May is Mental Health Awareness Month- Depression and Anxiety

This is my final post about May being Mental Health Awareness Month and today’s post is focusing on depression and anxiety because they often go hand in hand. My hope is that my posts help in a small way to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Depression is more than just feeling sad. We all feel sad at times. Depression can be its own illness or it can accompany chronic illness, which is something I know all too well. Depression saps a person of energy, hope, connection, and can flatten a person. When suffering from depression, the things that might cheer up a person who is simply sad provide little or no help.

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Being a Christian suffering with depression can make it even harder. There is the guilty feeling of I should be better because I know Jesus. There are the experiences of people sharing cliches thinking that should take care of it. When I was at my worst with it last year in June, I would try to start my day listening to worship music, but it was like I was stuck in a dense fog nothing could get through. The only feeling I had was numb and hopelessness.

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I also watched videos on youtube by people who suffered with depression and anxiety. It helped to know I was not alone. Then one day last June, I watched the movie Brain on Fire about a young woman who was misdiagnosed until a leading psychiatrist tested her for an autoimmune disease and found that she had a rare one that caused the hemispheres in her brain to not communicate. So I decided to try the medication. I messaged the pastor who my ministry is under offering to resign if needed because I was taking medication. His response was- “This is medical. You don’t need to resign.” By mid July I was doing better.

Struggling with anxiety is different than worrying about a problem. We all worry at times. With anxiety disorders, the anxious thoughts hit in what can seem like a mile a minute. People can feel physical symptoms like rapid heart beat, cold hands, short of breath, etc. The anxiety can be crippling.

Not so lucky me, I have two chronic illnesses that both depression and anxiety can accompany- Celiacs and Fibromyalgia. There are things I do to take care of myself such as a strictly gluten free diet, maintaining my prayer life, listening to worship music, reading bible verses, and staying in contact with people.

One thing that has helped me in my prayer life is to realize that Jesus already knows. He knows everything about me and still says, as he does to all of us, in my theme passage this week from Matthew 11

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I would like to share a few videos with you. One has encouraged me in down times. It is ‘You’re Gonna Be Okay’ by Jenn Johnson. One line I love is- “Just take one step closer.” Just taking one step can start us on a healing path.

The other is by Rachael Stevens- ‘Stay Another Day.” If you are considering self harm in any way, please know God loves you. Please stay another day. Take one step of contacting someone. If you do not know who to contact, you can contact Lifeline by clicking on- Lifeline or in the U.S. you can call 1-800-273-8255. If you are outside the U.S., please google for the contact number for help in your country.

This is You’re Gonna Be Okay by Jenn Johnson.

This is ‘Stay Another Day’ by Rachael Stevens.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

14 thoughts on “May is Mental Health Awareness Month- Depression and Anxiety

  1. Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey and reminding us that we all have “foggy” season at times. I truly appreciate your Pastor’s maturity to see that not because a person struggles mentally it is unrelated to our health. It is. We are 3 part beings and all the parts connect in some way our another.

  2. Beautiful post, my friend. Depression does indeed sap your energy. There was a time I didn’t believe that christians could suffer from depression, I now know and understand differently because a few years ago, I suffered from depression. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. May the Lord be with you

  3. “Being a Christian suffering with depression can make it even harder. There is the guilty feeling of I should be better because I know Jesus.”

    I experienced the same sort of mindset with my intrusive thoughts. It’s not easy. But I take comfort in remembering that Jesus also suffered and knows what it’s like to suffer as we have.

  4. I’m not sure if I didn’t know, or I just forgot, you had fibromyalgia. My heart goes out to you. I know how hard that can be. And when the depression kicks in because of the pain, or the pain is kicked up a notch because of the depression, it’s a double whammy I wish none of us had to experience. I know this post is an old one, but I hope you’re still doing good and have everything under control and tolerable.

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