The Darkness of Depression and the Christian Response

In Advice and Encouragement, Single, Uncategorized by Debra Fileta22 Comments

There is no darker place than the pit of depression. 

It’s a place of dreaded emotion and unrelenting despair.  It saps you of your hope, robs you of your joy, and steals your very desire to live.

It’s a dark cloud that perpetually looms overhead, giving no sign of  relief…no sign of the sun that shines above it.  After a while, you begin to forget that the sun even exists.

It has no favorites…and attacks when you least expect it.  It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, churched or unchurched, young or old.  It’s an illness that paralyzes your body, grieves your emotion, and breaks your spirit.

I know the wretched place of depression, because I’ve been there myself.  It’s a place I would never wish upon anyone.  It’s a place that I pray against each and every single day.

I am utterly grateful to say that I have been out of the terrible pit of depression for quite some time, but as I look around me, it’s something that so many people are battling on a regular basis. Battling in silence. And foe some, battling, even to the point of death. It’s time for the Church to step up in our understanding and support of mental health issues within the body of Christ….

Before depression takes yet another life. 

It’s time for us to speak up, because the most dangerous thing about depression is that it’s typically a quiet illness that lends itself to suffering alone.

When cancer strikes we start Facebook pages, prayer lists, and support groups.  But when Depression rears its ugly head…we hide.  We pretend like it doesn’t exist.  We try to battle through it alone.  But it is exactly in those dark and lonely places that depression loves to feed, to grow, and to attack.  It breaks us down, especially when we try to battle it in isolation.

It’s a quiet illness because it comes with a blanket of shame.  It’s as though those who struggle with depression are some how less than.  Less healthy.  Less holy.  Less Christian.  Less courageous.  Less strong.

What a lie from the pit of hell.  I believe that some of the strongest people…are those who have faced the ugly monster of depression…yet keep…moving…forward.  It’s time to stop throwing out bible verses and offering prayers without actually providing practical help for those who are depressed. It’s like praying for a starving man without actually feeding him.  We as Christians need to start being the instruments of hope and healing for those who are struggling.  Sometimes all it takes is a listening ear, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to talk to.  Sometimes, all it takes is someone to lead them toward getting some help.

In my practice as a professional counselor I have seen an alarming influx of client’s between the ages of 18-25 the past year, all struggling with the terrible illness of depression.  It doesn’t matter where you are at in life nor if you have the world ahead of you.  Depression can strike.  Christians and non-Christians alike, warding off the darkness and discouragement that is battling to take their minds, occupy their hearts, and suck dry their spirit.

Depression is a three-fold disease in that it attacks your body, your emotions, and your spirit.  It ruins your ability to sleep, to eat, to concentrate.  It fills your mind with terrible thoughts and hopeless feelings.  And at times,  it causes you to question God and in turn, your very desire to live.

But there is hope for those who are struggling.  With a combination of medication, counseling, community and God’s grace, there is the opportunity to find relief and even healing.

Sadly, and particularly among the churched, there seems to be a stigma of shame that comes with seeking out medication and therapy.   A person would never question a diabetic for seeking insulin, or someone with an infection seeking an antibiotic.  But for some reason, the illness of depression is categorized in a separate category.  And in that quiet, stigmatized, dark room of shame…it continues to capture and destroy one person at a time.

It’s time to get real about this terrible disease that is ravishing the lives of Christians, young adults, and men and women all over the country.  It’s time to seek help, offer hope, and join hands in battling this terrible illness.

It’s not too late to impact this generation.  It’s not too late to make some noise.  It’s not too late to fight for the lives that are ravaged by this terrible illness…and take them back.

It is only when things are brought into the light that they can be healed.  To those who are suffering in the pit of depression, remember: You are not alone in this.  You are no less of a person through this.  God will never leave you because of this.

Let’s work to shine truth and light in these dark places.

*For more help, visit www.aacc.net to find a counselor near you.  It’s time to stop suffering alone.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "The Darkness of Depression and the Christian Response"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Tina
Guest

Debra thankyou for sharing this.

Emily Davis
Guest

Needed to read this specifically today. You have no idea. Thank you.

Bongo
Guest

Thank you 🙂

stacie hopkins
Guest

well now we r in my area I’m depressed all the time I’m afraid I will not find luv that will accept me & my family & that hurts

Margo
Guest
Hello Debra, I came upon your post by way of Facebook, and must thank you for this wisdom. It is my hope that many many people will see it and try to understand. I have struggled with depression all of my adult life, and have even tried to take my life. I am at a good place right now, and in this good place I can be an encourager for those who still struggle, which I try to do in my blog at times. Your words: “It’s time to stop throwing out bible verses and offering prayers without actually providing… Read more »
Moses
Guest

I have suffered with this same intensity of depression for years and I have never read anything accurate to describe it PERFECTLY as this. Great job! It is why I’m in college to be a Christian counselor.

Rachel
Guest
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you soooo much for this AMAZING article!!! It is about time someone speak such TRUTH about depression, especially to believers. I just want to share it with the world! I am so tired of hearing the lies sent from the enemy by believers, to discourage those struggling with depression and making them feel less than others who struggle with other illnesses. We must support, love and encourage Christians who have depression. Never give up on them and continue to pray for them. May this article allow those who have been hiding to come… Read more »
Rachel G
Guest

Hi Debra, I just wanted to say thank you for posting this article, and like Moses said I appreciate how accurate this is and how you have covered many different aspects of what dealing with depression entails. Thank you for mentioning the isolation that happens, that’s a big part of what makes it so insidious. Thanks again!

Sylvia
Guest

Your blog was shared by a friend on Facebook- thank you for writing such a piece.

We wouldn’t merely tell a diabetic or heart patient to just “pray more”… why, I wonder, do we suggest or imply it to those who deal with maladies of another body organ… the brain? Well said and true.

Kate
Guest

What is it Paul says in Romans? “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I pray that Christians strive to be Christ-like.

TD
Guest
Not only does the church not know how to handle illnesses of the mind, but they will often discipline those who really have little ability to control their thoughts or actions. Believing that one purposely does not want to do the opposite of what they actually are doing. Choosing to sin when they should know better. No amount of prayer or wishing I could do better, helped. It was only through a dear sister who came along side and spoke truths from the Scriptures into my life and made sure i was okay each day by checking on me. Not… Read more »
Robert Kem
Guest
Debra. I so appreciate what you have said in words so accurately about those who have struggles with depression. As a life-long struggle, I too have been in the pits and come out many times. Some reasons, were they genetic? Yes. Were they situational? At times. Emotional, yes, and even spiritual. I have had professional counseling, medication, diet, exercise, prayer and now meditation. All these have helped, but the community of faith has been the most important healer as they have shared the love and compassion of Christ with me. The one who time and again healed all who came… Read more »
HARRIET OWALLA
Guest

This is such great insight…

Thakhani
Guest

I love love your blog. Am learning a lot everyday

wpDiscuz