Catchy title, right? Depression is sometimes painted as the dirty little secret among Christian circles. It would be very difficult to find anyone at your church, that hasn’t fallen prey to this illness. Yes, it is an illness that lives and feeds on your mind. The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at home or work.
Sadly, this illness is swept under the rug in an attempt to make it go away. If you have suffered from depression you may have heard a well-meaning friend or a critic give you the following advice/observations:
- Just pray it away, give it to God.
- Can’t you do anything that makes you happy?
- I don’t know why you are so sad, look how much God has blessed you.
- Why do you sleep so much? Get up and get moving, it will make you feel better.
- There are people all around you that have it worse than you.
- If you were right with God, you wouldn’t be so depressed.
- Psychiatrists are a bunch of quacks, you don’t need any pills.
In an attempt to make it better, unfortunately more damage can occur. Not wanting to be a burden, you sit and suffer in silence. Everyone has their own problems, you reason and you don’t want to add the burden of a mentally ill tag-a-long. That dear friends is when we start to spiral farther away from the truth. The enemy has us bound with ropes of lies and misinformation. Feelings of helplessness and abandonment are tied tightly on your thoughts. You just want to feel better. What can be so confusing to the outside world is that you don’t always look or sound depressed. You may even be accused of wanting attention. Oh, if they only knew how much you longed to grasp onto a sense of normalcy.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. Proverbs 14:13
Mirth is amusement, especially as expressed in laughter. You have moments where you are on top of the world, a little flash-back to when you weren’t sick. The old you, the one you miss. Laughter falls out of your mouth, an old friend, a sound that your ears barely recognize. But at the end of that mirth, when the sound has silenced, heaviness weighs you down into the pit.
My brothers and sisters, I wish I had an answer to give you that would lift you up, like Jeremiah, out of that dungeon. Jeremiah was blessed to have a mediator that secured his rescue. Good news, so do we. We have a Savior, a Rescuer, a Mediator that will go forth to the King on our behalf. When you are at your lowest, drowning in the pit of deceit, sadness, depression and self-doubt, Jesus makes His presence known. In your mind you may think He didn’t come quick enough, where was He when I cried to be healed, cried for help. Your Comforter was always there but the depression had you blind and bound. Completely at its mercy. Jesus triumphantly carries you to the Father’s throne of grace, the lost sheep has been found.
In closing, I want you to know I understand how you feel. I have a God-given opportunity to see both sides of the coin, the medical and spiritual side of depression. As a nurse, I comprehend what is going on in the body when depression attacks. As a Christian, I see the result of spiritual bondage stemming from depression. Depression is ruthless and anyone can become a prisoner. If you are suffering from depression, please seek help. Depression knows no bounds. It will take any age, race or gender as a prisoner. Jesus can break the chains, our hope is found in Him.