I’ve been coming across some incredible posts on depression and suicide since the tragic death of Robin Williams. I wanted to share some of them with you. Please feel free to leave comments with other links you have found helpful this week.
But there’s another kind of evil lurking around the halls of the depressed, and it’s the belief that those who are stricken with depression (or any mental illness) are suffering because of their lack of faith in Jesus. “If only you’d pray for more joy,” people say. “If only you’d ask God to take the pain.” Or, “Is there unresolved sin in your life?” Or how about this one, “If you’d just meditate more on God’s Word…”
Folks, saying someone is depressed or suicidal because they aren’t praying enough, are self-absorbed, sinful, or don’t have a deep enough faith? It’s abusive. And it needs to stop. Now.
In that season, I went back to my roots: reading the Bible, praying, singing songs of praise, trying to keep gratitude lists. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how often I cried out, I couldn’t force my mind to course-correct. I was acutely aware of how broken my brain was but felt absolutely powerless to fix it.
And yet in the midst of that dark time, my heart absolutely thrilled with joy. Watching the boys sleep next to each other, tucked into each other because that’s how you sleep when that’s all you know – it made my heart crack wide open with joy. Silly conversations and long hugs from my girls, giggly text messages from my husband … yes, there was light and joy and love and moments of clarity in the midst of those hard, hard days.
Imagine for a moment…
You are surrounded by every single person in the world who loves you.
There is a celebration of who you are and there is a huge party happening.
Everyone is waiting to talk to YOU and tell you that they love you and you are amazing.
Sounds awesome huh?
Now imagine you are in a space suit.
You can barely hear what anyone is saying and although you are being hugged, you can’t feel anything.
In the midst of not being “alone”…
You are alone.
Since the tragic death of Robin Williams, I have seen some terrible, misinformed, and abusive bullsh*t online about depression and mental illness. This normally wouldn’t be enough to make me type as passionately as I am right now but this stuff is coming from a few vocal and influential Christians. I see it being shared around on social media like candy. And it makes my blood boil and my heart ache.
I hate to think of my beloved people reading that kind of damaging stuff. Heaping condemnation and guilt and fear on the heads of the suffering is akin to tying a millstone around someone’s neck. This is a heinous and evil thing to do.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.