Depression is an invisible wall that surrounds the heart, soul, and mind of the person suffering through it. It causes darkness, doubt, and despair. It can be caused by relationships, finances, self-doubt, addictions, or constant worry. It could also be all of the above plus some. Depression is a serious issue and needs to be addressed.
“Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your loving kindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.” — Psalm 143:7-8
Many times, depression is easily hidden from others, especially those that you see or talk to every so often.
But the wall is not so easily hidden from family and close friends. The wall that depression builds casts a shadow for the one in a depressed state. This causes them not to see that it affects close family and friends. It’s a vicious cycle that causes the depressed person to get more depressed.
Hitting Rock Bottom
Why am I writing this? Well, it’s time to take down the veil and speak about something that I believe affects more people than we can imagine. It has been affecting me for the for about six of the last eight months.
About two months ago, I think I hit rock bottom emotionally and mentally. I was supposed to leave for a business trip, and I believe I had a panic attack about having to go for an extended period. But it was more than just panic attack; it was also thoughts of suicide. I felt that if I were to leave and go to the hotel by myself for a period, I wouldn’t come back.
About six months before this breakdown, I began to have daily thoughts of suicide. What used to be a constant meditation on scripture turned into continuous thoughts of leaving this earth. The moment I would wake up, the feelings began and wouldn’t end until the time I went to sleep.
Over and over in my mind, I keep these thoughts rotating one after another. I would read my bible and pray that God helps me with my thoughts and let me replace them with the meditation of scripture like I used to do, but it didn’t seem to help. I just felt like I was on a crazy train going in circles.
Then came the meltdown. For the six months prior to the business trip, I just kept telling myself I was being attacked spiritually and those thoughts would eventually go away. Pride kept telling me “you can’t tell anyone this, they will think you are weak.” “Keep it to yourself; you can deal with it.” But the moment I felt as if my suicidal thoughts would become actions, I knew it was time to fess up! That’s when I got the help I needed.
Releasing Life’s Burdens
For the last two months, I have been talking this over with a counselor and my wife. And in the process, I’m learning to realize I can’t bottle everything up and think I can shoulder all of life’s burdens. James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” My sin of self-reliance was causing me more problems than I realized.
Once I began to confess my issues and share my problems, the thoughts of suicide went away. Just learning to talk this out has allowed me to ask for prayers from others and now given me the courage to write this to you.
I realized, depression is not something to be taken lightly. The past two years for my family and me have been hell. Sickness (wife’s cancer), finances and starting a new church have taken a toll. But one thing that was constant was God and my family. Although I kept trying to do this all on my own, God was right there helping and holding me together the whole time. Even though I pushed my family away, they were there too.
I never stopped reading my Bible or praying, but I did stop relying on the power that God gave me through the Holy Spirit and tried to rely on myself. Not a good place to be as I found out. I preach it all the time “you can read your bible all you want, but if you don’t rely on the spirit and apply it to your life, it’s a useless act.” And that’s what I was doing, acting.
Healing Begins With Confession
I write this letter as confession and accountability. I need your prayers, and I promise, you all will get mine. As James says in the verse above “…and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” I am healed, thanks to the prayers of the faithful. I want you to be healed too! I will stop the thinking and pray for you and others.
If you are in a place as I was, reach out and get help! Don’t live with an invisible wall! I promise the moment confession comes off your tongue, and you share the pain and fear in your mind, the healing begins! It did with me! We all have so much to live for! Don’t let your depression tell you otherwise.
I found through counseling and scripture that suicide is not an option. But healing and life is! I found that I’m strong, not weak. I found out I am needed and wanted. Again, get help! Don’t live like this anymore! If you need urgent help, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Seek a counselor, friend or pastor to talk this out with.
As the Psalmist says in the above verse, I have been waking up each day with this in my mind. Let me hear Your loving kindness in the morning; for I trust in You; I am no longer trusting my mind, but listening to God’s ever-loving kindness and trusting in Him alone! I pray you join me.
Author: Jody Burkeen, the founder of Man Up God’s Way and Pastor of Ignite Church.
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