Depression is a disease, but like most mental diseases, stigma is still a problem. We’re more inclined to talk about it now, but there’s still risk involved — fear of being branded a little crazy or unstable or weak.
It’s not a disease like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or stroke. Unlike those diseases, it’s difficult to see depression or even diagnose it. Medications take experimentation to determine which one works or doesn’t. Depression fills life with darkness that either won’t go away or comes back after a period of relief.
It seems difficult for Christians to deal with depression. We’re supposed to be joyful, strong. In I Peter 5:7 (NIV), we read: “Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you.” If we’re depressed, cast our anxiety on God, and nothing happens, there must be something wrong with us. Our faith isn’t strong enough. What’s worse, we’re reluctant to talk about it for fear of being judged.
Psalm 42 is about depression. The Psalmist talks to God. He talks to himself. “…Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me…I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me…’Where is your God?’ Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Sound familiar? After reading Psalm 42, find a compassionate professional or friend — and talk. Pray. Hang in there. No disease means we’re separated from hope in God.
Finally, remember Jesus’ depression. “My God…why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) He still put all his hope in God.
Depression may yet abide but not forever. Hope. Praise Savior and God.