I have minored in Religion, and I once had hopes of pursuing a Master in Theology ... having tested to begin courses towards that direction before I even completed my under-grad degree ... all of that is still simmering dry on the back burner.
I am a ... Christian.
I have worked in the ministry, and I feel a strong need to serve others although I honestly have no idea how I can really be of any kind of worthwhile "service" since I feel so inadequate. I mean, who am I ... really ... and how could He use me, of all people, and why would He want to?
I am a .... Nothing.
The past few months have been emotionally taxing for me, and this heavy taxation has triggered a fierce relapse of PTSD complete with its full-blown depression and random panic attacks ... notice, please, I said "triggered a relapse" which means these issues are nothing new and are also, unfortunately, recurring.
I am not clueless, and I am not in denial ... I am aware of the physical, and Spiritual, causes/sources of my pain.
But being "aware" doesn't make it any easier to deal with, though, and neither does over 25 years experience of dealing.
As the sun was setting, I decided tonight would be Good night to delve into my Bible for a personal study on depression ... I have leaned so heavily upon my Best Friend these past few weeks, I thought I'd give him a much-needed rest and turn to our Creator. It was the perfect time to reach out to Him; being the Sabbath.
I stumbled upon something appalling and disturbing as I was skimming through a few Christian articles about depression, and I couldn't believe my eyes ... I read it and re-read it again several times ... I took a screen-shot of it, and read it again.
How damaging! How dangerous! How false! How irresponsible! How wrong!
My own hurt/pain was forgotten, irrelevant, at this point .... and had turned into OUTRAGE.
What complete, and utter, shit from a horse.
God never used anybody who was depressed or discouraged? Really?
Let's see ...
MOSES - "I am not able to bear this any longer ... it is too heavy for me ... it would be better if I were dead ... if I have found any favor in your sight, at all, take me, I pray thee."
I don't know about you, but, that sounds like a depressed and discouraged person to me ... and we ALL should know how God used Moses.
ABRAHAM - "And a deep sleep fell upon him; lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him."
Anyone who has truly experienced depression can instantly recognize what this passage described ... the only time the pain is dulled is while sleeping ... and you sleep so much that you fall deeper and deeper into the dark pit ... but, sorry, God was never able to use Abraham.
ELIJAH - "I've had enough; please take my Life for I am not Good enough."
Goodness Gracious, I guess God couldn't use the PROPHET Elijah either ... despite his obvious exhaustion and insecurity.
JEREMIAH - "Cursed be the day wherein I was born!"
Dang, another prophet, despite all he did to honor God's calling .... sorry, Jeremiah was not used.
JONAH - "It's better if I were dead ... take, I beseech thee, my Life from me ... for it is better for me to die than to live."
Despite his crappy attitude, and poor decisions, God still used Jonah ..... oh, wait, nevermind, sorry ... according to that article up there, God didn't use him either.
Something's fishy here.
And how about the Apostle Paul??? Paul was "pressed beyond measure; pressed beyond strength; thought it might be better to die!!!" Did God not use him??
Or what about my personal favorite, the Man After God's Own Heart, King David??????
KING DAVID - "I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly ... I go mourning all the day long, I groan because of the turmoil in my heart ... have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak ... please heal me ... I am weary with my groaning ... how long will you forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Consider me, and hear me, lest I sleep the sleep of death ... the sorrows of death encompass me ... My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me??? Why are you so far from helping me? And why are you deaf to the words of my roaring??? Turn back unto me and have mercy upon me for I am desolate and afflicted ... O bring me out of my distresses ... Hear O Lord when I cry ... please answer me ... Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble ... my eyes are consumed with grief ... My Life is spent ... My strength is failing ... my bones are consumed ... But I trust in you, O Lord ... You are My God."
All of these men were Believers ... all of these men had a specific job to do that God assigned to them ... that God GAVE them ... and every one of these men had trouble with their calling, and struggled to do God's will ... each and every one of these men got depressed, and discouraged, over different circumstances and situations ... they were ALL in a state of acute stress, and found it very difficult to carry out the demands of their tasks ... and each one of these men were still very, very much used by God in spite of their flaws, illnesses, and weaknesses.
The most damaging, the most dangerous, the most irresponsible, and the most false/wrong self-righteous advice, attitude and judgment of them ALL is when you go to a trusted confidant, or elder, or friend, or leader, or pastor, or whatever/whoever ... and you feel this, or hear this, from them:
"A real Christian has faith ... a real Christian never gets that heavy or sorrowful ... A real Christian would never let depression get that much of a hold of them ... a real Christian doesn't doubt their worth ... a real Christian never questions God ... a real Christian wouldn't have that kind of trouble/struggle ... a real Christian would never want to die ... a real Christian knows all things work for Good, and knows he's going to make it, and is always up for the task."
Really? A REAL Christian, huh? You ignorant, pitiful ass.
The most "REAL CHRISTIAN" I know is Jesus Christ HIMSELF.
He had faith ... an unlimited supply of faith. Jesus Christ knew all things worked for Good. He knew he was going to make it. Jesus Christ was up for the task; he took the job. Yet He anguished over what was ahead of him. HE WAS DISCOURAGED. Jesus Christ also questioned God, if surely, please, is there not another way we can do this? He begged for God to remove that cup from him. Jesus Christ was extremely heavy, and intensely sorrowful ... depression had a big hold of him ... so much so that his sweat and tears were falling like drops of blood ... HE WAS DISTRAUGHT EVEN UNTO DEATH ... so distraught that he wasn't just willing to die, but he wanted to die, but surely there's another way we can do this?!?!?!? Jesus Christ experienced a maxed-out emotional stress overload breakdown prior to his physical torture, and was in literal AGONY!!!
He KNOWS what it feels like, and He knows what it IS, and He understands.
And, for what it is worth .... if anything ... I do too.
I'm going to tell you, flat out, if you struggle with depression ... you have never been alone, in the past, and you are not alone right now, in the present, and you will never be alone in the future.
The Struggle is Real ... for REAL Believers ... for REAL Christians ... yes, the Struggle is Real.