Let’s just get it out of the way right now. I’m not suicidal. In fact, as best I can remember, I’ve never been suicidal.
Why would I make a statement like this? Because the next statement you read would have prompted the question in your mind anyway.
I suffer from depression.
See? Told ‘ya.
Now that I’ve told you I suffer from depression, do you think any different of me?
I’ve suffered from depression for quite a while. I was officially diagnosed in the fall of 1995. I can 100% guarantee I was depressed for years before the diagnosis.
Here’s another statement to mull over:
I’m not sad.
Really! I’m not.
I know everyone thinks depressed people are sad all the time, and they stay in their bedroom all day, but that isn’t me.
How’s that for a mind twister? Public perception, and media influence, has skewed our thinking as to how we identify depressed people and their habits. It isn’t necessarily true, especially for men.
Let’s return to the question I asked. Do you think any different of me?
You probably do think different of me, and I’m okay with it. But, please don’t think LESS of me. I most certainly am NOT less of a person because of my depression.
Is a person with Diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis or high blood pressure, any less of a person?
This leads me to a really hard issue for some people to handle. I’m going to specifically target this at people in the Church.
Why don’t we handle depression the same as any other disease?
Why do we tell depressed people to “snap out of it”, “smile more”, “be happy”, and other such platitudes?
Why aren’t there any requests on the prayer line to pray for people with depression (unless they’ve been admitted to an in-patient facility)?
Depression is the same as any other ailment or condition.
Something is askew and broken in the body of a child of God.
Depression happens to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is hard for people to understand. I believe this is true because there are so many mysteries yet to be discovered in our brains. What we don’t understand tends to receive “strange” and “different” treatment.
Here’s an even bigger issue or problem with how the church deals with or relates with depression.
There is still a prevailing feeling or mood in the church today that depression can be fixed if the individual suffering would pray more. Or, my favorite, if the depressed person would become a better Christian God would take away their depression.
I mean, come on!! How can a person truly living with Jesus in their heart, and who has truly become a follower of Jesus, be depressed? How is it possible to have the joy of the Lord in your heart and be depressed?
I’ll tell you how.
A true believer can suffer from depression just as a true believer can have any other ailment or disease.
I’m no different from the person suffering from heart disease.
I take my medication every day the same as the person with diabetes. If either of us doesn’t take our meds, there will be consequences. We both take medication every day to keep the chemicals in our bodies in balance. Without them, the chemicals get out of whack and there will be issues.
So, here’s my closing question for you…
If I ask for prayer for help dealing with my depression, will you pray for me? Will you treat me with the same respect as the person who asks for prayer because their MS or cancer is particularly bad this week?
I hope so. I really do hope so.