Sunday, 2 August 2009
Fight the stigma
Had a really productive day clearing out my wardrobe...it was in desperate need of a good sorting. It was becoming like the story of the loaves and fish, the contents seemed to multiply supernaturally!!
Now here's the thing...I have put this chore off for ages. There are clothes in my wardrobe that have strong memories attached to them - my 'skinny' clothes (that my 10 year old daughter can fit into) when I lost lots of weight in the grip of an eating disorder and then there was the host of 'black' clothes that I wore during my depression. I knew that facing them and getting rid of them was another step in my journey of healing...but it was difficult. The memories of depression were especially hard.
As I talk to people who are currently swamped in the black cloud, I sense their embarrassment and shame when they are sharing with me...I pick up on it because that was how I felt. I felt like such a failure...why couldn't I cope with life like everyone else? Why couldn't I just shake it off, pull myself up by my bootlaces and get over it? These weren't just my thoughts, some of my 'friends' voiced these statements to me, reinforcing the belief that I was useless, weak, worthless.
I have to admit...this makes me mad. The truth is depression affects all kinds of people, regardless of race, culture, sex, religion, etc. It knows no boundaries and we are all susceptible to it. It does not matter if one has a strong faith, or a weak faith, depression can strike at anytime. It doesn’t matter if you pray everyday, or pray every once in a while, depression can strike anytime. It doesn’t matter if you go to church, memorize the Bible and do door to door evangelism…yes, depression can strike anytime.
Let me share this quote with you...
"Depression should be treated and can be put into remission through a course of psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy and/or antidepressant medication, supplemented by healthy doses of prayer within a loving Christian community. It is nonsensical to tell a depressed person that if he only read his Bible more or had better quiet times, his depression would surely be lifted. That would be like telling a diabetic that faith alone will regulate her insulin levels. Faith alone gives eternal salvation, but in the meantime, God has given us resources by which to make our temporal existences more palatable. Depression is certainly healed by the grace of God, sometimes directly and miraculously, but more often through the tools of His servants, like pharmacists, therapists, pastors and friends."
I took medication for my depression (under the strict supervision of a wonderful GP) and have come up against criticism for this. It was the 'God' thing for me to do. I believe God has given scientists/doctors/researchers amazing minds to create some medications that can help.
As my dad says, “If someone is diabetic, they are going to take insulin…aren’t they?”
Or, “If you have a heart condition, you are going to the cardiologist, right?”
I'll finish with this quote...“you may have questions about whether Christians should take this or that. You get in that state, I assure you, you will take rat dung.” Pastor Tommy Nelson on his depression
P.S. I do feel so much 'lighter' after getting rid of all that 'stuff'! Time to move on...!!!!