I called a psychiatrist today.
I did not make that decision lightly.
I can’t help feeling that I failed. I failed my family, I failed my values and, most importantly, I failed God. Shouldn’t the mere fact that I am a child of a mighty and loving God be more than enough to make me happy? What is wrong with me?
For years, I have battled unrelenting and progressive issues that have chipped away at me until very little of the original me is left (both physically and emotionally). I have tried so hard to look at my situation in a positive light. Because, maybe God was the one breaking pieces off of me in an attempt to refine me into someone more useful to him. Who was I to question this painful process?
But, the incessant pain began to wear me down. And, sadness began to take over my world. I cry while I ride in the car. I cry while I do the laundry. The tears come often and suddenly and wear me out even further. The only refuge I find is in sleep, so I began to nap for hours every day. Only in slumber does the sadness leave me alone.
But, in public I put on a smile and pretend. Because, Christians aren’t sad. Unless they have lost favor with God. At least that’s what some would have you believe, and I have to admit that I began to believe it too.
And, I got so good at pretending that even when I told my doctor that I thought I might be depressed, he responded with, “No, not you, you’re always so cheerful and pleasant.”
So, I continued pretending. But, pretending takes a lot of effort and after a while it became too hard, so I avoided going out at all. It was much easier to stay inside where I could allow the tears to pour down my face unchecked.
Through it all, I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. Dear God, Have I angered you? Do you have something for me to learn and I’m just not catching on? Are you refining me by fire and I just need to hang on a bit longer? Is this pain necessary?
But, there was no answer and the pain continued.
So, I looked up “The Bible and Depression” online. And, I got a healthy dose of judgement and condemnation. There were lists of scripture verses that “proved” depression was a failing on the part of the patient. And, the sites included helpful lists of verses to read to “get my head right”. The message was crystal clear: The depression was my fault. I hadn’t prayed enough, I hadn’t studied enough, I had failed God.
That’s when I got angry. I know I love God. Through all the darkness, that was the one thing that kept me going. I know I am his.
And, I knew that if I contracted cancer I wouldn’t hesitate to seek a treatment plan. I wouldn’t question God’s desire for me to get help. So, why was I questioning this? Is debilitating depression any less worthy of help?
Some would say that asking for help is an admission of failure and weakness. I beg to differ. I am a fighter. And, fighters arm themselves for battle with the best tools available. That’s what I am finally doing. I’m going to fight to feel joy again. Because loving God should be a joyful experience and I want to feel that.
I wrote this in the hope that it helps other depressed people seek help and shows them that they should not be judged for it. I wrote it anonymously because I’m afraid I will be.