Do you feel like life is pouring down on you?

 

Image from savit keawtavee

 

I have struggled with depression in my life.  I have dealt with severe anxiety at times.  These are words people are afraid to share at times in the church for many reasons.  Sometimes I believe people don’t share this because they are afraid they will be looked at as failures, losers,  or not “real” Christians.  To be this open and vulnerable and to share these kinds of thoughts doesn’t always fit well in the life of the church.  It is much easier to go to a Bible study and say that your big struggle is you only read your Bible four days this week and not seven instead of saying that you are struggling with depression and you don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.

In the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 14.8 million adult Americans experience clinical depression in any given year — or about 6.7 percent of the population over 18. Women are more likely to encounter major depression than men, and the average age for a bout of clinical depression to set in is 32. (http://curiosity.discovery.com)  However many go without seeking the help that they need.

This was the truth for me as well.  I luckily am no longer dealing with depression as it has been gone for close to 2 years now.  If I am honest with myself and with you I dealt with depression for numerous years.  It started off small where my view on life and myself began to change, my sleeping patterns began to change, my anxiety and irritability continued to grow, and my emotions always seemed unpredictable.  I brushed this off for a long time and just said I was in a “funk” and I was just upset because I wasn’t in a job that I desired to be (I had been out of ministry for 4 years).  However even when I did get back into full-time ministry I began to notice that I was still dealing with the ever-changing emotions, lack of desire to do anything….even those things I normally loved to do, and I even avoided people which isn’t normal for me.  It was then that I realized I needed help.  I met with a counselor to work through things that caused me anxiety which added to my depression and I began taking medicine to help with my recovery.

Yes I took medicine to help me get through my depression!  I can freely say I took medicine to help in my recovery and I am so glad I did.  This can be a difficult conversation in Christian circles as you will hear very many different viewpoints such as…

“Well if you are strong in your faith you should just be able to pray and you won’t feel depressed anymore.”

“Why are you taking medicine?  Can’t you just make yourself not sad anymore?”

“Oh my!  Don’t tell anyone that you are depressed and taking medicine they will think you’re not stable.”

“What do you have to be depressed about? I don’t understand why you need to take medicine?”

“So many people look up to you for advice and support you can’t let people know that you struggled with depression.”

Believe me if you are a Christian and you share about your depression with others you will hear these kind of statements….unfortunately.  I am here to say that because I finally stopped trying to do the whole cowboy thing and pull myself up by my bootstraps and admitted I needed help I got better.  The doctors and counselors made it very clear that even with the sessions and the medication I would still need to put forth the effort to get better.  The medication and the sessions were not some magic cure-all to make my problems go away but I am thankful I had them in my time of need.  After getting the help I needed I honestly felt like a veil had been removed an I felt like good ole’ Dave again.

So I am writing to say this if you believe you may be struggling with depression know this…

1. God loves you!

2. Seek the help you need!

3. Share how you are feeling with a trusted friend don’t go through this on your own.

What has been your experience with depression?

 

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8 Comments

Filed under Church, Friends, God, Relationships, Youth

8 responses to “Do you feel like life is pouring down on you?

  1. Thanks for sharing that, Dave. It has been my expereince that most churches don’t want to know about any negative issues their staff members are dealing with. And since pastors are supposed to be “on” all the time, depression is especially difficult. Your words are encouraging to those who struggle.

  2. Good post Dave.

    Depression has never been an issue for me, thankfully, and I suppose it is possible that as a society we are over-medicated. However, I always tell people that I cannot read the Gospels well unless I use prescribed corrective lenses. For me to not wear glasses is to neglect the gospel. For many, medication is the corrective lens, and I would go so far as to say that one is bordering on sin for NOT taking the medication that could enable them to meditate clearly on the grace of God.

    That’s my two cents.

  3. Yes I totally agree with staff and even with people in the congregation. For some reason we want to portray this perfect picture when many times people are dealing with alot of doubts, fears, struggles, and illnesses. I think if we as Christians lived more transparent in these areas more people would be attracted to Christ by Christians and not repelled by them because we act like we have everything figured out and we are without problems. My prayer is that by me sharing about my problems and how God brought me through them maybe it will give others the courage to seek the help they need. Even in the same sense showing people that although I am a minister I am not perfect. I have my flaws and I am seeking Christ the best way I know how.

  4. @Jay I always appreciate your two cents! I can agree with what your saying with the over medicated part as well since our societies answer many times is “pop a pill.” I am also with you on the whole glasses thing! Honestly it was my pride and lack of humility that got in my way for so long that I didn’t seek the help I needed. It was a sin issue in my case because I let those things get in the way of my healing.

  5. lindsey moore

    Well my experience with depression is that I still struggle with it. I was diagnosed back in 2005 and after different types of drugs and moving and different counselors I feel so much better that I did even 2 years ago! I am still on medication but it just helps during rough times. Yes I still have rough times, but I believe God has placed therapists/counselors on this earth for a reason, which is why Im not ashamed to say I use them! Would you be expected to build a house without a bluprint or hammers or nails? So in this life, if someone is offering you tools to help you through life, why not take it? And like Dave said, its not a cure but they help you to take charge of ur life. And I feel God wants us to be healthy in mind as well as body so why wouldnt he want us to use every possible resource to get healthy? As long as it matches up with His word… Thanks Dave for sharing, I know its hard to admit, same here.

  6. @Lindsey Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! Love you tons! For those of you who don’t know Lindsey is my lovely fiancée.

  7. Your fiancee? She may want to read what I feel about corrective lenses!!

    So about the internet bullying thing…

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