With every passing year comes a time of reflection, this year is no different than all the previous ones. I think back to a recent conversation with my sister where we discussed several "taboo" topics that shouldn't be taboo at all. One topic that struck close to home was depression and anxiety.
As Christians, we're taught that God is a healer, a provider, a way maker, and everything we'd ever need. When depression hits us like a Mack Truck though, we're left in confusion about all of those things we know to be true. Depression goes against everything we've ever been taught. If God is a healer, then why am I suffering from mental distress? If he's a provider, then why do I feel wanting? If he's a way maker, then why do I see no way out of this fog? We start to question everything that has always been true to us and then, guilt sets in. It's a vicious cycle and very difficult to break.
With sudden changes happening at a lightning pace in our society, it's no wonder so many people are suffering from depression and anxiety. We were never created for rapid changes that are present in today's world. A gradual pace is how our bodies and minds are designed to function. We see this as an example in all of creation. 9-months for a human to develop inside the womb, plus continued development through adolescents. Tree's take years to reach their maximum height, going through season after season of life and death. Why is it that we feel we need to jump from one activity to another, from one way of life to another? We don't even take the time to let things progress naturally. The result of such actions ends in a mental disorder that ales so many teenagers and adults today. Society has drilled into us that we have to fit as much "stuff" into our lives as we can because this life is all there is. It tells us that once we're dead, there's nothing left. Even Christians buy into this untruth, though we know Heaven is real and life truly begins after death. We pack in as many activities, jobs, outings, we rush life long decisions like marriage and having kids. We forget that the bible teaches us to be like the ant (Proverbs 6:6-8) who gathers in the summer for the winter. She plans ahead, she works towards the future, she doesn't rush summer away as if the winter will never come. She uses the moment she has been blessed with to prepare for the inevitable.
The result of such a hurried pace we've created for ourselves is depression and anxiety. We can't even talk about our struggles because once we open up and show that we're hurting in this way, it's fairly easy for small things to bring us down. So we keep our guards up as a means of protection and we don't talk about our difficulties. It takes days (or sometimes weeks) to gain a little bit of strength, to feel "normal" again, so we protect that priceless feeling from everything. We're scared that people will judge us, they won't understand, or they'll give us advice that we desperately need but would rather not hear. Though it's true that there are people in this world that have never struggled with depression, they honestly cannot say "I know how you're feeling", they probably won't even be able to offer you advice that would be beneficial in getting through your situation. What they can do, however, is offer you the best thing that will help you get through, prayer. Find a few people you can trust, ones you know will pray for you, ones you can vent to when you're having a bad day. You'll need that, and it's vital in getting through. Talking about your struggles gets the feelings out of your body and out of your head. It makes room for positive thoughts, similar to breathing. Vent out the bad and then inhale the positive.
Christians struggle the most with guilt when it comes to depression. They don't understand why they feel the way they do when they know the peace giver. Some (such as myself) have been healed of depression but then years later struggle with it again. The guilt that God has already healed me and then it came back is unbearable, almost as if I didn't even deserve the first healing. The truth is, if we could control mental disorders, we'd never deal with depression, eating disorders, or personality disorders. We'd be the perfect humans who all get along and never have to work towards anything. Reality; depression is a beast! It attacks us even on our best days and it comes without warning. Even though God can and does give miracles, depression usually takes a healing process. Sometimes it takes medication and/or counseling, but there's no shame in that. God gave us the resources to make these things happen and honestly, the process makes us better individuals. Don't feel guilty because God decided that you need the process this time rather than the miracle. He always knows what he's doing. You won't struggle with this forever. When it's all said and done, you'll be able to help someone else who went through what you're going through right now.
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