Coming Out of the Darkness

Statistics show 20 million adults over age 18 struggle with some sort of diagnosable depressive disorder. That is 1 in 10. Major depressive disorder is the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. In spite of these high numbers it is estimated nearly two-thirds of depressed people never seek help. Why would so many suffer in silence?

Think about the stigma behind depression. How many of us have heard things like:

“Just get over it! Think about something positive. Trust God more. Try harder. Many others have far bigger problems than you do. Be more appreciative. Pray more.”

Many of the comments come from well-meaning friends who simply don’t have an understanding of what we are going through. So, like Job’s friends, instead of helping, actually end up hurting us instead. No wonder many suffer in silence and shame.

The truth is clinical depression, unlike sadness, is a medical condition. An illness that affects the chemistry of the brain and nervous system is no less an illness than one that affects any other part of the body. Sadness is a normal response to a sad situation.  We all experience sadness at times. It is your body’s natural function of grieving a specific loss. Sadness moves you forward through the grieving process towards healing. Depression keeps you stuck.

Some common symptoms of depression are:

  • deep, sad mood most of the day every day
  • fatigue
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • sleep changes, early morning awakening or oversleeping
  • significant decrease in pleasure of normal activitie
  • feelings of persistent emptiness
  • self loathing
  • appetite or weight changes
  • anger or irritability

Oh, how I feel empathy for this, because I’ve tasted these kinds of seasons many times: don’t want to get out of bed, dread doing the things we have to do, no motivation for anything, don’t feel like fighting the fight, loss of joy in what we thought God had called us to do, oppressed by what feels like demonic darkness.

Depression is not a simple black and white thing. Depression is complicated and can have many sources. It can be caused from a combination of physical, psychological and environmental factors. Depression also appears to have a genetic component—tending to run in families.

Depression can be complicated and multifaceted. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but I am here to tell you that there is hope. There is a place where you can take off the masks and drop the pretense as well as the guilt and same. You can lose the stigma. There is a place where you don’t have to pretend to have it all together or pretend to feel ok. You can simply be you while beginning the healing process. That place is Celebrate Recovery at Church of the Highlands.

You are not alone. Let me just point to a few wonderful, spiritual, biblical, God-given truths that he means for your help and strength right now.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No testing” — and you probably know as a student with your Greek that the words temptation and testing are the same in Greek — “No testing has overtaken you but what is common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond what your ability is, but with the testing he will provide a way of escape” — and then here comes the key phrase — “that you may be able to endure it.” The issue is one of endurance, not just escape. The escape is the capacity to endure. Know that he’s got you in this season of testing, and he has got you there not beyond your ability to endure.