Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Christians and Depression

on August 7, 2012

The other day I read a post over at Curly Miri’s called The D Word. It featured an interview with a woman who battles severe depression. It got me thinking about some conversations I’ve had with other Christian women about it. Go read it– I’ll wait right here.

Depression in Christians is a hot-button issue, especially when you start talking about medication. Auntie Em has had some experience in this area, so I’ll share what I learned.

I have had several bouts of depression that have required medication to get past. Usually they come in the winter months. The first time I got on an antidepressant was after my mother died in 2000. I was able to wean off of it, but got back on during several winters. I haven’t needed them for a few years.

For some reason, there is a stigma associated with Christians medicating emotional disorders- and I think it’s mostly from Christians! Honestly, nobody ever told me I should let Jesus heal my depression, and I would never say that to anybody else, but boy did I say it to myself, and apparently lots of other Christians do too. Here was my inner dialog:

What do you have to be sad about? You have a great family, a lovely home, a supportive church family… (GUILT)

Cast your care… I can do all things through Christ… the renewing of your mind… (FAILURE)

Just get over it. Make up your mind. Get moving and that will help… (WEAKNESS)

You are a Christian and a strong woman. You should be able to let God handle this and not need a crutch. (CONDEMNATION)

Dear hearts, we are often much harder on ourselves than we would ever dream of being to another. I finally got over my pride and took the medicine. I didn’t have to stay on it forever, and I might have gotten over it without it, but who knows how long it would have taken, and what tolls it would have taken on my relationships and life?

So, if you are having the same struggle I did, I encourage you to consider these things:

  • While some amount and intensity of depression can be controlled by you (your rest, diet, stress level, and general health), sometimes you have a genetic predisposition and nothing you do will make a difference. (Like some types of diabetes are caused by lifestyle choices and others are yours by birth.)
  • What would you advise a friend if he or she felt like you do? Would you tell them that they should be stronger, and do it alone?
  • Do you know what you SHOULD be doing or feeling, or letting go of, but you can’t?
  • Refusing to accept help CAN BE a manifestation of a prideful sprit.
  • Does God approve of medicine for infections or blood pressure, but not anxiety or depression?

Please understand, I’m not trying to talk you into taking medicine that you don’t need, and I know everyone’s situation is not like mine. I’m just saying BE HONEST. Pray about your situation, and talk to a trusted friend. When you are depressed you are not your best advisor!

And in the meantime, listen to the great theologian Chondra Pierce talk about her experience with depression. And if you think Christians shouldn’t take medicine, well just “take off your glasses” while you watch! (If you don’t have 4 minutes, start at 1:50 to hear her philosophy, then to 3:28 to hear the punch line.)

I”m linking up with

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13 responses to “Christians and Depression

  1. TeeKay says:

    Oh my, Auntie Em! Preach it sister. Amen & Amen!

  2. [...] Christians and Depression (auntieemsguide.wordpress.com) [...]

  3. Julie says:

    Wonderful post about depression! I think we all have times where we feel depressed – life can be hard! Thank you for linking up with on my blog, too! God bless you!

  4. I love this post ~ very thought provoking. This is the second time I have been to your wonderful blog, and I’m enjoying my visit. I will be impulsive here and ask you to consider linking up to our “EOA’ Wednesday link-up party to share this with other readers. It is just the kind of encouragement I’m desiring to share there :)
    Many blessings, new friend!
    Jacqueline

    • Auntie Em says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Jacqueline! I will indeed do that. I’m just getting started and trying to get into a routine LOL! I’m looking forward to reading more from you as well.

  5. Thank you for speaking out on a sensitive topic. Considering all the stresses we deal with, it’s not surprising that sometimes the brain chemicals get out of balance. I believe that God provided the scientists and medications to allow us to serve him and others, when we otherwise would not be able to.
    And thank you for following my blog.

    • Auntie Em says:

      I appreciate your kind words, and am looking forward to learning more about photography! My husband and I entered some pictures in our first photo contest this weekend!

  6. Kourtney says:

    I am one who has suffered from clinical depression for nearly ten years now. It is hereditary, my mother suffers from it, as did her mother before her. While I am not Christian, I still understand where you are coming from on the whole ‘do I medicate’ issue. I struggled with the decision for quite some time. And I had seen the difference it made with my mother first hand. Still, I felt that I must be doing something wrong if I have to medicate. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I fully came to terms with what it would mean if i didn’t have it under control. I was on medication, but it had run its course and was no longer working as well as it should have. I feel so deep into a hole I thought I might never get back out. Worse yet… I didn’t think I wanted to. It was an eye opening experience, and I gladly take my little blue pill each morning and each evening so that I will never have to experience it again. There are those out there that don’t fully understand what that may mean. But for those of us who do, we need to not allow the stigma of medication become the norm. If I could just ‘get over it’, I gladly would. For those of us who can’t, medication is a literal life saver. Thank you for broaching such a touchy subject in wonderful way and in a positive light.

    Blessings,
    Kourtney

    • Auntie Em says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Kourtney! I’m sorry you went through such a bad time, but I’m so glad you came through it and are okay with the method. (lol there’s Auntie Em’s “be honest!)
      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, and I hope to hear from you again!

  7. This is great, Melinda! I have family members who suffer from depression, and it is so hard for them! It can be hard to detect if you’re not familiar with it, and you might think, “oh, just buck it up and quit being such a downer”. The doctor says it can be cyclical, and it may come and go over seasons and years. He said it may require medication, lifestyle changes, or something like the “blue lights”, depending on the person. I have found what it requires from me is greater understanding and a willingness to help however I can. Thanks for addressing this really important topic!

  8. […] 3 young children, and run a household). Then I’d feel guilty because, in yet another area, I wasn’t good enough, then resentful that he wanted more from me. I had absolutely no clue how important lovemaking is […]

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