Friday, February 28, 2014

Christianity and Anti-Depressants

My husband is a family medicine physician. He'd be the first to tell you that there are too many people on anti-depressants. They are over used and they over prescribed.

However, he was also the first person to tell me that it was okay to take one when post-partum depression threatened to suffocate me after the birth of my second and third children.

I am always leery of Christians who make blanket statements regarding health and choices people make. If you have not experienced depression, or even if you have, be very careful in telling someone what they should or should not do as they battle this wicked disease.

I recently stumbled upon a fantastic article entitled "Christian and Depression." I encourage you to take a moment and read it. The author discusses how he often counseled people away from medicating their depression, especially after he battled depression without it. And then, suddenly, he found himself hit so hard that he had no choice but to take the very medicines he told people to pray there way out of.

I am not saying that the Lord cannot heal you from depression. I am not saying that you should not try to avoid medication for this disease. What am I telling you is that it is very important to understand that depression, in its truest form, is a disease.

In Darkness Visible, William Styron writes: "It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…”

I can honestly say that I know why people kill themselves.

I have felt so deep and dark that there have been moments that death seemed like it would feel better than alive.

I have sat on the end of the bathtub, bathing my child, stifling sobs coming from the deepest part of my being.

And not knowing why those sobs were coming forth.

I have sat in a room full of people and felt like I wasn't there.

I have spent entire days feeling like I was walking through waist-high mud.

Something as routine as peeling an orange took all I had in my being to muster.

If you have never had a moment where death looked better than life, than I encourage you to not counsel friends on what to do in depression. Hug them. Love them. Turn them toward help. Encourage them.

And remember that depression IS a disease. A REAL one.

And one that it is OKAY to seek medical attention to help make better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for writing and sharing this. i am lucky in that the only person who ever told me i must be doing something wrong if i need medication for depression however, i know too many people who have been belittled and their faith questioned because of depression.