Any time I mention depression people seem to come out of the woodwork to tell me how wrong I am and how I have no right to judge others.
It’s funny though, when you see me post a status on Facebook or Twitter I’m not judging anyone.
I’m speaking from my own personal experience.
My struggle with depression
I struggled with depression for just shy of a decade when I was younger.
It really is the grace of God that brought me through that season and out the other side where I can say that today the joy of the Lord truly is my strength!
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a battle.
In fact my journey to freedom was an intense struggle in many ways to be honest.
It required me every day to make good decisions and choose not to give into my default patterns.
Patterns that I had burned into my brain for over almost a decade!
Not only that but whether or not your depression comes from a chemical imbalance to begin with, being depressed causes a chemical imbalance.
So if you aren’t imbalanced to begin with, living in a state of depression causes you to become chemically imbalanced. And if you are, well, it certainly doesn’t help things!
It creates a chicken or the egg scenario, a downward spiral of doom and gloom!
Even as I was getting better and was almost completely free, there were many days I couldn’t make good choices and see things from a heavenly perspective. There were days where I couldn’t hear from God at all!
Those where the days I had to get out of my head and get around other people who could see things more clearly than I could!
But I did find freedom from this life.
Why am I saying all this?
Because I want you to know, when I talk about depression on the blog, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else it’s not to try piss off depressed people.
I’m not trying to be insensitive.
I’m not trying to shame you for being depressed.
I simply want people to be free.
My heart is to give you hope! There is another way of doing life.
Depression is not part of God’s plan for your life.
Depression is not a fruit of the Spirit! The abundant life that God wants to bring you into does not contain depression, it’s fruit is joy!
Embracing the journey
There’s no shame in the journey, it took me 10 years to get free and truth be told I still have my days when I don’t feel like dancing around and screaming from the top of the rooftops about how great life is.
Even over the last 8 months in the process of Sarah leaving me I often saw that all to familiar depression peak it’s head around the doorframe looking for an invitation to come and hang out.
Just ask my friends – they will all tell you I frequently called them up and demanded to hang out just so I could get out my own head! (I love you guys!!)
There were even a few days at the worst of it all where I succumbed and just kicked back with depression.
Was it a good idea? Nope.
Did it help? Nope.
Did I know that would be the case before hand? Yup!
So why did I do it?
Truth be told, there is a weird thing that goes on for many of us who have had or still have depression.
(This isn’t true of everyone but it is true of many and it was for me!)
I liked the wallowing, the feeling sorry for myself, the pity party I threw for myself for almost 10 years of my life.
It was a truly disturbing love/hate relationship.
I hated being depressed and maybe even more so I hated myself for being depressed. But despite that, embracing the lifestyle that only made the depression worse made me feel in some ways better able to cope.
The human brain is a fickle thing and will lie to you to get that quick temporary fix.
Did you know that those who quit smoking/drugs/alcohol etc. usually overcome the physical addiction in just a few weeks?
The primary issue is the mental addiction.
We trick ourselves with the memory of how good things feel. We even have burned into our neural highways a known fix for when faced with our fears, hurts, rejection or any other terrible things that come our way.
But despite that battle. There is a reason to fight it.
Because life on the other side is so much better!
We fight battles to win them. And the beauty of this battle is that there is only one outcome with God on our side.
He can and will see you through this.
Don’t beat yourself up for falling over, for struggling, for not being the best you today.
Instead know this, there is a better you that God is uncovering.
And that uncovering starts with you believing that is what God wants for you!
God doesn’t want you to remain in your depression.
Go to God with your hurts and pains.
Deal with the root issues of your depression – whatever they may be!
Just as joy is a fruit of the spirit, depression is often a fruit of not dealing with our hurts and pains in an effective manner.
Now hear me right – I know people have physical issues, such as chemical imbalances etc. that cause their depression but guess what… in my Bible Jesus specialised in healing physical issues just as much as anything else! So don’t let that hold you back!
There is never a reason to make depression bigger than Jesus!
Get help, see a doctor, see a psychiatrist, get on medicine if you need help taking control of your thought life.
But whatever you do – don’t give up!
There is a better future out there for you and God isn’t standing there waiting for you to arrive.
He’s walking with you today towards that future – and He has all the time in the world so don’t put expectations upon yourself that He isn’t!