depression

Stormy Water (a poem)

God why did you make loving you hurt so much
why are things most beautiful when they’re gone
to float peacefully over the black waves of anxiety
and still too overdrawn by their gravity to breathe

orange sunset sinking into the gray horizon
hazily miraculously craning backwards
turning the mirage world upside down
because I spine stiff am upside down

I try letting you walk down the stairs
from the top of my head into my heart
and instill your spirit to be still my soul
I’m still afraid of what you’ll find down there

a treasure chest of solitude that has yet to be cracked
open even though I accepted the key several years ago
I can feel you tinkering with the lock and the hinges now
and I’m sorry that I keep putting up such a restless fight

but please don’t throw me out to the fishes just yet
where there’s weeping and pulling of yellow teeth
hold me close to the boat so I don’t drift away
into the atmosphere of mist connections

work on me God and work through me
love on me God and love through me
that I may find peace and rest
in this weary weary world

This is an image from the music video of the song SAVE ME by Gotye.

Christian Salvation in Gotye’s “Save Me”

In 2012, musical artist Gotye released his third studio album Making Mirrors.

This album was catapulted to international fame because of its third track “Somebody That I Used To Know” (click the link if you want to add to the over-500-million-and-ever-increasing YouTube views); however, I believe the best song on the album is the eleventh track, “Save Me.”

For this post, we’ll look at this song at how it can serve as a signpost that can point people back home to God.

But first, if you haven’t already (or if you want to again, like I do), listen to the song.


These convicting lyrics, though.

Something like a story exists in the lyrics of this song because they feature a conflict that is resolved in the end.

The persona of the poetry starts out by showing us how he was once in a state of hopelessness:

In the mornings, I was anxious,
was better just to stay in bed;
didn’t want to fail myself again.

Running through all the options, and the endings
were rolling out in front of me;
but I couldn’t choose a thread to begin.

Before the change, he was in a constant state of worry and anxiety so heavy and burdensome that he didn’t even want to get out of bed because a step out of bed would be a step toward recurring failure.

And even though he wanted to alleviate his distress, he was so overwhelmed by all the ways to do it that he became metaphorically paralyzed.

In the first chorus, he shows us how far down he really is in his despair because he can’t love:

And I could not love
’cause I could not love myself;
“never good enough, no”
that was all I’d tell myself.

And I was not well,
but I could not help myself;
I was givin’ up on livin’.

His deepest and scariest realization wasn’t that he’s hurting but that he couldn’t help himself; he needed something or someone stronger than himself to pull him out of this pit. And he needed this helping hand fast because he was on the verge of suicide.

In the second verse, however, the persona turns and introduces us to another figure into the narrative:

In the morning, you were leaving,
travelling south again,
and you said you were not unprepared.

And all the dead ends and disappointments
were fading from your memory;
ready for that lonely life to end.

The persona is now remembering a time when this other person was ready to leave him.

But something changed in the other’s mind, and they decided to not only stay but rescue the persona from his own depression with love:

And you gave me love
when I could not love myself;
and you made me turn
from the way I saw myself.

And you’re patient, love,
and you help me help myself
and you save me.

The glory thus shines for our persona. He is reinvigorated with the love shown by the other, and his sense of self-worth is revived. Ultimately, the other has rescued – yes, saved – our persona.


Just Like How Jesus Saves Us

I can identify and sympathize with the persona of this piece in that I’ve hit some immobilizing low points in my life. They were the kind of troughs that I couldn’t climb out of alone.

Even though I haven’t been diagnosed with clinical depression, it does run in my family, and I have several friends who either have been or still are thus afflicted (some who didn’t come out of their own troughs alive). I’ve been as close to depression as one can get without being there myself, and I can tell you that the sentiment of the first half of the song is accurate.

But when I realized that I couldn’t save myself from my own pit, that’s when I realized that I needed someone else – an “other” – to help me out. Such is the human condition when we realize that we’re not as good as we think we are. From here, we then realize that we deserve nothing more than to be abandoned by the God who we betray and crucify every time we want something more than Him and His love.

This hopelessness and despair is where our Lord and Savior’s hand reaches down and saves us. Whenever we forget how to love, He reminds us by loving us; when we feel like we’re worth nothing and don’t mean anything to anyone, this love restores the value within us.

Jesus is even so patient with us that He is willing to walk with us for the rest of our earthly lives and even throughout our heavenly perpetuity.

All of the above is how He loves us and continually saves us.