Tuesday, December 2, 2014

d e p r e s s i o n

Welcome to my life.  I’m a sinner saved by the grace of God. I’m a Christian and I love God and I have faith in God and I trust in God and I believe in God and I have major (clinical) depression and anxiety and fibromyalgia.  I take medications daily, and thank God for every one of them.  Depression?  Surprised?  What about the stigma?  The shame?  My depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia isn't going away (unless it's God's will to heal me).

First I’ll begin with the words of a Christian who suffers from depression:
“Despite the fact that I was fighting for my life, I did not want people to know it and the stigma and shame of depression was such that the friends and family on the short list who did know naturally wanted to keep matters close to the vest. It’s hard to imagine another reason for a hospitalization – whether for a burn, two broken legs, or for cancer treatment – that would produce such a conspiracy of confused silence.” (anonymous)

Recently I was watching a sermon on TV. I’ve watched him very many times.  But, that Sunday, I had to back it up several times to make sure I had heard what I thought I heard. I had.

“If we focus on our difficult circumstances and negative feelings, we can easily be drawn into despair and depression.

But when we fix our eyes on our great, encouraging God, He lifts us up and sets us free.”
“...every believer has a choice to either stay in a pit of discouragement or to get out.”
“We can either allow circumstances to drag us down into depression and despair or...blah, blah, blah.”

So, according to this preacher, I chose the life I’m living and I chose depression and I enjoy being sick and my focus isn’t on God and I don’t have a believer’s attitude and I’m not praying for healing and it’s all my fault... What was he thinking?  

This is a short list of comments and opinions I’ve heard:
Real Christians don't get depressed
It’s your own fault
You don’t have enough faith
You can get over it if you repent
Taking antidepressants is playing God, He can heal you

I could go on and on and on...  But, I’ll end with this:
Is it a sin to be depressed? The doctor says I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that he can treat with medication, but a friend of mine says I shouldn't do this because I just need to pray and have more faith. Who is right? I can't stand this much longer.

Let me ask you a question: If you broke your arm in an accident, do you think your friend would claim it was a sin for you to have a broken arm, and all you needed to do was pray? I doubt it.

Neither is it a sin for you to seek treatment for a chemical imbalance in your brain. The Bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)–and it’s true: Our bodies and minds are very complex. Although doctors can’t solve all our problems, we should be grateful that God has enabled them to understand more about our bodies and minds, and has given them new ways to overcome many of our problems.

Don’t feel that you are somehow sinning by seeking treatment for your depression; it would be wrong for you not to seek treatment.

Don’t misunderstand me, however. God has given us the gift of prayer, and prayer should be an important part of your life as you struggle with this problem. Through prayer we draw near to God, and the closer we get to Him, the more we will realize that He loves us and wants to help us.

Make sure of your commitment to Christ, and then ask Him to guide you as you seek treatment. In addition, let God’s promises saturate your mind and heart. The psalmist wrote, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? … Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5).


Sharon Burger said...

Liz, I am sorry that you suffer with depression. I am praying that you will get through it and have peace and joy daily. And someday soon total healing.

liz said...

Thanks Sharon :)