Depression and anxiety seem to be such a touchy subject from the Christian perspective. I can’t help but get a tad bit defensive with this subject being that I am a passionate Christ follower, but struggle with a serotonin imbalance that reflects itself with depression and anxiety.
I am a passionate Christ follower and struggle with a chemical imbalance
Before you can address an issue like depression, you have to understand what it is! Depression is not what church makes it out to be. Depression is not just a sadness condition. There is so much more to it than that. It is a chemical imbalance that affects the serotonin levels in your brain that therefore can cause a numerous amount of side effects. And one of the biggest mistakes people make is linking everyone with depression as being bipolar! Not everyone with depression aka chemical imbalance is bipolar. You are talking about a completely different disorder and diagnosis. So please do your research! For me personally, depression shows itself through anxiety which can also show through extreme irritability. We, as the body of Christ, do not handle mental illness well. We think because it doesn’t show up on an X-ray we can doubt its validity. We think it must be a choice to be depressed. Some think it is a lack of faith or spiritual warfare. God didn’t create us to be depressed so we must be choosing this horrible illness. Too often we write off mental health issues. We have turned our backs on our brothers and sisters in Christ when they need us the most. Just tell them to pray harder and they won't be depressed anymore! If they knew God, they couldn't be depressed. Instead of helping them, we have only made it worse!
We think because it doesn't show up on an x-ray we can doubt it's validity!
Can I just say depression is not a character defect or a spiritual disorder. If there is anything I want my fellow serotonin imbalanced friends to know, it is not an emotional dysfunction, and most of all it is NOT a choice! Mental illness is not a sin! My serotonin levels do NOT reflect my faith. It reflects the fact that even the Joy of the Lord being my strength and salvation, I can sometimes struggle with an overwhelming sense of sadness that cannot be explained. It can show itself in irrational moments and irritability that I cannot seem to get control of. Even King David voiced his depressed heart in the book of Psalms.
My Serotonin Levels Do NOT Reflect My Faith
At one point in my life early on within my diagnosis, I was really embarrassed and didn’t ever talk about my struggle with depression. Honestly I didn’t even discuss it much with my husband, although he knew I was on medication. It was my secret battle. With the misunderstanding of what a chemical imbalance is, not very many people are ever willing to talk about it. There is not much compassion for it either, because everyone thinks it's an easy excuse to act a certain way. Seriously who would EVER want this? I grew bitter over time and even angry with God that He ignored my cries for healing. I began letting this whole issue come between God and I. But a few years ago something happened and I cannot explain it. After years of hating this imbalance, I have honestly come to embrace it! Yes! You heard me right guys and gals. When life gives you lemons….. you make lemonade. And what Satan intends for harm, God can turn to GLORY! And God turned the ashes of my imbalance into BEAUTY!
After years of hating my imbalance, I have honestly come to embrace it!
Like the thorn Peter was given in his flesh… I consider my imbalance to be just that! The thing God allows me to suffer with, I use to keep me from becoming conceited. Does God desire me to live with this imbalance? Of course not! Does He desire people to ever be sick and die from any illness? NO! But He can use this very disorder as a VESSEL between Him and I. In my moments of depression and anxiety, I am reminded of who I am in HIM! It draws me even closer to my Father seeking out His will for my life. I seek Him out in those moments of anxiety and learn more about Him in ways I might not have EVER KNOWN without that imbalance. I KNOW God in ways I might not have ever known Him without this imbalance! For that I find JOY! This is where I trade those ashes in for beauty! BEAUTY! I honestly feel like God led me to a state of imprisonment in my life in order to set me free!
I know God in ways I might not have ever known without depression! For that I find Joy in my imbalance!
Don't lose hope friends. God's word tells us that in our weakness He is made strong! Have FAITH in that! Know that your imbalance is just another way for God to show you His glory! Let your imperfections humble you before your mighty God! Embrace your imbalance and let Him love you! His love is the only balance we really even need in life, is it not? I hope you find encouragement through these words.