Much has been said about mental health and depression and much still has been left unsaid. We live in times when mental illnesses and depression are on the rise more than ever before. Many people in the medical world do not yet have a full grasp of mental illness since the brain still remains mystery to many in the medical class.
Much is said about depression. It is a complex state and as with all complex things, definitions only touch the surface and do not give a clear picture of what depression might be like. It is a state of hopelessness and despair and anxiety, all in one such that the whole life seems meaningless and the love of people seems all like lies. Only someone who has been battling depression can explain what it feels like to be depressed.
“After a serious auto accident in 2006, I was left with a brain injury that causes seizures. These occasional seizures produce memory loss, intense body pain, confusion, loss of routine body functions, and times and seasons of depression lasting days or weeks, varying in intensity. The depression can be so dark that there are days when all I can say to myself is “Jesus loves me, this I know” … because I doubt that anyone else loves me or even likes me. All I see is my own profound failure and all I feel is profound fear.”.
There are many causes of depression from natural causes to unknown causes. A broken relationship, loss of a beloved friend, academic struggle, financial crisis, as well as accident affecting brain performance, all of these can be causes of depression. While it is good to find out the causes of depression, I won’t get into getting them for you. My message goes to only two groups; to my depressed friends and to those near them.
To the Depressed.
To you, weary souls feeling alone and meaningless, to you who the whole world feels empty and none seems to come near you, I send these words towards you. To you all, when you read the Bible, it seems not to give you comfort you seek. To you, whose even prayers seem not to be heard.I wish these words maybe the hugs you need for now.
1. You are not alone.
Though it feels like you are and that everybody around you thinks you are crazy, still you are not alone. Depressed Christian, your creator and He who even sent His son to die on Calvary for You says, “He shall never forsake thee nor leave thee.” Do you believe this? Perhaps you are so down.
You wish the theology in your head would get into your heart—for the two—seem zillion miles away. Though you feel weary and the darkness has overshadowed you, He is still with you. He who watches over the Israel-(you are his delight) does not sleep nor slumber. Take heart, Jesus says because of Him. In the midst of your wilderness, take heart because He overcame the world. Trust His workings.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18
“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Ps. 38:4
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Ps. 42:11
Elijah, while fleeing from Jezebel, reached a point when he prayed to God to take his life. He was depressed, weary and afraid. Fleeing the wicked queen who threatened his life, as he lay down, he wished for death. “I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4
The righteous man of God, Job lost everything he had. Sadly, when he was so down, the very time he needed someone to encourage him, his wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9. He struggled a lot in his life with depression.
“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11 “I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26 “I loathe my very life, therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 “Terrors overwhelm me…my life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest.” Job 30:15-17
Even Jesus Himself was depressed. he was tempted in every way like we do and yet he was without sin. He knew what was to come. He knew that God had called him to a journey of suffering to save us, he knew what must happen in order for us to live truly free. Christ Jesus was willing to pay the price on our behalf, but it wasn’t an easy road. Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3
We can be assured that in whatever befalls us, Jesus understands our weakness and suffering, our greatest times of temptation and despair, because he too traveled that road, yet without sin. In the garden, through the night, Jesus prayed, all alone, calling out to His Father, asking Him for another way:
“And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.'” Mark 14:34-36
2. All are working for your good.
Even though you are battling depression and you seem to have given up, God has assured us that He is making all things work for the good of His people. It might not seem so- it is meaningless now.
But scripture tells us that our light momentary affliction is working for us a great weight of glory. The affliction you are in does not seem what the scripture calls it—light momentarily but it seems heavy and being there for long. It may seem so for now but not when compared to the great weight of glory! You shall receive a hundredfold of what you lost. In Christ, you are not a loser.
Stick to the Bible. In depression everything seems to be changing, friends who are caring fast seem to be avoiding you but the Word of God does not change forever. Rest in the scripture. Repeat the promises to yourself until they become a part of you. May God give you grace to the Glory of His name.
Dealing with Depressed People
To those who are well, let them also bear the burdens of their colleagues who are mentally ill. It is the duty of healthy soldiers to attend to their wounded fellows in battles and carry them to the camp. Jesus commands Christians to love their neighbors as themselves. Now how do you deal with a depressed friend?
You need to stop telling us that we need to pray a bit more and read Bible more and try to refocus on something else or try to forget. We hope there was an easy fix to this. We hope visiting a faith healer, or positive confession, or taking certain medication would solve it once and for all. Love us and encourage us and pray for us. We don’t want to be in this situation and neither do we wish anyone to be in it. Tell us more of Christ and His power, be around us—even without a word, we shall feel very grateful.
I will end this lengthy post with this poem written by George Herbert.
AH my deare angrie Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve:
And all my sowre-sweet dayes
I will lament, and love.
Let us love one another and comfort the fainthearted and the God of peace shall bless you. Amen.