A group of us were talking about the meaning of names, and I said, “My friends are always asking me what my name means, but in English names don’t have meanings. They’re just names.” One girl said that she knew of a website where the meaning of names can be researched. So she looked up my name, Alisa, and said, “Great happiness! Your name means great happiness in Hebrew!” All the other girls said, “Yeah that fits you!”
Now, that blows my mind because all my life I’ve had the opposite spoken over me. I was born on a Wednesday, so I was told “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” I believed it! Depression has been a plague and a curse on my family—one which I recently broke. I have suffered a couple of bouts of depression so severe that I slept only 1 or 2 hours a night for almost 3 months, and had suicidal thoughts and even suicidal hallucinations. The longest period of depression lasted about 2 ½ years.
Once during a bout of severe depression I saw a funny clip on America’s Funniest Home Videos. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t stop. Then I began crying just as hysterically, thinking that surely this is the last time I will ever laugh. It really alarmed my family, who had no idea how to help me.
Another time I literally felt something inside of me break at an unkind remark that I would normally have shrugged off. After that, I passed entire days looking out the window and crying. The sight of a bird flying by was enough to start me crying.
I don’t like having to depend on medication, but Prozac probably saved my life. It didn’t make my life less painful, but it cushioned the pain enough to help me keep a grip and not act on those bad thoughts. To be honest, all that feels like it was another life, a different person.
Nevertheless, despite the depression and the bad stuff in my life, I have always been able to remain mostly upbeat and positive. Perhaps that is because even without knowing it, whenever anyone said my name, they were proclaiming great happiness to me without even knowing it. Now that’s a great thought!
And now that I have truly surrendered all to God, I do have great happiness. I never would have thought it possible—at least not in this life.
And here’s a fun thought, inspired by 6 year old Dave Junior: logic and chocolate do not go together. Chocolate is not a great anti-depressant (the calories are unfortunate), but it does help some. God is good!