Before I tell any part of this story, I’d like to say a small word to those of you readers who will feel uncomfortable with the topic—those of you who see depression as sin, a problem that could only be spiritual in nature. Depression can be sin. There are numerous Biblical examples of people who walked in emotional darkness, and while some experienced depression as a result of rebellion and disobedience to God (King Saul), others experienced deep sorrow (Hannah) or dark exhaustion (Elijah) as godly people, imperfect.
Please know I’m not presenting a case for depression—I don’t like depression, myself; wouldn’t recommend it to a pig—but I have a story to tell: a story with some deep blackness; a story of redemption and healing as Jesus keeps working in me.
Some of the places I went in my mind were very wrong. But glory to Jesus can only be unleashed when I accept my experience for what it is; and how much more when I allow others to glimpse what He has done for me! “Should Christians struggle with depression?” becomes slightly immaterial in light of the fact that many of them do…
And to those of you brave enough to admit a similar struggle— please know I am not putting you in the same box I emerged from. Your story may be very different.
Once upon a time—not ten years ago, nor twenty, but exactly two, if you want to know the truth—I sat in a doctor’s office.
I was there for two reasons—to get some input on the hyperactivity issues of my three-year-old son, and to get some health advice for the seasonal depression I was experiencing. I was afraid. Afraid to be honest about how bad both issues were—how unusual my son’s behavior was, and how intensely dark I was feeling. My husband and I sat there, side by side, talking to our doctor first about Regan.
The conversation went really well, and I began to relax. She listened well. She was puzzled, like us, but she didn’t freak out.
We talked for a long time. Then she said, “Now, tell me about this other issue—how you feel in the winters.” I began, falteringly, to talk about it, trying to put it into words.
She began to frown.
The first question she asked was, “How bad is it in your worst times?”
“Well,” I said softly. “Uh. In my worst times I have to make myself stop thinking about ending my own life.”
She barely gave me time to catch my breath. Just like a whiplash across the room, she flung her second question: “How would you do it?”
And I froze. Because that was the one question she was not supposed to ask.
I knew exactly how I would do it.
When I titled my blog “Confessions of a woman learning to live” I wasn’t just whistling Dixie.
More next time.