off to read your old post. But first, a couple things I resonated with so strongly here.

    “as one who processes through the spilling of words” AMEN! Me too, sista.

    “and my heart breaks for you, and yet, there is some small part still alive and burning that rejoices.” I was just wondering in the post of someone else this week how it is that there are times when encouraging words just leave you feeling hollow while listening to the words someone else is crying out during their own suffering can buoy your soul. That is such a great point about the Psalms. Tanya Marlow is doing a series of guest posts on suffering on her blog and I love them that they don’t all have happy wrap ups. I think too often we Christians are good at showcasing people that have come through suffering and are glorying in the new life at the other side. But we lose track of, or maybe disregard, the person who’s in the midst of suffering. It’s as though we’re just waiting for them to get out of it so we can have our happy wrap up. But there is suffering that isn’t quick or simple or easily resolved or even resolved at all this side of heaven. And the sharing of that with each other is about the most beautiful outpouring of God’s grace that I’ve seen.

    And as far as ” I was beginning to feel it was one long cry of depressed monologues and the lost ramblings of someone who couldn’t seem to find the path at all,” from my view point that is not the feel of your blog at all. I love slipping into your blog because I know you will be honest in what you are loving or fearing or failing at or learning or whatever. Your blog is cozy and homey and safe and glorious.

    • Alia Joy says

      Janice, you are such an encourager and I’m so blessed to have you as a friend and reader…”we lose track of, or maybe disregard, the person who’s in the midst of suffering. It’s as though we’re just waiting for them to get out of it so we can have our happy wrap up. But there is suffering that isn’t quick or simple or easily resolved or even resolved at all this side of heaven.”

      Yes, I agree. I love to see God’s glory in lessons learned in the light but I agree that when people write from that gritty muck, right in the trenches and telling the truth even if it isn’t tidy: that stirs me. And it’s true. We don’t always see resolution here, but that’s ok because this isn’t the end game.

      And I love Tanya too. I’m actually guest posting in that series later. I love that she showcases suffering and glory in tandem. She has such a beautiful heart and I’m honored to be a part of it.

  2. says

    Hi Alia. I’ve read quite a few of your other blogs during the last week, and “WoW.”
    I stand amazed at your insight, your ability to communicate, and the wisdom that God has given you!
    I identify with so much that you say about depression, because, as I said in commenting on your last Blog, I’ve spent a LOT of time there myself.
    When someone, like You! ~ can put into words the process, the feelings, the thoughts, the anguish, And — the moments of relief or Light, too, that one can experience while in the depths of depression, it gives others who know that place HOPE!! To KNOW that someone else REALLY understands? Ah, that’s more than ‘words’. That’s the Rama Word.
    Thank you for being willing to be emotionally naked and open with us, your readers. I am happy to see that you are receiving some golden rewards for such a scary endeavor! :) God IS Good.
    Yes, “writing IN and THROUGH” is difficult and gut-wrenching. It takes more energy than some can even imagine. Just KNOW that you are reaching many who cannot say the words. Walking through YOUR process helps each of us walk through our own, as you lead in reaffirming your trust in the Lord, in His Word, in His goodness.
    The present moment might seem a never-ending dark, a throat-constricting ache, a dam-bursting load of tears and wails, but it’s still a REAL moment that we can acknowledge while ALSO recognizing that we WILL, as you said, “live again.”
    Thanks much for being God’s Vessel. ♥
    God’s Blessings and ((gentle huggs)) in your journey,
    Love IN Jesus,

    • Alia Joy says

      Pam, I am as blessed by your words and your willingness to share in this journey with me as you are by mine. Our God is so good, even in this, maybe especially because of this. Thank you for your support and love and gentle hugs. Grateful for you and your company on this road.

  3. says

    Alia, you’re ability to write and put things into words is such a blessing. I don’t know how you do it, but I know God is giving you that ability and gift even in the midst of this dark time.

    Praying for you, Friend.

    • says

      Thank you Johanna, for your prayers and support and encouragement. Yes, it’s God because usually I write jumbled messes when I am really struggling. Thankful for His grace in giving me a voice.

      P.S. Love the new look on your blog.

  4. Kristi says

    Thank you, Alia, for this post and last week’s post. Last week I couldn’t sleep one night, feeling the fog of Depression threatening to settle in, wanting so hard to fight it off and get clarity and contentment once more… And then I read your post, read a bunch of the comments below it, read some of your commenter’s links/ posts on their own stories and struggles… And ended up in God’s Word: Psalm 107 to be exact. And I was sooooo encouraged. “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story,” the psalmist says, “those he has redeemed from the hand of the foe… [those who have] wandered in the desert wastelands… [those who have] sat in darkness, utter darkness…” Etc etc… Just knowing others have been in the “wasteland” of Depression and have “sat in its utter darkness”– and have been rescued and redeemed!!!!! is such an encouragement. I thank the Lord that that night, with that darkness threatening to press in on me, God rescued me before it took over and I didn’t have to wander in the wildnerness this week. Thank you, Alia, for your vulnerability and willingness to post your story. It was instrumental in pulling me out of the mire last week and I am so very grateful for that. :) I love you, darling!

    • Kristi says

      Oh, and by the way, on your last post you mentioned seeing that counselor– good for you! I have received so many great tools for my spiritual and emotional-processing toolbox from the handful of times I spent with my counselor last year. Some major breakthroughs and healings took place with her that I know couldn’t have happened had I not spent the time with her. And I am blessed to have several techniques to now help me process through some of my junk (and some of the spiritual battles that coincided with my personal fight). I don’t know how it is for others, but for me these methods have actually helped me side-step deep Depression ever since. Not sure if that’s a fluke or what, but I just know I’m grateful beyond belief and I will keep doing the hard soul-work necessary if it means I can avoid the incomparably hard pit of Depression again! I pray you, too, will find great freedom and insight from any more times you have with your Spirit-led counselor. :)

      • says

        Kristi, I am so thankful for you! And I am so very humbled to be a part of God’s voice to lead you to Him and so amazed at how your words here spoke straight to my heart. I’ve been reading a lot of the Psalms and trying to get something from them but that one you just shared hit me. Yes, I’m clinging to that.

        I don’t know what will come of counseling or any of this but I know that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing to get through this. It feels like forever since we’ve seen you guys. Wish we were closer, I’d give you a great big hug, cousin.

        Love you so much, Kristi

  5. says


    I read this through the blur of tears… friend you undo me with your honesty and the raw parts of you that you share so willingly. You cannot know friend, you simply cannot know what a blessing your transparency, you willingness to go there… yes there!!! means to me. We are stitched together sister, yes soul sisters, stitched together and bound up tight in the love of Christ and I pray for you… today I will be your prayer warrior… for two are better then one… two are better than one!!! I love you friend and reaching out and hugging you…

    • says

      I am buoyed by all the prayers and support from friends stretched across screens and keys and in real life. You guys are my sisters and I love you and your constant care for me.

  6. says

    Thank you, Alia, for writing in and through your pain…so courageous of you…funny, but I mention depression in my post today also…So glad to know you have had people love you where you are at, just like God would, and I am forever grateful for David writing in and through his pain…how he lamented and told it like it is, then went back to affirming the truth of God’s love for him despite it all…such a process…hugs to you :)

    • Alia Joy says

      Dolly, I think a lot of people struggle with depression during this time of year, or winter in general but it’s an interesting dichotomy of advent and waiting on and for the Lord and joy and celebration with the reality that we are so in need of a savior because of just how human and broken we truly are. Thank you for sharing your journey as well. Hugs.

  7. says

    Yes, so many of us who think about things deeply, who turn life over and over in our hand, who try to make sense of these painful life experiences, who groan with the desire to make meaning through art experience times of darkness and depression. Thank you for ministering to me about the good of writing from the middle…your words echoed through my mind as I wrote from the middle of my sorrow yesterday. Bless you, friend. I love your heart and your courage.

    • says

      Thanks friend. That’s why I love your blog and your writing. You think and feel deeply and your words are a ministry of beauty and grace. Blessings to you. Hope you are healing and finding peace in the midst of all the tragedy unleashed as of late.

  8. Meredith says

    Oh sweet friend… I am so behind in reading others blog posts, because I was in a dark fog, but I am SO glad that I didn’t mark all as read, and that I found this.

    When you mentioned about David, and all of the times he wrote through the pain, it is so true. Thank you for that reminder!

    So grateful that you have felt the silent and invisible prayers and support that has been coming around you.
    Thank you, and may the beauty, the holiness and the miracles of these season fill your heart with joy and song.

    • Alia Joy says

      Meredith, I am glad you came by here. As you can see by my week late reply, I have been lagging a bit in it all. I am hanging in there, holding to what is true. How are you, friend? I’ll head over and check in on you too. It’s been awhile. Long overdue.

  9. says

    Oh, my. I have walked and am continuing to walk this very same road. Isn’t it glorious how God meets us, right where we are? And in learning to speak, to name the darkness, we are freed from it.

    Many blessings. <3

    • Alia Joy says

      Indeed it is glorious. Joy in the midst of sorrow, beauty from ashes. Our God is great. Thankful to be walking this road with kindred spirits. blessings to you, Natasha.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *