It’s not easy. I feel like by sharing my story, “depression” becomes my label. And that label has a stigma attached to it. People think, “mentally ill,” “nutcase,” “can’t be trusted,” “emotionally unstable.” It’s not like sharing about drugs or alcohol or even a rocky time in your marriage as if it were a thing of the past. Depression is something that’s always there, but in varying degrees. Some people just struggle with depression for a season, while for others, it’s a lifelong thing that requires regular maintenance and management.
How we view the cause of depression determines what treatment we’ll deem appropriate. If we view it as a chemical imbalance, we’ll treat it with medicine. If we see it as a spiritual issue, we’ll send people to church. If it’s circumstantial, we’ll suggest they change their circumstances. If it’s due to an event, like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), we’ll suggest counseling. Seasonal depression we’ll treat with a happy light etc. I’m not a doctor, so I’m not attempting to address this from a medical standpoint. But I have been on depression meds. I’m also not a counselor, so I’m not attempting to address this as one. But I have been through counseling. I am simply a person who has struggled with depression for the majority of my life. I am going to address this as someone who’s been through all the “treatments,” and yet still struggles. I’m not knocking the treatments, but I am saying that sometimes depression is deeper than a quick fix. Sometimes it’s a lifelong thing. Sometimes fixing shouldn’t be the goal. What does a “fixed” person look like anyway? Constant happiness can’t always be expected. “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief” (Proverbs 24:3).
My goal in writing these posts is twofold. I hope to give those of you without depression a better understanding of those who do struggle with it. Also for those with depression, I am writing to give you hope through a sense of solidarity and encouragement in hearing how the Lord brought me through certain stages of life with depression.
These blogs will go through the following stages of my life:
1. A Sense of Solidarity: why blog on depression
2. The Shame of Depression: depression in high school
3. Suicidal Thoughts: depression in college
4. Spiritual Warfare: depression post college and in graduate school
5. Married to a Psychologist: depression in marriage
6. Stopping the Cycle for the Next Generation: depression as a mom
Focus on the Family offers one time call back basis counseling: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/