Always, Katie: 4 Things Your Christian Friend with Depression or Anxiety Wants You to Know

Monday, August 5, 2013

4 Things Your Christian Friend with Depression or Anxiety Wants You to Know

I was first treated for depression 5 or 6 years ago, but have probably been dealing with it and anxiety since I was little.  A lot of people don't believe in depression or anxiety, and I have encountered this attitude, unfortunately, the most in Christian circles.  If you have a friend who is a professing Christian who also claims to have one of these extremely common mental health problems, these are the things they probably want you to know.

1. This is a chemical issue, not a “heart issue.”
I am not depressed because I don’t fully trust or lean on God. I am depressed because I am genetically predisposed to a serotonin/norepinephrine imbalance. I practice Psalm 55:22*, and trust in Proverbs 10:25*… but I still have to weather the storm.
2. Situations can exacerbate our symptoms, but we can be completely content in our lives and joyful in the Lord… and still suffer from depression.
Please don’t assume that we are not thankful for or mindful of our blessings! We ARE! Often when I’m having a rough depression day, I am not upset about anything specific. In fact, I can have an amazing day filled with lots of good, happy things… followed by an evening under the depression blanket. Maybe it’s because the good events of the day tired me? I don’t know, but I promise – I am always thankful for what the Lord has given me.
3. Many of us thank God for the wisdom he gave the doctors who developed the medications that make our lives easier.
I am continuously thankful for the inventions of insulin and Wellbutrin. Both have given me the chance at a normal (or near-normal) life, and I consider them very close to equal in their importance to me. And I believe with all my heart that their availability to me is due entirely to God’s gifts of wisdom and inspiration to the developers.
4. I did not bring this on myself.
See John 9:1-3*. Please don’t assume that my illness (the depression/anxiety, diabetes, PCOS, etc) is a punishment for my sins. The cool thing about grace is… my punishment was taken care of a couple thousand years before I committed my first offense. Yours was, too. Can I get an “AMEN?”
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* All passages are from the New International Version of the Bible.

Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Proverbs 10:25 - When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

John 9:1-3 - As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

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