Wednesday, August 13, 2014

O Captain, My Captain || Depression and the Church

Have you ever noticed how rarely depression is talked about in the church? I have. 

Here's a fair warning. I can't be unbiased in this. Depression has, and sometimes continues to be a struggle of mine. It is very dear to my heart and I can, with full confidence, say this is a personal post.

As I've said before, growing up in the church, while beautiful, is not easy. Being a church kid means having it together. And not just sometimes, but all the time. Expectations are high and the pressure to be perfect is nearly suffocating. I don't think it's intentional; I think it's just our natural reaction to place people on pedestals. The problem with that, however, is that we leave them little room for error.

Which is why, when I sunk into depression, it was even more crushing because I felt completely alone in the church. The youth leaders I looked up to, fled the second the "D" word was mentioned. Instead of talking me through it, they brushed it aside and told me that I just had to "get closer to God". After all, as a youth pastor once told me, depression was a sin; you couldn't be a Christian and struggle with depression.

Depression is not an open topic in the church. It's treated as taboo and off-limits. And I really don't understand why that is. It's a terrible thing to go through. Absolutely terrible. 

Yet we ignore it. We brush it under the rug and refuse to acknowledge it exists.Which is the worst thing you can to someone who is depressed. Depression is such an isolating experience. You feel completely alone. It's like a war with your mind; one part is begging you to talk to someone about it, while the other side is telling you that you'll only make yourself a burden if you do.

We as the body of Christ are supposed to be loving and warm. Reaching those who feel unreachable. I know it's not easy. In fact, it's uncomfortable and requires an endless supply of patience. But loving others, means stepping out of our comfort zone.

It breaks my heart. It truly, truly does. How many more people need to succumb to this before we start acting? How many more lives is it going to take before the Church finally wakes up to this need?

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