Thoughts on depression.

Faith, Life August 12, 2014

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.

Thoughts on depression, suicide, and being a Christian by Nish Weiseth

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.

The depressed Christian: Why the dark night is no measure of your soul by Megan Tietz

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.

Why “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” Is A Lie by Carlos Whittaker

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.

In which depression is NOT your fault by Sarah Bessey

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.

Robin Williams’ Death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish by Dean Burnett

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.

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  • Alison K. Hall August 13, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Hi Alysa,

    Thank you for your blog. I just recently wrote a book titled “Depression In The Church: Is It Spiritual Or Os Ot Spiritual?” It is so difficulty to hear about Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. Whenever we hear about someone committing suicide, we seem to take the combination of our personal views and past experiences and project them into the situation we hear about. I have experienced major depression with psychotic features, and I can tell you having a serious mental illness can not be compared to the normal ups and downs of life. It is almost like being in a world you never knew existed, being completely severed from reality, even when surrounded by loving family and friends. I like your quote from Why “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” Is A Lie by Carlos Whittaker, it is spot on. So, from my personal view point, I suffer whenever I hear about someone taking their life by suicide, because I have experienced those temptations when I was very ill. The mind set of someone in that place is not what one would assume if they never have experienced this illness.

    Secondly, I do not know anything about Robin Williams personal situation before his death. I don’t know if he was on medication, or in counseling, or having personal or financial problems. I don’t know if he had a wonderful family, supportive friends, people praying for him. I can just grieve for him and the countless others in recent days who have succumbed to this temptation. These people who commit this act are not islands. They are living amongst us. It is a reminder for me to look carefully at the people who surround me. Do I listen to them? Am I the kind of person someone would come to if they were hurting? Do I exhibit the kind of love that would draw someone to help carry their load, or push them into isolation. It is a time to reflect on who we are? A time to reflect for us who are living. Surely we have people in our lives that are afflicted with depression. What does our judgement and condemnation do for them? What could our love, acceptance and mercy do for them? What set of attitudes do you think could help someone on the verge of this decision?

    Lastly, I would challenge everyone to think about their words in the aftermath of this tragic event. We can not go back and change the actions of this past week. Proverbes 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death,…”. We can pray for the Williams family, we can encourage others with depression, we can use it as an evaluation of how we respond to those around us who suffer from depression. I am reminded to share my faith in Jesus Christ, to boast how he brought me through my darkest days. He provided doctors, medicine and a loving, praying family to help me endure my depression. He protected me from myself, and I praise God for his presence in my life. While our nation is in a discussion over Robin Williams, let us remember people are listening to our comments, people who may be secretly struggling through their own battle with mental illness. Our words can have a lasting impact on them. They can open doors for comfort, or they can slam doors of judgement on them, without even realizing. We are all responsible for our words, let them be life giving.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Depression-In-The-Church/606513146101437?ref=hl

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