No one really wants to say the word “depression”, because once said, it invites an uncomfortable conversation about the battle behind tearful eyes that are longing for hope. Many of us would rather remain distracted, rather than talk about the pain we all carry, whether it’s depression or something else that wages war against us.
My greatest battle in life has been fighting for healing from a severe anxiety disorder, which is still a battle I must face each day. Depression has often been anxiety’s companion in my journey, waging war against the life within my soul. There have been seasons where my hopes and dreams were clouded by the haze of depression, leaving me wandering aimlessly in the wasteland of confusion. If you’ve ever battled depression, then you know what it’s like to feel as if nothing is wrong, but as if nothing is right, either…It’s a strange, bizarre manifestation of human brokenness.
The longer I’ve faced my own personal war, the more I’m beginning to realize that my identity and my future are not decided by my disorder.
So yeah, back to that word we’re discussing:
I know, the word is very uncomfortable to read…It’s even harder to speak.
Why? What is it about humanity that would rather pretend that we’re alright, rather than addressing the dysfunction and brokenness within each of our lives?
When I began writing, I never mentioned my anxiety disorder or my battle with depression. Instead, I would use vague terms like “brokenness” to express that I was hurting. However, the more I began to see my identity apart from my disorder, the shame of admitting my battle wasn’t as great as it once had been. There was nothing to be ashamed of; this was the dysfunction I faced and I was going to continue to fight for healing. Why should I fake it? For the approval of others?
The truth is, our disorders and our dysfunction don’t have the right to decide who we are and who we will become. We are formed in the image of God, not the brokenness that comes with living in a fallen world. Our identity is in the image that we bear, not the battles we face.
“We have power, more power than we realize, power to decide that we are going to make something good out of even this…” – Rob Bell
Anxiety and depression have left me with many painful days and lonely nights…Yet, even so, my life is much more than the dysfunction I face. My heart still has dreams. God still finds me interesting. I still find God interesting. Love is real. Hope has never left. Nothing is beyond redemption.
Maybe depression wouldn’t be such a hard conversation to have if we separated it from the individual’s true identity and recognized it for what it truly is: human brokenness, which all of us have in one way or another.
What if we could see the fingerprints of God on each person, rather than the dysfunction in their lives? Wouldn’t we be more open and honest with one another?
It’s time to see yourself correctly. It’s time to see others correctly. It’s time we stopped pretending that everything is alright.
It’s time to break the stigma surrounding depression.