How I Combatted the Guilt I Felt as a Christian With Depression


I experienced depression for a period of about five years (though it was probably several years earlier but went undiagnosed). I felt the deep darkness and sorrow of depression, I experienced the classical “drowning” symptoms. I had chronic insomnia, lost my appetite and became withdrawn; at its worst, I was suicidal and wanted out.

I found healing through my faith and belief in God and even if I did have the odd day here and there, I found true comfort in His Love. However, recently I experienced an episode of depression which was of the more severe form. Though I did find relief in my faith which enabled me to overcome the depression, there was one major difference between the episodes, and that was guilt.

I had experienced guilt previously whilst struggling with depression, I felt guilty for feeling so sad when my life was good and I had nothing to be sad about. I had equated my feelings of depression to being ungrateful, which I now realize is completely incorrect. Experiencing depression does not necessarily mean you’re ungrateful and the two feelings do not have to be placed in the same bracket.

Experiencing depression as a Christian left me feeling even more guilty. I felt guilty that I was feeling so sad when I believe in a God who is all loving. I felt guilty that I couldn’t seem to “move on” from how I was feeling. I felt guilty that I was “allowing” an illness to overtake me so much. I felt guilty that I wasn’t praying as much as I usually did, and even when I did, it would mostly be ramblings about the depth of pain I was feeling. I felt guilty for stagnation – I felt as if I’d taken a thousand steps backward after moving forwards so radically. I felt guilty for the doubts and essentially “lack of faith” I thought I was experiencing.

I got to a point whereby the guilt was preventing me from reaching out for help and dealing with the depression. I really believed I needed to “suck it up” and get on with it. I believed that, as a Christian, I should be strong enough to deal with it on my own.

However, this was all not true. One thing I have learned from dealing with depression as a Christian is a crucial need for vulnerability, both with God and people. Vulnerability is a place of exposure and being honest without holding back. Being vulnerable is not an easy thing at all; you never really know how someone will react and you could possibly be hurt by their response. However, from my experience, I found that being vulnerable and allowing people in helped a great deal.

Through being vulnerable, I learned I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to deal with everything on my own. I found love, encouragement and support through friends where I was expecting judgment and misunderstandings.  I was able to accept the severity of the problem and confront it in order to overcome it. I was able to seek help from friends through praying together, which personally helped me to learn how to pray again for myself. I learned I didn’t have to “move on” but instead get better.

Guilt is such a heavy feeling which can be attached to anyone struggling with depression, not just Christians. It’s important to talk to someone about how you’re feeling; don’t let guilt stop you from reaching out. It is not your fault that you are struggling with an illness and therefore there is no need to feel guilty about it. Reach out to someone today and work on beating depression.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Ben White.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

young woman walking in park rear shot muted colours

The Importance of Explaining My Depressive Episode to Loved Ones and Myself

It was only just yesterday that it all clicked in my head: the fatigue, the random tears, the irritability, the nightmares… I am in a depressive state. It’s been about two weeks and I’m not unfamiliar with the physical and mental side effects an episode like this has on me, but I am surprised I [...]
young woman in sunset by water staring out thoughtfully

You Are Enough: A Letter to My 14-Year-Old Self With Depression

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. Christina, I know you’re going through some stuff right now. And I know you don’t know how [...]
people standing on hill during sunset with article title overlay

36 Holistic Methods That Have Helped People Manage Depression

Other ailments are more straightforward. You go to the doctor with a sore throat, red tonsils and maybe a fever. They run a test which comes back positive or negative. The test comes back positive and they give you medication that leaves you feeling better in just a few days. If only depression was that [...]
Hestia dog

I Want Others to See Me, Not Just My Service Dog

As a person with a psychiatric service dog (an eight pound Japanese Chin named Hestia), I am accustomed to getting stares, comments and questions from the general public. Luckily, I have been fairly stable since obtaining Hestia, so for the past two and a half years I’ve been able to smile and interact and educate [...]