5 Reminders for Christians Struggling With Depression
I’ve been wanting to write this for awhile now, but never felt comfortable enough or ready to do so. It wasn’t until this week that I’ve able to write this and I’m finally be ready to speak up and be open about my journey.
I’ve dealt with depression for almost two years now. This isn’t my first time dealing with it — the first time lasted for about three years back in high school — but this is the first time I got help from counselors and psychologists and even went on medication. It took me awhile to get this point and I’ve learned a few things along the way I would like to share, in hopes to encourage other Christians to continue fighting for themselves.
Here are five reminders if you’re a Christian struggling with depression:
1. You’re not a bad Christian for having depression or suicidal thoughts.
It doesn’t mean you don’t have enough faith or hope or that you don’t believe in Jesus enough. Depression tends to lie to you about it. It makes you believe you’re not trying hard enough and that’s why you still have it. That is not true — depression is an illness. Your faith is not measured by your depression.
2. You’re not weak for asking for help.
This took me ages to come to terms with. I was so afraid to ask for help, and it took one of my college trainers to pretty much corner me into meeting a psychologist for me to get the help I need. To be honest, when my trainer did that, I was so annoyed just because I really didn’t want to. At the time, talking about my problems seemed like I failed or I wasn’t strong enough. However, looking back at it, I’m thankful my trainer did do that, because it helped me to be free and get the help I so desperately needed but did not want to admit to.
3. You don’t have to be ashamed of struggling with depression.
God loves you no matter what. Holding onto the shame will hinder your recovery. Jesus has already set you free and He loves you so much. Please, stop putting shame on yourself. It’s not from God. It’s often depression lying to you.
4. It’s OK to serve and lead in the Church — or not.
It’s OK to still serve and lead when you’re dealing with depression, but it’s also OK to just completely stop to focus on yourself. I struggled with this for a long time. I felt like because I had depression, I shouldn’t be serving even though I really wanted to because it gave me some sort of normality in my life. I took awhile to get to the point to believe that despite my depression, I can still serve as I still had something to offer. But on the other hand, there were times I did not want to serve at all. And that was when I realized that even though I said yes to serving previously, I can change that. Depending on the part of my recovery journey I was at, sometimes I had to lessen my load or just take a break. And that’s totally fine. My health comes first and different seasons of life call for different responsibilities.
5. Your identity is not in your depression.
I took awhile to come to this stage, as my depression just consumed my mind and that was all I could focus on. It was hard to believe I’m not my depression because it felt like it shaped so much of what I did. I had to remind myself my identity comes from God. He calls me His beloved child and even though I knew this when I first got saved, because of my depression, I had to relearn it again. I needed to tell my mind I am loved, I belong and I’m accepted — all because of Christ.
These lessons have helped me so much and I hope that it serves as an encouragement and a reminder on your own journey.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Daniel Tseng.