Hope and Depression

I too have battled the demons of darkness, despair, and self destruction. Because of my typical sunshiny disposition, I guess this would come as a shock to most. I battled alone, staying brave, not wanting to bother anyone with the pettiness of a depression that they wouldn’t understand – that I didn’t understand.

There were times when I had every good thing going on for me. Yet there was still an oppressive gloom that covered me. It was the dark cloud above my head that moved in step with me. There were times that the only logical solution to the pain that gripped my heart was to end my life. At those times God would remind me of those that I loved and those who loved me. I might not have felt their love at that time, but I did realize the burden that would be theirs for their lifetime should I end my life. During a bout of post-partum depression, I remember thinking, “This child would be better off without me.” And then the thought would come, “What will that child grow to think and feel if I didn’t care enough for them to hang around for them?” That consideration was enough to continue in the battle.

As I matured in my Christian walk, I realized that I truly did not battle alone. There was hope in Christ Jesus.

Our pastor preached on hope this past week. He shared 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And these three remain: faith, hope, and love.” As Pastor Jim put it, “Hope is the sustaining energy that connects faith and love.” But this hope can only be found if we are anchored in Jesus.

Hebrews 6:18-20 from The Message says, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG) we are promised: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

I am sure in the days and weeks ahead the topic of depression will be brought into more conversations.  If someone as seemingly happy and as “sunny” as Robin Williams suffered from it to such a state that he was willing to take his own life surely the issue of it is a reality many others bear.

I wish that Robin Williams had known the same hope that I did (and do) – the hope that is found only through Christ Jesus.  I wish someone had seen the hurt beyond the smile and offered it to him.

The song “Hope Changes Everything” says this,

“I could be the spark
You could be the word
We could tell them something
That maybe they’ve never heard
Hope, yeah we could give it together

And reach into the heart
Of the darkest night
Lift ’em off the ground
When they’ve lost the fight
Keep ’em hanging on
Through the disbelief
Every day, every step, every dream
Hope can change everything
Hope can change everything”

Today make a difference in someone else.  Share with them the hope that is found in Jesus.  You never know who among us need that word most.  It may mean life in the depths of their deepest fears.  It may give them the courage to keep fighting.  It may change the world.

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8 comments

  1. Christians have a very narrow perspective, due to their brainwashed worldview that somehow ‘knowing God’ and believing in a false ‘hope’ makes depression go away. It does not. In fact, it can intensify the depression over time, under the implication that knowing more, praying more, or exercising some religious ritual will make the pain go away. Religion only acts as a bandaid to the problem–a distraction, while many non-religious are attempting to manage their life by taking responsibility for their actions and not superficially falling back on their shallow-minded religion to get them through the next bout of depression or anxiety. Sadly, the fact that suicide rates are lower for the religious lies in the simple fact that fear of a fictitious hell has become so pervasive and acts as a deterrent. Well, played, Christians. Well played.

    But you will never truly understand the pain and hopelessness of depression until you honestly address it head on, without sugar coating it with whatever religion you follow.

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    1. There are times and people when just the head on facing of depression and medical intervention do not solve the problem. A”narrow perspective” of any kind does not help.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. with all due respect, Mr Smith, you have betrayed your own “narrow perspective” – of Christianity – and that perspective has caused you to read words that do not appear in what was written. The author never said anything about her faith making the pain of depression “go away,” but that her faith, and the hope engendered thereby, allowed her to survive it. Granted, there are a great many folks who claim to be Christian who may espouse the view you’ve rightly disparaged, but the author didn’t espouse it here. Those familiar with Scripture know that King David, though described as a “man after God’s own heart” battled with despair as described in many of the Psalms. Those familiar with Christian history will know that some of the greatest preachers of the Gospel battled depression – Charles H. Spurgeon, perhaps being the chief example. No, the hope offered by Christ doesn’t make depression disappear. But it does help the Christian to endure such suffering.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Hey Andrew,

      From your post it sounds to me that you have had a very real understanding of pain and hopelessness found in depression. I am sorry that life and circumstance has led you to feel that pain.

      Myself, I have never been to that point, so I don’t have the authority to speak on it in my own words. I do have a very close friend, whom I consider a brother, face these very battles. In fact, it got to a place where he held a shotgun to my inner-hip because of the medication that he was taking warped his mind. Thankfully, he is no longer in that state of mind, and I didn’t get shot. (Trying to make a tough situation a little lite-hearted.)

      Having countless conversations since then, what he attributes to his saving grace is not the medicine, not the counseling he received, but the peace of God that came over his life and comforted him in his greatest time of hurt.

      I’ve been in places in my life where I have lost it all. (House, college fund, home, family, friends) and I felt hopeless. (This time in my life, I had not accepted the Christian faith.) and I was very angry, bitter, and upset towards the unfairness of the world and what happened to me. I had a life changing moment 2 years later that I will never forget that comfort of God coming over in my life, and giving me the strength to make it through.

      I am not sure where you get the concept of a “Very Narrow” perspective of depression because of a “Brainwashed” worldview. The Christian Faith does not say that by believing in Jesus Christ that you will ever make depression “disappear” or “go away”. If you look at the lives of those throughout scripture, they faced the same battles we do today. The best example that comes to my mind would be Solomon in Ecclesiastes where he describes everything is “Meaningless”. He had all of the power, money, sex, pleasures of the world, wisdom, that any man could ever hope, but he realized that his hope was futile in the pleasures of the world, that his soul was only comforted by putting his hope and trust, in God. Look at Jesus, the Son of God, he wasn’t happy and cheery in the Garden of Gethsemane – He did not want to face the trials, beatings, and execution that was before Him. He even made the comment that if there was ability to have the cup “passed over” Him, that let it be done. (Matt.26:36-46)

      The thought that because people fear hell is the reason they don’t commit suicide is in error. There have been multiple leaders in the faith commit suicide because this was their hell. Those who hold on know that their hope if found in Christ, that although life is tough and we aren’t always treated fair, He makes all things work together for the good. (Romans 8:28) As a family of believers, our hope is in God, and it is expressed through the connection of one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25). By no means does having faith in Christ make life easier (I would argue it makes it more difficult), but understanding and having hope that the creator of the universe is for you, will never leave you, and will sustain you through the toughest times in life, and allow for the connection with other people to help you through, is in essence the Gospel. The good news that we have hope in a savior, and fellow believers to get us through this life, into eternity.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Andrew, you have missed the point. I do understand the despair and pain of depression. I have been medicated to help cope with the symptoms of it – medicine was the band-aid. It wasn’t until I realized who Jesus is in my life that His peace that surpasses all understanding was mine. Religion doesn’t solve anything. But a relationship with my creator gives me the hope that regardless of the storms that may blow my way, He is there with me. How I wish you knew Him so that you too could experience the peace, joy, and hope that He has to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Last night on tv, Dennis Miller (who was a friend of Robin Williams) said he wished that Robin Williams had “turned that corner” where he could see that tomorrow is another day and the sun will shine again. Faith and hope through God can help a person see the possibility of a sunny new day coming in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We were talking about this at home last night. Yes, there is very often the need for medical help, but faith, love, and hope through God are a “drug” of their own. I just find it so sad that someone didn’t realize how deeply depressed Robin Williams was. Personal interaction with family and friends is so important in such a situation.

    Liked by 1 person

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