I’m about to talk about something extremely personal. For people who really know me, this is not something that comes easily for me. I don’t necessarily feel the need to share my feeling with anyone. So, for me to share with you what I’m about to share with you, it must be something significant, so pay attention.
A few months ago, I started noticing a behavior in myself that I have never had before. I was distant and numb. I didn’t want to spend time with anyone, including my family, and that scared me. I also was suffering from pretty extreme anxiety. I began to think and pray, trying to figure out what could be wrong. Then a thought entered my brain. Could I have depression? Awe, don’t be dramatic, I thought to myself. You are probably just tired, or need a break. There is a lot going on and its normal to struggle sometimes. Your thyroid is pretty much useless, I’m sure its just that. The excuses kept rolling through my head. After a little time, I decided to do a little digging about Clinical Depression, just to see if it looked at all like what I was going through. I was very surprised to find that I was reading about myself. Then other questions came to my head. What would people think? Can Christians have depression? What would my husband think? Does this mean I’m crazy?
I have to be honest. It was scary to say out loud that I think I have depression, but I had a decision to make. What was more important to me? My pride and fear or my health and the people around me? So, I spoke with my husband and we decided to see a doctor. The doctor was wonderful and helped me to have a clearer understanding of depression. I have been taking a antidepressant for a few months now. We are trying to find a good dose to level out my hormones. So far its been difficult.
I want to share a little about what it feels like to live with this. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about depression. Many well meaning people make comments like, “You just need to trust God more!”, “God is all you need, you don’t need medication” “God can overcome anything in your life.” While all those things are true, you treat a physical condition with a physical response. When you have an infection, you take an antibiotic. What people often times do not understand is that depression is a physical problem going on in your body. It is the result of a chemical/hormonal imbalance in your brain. So, I am trusting the Lord and making use of the medication He has made available to me for a physical problem.
Here are some of the thoughts I struggle with on a daily basis:
- You are a failure.
- You will never get over this.
- You did something to cause this.
- You are a burden to your family and friends.
- Your children will hate you because you are like this.
- This will define you for the rest of your life.
- Your husband deserves better.
- You shouldn’t be in a ministry.
- People are better off without you.
While I know that all of these area lie, its exhausting being attacked by these thoughts every day. Its like being in a constant battle in your mind. I am extremely blessed. I do have a loving, gracious, kind, long suffering heavenly Father who loves me just as I am and continues to encourage me through His Word. I also have a loving, encouraging and good looking husband who helps me and holds me when I need it. I have 3 beautiful children who bring me joy. I have a wonderful supportive family and amazing friends. I am blessed!
I have other friends that suffer from depression like me. I have spoken with them and they experience much of the same misconceptions from others. I suppose the point of this post is to help clear up some of that up, but also maybe to encourage someone else who may be going through the same thing. You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are loved and you will be ok.
People, be careful with one another. Be careful with your well meaning words. Educate yourself before you try to offer advice on a subject that you completely do not understand. Bare with one another, lift each other up in love and be careful not to judge. You never know what might be going on in the heart and life of someone else.