I couldn’t help but choose Aladdin for movie night with Jackson this week. In the wake of Robin Williams’ passing, we’ve shifted quickly from sadness of this great loss to the stigmas surrounding depression.
It seems, apparently, that people are taking strong stances on the topic and I guess this is our chance to be open about depression. This is our time to spring from the platform which says it supports depression and mental illness and dive into physical action of walking with those living with the disease.
It’s our time not to judge, but to say, “come, share, speak to me and I will walk with you.”
My psychiatrist once told me this is simply the way I’m wired, this is my chemical imbalance and how I want to manage it is up to me. The dark cloud of depression ruled me in a severe manner for the better part of my early adult life. And in looking back, there were likely many sunny days, but all I can recall is the darkness. For where my mind and heart were concerned, there was no light.
What took me too long to realize is that depression is not a mind over matter disease, depression is a heart over mind disease. Let me say that again, this is a heart over mind disease. It's okay that we are chemically imbalanced; there is no shame in sickness. Jesus spent much of his life embracing the sick, healing those who reached out their hands and lifting those who were shamed in self-doubt.
Why then should we continue to walk in this darkness?
Each depression diagnosis is different. Each carries its own burdens. Each carries its own demons and darkness. And, in turn, each diagnosis needs its own journey of treatment. You cannot begin treating your disease until you recognize it, though.
My husband has been my rock through severe depression. He has stood aside concerned but constant. He's let me cry and have my moments. He's also held me up. He's listened when I made no sense. He's been silent when I just needed a presence of support.
It will not be easy, but saying the words "I'm depressed, something is off," will be freeing and, more so, it'll be that leap towards healing. The longer we hold onto the darkness enveloping our days, the further we get from the light.
Take yourself out of that little box of self-doubt, self-pity and grave darkness and know that God is your hiding place. He will be your shield; dress yourself in His armor.
This is where joy lies.
This is where the healing lies.
This is where life begins.
It's not all praise hands and puffy hearts every day. This is unfortunately true. In fact, some days, it's bringing yourself broken and weary to your Redeemer in need of a place to rest. "There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles." - Ann Voskamp
This is the Good News.
Friends, wherever you find yourself today, know you are worthy. Know the Lord is fighting for you in those dark places. We need to speak out and speak up. We need to join together to walk with those suffering and acknowledge the depths of depression.
If you are struggling with depression, I encourage you to tell someone -your significant other, a friend, pastor. I'm praying for you in this season and those to come. There is hope.
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