God help me with my depression

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It’s easy to blame the other guy when things go wrong, when life sucks, or the pain is unbearable. Suffering is never easy, but it isn’t the fault of anyone else. If you’re Christian, you end up wondering where God is when you need Him the most. The suffering you face is not punishment from the Lord.

Instead, depression can actually help increase your faith and spirituality and bring you closer to God…if you let it. It can be a difficult task, especially with the dark symptoms of depression, but if you trust in the Bible and the Lord you will grow as a person.

If you are feeling abandoned, turn to God and instead reach out to Him. He will open His heart to you, all you have to do is ask.

www.beliefnet.com

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“God gave you this trial because he knows you can handle it. Pray about it.”

What does that mean? I feel like they’re saying if I fail to cope it means I’m not using all my tools to cope. At what point is a person failing to handle their trial? Obviously not when it kills them. Honestly not even if their trial leads them to commit all kinds of sins. God gives us tons of trials we can’t deal with on our own. I think depression has taught me a lot about empathy, and how to love people who don’t want to be loved. It has forced me to go very deep places to find my own worth. But if I kill myself, I don’t think that means I didn’t “handle it” as well as I could have.

Depression is a chronic illness. Nobody tells people with high blood pressure to pray it away. Maybe they should! Maybe it would help! However, telling people what they should pray about is not helpful.

Telling me to “pray harder” assumes I suffer because I am a sinner and my depression is punishment. Whether I am being punished or not has nothing to do with my mental illness. I cannot simply pray it away. If I choose, I can pray for help dealing with my depression. If I do not heal, it does not mean I don’t pray enough or don’t have enough faith. Even losing a battle with depression is not in any way an indicator of closeness to God. It is so dangerous to believe faith and recovery are causally connected. I would argue it takes more faith to not be healed. It is completely different from feeling afraid in a moment and praying for comfort. Depression is a different conversation and not being cured has nothing to do with faith. It takes a heck of a lot of faith to keep living when you really want to die. I personally do pray for help dealing with my depression. I believe these prayers, and the prayers of others, really do help me in my battle against depression. Answers to prayer came in the form of a wonderful therapist who helped me eat again, a diagnosis, a doctor who prescribed fairly effective medication on my first visit (which is honestly a miraculous event), and a support group made of friends who know and love me.

Not everyone in the world has to deal with the depression I face. I do not lack basic life skills. Coping is not the goal. I want to overcome. That isn’t necessarily going to happen anytime soon.

But what is coping? I think that if I am coping, I don’t cry and I don’t cut and I just put on a smile and go about my business without a complaint. If I had chronic migraines, sometimes I would want to lie down. I would be a little helpless. Would that make me bad at coping with headaches?

I was bad at coping with migraines my first time with a migraine. I was working a Friday night shift at a restaurant, and I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t understand it. I wondered why the room was spinning, why I was nauseous, why it was so painful to keep my eyes open. I tried to just power through. I kept on working, and when it became unbearable I asked for an ibuprofen, but continued doing my manual labor. I was doing more bad than good. I was dropping things, I was struggling to smile, I was not a worker you would want in your restaurant. I was trying very hard. But the longer I ignored it, the worse it gets. And my migraine was so bad. It was so bad that I threw up. Of course I prayed. The whole time I was working my prayer was “please help me deal with this pain.”

That’s a good prayer right? I didn’t ask for the pain to go away. I asked for strength to overcome. That goes right along with all the most admirable prayers in recorded history.

But I was not blessed with the strength to overcome the migraine.

Instead I was blessed with parents who came and drove me home, access to the more expensive migraine medicine, and a quiet dark room. My next migraine was not even comparable in pain. I knew what was happening and I knew what to do. Depression is different. I still don’t know what is happening or what to do. I am trying. But it is a worldwide mystery. Nobody knows yet.

In regards to depression, my prayers are usually “I hate this. I feel awful. I just want to die. I really really am having a hard time believing anything good right now. I really want to die. Please just let me die. I can’t do this anymore. Let me die.” and then I stutter an amen and kick myself for being awful at praying and give up on spirituality for the night.
Perhaps if I were not so wrapped up in the shame of how pointless this prayer appears, this prayer would bring me the help I needed. If I had faith in this wretched prayer, maybe I would have felt the unconditional love of God. Maybe I would have realized that I am worth more than all the pain and sadness in the world. It’s just hard to believe that my life is worth the pain. You know? It hurts a lot. And it really would be less awful to just be dead. But I am inherently worth the pain, no matter how exquisite.

www.theodysseyonline.com

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