Sometimes, as Christians we are our own and each other’s worst enemies. I’ve been thinking about that especially in regards to mental health lately.
Depression can be biological and situational.
When I faced my darkest depression cycle to date I could recognize that I didn’t have a reason to be that way by any logical standard, but the chemicals in my brain and my emotions didn’t care. That is why it was depression-I could recognize it shouldn’t be and yet the darkness was all consuming and all but debilitating.
Sometimes Christians give the message that if you believe in God enough and follow Him you wouldn’t be depressed and/or you could just snap out of it.
My struggles (and anyone else’s struggles) with mental health is not a reflection of my relationship with God any more so than someone else’s diagnosis of high blood pressure.
In fact, in many ways, it has fueled and grown my relationship with God and has provided different ways for Him to use me with others who struggle in a variety of ways. Because I may not have the same experiences as others, but I have felt the depth of despair.
As I was reading Psalms this morning, it suddenly hit me in the middle of Psalms 42 that David fought depression. (This may not be news to many of you since, when I did some research, I found that A LOT has been written about this.) Throughout the book, you can literally read his cycles of darkness and hope. These were like a reflection of my soul when I put the pieces together – the coexistence and mingling of swimming in the darkness of despair while knowing there is hope in your heavenly father;knowing He will come rescue you despite the fact that you feel utterly alone and abandoned.
And David was a man after God’s own heart.
So, what’s the point I’m trying to make? I’m not even really sure. However, if you are there, in the darkness right now – know you will come out, but also know that it is okay to be there and it is not a reflection on you or your strength (or your relationship with God).
There is something important to learn and just experience in the darkness itself (not just in coming out of it). So, much of who I am was formed in the darkness.
This is not our home and I really view my depression as a form of homesickness – a sickness I will continue to experience (and even be proud of) until I am home with my heavenly Father, at peace in my eternal home.