(Other words like that are “love”, “death”, and “Kardashian”) (Just kidding about that last one.)
Clinical depression is a serious condition that requires medical treatment. It’s so much more than having a bad day or experiencing a string of letdowns. It goes deeper than that.
Recently, I was part of a discussion about depression, and I was surprised by how many people brought up that they thought it was mostly a spiritual issue. I have to admit, I backed away at that.
I didn’t bother to ask them if they thought heart disease was a spiritual issue, or diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity.
I didn’t ask them if they’d heard of Jeremiah who desperately wanted to die at one point in his life.
I didn’t ask them if they thought healing could only come through hours of prayer and tons of scripture memorization.
I didn’t say anything.
I stayed quiet because it was just too close an issue for me.
It’s been nearly two years since a doctor sat across from me, looked me in the eye, and told me I was suffering from clinical depression. My first reaction was disbelief. But then he proceeded to point out several key symptoms–irregular sleep, lack of appetite, a general feeling of hopelessness and despair and worthlessness, an empty feeling. Yep. Maybe he was on to something.
We had just moved away from a place I dearly loved, and our family had spent months in limbo. It wasn’t an easy time. And while I was going deeper and deeper into my pit, I was telling myself I just needed to trust God more, I was a bad person for not finding peace and contentment in my circumstances, this would stop if I could be less selfish and more Godly. But there was nothing Godly or unselfish about that behavior.
You can’t really fully lay down your life, if you never really are in control of it.
That world seems like ages ago now. I was thinking about it today. Watching it as if it were a movie rolling in my mind. There I was walking around smiling, but dying inside. It was the absolute worst time in my life. And the depression was just a part of my picture. It needed to be treated and respected for what it is. A disease.
God’s healing to me came through doctors and medicine, my family and my friends. But it came mostly through him. It wasn’t me being a better person. All that was gone. There was only him telling me quietly to wait, to trust him, and to let him help me.
I believe he does that for every one of us. He doesn’t do it the same way. His healing comes in many different ways. He will help you.
It really is true. He can work all things together for our good.
Peace be with you. (And see! I’m still messed up and broken…loved and forgiven, even if I did change the name of my website!)
“I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10b