I’m so ready for this pandemic to be over. It’s been so hard on my depression and anxiety. That’s right, that’s what I said. I have depression and anxiety, and I take medication to treat my mental health. I know it may not be the most “Christian” thing to say, but it’s the truth. It’s no different if I was diabetic and went to the doctor to get help to control my health.
My ailment is a chemical imbalance in my brain, and my medications work to manage them. It’s the same way with God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. They help restore us to God even in our sin; medicines help people with problems.
I know prayer works; I really do, although people often tell me to pray harder when they find out I have depression and anxiety. They tell me I need more of the Holy Spirit and read my Bible more. All are good suggestions, however, none show sympathy or compassion for my condition. I would never wish either condition on anyone, not even my worst enemy. The truth being, the two conditions are my worst enemies.
Facts about depression
Here is a fact you may not know. Seven million Christians in the United States experience major depression each year and you wouldn’t know it. The Bible is full of people that suffered from depression and anxiety. Have you ever read the book of Psalms? What about what Peter felt after denying he knew Jesus and the rooster crowed? We have all experienced depression and anxiety at some point in our lives, but some live with it daily. I’ve heard if you’re depressed, you’re worried about something in the past, and if you have anxiety, you’re concerned about something in the future, and having both at the same time is hell. I understand and can relate to that statement.
What do I usually find lacking in my conditions? That it’s okay not to be okay. People have all kinds of “cures” for me, from the ones previously listed above to tell me to take deep breaths (which sometimes helps but rarely), to exercise more, lose weight, “just relax,” and so many others.
They tell me to pray more, but no one offers to pray for me or with me. “Read your Bible more,” but no one shares something from the Bible that they’ve read that might help me or encourage me. I can certainly use more of the Spirit, who out there can’t, but no one shares something the Spirit has revealed to them.
What you can do?
So what’s the answer then? How about sympathy and compassion for people and what they’re going through. Take time to listen, not so that you can respond but so that you can understand before you respond. Its Christian-ese words are grace and mercy. Have you heard of those before?
So the next time someone tells you they have depression, anxiety, or both, please be patient, kind, and try to be understanding before handing out “advice” to them. Sometimes we just need someone to listen and be there for us. Please be that Christian. Show grace and mercy. After all, isn’t that what Jesus would do?
Beau lives in Cave City, KY. He’s been married to his wife for 19 years, and they have a young daughter together. He has a passion for working with people with special needs and serving at his church.