Christians, Depression and Guilt
**I actually wrote part of this blog in February 2014. I saved it as a draft and did not publish it….I just wasn’t sure if I should….it is past time now. This is too important NOT to blog…the dialogue has been opened as we grieve the loss of Robin Williams.
We all have “down” days if we are honest with each other. And sometimes Christians are not “upfront” about this particular issue. I am not just talking about those days…I am talking about clinical depression. Not talking about it honestly hurts the body of Christ. The judgment that is often present has come to light many times as believers deal with it. I have not seen a lot of grace extended….it is time for a change.
Of course I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety about 19 years ago.
I am not an expert by any means, but my personal experience might help someone else and that is my prayer.
For several years I would suffer bouts of depression and anxiety attacks. But I thought if I prayed hard enough I would get through them. I would fight through the pain, only to have it return with a vengeance. And I could not tell any of my Christian friends. What would they think? I was able to handle life. My prayer life was strong, I was an encourager to others.
Guess what? I crashed.
I was lying on my bed in a fetal position feeling like my insides were going to bust out.
I cried until I did not think I could cry anymore. I couldn’t think straight…I couldn’t think at all.
I thought I was losing my mind. I couldn’t control the feelings I was experiencing and it almost felt like I was looking upon myself from a distance. About three hours later I got up off the bed with the help of my precious husband and barely made it through the evening. He would not leave my side and the next morning the intense pain had lessened a bit.
I was to go “speak” to a group of ladies about the love of God and honesty that very day. Talk about LOL! How funny was that? I put on my “Christian Speaking Face” and without joy at all…I spoke. Proof that God indeed uses donkeys. And as only God would do…another speaker was there. Her latest book was titled something like..GOD, WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY? I cannot find the book now, nor upon a google search can I even find that book…but it was there for me at that time. He rescued me.
Being a teacher, it was only in my ability to read and take notes that I could concentrate on what I was reading. I had notecards and upon my husband’s insistence, went to the doctor. I had only canceled twice in the past month, so I wasn’t sure if they would even schedule me another appointment! They got me in within a day! I took my notes in and cried and read them aloud to the doctor. It was sad now that I look back upon it. I felt that I had to have proof that I was suffering.
After some tests, one tweak in medicine and only 5 days later…it happened. I felt “right”. The doctor had explained all the medical reasons for depression. The Father allowed medicine to be used in a part of my healing process. Layman’s terms to me: It is like the plug wouldn’t plug into the outlet and the medicine sent the plug in the correct direction.
A couple of times I was in a group of women and depression came up. Of course some of the women mentioned that it was a “faith issue”. I jumped on that one! And three women came up to me later thanking me for my honesty.
Ten years ago I had another serious bout, and my medicine was changed. Again, I felt better in less than five days. I had been doing ok until two years ago, and another tweak was needed, plus some changes in lifestyle and jobs most recently. I have now been able to lower my dosage lower than ever before.
Folks, I am asthmatic and use an inhaler. Some are diabetic and must use insulin. Others need cholesterol meds. Why would this be any different?
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
I wrote this in my journal one day….
“Lord, I have felt such anxiety, such depression. I know you were there but I couldn’t touch you. You were reaching out to me…but it was like I was wandering in a desert. I was so thirsty, but I could not drink. The water was right there. I then began to be consumed with guilt and condemnation about how I had failed as a believer, and that was not from you. I was so consumed that I couldn’t even reach my hand up high enough to touch your lips for even a taste of water. And yet, you never left me. You stayed and reached down and pulled me up…little by little. But I had to be able to see you, to know that you were not a mirage. My reality had to become clearer…..and the increase in medication allowed me to see you again. You never left, but my perception, my vision did. I cannot put into words the pain I felt, I don’t understand it. Some say it was a spiritual attack, and I do know that there are battles…but it was more than that…Now my life circumstances have changed and I can see you again. You are no longer a mirage. You are my reality, my constant companion. I am “me” again…the “me” you designed me to be.”
Please…if you are suffering, talk to someone. Get professional help. God does not want you to suffer. He loves you and wants you to be the best YOU that you can be. Don’t be miserable another day. You cannot go on pretending.
National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35
*personal image, NIV Bible, pixabay image.