It’s Depression Awareness Month and I’d like us to go on a journey together. You see, I love a road trip as much as the next person. And on this road trip the purpose is to make four pit stops between the start and the end of our tour.
Now maybe you don’t live with a mood disorder, or mental health issue. But I bet within your very close circle of peeps you have someone who is. Who maybe hasn’t even known how to tell anyone. And you need to know how to be supportive and versed in what the reality looks like for anyone who navigates depression in all its various forms.
Over the next four weeks I’d like to journey through four themes with you.
Week 1 – The Reality
Week 2 – The Lifeline
Week 3 – The Tools
Week 4 – The Hope
I’m so excited to explore each of these with you. Many of you sent me questions and suggestions for topics to cover while on this journey and I want you to know I’m including every one.
So kicking off this week… The Reality. What’s your reality this week? What are going to be your highs and lows? What’s pressing in on you and what are you relying on? What are you avoiding and what are you needing faith for?
Here’s the reality. At some point we’re all touched in some way by depression (or mood disorders). And for something so seemingly abstract in nature, it’s so prevalent and disabling for far too many. It’s the handicap you can’t see. Loves to hide in plain sight.
Can I make a very honest statement here?
I think that people who live with any form of depression are possibly the bravest, and most valiant survivors you’ll ever find.
It takes a special kind of person to take care of others non-stop while your insides feel lost and inadequate.
It takes a special kind of believer to cling to the Life Preserver over and over and over while new waves of depression wash over them and they keep holding onto the truth that He is enough.
Takes a special kind of person to show up to work, school, or church and act as though they don’t feel like they’re encased in cement, their ability to focus gone again, energy zapped, but still be productive because, well, they have to.
Takes a special kind of person to smile at another, when they barely knew how they were going to get out of bed not an hour before.
Depression doesn’t care if you already have other health issues. It doesn’t care if your workload just doubled and the boss is waiting for stellar results. It doesn’t care if you’re excited about that new dream, or the upcoming vacation, or the new diet you’re trying.
The reality of depression is that it has so many faces and so many symptoms that no amount of “get over yourself” or “think more positively” will cure it. The reality of depression is that it has dozens of symptoms that extend far beyond merely being “down” or sad all the time.
I can only speak to my specific chronic Dysthymia but it seems like I go for long periods of time where the neurotransmitters in my brain collide and disperse and buckle on a whim and from one day to the next I can’t dictate what I’ll be up to accomplishing, or if I’ll feel the same symptoms by the end of the day, or if my body will succumb to it all.
But we must be careful not to give in or give up.
Because depression or not, our reality is truly this:
We have been saved. We have been delivered.
Hey, I get it. The biggest thing you accomplished today was merely getting out of bed. Feels far from being delivered, doesn’t it?
But as believers I think we’ve defined deliverance in this neat and tidy, all or nothing definition. We’re either captive, or we’re completely free. Nothing else to be said.
But when I got my diagnosis a couple of years ago, God outlined a radical definition for deliverance for me. And it changed my reality.
We are delivered when we choose to let God carry us through our hard things. Unsatisfied with simply removing our situation, He inserts Himself fully into our situation, which is a whole new kind of rescue.
Deliverance is not merely blinking an eye and suddenly you have a void where once the chaos stood. I have a feeling many believers have defined faith the same way we do fairy dust. Wham. Healed. Right? But that smacks of placing faith in healing, as opposed to placing faith in Him.
Faith in Him might require more than fairytale endings.
Where is the holy process that needs to take place? So that all glory is obviously His when the dust settles. So that our identity in Him is cemented in grace and humility.
Take a look at the Israelites in the desert. Their deliverance did not fit into a box on any level.
Nor did Job’s.
Need I go on?
Deliverance is His providing and our growing, His answering to our crying, His teaching and our shaping.
Deliverance, real deliverance, requires transformation through partnering and relying on Him for every next breath if need be. He desires not just to rescue but to change us.
Freedom that is worth something. Freedom that gives something.
We are delivered when we decide not to be consumed by things but when we decide to say, “Lord, do with this what You will.”
All I am is Yours, Lord.
All. Of. Me.
That includes the depression.
That includes the anxiety.
That includes the chemicals in my brain that won’t settle.
All I am is Yours, Father.
We don’t carry any of this. He does. We don’t come up with miraculous answers. His is the miraculous answer.
That is the reality.
Depression doesn’t have to be the heavyweight in our lives.
The Creator King does.
Say that outloud.
We can stand up and declare like David did, “The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my Deliverer!” in 2 Samuel 21
Hey, depression will try to slow us down, keep us low, and attack us physically too.
But even when we can’t decide to reach for Him underneath that heavy blue blanket of depression, there is NOTHING that stops Him from reaching for us .
I have to tell you.
I like that reality.
A whole lot.
Join me tomorrow while we explore the unexpected aspects of depression, and how we can cope with them, physically and spiritually?