Dealing With Depression

Today, I just wanted to share something with you all and hopefully, encourage you. I don’t get much readership but that’s okay because I hope that those who do read, get something out of it.

If you can’t tell by my user name, I am a Christian. And I battle depression. I battle invasive thoughts and throughout my lifetime they have looked different. Sometimes when I was younger, it came in the form of self-harm, binge-eating and anxiety. Then it came in the form of holding things in, becoming a chameleon to fit my social situations as a teen. When I became an adult, I felt completely lost, as though my entire world was topsy-turvy and I didn’t know which way was up. In truth, I had no idea who I was. And the intrusive thoughts still come. Sometimes I will be driving and I get the urge to drive right into the lake near my home (I cannot swim). Or I will look at my medications and try to calculate how many I have to take so that it is impossible to resuscitate me. And then I feel guilty because I am an organ donor and I don’t want to ruin usable organs.

An image showing the same tree at different times of the day. The passage Matthew 11:28–30 is quoted in the New King James Version.

In the last few years, my depression has looked like procrastination and laziness to outsiders. There will be days where I just cannot make myself do anything. At least nothing “productive” according to society’s standards. My depression looks like forgetting to eat or eating too much even when I am not hungry. It looks like not drinking anything. It looks like biting my lips until they bleed (which is something I picked up recently). It looks like dwelling on past failures and conversations that I could have handled better. My depression looks like spending my life just staring at the ceiling or my phone or a blank page as I try to get through the day.

Now, this is not the case for everyone. Everyone dealing with depression has different triggers and symptoms but I wanted to be transparent and show you mine. For all who are wondering, I am not currently on medications for depression nor do I wish to be as often the side effects are much worse than anyone should have to go through. I am also not in therapy. And I fully condone therapy as a believer. When it is broken down, therapy is simply having someone to confide in and that is a huge thing.

Growing up, I never had that. I did briefly during my college and grad school years but as soon as that ended, my opportunities to be real with someone else (at this time friends and pastors), I lost that. And I don’t have it now. Therapy is extremely expensive for one. Secondly, many of the inexpensive apps and services support spiritualism or do not hold Christian values. I believe that just as you should not be unequally yoked in personal relationships, you should have the same foundation when someone is counselling you or when you are counselling another. Why? If I am struggling with how to get closer to God and you tell me to focus on the universe, we can never truly be on the same page. In fact, you are trying to pull me out of my faith, no matter how gently you do it.

Confusing road signs pointing in three directions.

Sadly, there aren’t many Christian counsellors in the world and the Bible talks about having godly wisdom around (Proverbs 15:22, Proverbs 11:14). God also warns us to not listen to ungodly counsel as it is detrimental to us and to those around us (Psalm 1:1; 1 Kings 12). In 1 Kings 12, we see that the new king, Jeroboam, in listening to his friends instead of good godly wisdom, caused the division of a kingdom as well as religious disunity. While this most likely won’t happen in your case, things get messy when believers listen to nonbelievers because our foundations are not the same.

As a Christian who battles with depression, I have to constantly remind myself of the truths of God and what He has spoken over me. I have a list of Biblical affirmations on a poster board that is taped to my wall. And they are all backed by scripture. Some of them are: I am vital; I am prosperous; I am whole; I am steady and determined; I am seen; I am loved. I read this list to myself every single day and sometimes when those intrusive thoughts come, I have to give it a second glance. More than a glance, I have to remind myself what those words mean. (If I don’t, they just become words that I parrot back to myself.)

This may not sound like the best testimony. This may not bring joy, but I had to share it. Depression sucks. It is hard and as a Christian you may be met with some pushback if you try to share. You may hear “Christians can’t be depressed,” if you go to a church with an older congregation or traditional theology. From non-Christians you may hear “Can’t you just pray it away?” or “But aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?” There will times where you won’t hear anything, you’ll just get dirty looks and being judged makes me feel grimy. I know that it is probably the same for you. For me, struggling alone makes me want to give up and give in all the more. It is really hard to find Christian counsellors. And vetting them is a whole process. I truly long for that and am going to continue to search. Why? Because the Lord doesn’t want me going through this alone. While I know I am not alone, sometimes my thoughts block my ability to feel His presence. I get so caught up and focused on my situation that I cannot see God through my struggle. And there have been many times when I simply talked to someone that I felt a burden lift. While I know I cannot share everything with everyone (even a counsellor), the Lord doesn’t want me carrying any undue burdens (Matthew 11:28–30). So I have determined to lay them down.

I just wanted to share this with you in case you are going through the same thing. Your story probably isn’t like mine but I wanted to let you know you aren’t alone in this fight. More than that, you are seen.

I hope that you remember that every day you say “no” to those intrusive thoughts, is another battle you have one, another time you have triumphed, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it. For me, sometimes my depression makes it hard for me to get up even on the sunniest of days. Sometimes I can’t focus on living at all. My prayer for you is that you get up. My prayer for you is that you win. My prayer is that when you rise, you rise knowing who you are and whose you are and that you’ve got this!

Be blessed.

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Helping you follow Christ in a dark world. Helping you keep your head up when things seem bleak. A Christian living blog for today.

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Rise Holy

Helping you follow Christ in a dark world. Helping you keep your head up when things seem bleak. A Christian living blog for today.