I’m super happy to introduce to you, Mick Germain (#pastorextraordinaire)! He is one of my closest friends & he will be sharing an article he wrote which deals with depression (just a warning if you need one). I’m happy to share it with you, because the church body should spread light and talk about depression more than we do.
Relating to others can be hard. Like, really hard. Some stuff is easier to grasp though, ”Oh you don’t like dark chocolate because it’s bitter? I get it’’, but for everything I relate to, I like to imagine there are 100 more that I cannot. I can’t grasp what it is like to be an orphan, a widower or even a heroin addict (not that those 3 things are related in anyway). Some things have to be felt in order for us to wrap our heads around, for better or for worse.
It becomes even harder to relate when things get specific, God made everyone unique so you can imagine that things are always very ‘’specific’’. I don’t know what is like to lose a child, or to have a child, or to be unable to have one. You see, we experience life differently; our joys and our pains lived out with different intensities, all equally important in the very knitting of our beings. These emotions come and go, and these landmark events define how we’ll approach the upcoming ones. So regardless of our inability to understand, we shouldn’t shy away from speaking about these subjects. This leads me to the topic of depression.
Depression is this secret illness in the church. Although it has been getting more exposure as of late, many still suffer in silence. Statistics Canada found that 20% of adults will suffer from mental illness during their lifetime. That is an incredible amount of people to have been swept under the rug of the church if you ask me. Feeling depressed is fairly common for people; it can come from disappointment, anger, sadness, etc. It is to be noted that just like many feelings, it is temporary, but that isn’t depression, that’s just feeling down. Without wanting undermining ‘’being down’’, I must state that ‘’Depression’’ is a constant state of despair.
I ignored my illness for 3 years before doing anything about it. I lived with the belief that mental illness, just like cancer and death, could only happen to others; since nobody in the church ever told me otherwise, I just assumed it would pass. Alas! It did not. In fact, not only did it ‘’not pass’’, it got gradually worse. I barely noticed how bad it was getting until I realized I had set up camp in the ‘’sunshine’’ state of Despair.
Before we continue, here’s a little disclaimer, this isn’t a post on how to make it through depression, if anything it’s for the 80% that will never experience it.
So, yes, ‘’depression’’ is a constant state. There are ‘’bad days’’ and ‘’worse days’’, the sun doesn’t shine as much and cloudy days bring you down even more. For something that screws you over, depression is awfully poetic. Your brain is under fire, as if a shooter was running amuck in there. It is a constant state of fear; you are a victim of your own body. You can’t see a future beyond trying to make it to the end of the day. A constant fear of being unable to take it one day, and just choosing to become end it all instead rising above in victory. The worst has got to be those days when you don’t feel, not when you ‘’don’t feel like’’, just when you don’t feel. When can’t feel anything at all. You become a prisoner in your own body; in my situation (you see, again with specifics), it caused physical and emotional hypersensitivity. Picture this: you find yourself needing physical affection, but getting it (be it by the means of a hug) feels like receiving 1000 lashes. Living in this bubble of irony is draining, even for a ‘’hipster’’ as I.
I may not have had cancer, but I too have felt despair, anguish and anger (in my own way of course). I know that some of you have as well, and if you are stuck in a rut, I can’t stress this enough, get help. GET HELP.
On a more encouraging note for those who are going through depression; God loves you, and understands your pain. Isn’t it wonderful to have such an incredible Father? Not only does He care about us, but He will pull us through these dark, dark, dark days. Our victory was won at the cross, and I have this crazy belief that any challenge I come across is just fluff. It’ll either pass, or stay in my graves. Either way, it isn’t coming with me in Heaven.