Depression. Have you ever felt depressed? Of course, a lot of people are thinking about it since the news of Robin Williams.
Many people have sad moments in their lives, but that’s not the same thing as depression.
I know. I’ve felt depression’s cold, steely fingers around my throat. And yes, as a Christian.
I know what it’s like to have thoughts of suicide come at me from out of nowhere, walk right into my mind and unpack. In no time, the thoughts began to take over my mind and I found myself planning the time I’d leave.
No, I wasn’t sad. I didn’t cry every night. Things weren’t going bad. I had a great wife, son and daughter in law. I pastored a church and worked a full time job, which wasn’t easy, but I didn’t consider it a problem.
But a problem was growing.
I hadn’t told a soul about my struggle. I had even started to believe everyone around me would be better off if I just checked out.
I was losing my mind.
Praying didn’t seem to break the mental torture I was experiencing. Studying and preaching the word of God didn’t diminish the damning thoughts in the least. I was headed for destruction.
What a precarious position I was in. I felt like a stranger to myself. I knew I needed help, but I felt I couldn’t speak a word of it to anyone. What would they think of me?
One day, I had a doctor’s appointment. Just a normal physical; a checkup. Everything was fine, at least that was my answer I had planned on giving the doctor.
However, as the doctor was finishing her poking and prodding, listening to my heart and lungs, in a routine manner she asked me, “So, how are you feeling?”
The dam inside broke. All my pent up emotions that had been holding me captive burst out of me, and into the examination room. She looked at me as if she were the Angel of the Lord, who had arrived to deliver me. At least that’s how I remember it.
I told her of my thoughts, and plans, and all I’d been going through mentally. Then she asked one question that broke the hold on my mind.
“Does your wife know? You must tell her.” And she promised SHE’D tell her if I didn’t.
Was it easy? No. Was she thrilled to hear of my struggles? Of course not.
But it was no longer my little secret. It was out in the open where I could receive some help.
Help from people who loved me.
God used that moment in the doctor’s office to jump into my struggles and point me to freedom and wholeness. My wife joined in, along with a dear counselor friend. God used them to open up my life to a new understanding of my strengths and weaknesses; especially my weaknesses. I learned it’s okay; it’s natural to have limitations and weaknesses. It’s acceptable. I’m not a freak if I’m not an emotional, and yes, even a spiritual superman.
My life opened up to healing, as I opened my mouth and asked for help. The presence of God became more than a doctrine as I asked for help.
Yes, it was risky; and the doctor could have ignored the little voice inside her prompting the question, “So, how are you feeling?”
If you’re feeling confused, emotionally spent, worried sick about what’s happening in your mind; strange thoughts of suicide are feeling like they belong, then call a friend, talk to your doctor, or spouse, family member. Someone.
You need not walk alone.
You dare NOT walk alone.