Friday, April 8, 2011
It's not a sin to be depressed
Every so often I feel the need to discuss depression on my blog. One, I get all kinds of back channel comments and questions about it. Two, it's a good reminder to me that it's part of my story but not the whole thing. And three, when people are ignorant they tend to make hurtful comments. One blog reader sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago. "I know God isn't happy with me. If I had more faith, if I prayed more, if I didn't miss church sometimes, and if I just believed I wouldn't be depressed." Perhaps I'm just low in the faith department at times, but that made ZERO sense to me. Personally, I pray more during bouts with depression, I trip over my own two feet getting to the safety of my church when I find it hard to believe alone, and if I'm really honest, sometimes those are my best moments with the Lord. That's not to say I didn't understand what she meant. Sometimes I get afraid that the next person who says to or near me, "The joy of the Lord is your strength!" is going to get drop kicked by yours truly into the next century. I know people mean well, but with all due respect - we already know that. You don't tell a bleeding person to pray harder. Stop telling depressed people to get over it. Stop telling anxious people to calm down. Believe me-if they could-they would. And I do know it's hard to understand if you haven't been there, but try to remember. Depression is not a sin-it's a symptom. It's a sign that something isn't right. Sometimes it makes perfect sense to me that I'm depressed - too tired, too stressed, etc. etc. Other times, life is going along perfectly fine when I get blindsided. I've discussed my journey with depression on here before so no need to rehash. Trust me on this - it's hard enough to be depressed without having spiritual guilt heaped on your head. Be there. Listen. Don't pretend to have the answers. Pray. Be supportive. The wave of depression tends to come and go. I keep the people in my life who are willing to lead me to the Anchor without trying to be one. Just my opinion.