Depression is extremely common to struggle with at some point in your life, or even throughout your entire life. Many people believe depression is something you should just “snap out of” and become happy again. For those of us struggling with depression, these comments can be hurtful and cause us to become more isolated. If you struggle with depression, rest in the peace that God is with you through it all. I personally struggle with depression, so I understand what it feels like when you believe God has left you alone in the midst of your depression. It is important to remember that even though we may feel this way, it does not mean our feelings are true.
Overcoming a Deep Darkness
Famous author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling describes depression perfectly, “Depression isn’t just feeling a bit sad. It’s feeling nothing. It’s not wanting to be alive anymore.” Depression causes you to lose enjoyment in the things of life that once made you feel bright, happy, and joyful. Activities such as painting, writing, or participating in a sport may not hold your interest anymore. Depression is deeper than a sad feeling or emotion. We can all get sad at times; however, depression is rooted much deeper.
Depression is a deep darkness that can make you feel like you are drowning. Day by day, the darkness seems to grow stronger and you simply do not want to live anymore. It is not uncommon for those who struggle with depression to think of suicide, plan suicide, or act upon suicide (Timothy J. Legg, “Depression: Facts, Statistics, and You,” Healthline, 2020). If you have struggled with depression in the past or are currently struggling with thoughts of harming yourself, it is important for you to reach out to your loved ones, a therapist, and your primary care doctor. Depression can trick you into believing that nobody cares about you, but this is not true at all. Your family and friends love you and want to make sure you are alright. Suicide is never the answer. It takes great strength to say no to suicide and live each day. The Lord has a great purpose for your life and it stretches past the pain, distress, and agony of your present sufferings.
Christ can use our pain and struggles to help others. In the midst of our depression, we can feel extremely isolated, alone, sad, and helpless. During these times, we can feel as if God has left us or abandoned us. If you are feeling this way today, rest in the peace that you are not alone. God has not left you and He is still standing by your side. God tells us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). Throughout my struggles with depression, I have often felt as if God has left me alone. I feel an insurmountable darkness that weighs above my head in the midst of my depression. It is at these times that we need to remember the Lord. Jesus is the light that can help us walk through the darkness. Even through the darkest valleys, the Lord has promised to walk with us (Psalm 23). We may not feel the Lord is with us, but He is still there.
As human beings, we tend to base facts on feelings; however, we should not. Our feelings are not always 100% correct. It is important to remember at these times that God is greater than a feeling or our emotions. Despite what we may feel, we have to turn to what we know. The Bible tells us God never leaves us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5; Matthew 28:20). The Lord wants us to come to Him in the midst of our depression and pour out our sorrows to Him (1 Peter 5:7). The Lord has never left us in our depression—it is us who have turned away from Him. He longs to cover you with the blanket of His love and to give you peace (John 14:27).
God does not promise to heal you of your depression; however, He will be with you through it all. For me personally, the depression I have will most likely remain with me throughout my life. Maybe your depression is temporary or maybe it will last for the rest of your life. Whether the depression is temporary or long-term, God will stay with you through it all. This does not mean you will feel great, cheery, and optimistic every day; however, it does mean the Lord will give you strength. Since the passing of my Mom, I have known depression in a very dark, bitter way. Even though I battle with depression, it does not define who I am. In the same way, depression does not define who you are.
Many people believe those who are struggling with depression are always gloomy, sad, and crying. Depression can manifest in many ways for different people. Sometimes the person who is always making jokes is actually struggling with depression. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression today, there is nothing wrong with getting help. Therapy has been found to be effective in helping depression as well as other mental health disorders. Seeing a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist could actually be the way the Lord can help you in the midst of your depression. There are many wonderful Christian therapists that can help you overcome your struggles and rest in the peace of God.
Turning to God
Depression is dark, painful, and isolating. The best thing to help with depression is to turn to the Lord. God has never left you in the grips of depression and He will not start now. The Lord is walking beside you and He delights to strengthen you and uphold you (Psalm 55:2). Pray to the Lord and tell Him everything that makes your soul depressed. The passing of a loved one, the end of a friendship, or a marriage that ends in divorce are a few reasons why you may be experiencing depression. Jesus knew what it felt like to be depressed. He was sorrowful after His friend Lazarus died as the Bible tells us the Lord wept (John 11:35).
Since He knows what it feels like to be depressed, He is able to comfort us and extend His love, care, and compassion to our wearied souls. Depression can feel as if all life has been drained out of you and you are a lifeless body stumbling through each day. Jesus does not want you to feel like this. He yearns to fill you up with His strength, peace, and love. Turn to Him today and tell Him how you are feeling. Pour your heart out to Him. Ask Him to silence your racing thoughts and calm your heavy heart. Do not be afraid to cry, yell, or scream in your prayers. The Lord knows your heart and He wants you to come to Him. Even though we may feel God has left us in the midst of our depression, He has not. Jesus is standing beside us in the midst of our depression and He is not going anywhere.
In addition to turning to the Lord, reach out to your family, friends, therapists, and doctors. Inform them of your depression and ask for their help. Ask your friends and family to lift you up with prayers and encouragement. God may seem far removed in the midst of our depression; however, He is right there beside us.