Postpartum Depression: Depression & Christianity

I have honestly been sitting on this blog post for a couple of years now. I know that we all have some very strong opinions about depression and Christianity, so to put those together… well, I’m asking for a slew of emails, comments and direct messages. {Insert wide eyed emoticon and laughing tear emoticon… because I feel both.}

If you haven’t read through the postpartum depression (PPD) series, please do so. Even if you don’t personally struggle with PPD, you might know someone that has or is and this will be helpful for you to better understand them and offer them the compassion they need.

So Depression and Christianity… where to begin?

As I’ve shared in the series, I had very strong opinions about depression before I personally dealt with depression. I had very strong opinions about anti-depressants, even though I had personally never been on them or needed them. The way I equate this is how those who don’t have kids have SO many ideas for how us with kids could do it better (as if 1 quick spanking will change a toddler). Or those that are married have SO many ideas for their single friends and how they could easily find a spouse (as if joining eHarmony was the only solution). Or those that are unemployed get the slaughter of suggestions (as if they haven't sent out 1 billion resumes and gave it there all at that many interviews). 

The point is this: it is really easy to have opinions about things we have never dealt with. It is also really prideful.

There I said it. I think the biggest battle when it comes to Depression and Christianity is pride.

Those that have never dealt with it make all kinds of judgments. Pride.

Those that are dealing with it hide-- from professional help and others. Pride.

Depression is real. It is. It’s not just something lazy or moody people have made up. It’s an actual medical diagnosis.

Yes there are WAY too many people on meds that probably don’t need to me. Way too many people that aren’t doing the basics to have a healthy base: sleep, water, exercise, etc. Plus many don’t go to therapy along side of taking meds to help.

We are going to debate down that rabbit trail today because we could talk in circle forever. We are going to talk about people who have depression medically confirmed and they love God and what that is like for them. 

Having depression does not mean you don’t love God. It doesn’t mean you aren’t following God. Hello, read the Psalms. David and the other psalmist were anguished men. Life is hard, never did God promise it would be easy (where did we get this idea from?). There will be times that we wrestle with the way life has turned out. There will be grief or anger or anxiety that stir up in us.

The answer that isn’t so helpful: “Well just pray about it.” Or “Jesus is the prince of peace. Maybe He isn’t the prince of something in your life and that’s why you don’t have peace.” Not at all saying that prayer isn’t helpful or that Jesus doesn’t bring peace, it is and He does. But sometimes, in the thick of it, we don’t need others to be Captain Obvious, we just need a friend. One who will listen and cry and pray for us, knowing we don’t have the words.

For 8 months my Postpartum Depression went undiagnosed. I felt like I needed to just pray more and believe more. I hid what I was struggling with for reason I still don’t even realize. I wanted to believe that God could heal me. I did believe He could.  I prayed often and with faith, but He wasn’t healing me. That made me question my faith and it made me question God which lead to me hiding from God and others, even those closest to me.

Depression is a lonely battle. Not only does it cause us to pull in and away, but others don’t know what to say or do so they pull away. We much prefer the smiley, Jesus praise hands over grief, and silence and withdraw.

I remember when I finally opened up about my depression once I was diagnosed and the fog finally had a name, others didn’t quite know what to do or say. Well that’s not true, the MANY that deal with depression, you all have come out of the woodwork and your thank yous have been so meaningful. You had more courage to come out of the funk and fog and share.

Because it’s really not that we want to judge one another, we just are ignorant.

I’m not asking that we be tolerant of one another. I think tolerance is a joke.

I am asking that we be loving towards one another. If you feel ignorant, ask questions. If you feel like you are judging, forgive and love instead.

I started to write out different verses on pride and grief, but I don’t want to do that. Truthfully it doesn’t feel 100% honest. I am making a point and I don’t just want to tag on some verses to make it better back up my point. You can seek out the Word for yourself and see if it contradicts.

For those dealing with depression, I’m sorry. Ugh, it so sucks. But listen to this:

God still loves you. God created you just as you are.

Depression isn’t a sign that you don’t love God.

Depression sticking isn’t a sign that you don’t have faith.

If you thinking taking a pill is best, take the pill. (Here's a pic of me and mine:)

If you want to try other things (in addition or instead of), try it.

One verse I will quote: “The Lord is near to all who call on Him…” Psalm 145:18.

You are not alone in this.