I’ve never made a secret in this blog of suffering from depression. I’ve even written a few times about it. Today, I thought I’d give you a fuller picture of what it’s like for me–not for sympathy, but for knowledge, for education, and to fulfill my “no longer faking fine” promise.
So, depression–what is it like to suffer from it? First, it can’t be prayed away like some Christians seems to think. It’s an illness just like cancer or heart disease–something is wrong with the biochemistry of my brain. Many people function well with depression. I take medication, and most of the time, I do function well. But, that doesn’t discount that there is something wrong with me and that there are areas where I do struggle. Essentially, it is an invisible illness which people are afraid to talk about. I think that might be one reason that people think it can be prayed away. They can’t see it so they can’t see the pain and hurt that results.
There are symptoms though that can be seen several of which I’ve experienced lately. They have brought depression back into full focus for me and helped me to know how crippling it can be. Wanting to sleep all of the time, not wanting to eat, not caring about anything. In fact, I spent part of Thursday and most of Friday in the bed with all of these feelings, and it’s been a slow road back since then. I was overwhelmed with despair, in fact, still am overwhelmed, and that seems to be when the symptoms of depression hit me the hardest. It’s hard to function when I’m hurting that badly, and I felt like I was an awful person because I couldn’t. I kept hearing the words “give yourself grace, give yourself grace” though. Words from God, I think, and they were a comfort.
I struggled and prayed (Yes, people with depression do pray.) through these symptoms and feelings and came out the other side, well, mostly. Depression makes life hard for me to manage, sometimes harder than I’d like. For some people though, the struggle is harder or even impossible, and I don’t want to minimize their pain. Depression affects everyone who struggles with it in different ways because we are all different people.
We need to become more comfortable with talking about depression and not shy away from someone who says they have it. We, especially in the church, need to be careful about telling sufferers to just pray about it, put it in Jesus’ hands, or worst of all, imply that someone who hasn’t been “cured” of their depression isn’t as good of a Christian as they are. Those have all happened to me, and Satan has used them to draw me away from God. Trust me, isolation is not a good thing.
People who suffer from depression are normal people. We are not scary. We smile. We lift our hands and sing praises to God. We live our lives just as those who are broken in some other way. We just struggle in different ways than other people do. In other words, for people who suffer from depression, the struggle is real. Feel free to share your struggle in the comments section. I will pray for all of you.
God’s blessings on all of you today!