I’m Thankful For My Depression
Some days it feels like the black abyss is only growing larger, enveloping me further. It feels like I’ll never climb back out, into the glorious sunlight. I often feel trapped in a hopeless chasm.
This is called depression. It’s one of the enemy’s most powerful tools. But it is also one of my greatest assets.
What is depression?
There are many misconceptions about what depression is and stigmas that surround it. Before going any further, I would like to debunk some of these myths.
Depression is a sickness. It is not always sin or the the result of sin. God corrects and guides in various ways, but depression is not always a result of this discipline. That being said, our sin can lead us into depression and, if we attempt to find our life purpose and value in anything other than Christ we will never be satisfied.
Depression is commonly a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes certain chemical levels to rise and others to fall. This causes mood swings and, as in my case, depression.
Just because I have depression doesn’t mean that I am always sad. I am not always crying and I don’t perpetually feel hopeless. In fact, if I didn’t tell you that I have depression, you probably would never even know. I wear a bright smile and love encouraging other people.
Now we know what depression is and isn’t. But what does all this mean for someone who battles this day in, day out?
You don’t have to be ashamed.
Depression carries so much shame and judgment. Because of that, people who struggle with this often don’t want to talk about it. Somehow it’s become a taboo subject, but it shouldn’t be this way. We all have battles and that’s okay. It’s called life.
It doesn’t make you a bad Christian.
Just because you don’t always feel happy doesn’t mean you don’t have the joy of the Lord. My youth pastor has said, “Happiness is based on happenings, but joy is found in Jesus.” You are no less of a chosen child of God because you battle depression. You are no less qualified to serve Him and He is no less faithful.
It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
I used to be afraid to admit that I had depression because I felt like I wasn’t supposed to get it. I blocked it off with a horrible lifestyle and spending time with someone who didn’t care about God. My views were wrong. Nothing is wrong with me. I just have a different struggle.
You may have thoughts you don’t understand.
Yes, I have seriously contemplated ending my life. It was just about the darkest time I have ever gone through. I felt like I had fallen into a hole in an iced-over lake and couldn’t get out. Any reason I found to live seemed to break away like the edge of the ice until I found myself barely treading water.
God clearly has other plans for me though, because He eventually gave me the reasons and strength I needed to keep going. For me, this is deeply personal but I can share it because I know that it’s just another temptation. Satan puts all sorts of thoughts in our minds and suicide is one of them.
It’s not a sin to be tempted toward suicide. Sadly, it’s pretty normal. That being said, please do not hesitate to seek counsel and help when dealing with such emotions and thoughts. There need be no shame.
It’s okay to need help.
I am currently taking medicine to help with my depression. I hated the idea at first, but you know what? For me, at this stage in life, it helps. I believe that God gave us medicine to help us and it’s okay for you to take advantage of that help (while recognizing that it’s not a permanent solution).
You may also need someone to talk to but feel like you’re too needy. God has blessed me with several amazing people who I can text when I need encouragement and I know that they are there for me. That is what the Body of Christ is all about. It is okay to need help. Trust me, you will have plenty of chances to return the favor.
But realize that it’s tempting to go to others before going to God. He is always there and you can never bother Him too much, so go to Him first. He is like your mom when you get home from summer camp; you can’t bother Him too much.
It will be okay.
You won’t always feel this way. It’s easy to say and so hard to believe, but it is true. For some, this may be a lifelong battle, but there is always an end to our pain and suffering. I’ve been dealing with this for over a year and a half now, but I know that God is faithful and will eventually bring me out on the other side. He is faithful.
You are blessed.
That’s right. You are blessed. You get the chance to see God’s faithfulness so vividly. In our weakness, He is shown to be strong. We get to see this truth so beautifully.
I have taught Sunday School for the past four years. This year, however, I wanted out. My main reason? I am on antidepressants and don’t feel competent. How can I teach kids about God and His faithfulness when I feel like I have absolutely no joy? Thankfully, I had people in my life who challenged me to look at why I wanted to quit. In the end I stayed, and there are so many Sunday mornings where God shows up and gives me the grace to pour out His love when I thought I was empty.
I can empathize with others who share this struggle. I have learned to rely even more on God. I have learned humility. I am blessed.
In closing, I want to say six words I never thought I would say.
I am thankful for my depression.
God has taught me so much and continues to do so every day. My relationship with Him grows deeper and more intimate as I learn to rely on him.
Someday, this will be like the stones in the Jordan river that the Israelites erected as a memorial of God’s faithfulness. Today, it is a battle with a sure victory. He has won. All I must do is travel on in His strength and wait on His perfect timing. Because it will come.
If you remember only one thing from this article, let it be this: He is faithful! We are faithless, He is faithful, but His faithfulness is not measured by our faithlessness. He is surer than the rising of the sun.
He will not fail. Never, ever, ever.