After over 20 years of struggling with depression and about 10 years of taking medicine to minimize its effect on my life, I really don’t talk about it much. It is kind of like having brown eyes. My eyes are brown and that’s that. I have written about my journey and so I won’t repeat the things I have shared previously. Dysthymia, https://theperennialgen.com/a-bruised-reed-he-will-not-break/, https://theperennialgen.com/waiting-for-rescue/
However, a few things happened recently to cause me to desire me to help others understand depression. Whether we acknowledge it or not, depression seems prevalent in the Christian community. Furthermore, many people take medication to treat depression, yet there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and even judgment. I don’t hope to clear this up in 500 words, but I would like to generate some thought and understanding of this struggle.
During the course of a Bible study, someone who did not realize my circumstances asked me…
“Isn’t it good for a person to learn about Jesus rather than take a drug?”
“Can depressed people not be depressed with Jesus?”
“Do you think that doctors who prescribe drugs lead people to think drugs are the answer?”
For anyone who does not know me, I reiterate I am not a professional and I know almost nothing about brain chemistry. I wanted to answer these questions according to my own opinions and experiences recognizing there are as many perspectives as there are people.
For me, learning about Jesus and taking medication to me are not mutually exclusive. It has been my lifelong passion to know Jesus more and follow Him more closely. Some days are better than others, but even when I am growing in my knowledge of the Lord and seeking closeness with Him, the darkness presses in. Unfortunately, being a child of God did not exempt me from depression, but as a child of God I know He is with me and does not abandon me even when I am not very functional and my thinking goes askew. With Jesus, I have an eternal hope that others without Jesus do not have.
My current doctor reminds me every time my prescription is up for renewal that there are no happy pills, and life is filled with ups and downs. Yes, some people may think a pill is the solution, but others think money or beauty are the solutions to life’s problems. I suspect that doctors see medications as part of a solution. Since depression has a physical component, medication may address issues of brain chemistry. However, we are more than physical beings, so other means are needed to address the non-physical components of depression. For me, the spiritual component is most important. Knowing the compassion and tender care of my savior has kept me from remaining in the miry pit. Even so, transformed thinking (knowing truth, rejecting lies) is taking years and years and years.
Maybe some people will think I have taken the easy way out or it is a failure of my faith or to take a prescription. No matter what routes a person takes to manage depression, there is never an easy way out. Although some may experience a miraculous healing, which the Lord is fully capable of performing, for many struggling, God chooses gradual healing, strengthening our dependence on Him as He shapes us into His image. Wherever you are in this journey, realize Jesus is working and you are dearly loved by Him.