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Sunday, 17 November 2013

you can be a christian and be depressed

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble, he cares for those who trust in him.”
Nahum 1:7

I have written this blog post in my head countless times, for the past year. Each time the words were different, and they were always my own. Suddenly today though, something has washed over me and I know that it's time to write this post. I pray, that the words are not mine, but the Lord's. I simply don't have the energy, words, or courage to say what I'm about to say. So please Lord, take over.

I have battled depression to various degrees for much of my whole life. I experienced depression firsthand when I was in the 8th grade. My last experience with depression was less than a year ago, January - March 2013. It was the most harrowing and life altering experience for me. No longer was I simply responsible for myself and my own life, but I had a precious child who also needed my constant care and attention.

I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone, much less a mother. But I know that depression is real, and it’s here to stay. I know that many people of all shapes and sizes, and all backgrounds and experiences, walk this same dark and deep valley. I think some of the hardest people to recognize this though, are Christians. For some reason, the idea that a bible-believing Christian can be so gripped by darkness is unbelievable to some. Depression, a very real and true illness, is swiped under the carpet.

Surely, you can’t suffer from depression if you’re engaged in reading scripture daily. Surely depression cannot exist for the person who has been covered by the blood of Christ, whose sin has been atoned for. Surely, the joy and peace of Christ must surpass all evil, especially the evil of depression.

Surely.

I can’t tell you how difficult it is to write a post about depression as a pastor’s wife. Even more, I am ashamed to write it as a mother. I remember the lies I told myself this past year, that I cannot be depressed when I’m so blessed. That I can’t possibly be sick, it was all in my head. I tried to fix it, trust me. My husband tried harder. We went to the Lord, we beseeched him. We know he has the power to heal, and we begged for his healing.

I believe the Lord gave me this cross to bear, and I have no idea how long it will last, or when I will experience another “bout” of depression, or for how long. I have no idea why I have this illness. None whatsoever. I do know that the Lord is good, he is Almighty, and he has never forsaken me. I know that there is reason and purpose for my depression, just as there was reason and purpose for my fatherlessness, my abuse, and subsequent promiscuity. There was reason for it all, and I suppose, it is all connected in some ways too.

I know that depression is a dark and wretched place to be. I know that feeling of hopelessness and despair. I know that where there is depression there is satan, but I also know that where there is depression there is science. I know that medication can work miracles for some, and I am 100% supportive of anyone that uses medication. I know that there is no “surefire” remedy. Yes, you can take Vitamin D. Yes, you can exercise and get out in the sunshine. But for some, there is no healing. For some, depression is a lifelong battle that will never go away.

I do know hope too. I do know what it is like to feel completely free from the bonds of depression. I know what it’s like to taste the goodness of healing, to cling to Jesus and rejoice. Somedays too, I know the feeling to dread. Especially as winter approaches, I know the feeling of fear and worry…is the darkness coming for me?

In it all though, I continue to stand firm in my faith. I continue to rejoice in my God and my salvation. When I’m depressed, I’m still a Christian. I’m still a wife, a mother, and a friend. Nothing stops when I’m depressed, most especially not my faith.

{some helpful hints if you have a friend battling depression}

Ø  Always pray for them and with them

Ø  Send them encouragement. A kind phone call, a visit, some homebaked cookies. Something to show them that they’re of value. Know that they might not want to leave their house for a visit, but gently ask if they’d be up for a visit in their own home.

Ø  Listen to them, but don’t try to fix them. Know that they have a real illness. It might be a good idea though, to gently encourage them to visit a counsellor or doctor, if they haven’t done so.

Ø  Don’t make them feel bad for taking medication.

Ø  Finally, the most common response I received was denial. It is the most dangerous and potentially deadly. Do not deny the existence of their illness. If someone comes to you for help, never sweep their concerns under the carpet or minimize them. Depression comes in many forms, and the happiest looking person can be fighting the ugliest battle inside. Love on your friend, don’t make them feel “crazier” by denying their feelings.

 email me at thisrookiewife@gmail.com if you need a safe person to talk to

1 comment:

  1. Brianna, I must say I am so proud of you for posting something like this! I know it's something that you usually wouldn't share or reveal about your life, but you have no idea how much you are helping other Christian women with their walk with depression.

    I too, have battled depression, I too have been to the pits. I am thankful I know a God who loves me unconditionally and will never let me go to far from Him. I probably will go through a "bout" of depression again and that's okay!

    I hope that the Christians will begin to realize the presence and prevalence of depression and mental illness in the community. Hopefully education will be the key to removing the stigma.

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