May Is Mental Health Awareness Month- Depression

What is a person to do when their own body is affecting their mental health? That was my dilemma a few years ago. Due to living with three chronic illnesses for a long time, I began having panic attacks and also experiencing depression. I am not talking about temporarily feeling sad. I am talking about feeling numb, staying in bed, losing all interest in things that normally captivate me, and losing all hope even though I know Jesus.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

I had the bottle of medication my doctor prescribed for me. It had been sitting on my desk at home for six months. My depression was getting worse. Finally, in June 2017 I watched a movie-Brain On Fire. It is based on a true story of a woman with a rare autoimmune problem that affected her brain and left her catatonic. Watching that movie helped me accept that my situation was physiological. It is an excellent movie to watch.

The problem? There is stigma in some churches about medication for mental health issues and about mental health issues in general. I will never forget starting the medication and feeling better within a week. That can vary for individuals, so please don’t expect the same. It might be sooner or longer.

I will also never forget sending an email to the pastor of my church who oversaw missions. I let him know the situation and that if he needed me to resign my missions ministry, I would do so. He responding with, “Let’s talk about it at church.” I emailed because I thought he would tell me I needed to resign and then I would just fade away and go elsewhere.

BUT- when I saw him, the first thing he said was, “Matt it is medical. You will not resign.” Huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

I read an excellent post about being a friend for someone with depression. Alathia of alathaihayes.com shared a wonderful post 7 Things You Can Do For Your Friends With Depression. I think they are good tips for whatever a friend struggles with as well.

My hope is that by sharing my experience it can help a little with lessening the unnecessary stigma regarding mental health issues. If we think about it, the brain is a physical organ in the body. It is the most complex of the organs, so there is more to learn. But why stigmatize someone with mental health issues? We would not do that for someone who has other illnesses.

If you suffer with depression, one thing that I want to make clear is that Jesus understands you. He loves you. I say that not as a cliche. I say that as someone who has experienced that love when I was in the depths of the worst of my depression.

I am sharing a song that helped me so much in those dark days.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

40 thoughts on “May Is Mental Health Awareness Month- Depression

  1. Thanks for sharing this, my friend. Medicating for depression has made a huge improvement in our family. So my advice to anyone considering it – do it for yourself and do it for those you love.

  2. Great movie πŸŽ₯
    Beautiful song🎢🎡

    I have been on a mood stabilizer medication πŸ’Š for several years. It has made a huge difference in my life. There are those. that believe that any type of mental illness or epilepsy are from the Evil One & if we pray hard enough we will be delivered. This is simply not true. Depression, anxiety and other issues are medical conditions and they should be treated as such. Yes, we should pray for God’s healing, but we also must trust our doctors to help us in the mean time.

  3. Praise God that you sought help for your depression. Many people suffer because they are afraid people will judge them. God bless you, Matt and I’m glad that you are feeling better!

  4. Thanks for this, Matt. So glad you have found something that helps. I have dealt with depression for years and grew up in one of those churches Barb referred to above. Needless to say, it was hard to find much support in that atmosphere! I think the stigma attached to mental health issues can weigh as much as the issue itself. When we can reach out to each other honestly without fear of judgment, it’s such a help. Blessings to you!

  5. Hanging in there. One thing our current church does well is to support each other through tough times. We have been keeping our prayer chains alive and busy recently! We probably won’t know the game plan for treating Pastor Don’s cancer for another week or two, but we know God’s got this. Thanks for asking! 😊

  6. Thanks for sharing. I’m thankful your pastor understood and was supportive. I pray churches everywhere would be more supportive.

  7. Thanks for writing this. As you know, there is a ton of stigma in some churches about mental health, and particularly the idea that there’s something wrong with you if you are not happy and feel fulfillment. I’m happy to hear an increasing number of Christians looking to break that narrative, including you.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing brother Matt. I feel I know a little more about you now and that makes me relate better. It is true….depression has such a horrible stigma attached to it. I’m glad the church pastor dealt with it in a nice and supportive way and you felt better soon. Take care brother Matt….Jesus loves you soooooooo much 😍🀩πŸ₯°πŸ™πŸŒˆπŸ•ŠβœοΈ

  9. I’m glad to read your experience on this big bro. It’s always great knowing we have been in some trying situations and God pulled us through so that when we tell our story, it will draw men nearer to that same hope we have found in Him.
    πŸ€—πŸ€—

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