I was listening to the radio some time ago when the DJ spoke about Christians and depression. He was talking about his own struggles with depression and how the religious community as a whole condemns him. Having the tendency to make a great Pharisee, my mind was wavering between acceptance and self righteousness. That is, until now.
I still don't understand how it happened, but I can definitively tell you that a Christianís struggle with depression is real. I don't know why, but I know it happens. As I struggle with answers, all I can come up with is we are flawed people and we don't know all the answers. I don't believe we are supposed to. I still believe God is there and He loves us, despite all our flaws. He will make a way.
So, in the spirit of my revised perspective on the subject, I have attempted to describe what the struggle feels like. If you're there, I understand. If you're not, please have mercy on us who have experienced this. It is very real. It is also the last place we would want to find ourselves and we'd do anything to leave it behind. However, the struggle does not make us any less of a Christian. If that were the case, all the disciples would have to be disqualified as well. That being said, here goes...
I struggle with how to describe this feeling, this almost tangible foreign presence that threatens to overtake me, but my words come up short. My mind tends to gravitate towards being trapped in quicksand or a heavy theatre curtain. I am still acutely aware of my surroundings, but this foreign invader clouds my perception like a thick fog.
To my knowledge, I never invited this leech in, yet I know it's there. I still remember the way it used to be before my life was invaded. When I try, I can conjure up the images like remembering a sweet fragrance long after it's faded. This enemy even invades my daydreams, trying to convince me that's all I have left. "No!" I scream. "That just can't be true!"
How did I get trapped like this? I didn't even see it coming. Is there some way I could have avoided it? No answers come. The most important thing right now is to get out, I decide. Yes, get out and then figure out how you got here.
I frantically call out to anyone around to pull me out of the quicksand; to open this curtain. Can't they see I'm trapped? I don't understand why they can't seem to hear me. Could this enemy be right? Is this what's become of my life? I still can't seem to resign myself to a fate that seems inevitable. From the recesses of my mind, a still small Voice beckons to me to hold on. Hope still lingers. All is not lost.
I start to struggle, trying to understand why I got trapped in the first place. It's hard to breathe, so I'm forced to relent. The Voice calls again. "Shh, be still. I'm here. You're not alone." He never condemns, never says I shouldn't have put myself in this place. In the midst of it all, the fog never overshadows His presence. I know He's there. The enemy invader can't even make Him go away. I can hold on.
My struggling comes in spurts, as I can muster up the strength. He's always there, encouraging me. He beckoned those who I called to before, who couldn't hear. Their voices join His in encouragement. My hope is returning. I will be free of this; I know it. I long for the day when this invader will be forced to run. "It will be soon," He whispers. "Hold on."
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2
Thank you so much for this article. I think many need to read and think about it. There are many causes of depression and just because we are born again does not necessarily mean we wll never experience it. I have been through depression and came out on the light side. Jan Crouch of TBN had a bout with depression and God brought her out of it. Sometimes circumstances bring it on, sometimes it is a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected. There are many causes and I think it is very wrong for anyone to judge harshly the one going through it. If you have never been there, then you cannot understand it. Again, thank you for writing this. GOD BLESS YOU.