When you think of someone who is depressed, you may think of someone that stays in bed, cries a lot and isolates themselves from any type of social communication…
What if I told you there are people who struggle with anxiety and depression who laugh, fully function in society and actually feel better around a couple close people; People in your inner circle that you may have never guessed dealt with depression.
Depression does not discriminate – it affects all people, including Christians. Depression isn’t just a spirit, but is also physiological.
Just a few numbers according to the Anxiety Depression Association of America (ADAA):
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.
- Women are twice as likely to suffer with depression and anxiety than men, affecting 1 in 4 women
- Research shows that anxiety and depression are almost always linked together
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
There are so many reasons why we decided to start a series discussing depression, anxiety and suicide. These hard topics affect both of us very closely and we live in a generation where suicide rates have tripled in the last 2 decades among adults and doubled among children. Just this year, a local Pastor committed suicide during a series he was preaching on called “Hot Mess,” where he disclosed his own struggles with depression and anxiety.
One in four Pastors struggle with depression and the number of pastors diagnosed with clinical depression was double the national average. If statistics are so high with mental illness, why isn’t the Church properly addressing this very real issue? An article in Charisma Magazine reads that, “…spiritual warfare is real. But too many churches are so focused on spiritual warfare when they should be loving people more than they are binding and rebuking the devil. And that includes loving your pastors who are just like you. And other Christian churches will be careless and try to bring “discipline and correction” into situations like these. But their attacks and jabs will only push people further away from God…” The article goes on to enforce that “…people will try to over-spiritualize this blaming principalities and powers. Trying to come up with lists of demons possibly responsible, stating pastors have targets on their backs. But the statistics are nearly the same with those not in ministry.”
I pose the question again, why aren’t we as a Church doing more to address this epidemic before it leads to suicide?
Why don’t we have support groups for people who struggle with depression and anxiety, mental illness? In this series, we hope to address some of these questions and open up our world to you and how this personally affects us.
And why this hits so close to home for us is that I (Michelle) have struggled with depression/anxiety my whole life. Although I had an idea of some of the things I was diagnosed with growing up, I thought that because I was a Christian, I couldn’t talk about it. But I believe that’s even more reason to bring it to light. If mental illness is the most common illness in the US, then chances are you struggle with anxiety/depression or are close to someone that does. Not only do you need help and resources, but so do those close to you that are trying to be there.
As we stated earlier, depression is more than isolating yourself and crying all the time. It manifests in different ways in different people and depression can be something someone struggles with once or twice in life for a season or something that a person can deal with long term. It can be from traumatic experiences or chemical imbalances…. Whatever the cause, it can definitely be debilitating in so many ways and is not easy to live with.
In this series, we will give you scriptures and stories in the Bible where even God’s people dealt with depression. We’d also love to hear your stories and hope that this series will help you too.