So You’re a Christian With Depression

I suffer from anxiety and depression.  I know I come across very chipper and such through my blog and even in real life.  And for the most part, I’ve pinpointed my triggers and seek help when needed, which keeps me on track.

Is that surprising?  I’ve often told people about my struggles and they seem kinda shocked.  “You seem so happy.”

Then I’ve heard advice:

“You should pray about it.”  “God can take care of that.” “You have a beautiful family, just focus on that.”

Then I felt like a sub par believer who can’t get over my own emotions.  Lately, though, I’m feeling at peace with my journey.

As a young homeschooling mom who has been through depression and anxiety and HAPPILY taken medication when I needed it, I’m here to say–you’re not alone–and you’re no less a child of God.

It’s taken me a while to realize this.   My anxiety started as a young girl.  I feared my mother dying like CRAZY.  Of course even back in the eighties there were no mainstream child psychologists and my mother couldn’t Google ‘childhood anxiety’.  It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized what I had grown up dealing with.

I felt like a weirdo as a kid.  My sweet mom just couldn’t understand my fear.  It may stem from her first getting breast cancer when I was just 7, and back then cancer was hush hush.  I didn’t see a counselor or talk to anyone.  Mom had chemo, surgery, and I was to just keep going.  However, from that point on, I just knew to worry about her.

Thinking back, I had my first experience with depression in middle school.  Now that I’m educated, I would say this was clinical depression.  I cried daily for no reason and my body hurt.  I remember not sleeping and being very very fearful.  I would go to church and light candles and pray that I would be happy again and get better.

I had a wonderful life as a young girl and there was no reason to be unhappy.  God must be so disappointed, I thought.  I’m not righteous or Godly enough to get better.

After I got married and we realized after nearly 15 years of remission, Mom’s cancer had returned and was terminal, I really began to struggle.  Of course, most people would struggle with that I think.  I had full blown anxiety but still managed to function daily.  I was a teacher, newly married, and tried my best to help care for mom when she needed it.

christian depression

I was very very SAD and anxious about Mom dying, but life kept going.  Even after she died, I mourned, but it was all normal.

Fast forward a year and I had just delivered my first son, Noah.  I got baby blues pretty bad.  I remember being in the shower and feeling like such a terrible Christian.

“I should rely on God.  Jesus should be able to overcome hormones. What’s wrong with me?!”

More guilt.  More feelings of not being good enough for God.

We Christians feel the need to BE Jesus sometimes, I think.  Maybe it’s just me.  I believe, therefore I have to be perfect and never sad, and always joyful and wear a skirt.  We’re saved, not the Savior.

Life went on and things got better.  Just a blip.

However, after the birth of my third son and a move for my husband’s job, I realized I needed help.  My son was already a year old and slowly but surely I slipped into a classic depression.  The tears flowed all day. I was anxious when alone.  There was no reason to feel this way.   The symptoms just came.  It affected my family and I got on a low dose of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.  It was night and day.

I stayed on the medicated until we were ready for our next baby (my 4th son), and since then, I haven’t needed to go back on anything.  Although, I do struggle with anxiety all the time–(I worry my husband will die, kids run a fever and I think it’s cancer, etc. etc.  it’s my cross)

Gee golly.  This is long.  What’s my point.

For so long I felt SO alone.  Even like I was separated from God.  Depression does that.  It’s an ugly thing.  I felt like a major failure I couldn’t ‘pray my way’ out of it too.  Ever feel that?  Awful emotions.

In the end, I started this blog and being honest.  I spoke to everyone I could about depression, anxiety, and homeschooling.  Motherhood.  Guess what?  So many ladies I knew were also struggling.  Some got help through therapy.  Some used medication.  Others were able to rely on God and prayer.

Are any of those treatments more righteous than the other?  Nope.  The Lord has a path for YOU and for ME.  He loves you the same on Zoloft or off of it.  He does want you to keep praying and get through it with Him.  But maybe you need other treatments along with His Word and guidance?  That’s ok!  Sometimes He gives us the resources and answers right in front of our faces but we’re so stubborn that the ‘answer’ has to ‘look’ a certain way, that we don’t grab the life vest He’s thrown. 

Back to my point.  Yeesh.  You’re probably in need of Prozac after reading this!

Stop the guilt.  Don’t feel judged. If you’re enduring it, I’m 99.9% sure someone else has too.  Cling to the cross 100% of the time and you will pull through.  Do what the Lord is calling you to do.  If that voice is saying to seek help, seek it.

That was a rambling mess.  Please don’t un friend me on Facebook.  Over and out.

That’s my dirty landery for today.  Love you!  And Jesus loves you too!

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m struggling with these same issues right now. It is reassuring to know you can get through it all. God bless!

  2. Thank you so much for pouring your heart out to us and being so honest! I appreciate you sharing your story. Inspirational 🙂

  3. Liz, I love your article!! I too deal with depression from time to time. Most of the time it doesn’t seem to be brought on by any particularly terrible event–it just kind of comes out of nowhere. And I too used to feel like a “bad Christian” when I got depressed. I’m so glad that moms like you are willing to discuss this out in the open for the sake of other moms who haven’t gotten to that point yet and don’t feel comfortable asking for help. Thanks for being so honest and for offering support for moms like me!

  4. Hugs!!! I have depression too!

  5. You’re right! A lot of moms deal with this, me included. I wish everyone was this open about it. It’s not something ugly. It’s just a different sort of trial. Some people need glasses. Some people need hearing aids. Some people need depression medication. And that’s okay. Loved this article!!

  6. I have dealt with depression my entire life too. It comes out of nowhere and leaves just as mysteriously. Sometimes I know I need to see a therapist. Sometimes I use 5HTP and sometimes just journaling will help. I can’t take prescription or most natural meds for that matter so I have to do whatever it takes until it passes. I’m glad you are comfortable with yourself. I’m sure that God is hurting when you are hurting, lean on him. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever experience depression again. God describes times of depression in the bible with the apostles and sometimes mine come right after I’ve been especially in God’s presence. It just is what it is and is no measure of your worth, that’s for sure. ((((HUGS))))

  7. Thank you so much for this post! I too suffer from depression and anxiety. I understand the feeling of separation from God and everyone else. Sometimes my anxiety is so bad that I feel angry a lot. I have been on medication in the past and have gone through therapy. But sometimes it all feels for naught. I needed to hear that I am saved but NOT the Savior. All too often I rely myself to make it better. When I alone can not. I’ll pray for you, you pray for me!

  8. Even though you know you’re not alone, it often times seems like it. So it’s sorta nice to come and read a post like this, and the 4 comments above me, all saying that they deal with it too. We all have our own struggles. And, letting it out can definitely help!

  9. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so important that those of us who can share our stories and encourage others dealing with depression. My book Finding Joy in Depression tells my story and gives tips for managing depression – http://www.findingjoyindepression.com

  10. When I saw the image for this come across my facebook, I was scared to open it. Because I have had people say “So, you’re a Christian with depression.” in a not-so-good-way. In ways that imply that depression isn’t a real thing and/or that I must not be a real Christian if I suffer from it. It’s so hard. I avoided it for a while because I want my blog to be a positive place, but finally God gave me the words to share. And I will keep talking about it even if it makes people uncomfortable because I think that’s the only way to remove the stigma. It’s an illness. Period. Blessings to you. I’m sorry that you still struggle with anxiety, but so glad for you that you’ve beat the depression part. It’s a bear. I have struggled with chronic severe depression for about 15 years. And most people have very little understanding about all that it causes and the many ways that it affects a person’s life. There are so many symptoms, both emotional AND physical.

  11. Thank you for your honesty. I struggled with depression for a while. I still have moments of falling back into it, but it’s manageable now, without medication (which I had to take for several months). Praying this post will encourage many!

  12. Thank you for a wonderful post. You’ve described a life very similar to my own. About that “Z”, some just don’t get off it, wink, even when they want to. So glad to hear the encouragement. I figured out some time ago that it’s a journey to share with those around me to reach out to those afraid to admit it or talk about it. Keep sharing and caring. Blessings!

  13. People with depression aren’t necessarily down in the dumps and gloomy every minute of the day. We have up moments, sane, normal and yes, even happy and joyful moments. It’s too easy to judge me as being ‘okay’ because you catch me in one of those moments. Most of the time I’ll do my best to look and act cheerful, hoping the pretense will distract me and boost my flagging spirits. People prefer happy, cheerful people: I know I do. It is hard to maintain a cheery disposition so many of us work alone or hide in our homes. We don’t want to disappoint or upset our friends and those we love. I also know how difficult it is to help someone with depression, how hard it is to offer comfort and reassurance, especially when it is continually rejected by them. But most of all I know how difficult it is to feel empathy and sympathy for someone with depression. Depression is a lonely affliction. My online communities make it easy for me to function socially, to feel connected, to feel useful and offer a way I can help others feel okay about what they are doing in their lives. I feel blessed to have what I have – love, friendship, support, encouragement, comfort – but most days I feel broken and weary, and lack the energy and drive to help myself. I do what I can, hang in there, hope that in the next moment something will shift in my body and mind and the fog will lift, just a little bit – I can do the lifting from there. So catch me during one of those moments and celebrate life with me, but understand how rare they are right now for me. Send me love, think of me kindly, and remember my depression is not me ….

  14. So good to see this post, because we do feel alone. And after a very hurtful incident, I had disassociation and out of body incidences. I was a mess, they told me I might develop multiple personalities. I didn’t want people to find out I was crazy. The HR lady at work didn’t want to let me have time off to get it sorted out. I kept having anxiety attacks and my heart would race at 150 beats a minute for hours. I didn’t have anybody to stay with me and help me but I made it. I’ve been on antidepressants for over 25 years, I have PTSD also. You know your body better than anyone so do whats best for you and remember that lots of people have problems and you are not alone.

  15. Grateful Girl says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. My mother has severe depression and has for as long as my memory will go back. This helps me understand her so much more. I really, really appreciate to have read this this morning.

  16. I was diagnosed at 16 and struggled way before that, but like you said above, my parents had no idea the symptoms or what to do when I was young. I was just labeled co-dependent and emotional. It will be a life long struggle. I have been hospitalized as well. Right now, for the first time in almost 9 years I am off medication. I feel great most days, but I take life moment by moment and cherish the ‘true good feelings’ as they come.
    Doing lots of research and family history, we have found that it is in the genes. My oldest precious son suffers from it. Some days I feel so guilty for “passing on the monster to him”. But, I know that God has equipped me to help him and support him in ways that no one could do for me. Hopefully, his road will be easier than my own has been.
    I used to question God. Here I am, doing everything ‘right’ and You stick me with this?!? But, I have come to learn that Depression truly is my ministry….as crazy as that sounds. I have been able to minister to so many of our youth at church and even catch the signs and behaviors before they even realize that it has gotten to the clinical point. I am thankful that God has turned my mess into something helpful.
    I still question Him and wonder, “why me?” But, I do have more peace about it all. My mom always likens it to diabetes or cancer. She says, “Would you be embarrassed or hide those diseases?” I’ve tried to be more open and honest to people because it has and it does effect my relationships. But, I’m not honest and open to very many,
    Thank you for being so honest. Support from others is just what we “Christians with Depression” need. I hide it so well, but it is feel good to share it with those who understand.

    • It does feel good to share! The Lord already knows us in and out…it’s all not surprise to him! I can see symptoms in my oldest too already 🙁 That is really hard. However, you and I both know best how to help them! Thank you so much for sharing :)))

  17. You’ve probably heard it all….soooo I just want to say you are in my prayers…never quit pressing the spirit of depression off of you…

    Blessings,
    Forest Rose

  18. I too have struggled with both anxiety and depression. Your words are honest, true and brave. Thank you.

  19. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Depression has been very difficult to fight off in my life. Both of my parents have struggled with it and still do. I keep trying to tell myself that I don’t have depression, just a little low. Well I do deal with depression. It is not a bad word. It is not who I am. I am a child of the one true God. I have begun over the past years to seek help for this. It’s still hard for me to call it what it is because depression has been such a bad word in my family. It has not been treated as an illness, in truth, because of the effects we have seen on a family member. It has been very difficult to deal with it. In truth, I have to pay attention to the little signs within myself that start popping up–as soon as they pop up! This may be a little scattered, but thank you for the outlet. So thankful for the friend that shared this on facebook and for your heart to share. God bless you!

  20. Thank you so much for this, Liz. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. When I was in first grade, I was diagnosed with ADHD and immediately placed on meds. That’s when I started acting strangely, according to my mother. I would lie in the middle of the floor and say that I wanted to die. She got freaked and took me off the meds. When I started middle-school, I would wring my hands so badly that I developed calluses on them. I also started doing some OCD things at this point – wring one hand three times, the other hands needs to be wrung three times. I struggled to fit in in high school and made some poor choices and in college too, where I drank way too much. After I married, I started having huge amounts of anxiety and was places on SSRI’s. Then I stopped because of course I felt like, being a Christian, I should be able to handle things, right. After my first child was born, I was hit with PPD like a ton of bricks – afraid of being alone, begging my husband to stay home from work, afraid of the dark. I was placed on SSRIs again. And then quit again about two years later – which sent me right back into High Anxiety Mode – cleaning obsessively, vacuuming at 11 PM because someone walked in my house with shoes on, etc. I finally realized that I NEED TO BE ON MEDS and went back on them and I have been so much happier and relaxed about it. It’s just something I needed to accept and I have. I realize that I will probably need meds for the rest of my life, and I have come to terms with that. But, yes, it is hard when you’re a Christian and you think to yourself, “What is wrong with me? Wouldn’t I be okay if I had enough faith?’ Sheesh. Sorry for the novel but I understand completely where you are coming from.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am on a journey looking for answers too. I have been battling depression really for almost a year now (maybe longer) this particular time. These past two months though, have been so bad, it’s hard to wrap my brain around it. I was recently diagnosed with depression by my regular doctor and on Tuesday I hit “post” that had been sitting in my drafts for about 2 weeks. http://www.allforhimblog.com/faith/ive-got-secret/ I am also a homeschooling mom, and It’s so hard not to feel guilt over feeling this way, when I’m a stay at home mom. I almost feel like I’m doing my kids a disservice by being sick like that. The worst part is my brain is in a fog so much,. Everything around me just kinda gets cloudy, etc. It’s very hard, well…clearly you know. The criticism of others is terrible and it seems like you’ve been there too. People making you feel weak for not being able to cope or deal, or like you aren’t a good enough Christian, make this even harder. Even people who tell me they have battled depression just tell me you just think positive and you just deal with it…I wish I knew how! My sweet hubby doesn’t get it, but he’s trying to be supportive. I feel really bad for saying this but I honestly feel a little better knowing I’m not alone. Thanks so much for being open and honest and vulnerable and sharing this with others. It really did help me a little bit.
    God bless!

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