Let’s Talk About Depression (Seriously), Pt. 1

Don’t grade me on the look of this post, for I don’t want to take the time to make it look pretty.

Don’t judge my writing based on this one post, for it is not going to be eloquent or edited for content; I’m just going to share with you what’s on my mind, straight from the heart, holding little back.

Here we go.


Scarlett

For the last few days I have had another blogger on my mind. If you want to, go check her out at The Full Story and read her post “My Depression.”

Scarlett (aka, bloodmoonxxx99) has left some pretty pointed comments on this blog, especially regarding my post “Atheists On Christianity.” Because of those recent comments I decided to go to her blog to discover what she was really about – was she for real, or just another atheist troll out to try to yank my chain? Well, come to find out, she’s a broken, scarred, and hurting young woman who needs to be loved, just like the rest of us.

In “My Depression” Scarlett described some things I can understand, for I, too, know a lot about depression. I could feel her pain and sense her struggle. But I guess what really broke my heart was that I wish I could have offered her some real hope…some help…a Way to deal with it. Yet, as she will probably attest, I’m sure, she doesn’t want prayer, or Jesus.

Nevertheless, I’m going to pray for her. Frankly, I’ve had her on my mind all day long.

But enough about Scarlett, for now… Let’s talk about you and me.

My Depression Story (not Scarlett’s)

Have you ever been depressed? Have you ever suffered from clinical depression? What are your thoughts about depression? Do you think depression is a sin? A character flaw? ย A mental problem? A weakness?

For the record, I am no stranger to depression; I battle with it on a regular basis. And when I say “battle,” I do mean an all-out fight at times…a fight to notice the sunlight while staring at it.

Years ago, when I was just sixteen, I nearly committed suicide. Had it not been for my dad knocking on the door of my bedroom, I would have pulled the trigger of the loaded 12ga. shotgun that was pointed inside my mouth. Long story short, no one had adequately taught me about God’s grace, only the legalistic perspective of holiness, and I was failing at it. I was ashamed of myself, my sin, and my constant asking for forgiveness. I came out of that period of my life, but without any counseling or help, because I kept it a secret.

Years later, I went from poverty to riches (practically speaking) as I moved up the ranks from a salesman in the funeral business, to manager. I was making more money than I ever dreamed possible for someone like me – every take-home paycheck each week had a comma in it. Now, I was not only legalistic, but I had money and was making a name for myself – literally, my name was actually the only thing used in a big radio campaign.

Then, in 2000 or so, the proverbial rug got jerked right out from under me and I, along with every thing I had, came crashing down. I hit rock bottom. I literally came to the point of shaking my fist at God, cursing Him with every vulgarity I could muster, and daring Him to kill me. I blamed Him for my career loss, my marriage problems, and especially my loss of ministry opportunity, and I wanted to die – I didn’t even care about hurting the ones who loved me most.

Until around 2002 I regularly went to counseling, at least twice a week, with both psychologists and psychiatrists. I was prescribed medication and was nearly committed to an institution for my own safety. It was almost impossible for me to see any future worth living, for my pride had been crushed, my self-righteousness had been proven worthless, and I couldn’t see why God would want to have anything else to do with me. For a while I was literally card-carrying crazy, or at least that’s how I described it.

What made it even worse was the fact that my wife loved me so much that she stayed with me, working extra jobs when I couldn’t hold a job. She loved me, even when I hated myself, and that made me hate myself even more – at least for a while.

But I specifically remember one night when I got drunk and started cursing God, telling Him exactly what I thought. It was in the midst of my wretched ranting that I heard that “still, small, Voice” whisper into my heart, “I know you don’t mean that, Anthony; but even if you do, I’m still here, and I still love you.”

Jesus wouldn’t let me go.

My Right Now

Now, let’s fast forward to today. For the last couple of days I have been dealing with some feelings of depression, and it’s been very difficult. What caused it? I’m not sure. All I know is that when it got triggered my mood went downhill faster than a Jamaican bobsled. In just a few hours I was wallowing in the muddy pit of despair, thinking terrible thoughts, even questioning my beliefs.

But what I have learned is that God is real, His ways are higher than our ways, and that whenever He is about to do something in our lives, or use us in the lives of others, the Enemy (who is also real) desires to counter those plans. More often than not, long before we even have a clue about what is going on, Satan and his minions are already working for our defeat and disgrace. It’s in our times of depression that we must realize our faith is the number-one target of the Devil.

Ultimately, in the plainest of explanations, the truest way to defeat depression of any kind is to hold on to our faith in God and his character. I submit the following video featuring Lauren Daigle.

This afternoon, after lying down for a short nap (it was a long night and I needed some sleep before getting back on the school bus), some words started coming to mind, sort of like a sermon outline, and all alliterated with the letter “P”.

What came to my mind were five (5) reasons why we get depressed…what causes depression in so many of us…what has resulted in deep depression in my on life.

I will share them with you in the next post.ย 

In the meantime, would you pray for Scarlett?

 

Advertisements

32 Comments

Filed under Depression

32 responses to “Let’s Talk About Depression (Seriously), Pt. 1

  1. Anthony, I needed to read this post today. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s comforting to see how God has pulled you through.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I was blessed to hear it. I do indeed get depressed and I have yelled at God myself a few times. I’ll pray for Scarlett.

  3. I’ve fought depression coming at me from every direction. Physically due to thyroid issues and diabetes. Psychologically due to childhood trauma and loss of loved ones. The worst form I experienced was the utter hopelessness of being lost, spiritually dead, and seeing death as the only solution to my problems. I did attempt suicided as a young woman in that spiritually dead state and in fact, I died clinically and was brought back. I didn’t see any bright lights only, darkness and I cried when I woke up in the hospital, alive. I accepted Christ about one year later and though I still struggled with depression in all it’s forms, I never again experienced that level of hopelessness because Jesus is there with me and He doesn’t leave me, ever; not even when I try to leave Him. I’ll pray for Scarlett too.

  4. Vickie

    Sometimes we tend to hold people like yourself to a higher standard and don’t allow you to be a normal human with normal human feelings.
    Thank you for sharing Pastor.
    Depression is such a difficult, seemingly shameful subject to those who don’t understand it or have never experienced trying to deal with it.
    I believe God can help Scarlett.
    Jesus died for her too.

  5. I cannot think of a time that I wasn’t depressed, but the day I realized that God was right there with me, holding me tight during the darkest days, was the day I quit fighting it and relaxed into it instead. Now I find that those days or weeks or months that the sun doesn’t shine, are often my closest times with the Lord. Still, it never gets any easier, and I have quit anticipating that it ever will, it is just is what it is and you have to adapt. This was a great post, it really helps to know that one is not alone and so different as your depression leads you to believe. Thank you.

  6. Anthony, I thank you for your candor. Thank you for speaking up about depression and sharing your testimony. I too fight depression regularly. When it hits, I’m learning to recognize what it is and reach for God in prayer. I have a few other things I do physically to help fight it off, but I always call on the Lord as soon as I realize what’s going on.

  7. Seth Thomas

    I, too, deal with depression on a regular basis. I am bipolar which has such a stigma attached to it. There are periods where I feel like I am invincible with all sorts of energy and then the next moment I’m too tired to care about anything.

    I take medication regularly and see my psychiatrist every three months for follow-up. I hold down two jobs (one full-time and one part time weekend job, so I work 7 days a week now), raise a family and serve anywhere He puts me.

    I do not think depression is a character flaw on its own. I do believe some people in this world use the word as an excuse to remain flawed and weak. I do not believe it is a sin but I do believe that due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, it is possible depression came from that moment.

    My church loves to show a video on the screens when they sing the song, “I Am Redeemed.” It shows a man write the word bipolar and toward the end of the song he erases it. It seems they believe that once you accept Christ, mental illness is wiped clean and you have no more issues. I told the media team a few weeks ago, “I guess I’m not a Christian since I am still bipolar. Is that true?” They were speechless. One just looked down and wouldn’t look up until I left.

    It’s a touchy subject and I believe the church in general is… well, in the words of Hall & Oates, out of touch.

    • hope855

      Seth, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You are not a bipolar, you just have bipolar. As Matthew West sings, you are a “child of the one, true, king”. All of us Christians are a part of Christ’s Body, even us weaker members. Christ uses and is still using you in mighty ways. We’re in this together. Try your best to forgive and not be bitter towards the church. Easier said than done, but Christ gives the strength. If someone comments to you, who you know is a Christian, just be kind but honest. When you degrade my illness, I feel… then state it. That is what my counselor is working with me on. If they’re genuine, they’ll apologize. Hope this helps! God bless you.

  8. Anthony, thank you for your openness in speaking about Depression. I believe this post will help more people than you realize; as there is a perception that preachers are immune to these feelings. I will add Scarlett to my prayer list, also.

  9. Bro Anthony. Thanks for reaching out to that young lady in such a loving, open way. Bless you for this.

  10. Donald Norris

    Somehow, the like button just doesn’t do it on this post. Thank you so much for sharing your own struggle with us. Looking forward to the “P” post.

  11. I read your post and it felt like someone had peeked into my life and stole my secret. Depression is not an easy thing to deal with. Being a Black female from South Africa, it is less understood in my community and therefore not much help is available for it and if there was help, there aren’t resources available to afford people the help they need. God has been gracious to me, He got me through it and is still helping on a daily basis without having had gone to doctors. I wrote on it in my last post on behindtheglasses.

    I pray for Scarlett. Depression makes you feel hopeless, the gift we have as Christians is that our hope in Christ never fails, and that was the light that pierced my darkness. I found that anchoring yourself in truth helps to dispel the lies that the mind will spew when it is injured (I believe depression is an injury to our minds). The Bible helps to re-calibrate it back to truth. It is a struggle, but our Lord is right there with us the fight.

    • Thanks for that comment. I’ve been truly blessed by all the comments affirming the post. I’m happy to know what I wrote was an encouragement, which further proves God doesn’t waste a tear; there’s always a reason for our struggles.

    • Oh, and thanks for checking in all the way from South Africa! The closest I’ve been to there is Zimbabwe.

  12. I’m with Donald Norris, there needs to be a “WOW”, “BEYOND GREAT” to describe how this post moves me. Thank you for being vulnerable and genuine to show that followers of Jesus don’t have it all together, but knows to scoop up everything and take it to the only One who let’s us share how we feel, and won’t run away. He carried our “stuff” on the Cross, why does anyone think He would turn away now?

  13. Pingback: Talking about Depression | See, there's this thing called biology...

  14. hope855

    Dear Bro. Anthony,
    Thank you for sharing your powerful, testimony. My Mom suffers from depression. It is very real, indeed. You’re touching the lives of so many. God bless.

    • hope855

      Bro. Anthony,
      The Lord has convicted me of having an unforgiving spirit. I humbly ask of you to please forgive me for being so quick to judge. Right now I’m trying to figure out how God is going to use my story, but He has just shown me that judging others in the process and not forgiving is a hindrance. Thank you so very much and God bless.

  15. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles and battles. Sometimes depression is a big blob of stuff that hasn’t been healed. It needs to come up, be seen, express itself, be felt and released. My experience has been that it’s unhealed and mostly unknown to me but as I listen to it, feel it, and release it. It goes. It actually wants to go. I personally don’t go the Satan route. I don’t believe in such a thing. I believe that there are parts of myself that learned to keep down the depression or hide it or whatever….Those parts were just trying to keep me safe. It wasn’t a healthy choice but it must have worked a few times or they wouldn’t have been so good at it! Be well!

    • Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I would like for you to give a little more consideration to the spiritual aspects of this, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ Nevertheless, thanks for your comments, both this and the other one.

      • Thanks for sharing your heartfelt experience! I see what you are saying about the spiritual aspects. My experience, to me, is spiritual not religious. I see Jesus, Satan, etc as part of a religion’s story. We humans can have spiritual experiences from their stories but that is up to each one of us. I sorta see it as my soul is a part of God. When I listen to my soul via emotions or very clear sensations that feel like guidance that’s my spiritual experience. Can be complicated stuff! Obviously, our personal journey…Be well! Have good day.

      • Man, I wish we could talk more, but coffee is not so easy to share online, is it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • LOL! It really isn’t to share on line!

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. Depression has been a big part of my life as well. I have come to see it as a blessing in a way, as it has driven me closer to God and forced me to rely on Him. But I still wish I could be free of it. When I’m not depressed I’m dreading the next time it returns. I need to trust God that He will get me through it.

  17. mytenantdepression

    Wow! Thank you for your post!!! It touched my profoundly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s