Have you ever felt like you were in a funk? But more than that, like you just couldn’t bring yourself to get out of bed, get dressed, or do the things you’re supposed to do? Did you feel guilty because of it? I mean, obviously you should be happy all the time because you have Jesus and therefore your life is easy breezy lemon squeezy. No?
Come sit by me, girl, and let me tell you my story. I have lived most of my adult life with anxiety and depression. Sometimes it’s manageable and sometimes it overwhelms me. It can be situational, and I can feel it coming. Or it can come out of nowhere and punch me in the face. It rarely looks the same from one bout to the next. As an added bonus, I’ve also had post-partum depression, which is its own animal. I’m pretty good at hiding it. Practice makes perfect and all. If you know me and I haven’t told you, it would probably come as a surprise. I started writing this post a couple of hours after a panic attack, something I hadn’t experienced in a while. That was a fun surprise.
Why in the world would I share all this? Because a lot of women live this story too, and not enough of us talk about it. It’s embarrassing. I can remember trying to hide it from my family on a beach trip. The stress of keeping it under wraps just made everything worse. When I finally did fall apart in front of all of them, I found out that all the women in my family were struggling with some form of it. Imagine how much easier that trip would have been if we weren’t all trying desperately not to be found out.
Well-meaning people in the church can sometimes make this more difficult. I’ve been given various pieces of advice, often unsolicited. I need to take a walk and get some fresh air. I need to pray harder. I had one person tell me that depression and anxiety mean that your relationship with God isn’t right. Um…no. Trust me when I tell you that my relationship with God is the only reason I’m still standing.
Though the Bible doesn’t specifically address depression, some of the most familiar characters exhibited signs. In 1 Kings, Elijah begs God to take his life. Moses asks God in Numbers to go ahead and kill him. David talks openly about his feelings of rejection and sadness on a number of occasions. In Psalm 6 he says, “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?…I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” (verses 3 and 6). I don’t think I could possibly sum up the depths of depression better than this.
We know that we live in a broken world. And we know that God is with us. He understands how we feel, and his words can give us great comfort and hope. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Clinical depression is nothing to be ashamed of. We are blessed because our Creator gives us hope. He loves us, flaws and all, thank goodness. And He also helps us in many ways. One of those ways could be through a counselor. It could be through medication. But it’s much harder to get help when we don’t ask for it. I just want to encourage anyone who is suffering not to do it alone. There are resources for you. Talk to a pastor or a trusted friend. And know that what you are going through does not make you less than. I’m reminded of the words of a Matthew West song that always brings me to tears. God uses all of our messes if we let him.
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours