Lighten up – I hope you had a good chuckle when you saw my headline.
It made me laugh at myself when I thought of it.
I was going to go with something like ‘Christians don’t get depressed…’ but where would the fun in that boring title be?
It’s a good feeling to be able to write again with a huge smile on my face.
I haven’t been blogging much since I last told you that I was going through a rather deep dip in my life.
So it’s month two of working through the depression – it has not been easy and surely not fun.
Last week was I think the worst of it. The blow came when I woke up throwing up with anxiety, and then I went numb. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t feeling stressed out – just nothing.
Before then I’d already decided to call for (professional) help but for some reason had been postponing the call.
When I felt I’d hit a brick wall and was struggling just to get up – my first concern was for my son. I didn’t want to get to the point where I was so debilitated by the depression I couldn’t care for him.
So back to my hilarious (well at least I think it is) headline.
So in my search for help I spoke to one of my very dear friends about what I was going through and asked her: “Do Christians get depressed?”
I guess what I was saying to her was: “I’m a Christian and I shouldn’t be going through this!”
And her very simple and straightforward answer was: “Of course they do.”
She went on to add: “And it’s a real problem because people in the Church don’t really talk about it. There is such a stigma to it and a lot of shame.”
She opened up about how she had gone through it. And how a dear friend of hers had gone through it so badly that she had to be admitted for a long while.
Life happens. Even to Christians.
Yesterday I went to see a therapist who was brilliant in giving me practical tools to support me through this time.
I do believe in God. And I do love Him (even though I don’t act like it always). And I do believe in laying things at His feet etc etc – So what concerned me about being in this state was not only the feeling rubbish all the time but also feeling that there was such a disconnect in my relationship with God. And there are few things that I’m ill-equipped to handle like feeling I’m not in sync with Him. But here’s the thing: being depressed is no less evil or shameful as having the flu.
Being a Christian does not mean being able to successfully deal with everything at all times – sometimes we fall on tough times that every now and then rip us to pieces.
Just like Christians get hungry, and bored, and angry and exhausted and catch the cold and yeah fart– depression happens to Christians too. It’s not evil, nor is it a sign of weakness or a fall out with God – it’s simply human.
There’s no shame in it.
Perhaps a part of me has been judgmental on this issue because although I have been through severe dips like the one I’m weathering now – I don’t think I was as gracious to others for their completely falling apart.
Often I felt if I said I was depressed and I talked about it – it would seem like a pity party or worse- it would make me come across as being weak.
Yeah I do feel weak right now. And I do feel depleted. But also I know who I am: I am a strong woman with big dreams and I haven’t given up on making them come true. And my passion to nudge the people I come into contact with to pursue the greatness in them burns ever brighter.
And so I continue to seek all the help I can get.
Going through this period of depression doesn’t mean I’m a bad or weak Christian – it just means that I’m human. Still. 🙂
P.S. Professional help can be costly especially if one is not on medical aid.
So here are some options:
I called a facilitator for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group in my area – she was brilliant. Also I needed help urgently and she was able to see me within a couple of days of calling her.
One mom who’d gone through severe depression highly recommended the Sophiatown Counseling Services which she says has helped her remarkably. Their number is: 011 482 8530.
Please people I’m not opening myself like this for the attention or for the fun of it – I’m talking about this so if you need help in this area you do talk about it and get the help you need.