Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Some Real Talk on Depression

In 2001, it was a brave new world on the world wide web, the final frontier. I was in my first year of college when depression hit me hard. So I started searching online for something about Christians and depression. I came across the usual litany of oh so helpful quips about “just needing to pray more” or read the Bible more, or repent of previously unrepented sin, or “just focus on God more” if you JUST do THIS you won’t feel/be depressed because “good” Christians don’t get depressed! Now hopefully in 2015, most people know that is ridiculous. My fear is that there are still desperately hurting people who are only hearing that message.

Thankfully, back in 2001, I also came across a site which explained, from someone's personal experience, that it is indeed possible to be a Christian and struggle with depression. On this site and discussion board I was reminded that we always have hope in Christ, even when we can't seem to see it or feel it. I also realized that I was far from the only one struggling in this way. (There is now a facebook page that has developed from some of the same people behind that website.)

It has become more and more clear to me that I need to write the words I most needed and wanted to read back in 2001. Thankfully there are others doing this now as well. But the passage in Corinthians keeps popping up everywhere reminding me that it really is in my weakness that God’s strength and power and goodness is so wonderfully displayed. It is in my darkness that the light of Jesus shines brightest. I have to write (and speak) the hard things, the vulnerable things, the things I’d rather not talk about. 

So why am I writing this post?

  • Because I want you to know you are not alone. 
  • I want you to know that Christians do in fact get depressed and sometimes need medicine to help balance things out. 
  • I want you to know that none of that makes you less of a Christian. 
  • And I want you to get the help that you need.(You don't have to choose between Jesus or medication. Often times, it takes both.)

And I know that when you are in the depths of depression it gets increasingly harder to reach out to get the help you need, but do what you can. Tell at least one person you trust about your struggle. Tell them what you think you need to do to get help, maybe they can help push you to make some phone calls to set up counseling and a doctor's appointment. There have been so many times I have waited longer than I should have to get help and then when I finally did go back to counseling and/or go back on medication, I was kicking myself for not having done so sooner!

As Jamie ("the very worst missionary") said recently, depression is not a scandal. It is a real illness and people are dying because of it. And this is all the more reason why we need to be talking about it. I believe that by talking about it we can chip away at the stigma and hopefully help more people get the help that they need to fight depression.

Need help? United States:
1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish
Website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

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