Another Christmas has come and gone. As we pack away the decorations, homemade ornaments and try to figure out what to do with all those leftover fruitcakes, we can’t help but reflect upon the past 12 months. The Mayans predicted the world would end on Dec. 21. The date was a long shot, but the Twinkie market crash did give us a little scare. This year, we celebrated the Olympics and survived the presidential election with enough material to have another successful “Saturday Night Live” season. As you look back on 2012, I hope you are up to your ears in happiness. But, life is not always that simple. For some of us, this year has been a year of challenges.
This year, I, like thousands of other Christians, faced the darkness of depression. I spent the past year in three different hospitals and in countless waiting rooms. I have been seen by more doctors and counselors than I can count.
Many of us face depression alone before we ever ask for help. One of the reasons we don’t ask for help is depression tends to be a taboo subject in the Christian world. We often believe if we experience depression, it is somehow a reflection of our faith. So we hide our pain. We pray harder and believe more. Yet, we continue to struggle.
Depression is not the result of a spiritual defect. I believe God uses it as a warning signal to point to a deeper problem. There are things inside us all, that if left undealt with, can manifest themselves into depression. There also are genetic and physiological factors that contribute to the disease.
However you look at it, God loves you and cares for you deeply. He wants to be a part of your healing. But, he goes beyond a superficial healing and meets us in the very core of our being to where true healing takes place. What a relief it is to know God is not angry or disappointed with us. How good to know we are unconditionally loved and valued.
But, my story is not just unique to me or to those with depression. There are brokenhearted people everywhere who carry their pain on the inside. Some of them sit next to you in church every Sunday. That is why I tell my story. I believe God wants to heal the broken hearted as seen in these Scriptures:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." — Psalm 34:18
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” — 2 Corinthians 12:9
Most people with depression never get help. But, even people with the most severe forms of depression can get better with the right kind of help. Some symptoms of depression may include:
• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
• Irritability, restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
• Overeating or appetite loss
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease, even with treatment.
For more information go to the National Institute for Mental Health website at www.nimh.nih.gov/ health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml.
Follow Sarah Thompson, who is a social worker in the Enid area, at mysemi- dysfunctionallife.blogspot.com or email her at email@example.com.