The road can be lonely, it can be dark, unbearable, and it can become long. It's like cancer, one finds themselves in remission, and then back in the battle for their life again. Fighting somedays just to get out of bed, other days struggling to make a decision or battling the thoughts to go on. Each day can feel like a year, while other days feel like a century. Depression is like the pain you feel when your flesh touches fire, it leaves scars, it feels shameful and it can make you question whether you want to live or die.
It's a battle of the mind that one doesn't get to choose. You never choose this life. It doesn't care if you are homeless, caring for a family or a celebrity with Emmy awards, wealth and power. It grips you, leaves you empty and feeling dead on the inside.
It becomes a downward spiral, left untreated or even treated that leads one wondering what it would be like to jump over the cliff to end it all. Not because one wants to end life, because living daily life becomes so excruciating, why go on? Why go through the daily tortute and torment?
I know the pain behind depression and suicide, because I have very dear people who I love and work with who fight this battle. It's a deep black hole that swallows them whole. My loved one who fights this battle, fights with everything in her being, she FIGHTS! Her day-to-day fights aren't always easy, but she has done everything in her power to seek treatment to beat this thing, no matter the cost.
The thing I want people to know, it's not shameful for people to talk about depression, suicide or any other mental health concerns, but our society has given it a stigma, which has made it shameful to talk about it and I know she feels it. People just believe you should just be able dust yourself off, pick up and keep going, but it's not this cookie cutter thing. It comes back, more powerful, like a relentless hurricane, pounding the coast never ending, more forceful then the first storm.
But you see my dear loved one, she and I have this thing... She can call day or night with no judgement, cry, scream, laugh or sit in silence with me on the phone just to be. She can tell me the thoughts in her head. I'm safe. She needs someone who can just let her be herself or this thing will eat her alive.
Dear friends, the church and the world, people don't want to be a label, they want to be themselves. They want to be loved, they want to be cared for and they want to be honest. Being honest is scary, and yet it can be so freeing for those who need to be honest.
And yet, isn't Jesus the healer? Isn't the church suppose to be a place for those who are sick and wounded? Why has it become a place for the pretty and the perfect? Last time I checked my mirror, I was messed up, which is the reason I need the church, a Savior, because it's a place for the broken, the sick, wounded, those who need healing, redemption, forgiveness. I'm thinking if our world, our churches and our neighbors could be authentic with one another, people could be pointed towards feeling whole, they could be pointed to a God who loves them, whose son was nailed on the cross to pay for the darkness in this world.
No shame here
Grace found here.
We all have the need to experience grace no matter what situation. His arms are wide open, his love is deep and his healing can be experienced whether through His love, a miracle, His word, friendship, medical management, counseling, bringing a meal, offering to take someones children to school, giving a free date night or simply being with people in their pain.
Depression is not your fault, let's treat the person like a person, not a person with a label, because behind every person is a story and I can't imagine after hearing their story, you wouldn't want to walk with them through the darkest spot of their life.
Food for thought: Look around you, who needs a pick me up? Whose story do you need to start listening to? Or maybe who needs to start hearing your story?
The American Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)