No, we are not pregnant. I have shared this before. My beautiful caring, eccentric, kind wife suffers from depression. Not, like, “O, man I am sad today and I am all emo,” but like 6 weeks periods of, “Holy crap, I can’t think, move or do anything because I am paralyzed by this huge cloud that is hanging over my head. Nobody cares about me, not even God. Everyone thinks I am a freak, and I am jus a burden to humanity and God.”
A few months ago she decided to try to come off of her meds that she has been taking since I have known her. She did it slowly and safely. She was a trooper fighting through the withdrawals. About a week and a half ago she got completely off of her meds. Lets just say life has been a living hell for both of us. She was a mess. She knew it wasn’t a logical mess. She knew in her head how she should be dealing with the depression, but she couldn’t make her self not depressed.
Last night I was encouraging her to go back on her meds. She said this, “I should be strong enough to fight this.” Those words broke my heart. My wife may be one of the strongest willed people I know. But I know that she cannot fight this. This is how she was born. This is her genetic make up. Her brain simply does not create the chemicals my brain creates to keep my emotions in check.
I do not suffer from depression. But the person I love most is ruled by it. We both love Jesus and have prayed that he would heal her from this. But we also both know that he may very well not and that his answer to our prayers may be the gift of modern medicine. Does the medicine have some crappy side effects? Yeah. But does it help her lead a “happy, normal” life. Most of the time.
So, why am I writing this post? There are a few reasons. First, it is not to make you feel sorry for us. Tanya and I both want to share our story in hopes of helping others. As we have started to ask for more help from our friends we are finding that Tanya is not alone at all! So many people deal with this or some other mental illness. But sadly, many people try to hide it because they don’t want to be labeled as a freak or weak.
And the saddest part is that so many of these people are followers of Jesus. My hope and desire is that God can use us, and people like us to call the church to wake up to those who are suffering from mental illness. The church has not done much on this issue… that I am aware of.
We have had to many A-hole Christians tell us we need to pray harder, or that she hasn’t dealt with a deeper “heart issue.” What I want to tell them is, “Well, you have glasses on. Why didn’t you pray about that or examine your heart first you asshole.” But I am a good church worker so I smile and curse them with the seven plagues under my breath as I walk away (I’m kind of joking).
So, what how is God using us? I don’t know. I have no clue really. All I do know is that Tanya and I are done pretending that this doesn’t have a huge effect on our lives and the people around us. We are done pretending that life is always awesome. The reality is that our life has to be taken day by day. Today was better than yesterday but way worse then the day before. The victories are measured by hours without tears.
This is what we are asking for. First, please pray for us. Pray that Jesus continues to sustain us through this hell of a season. Pray that Jesus is glorified through this. Pray that we can help others as we figure this thing out. Please pray that Jesus protects our hearts and minds from lies from Satan. Pray that Tanya hears the truth of the Gospel even while she is lost in the “dark sea” as she puts it.
Second, we ask that you try and understand and love the people in your lives who deal with depression or other mental illnesses. YOU CAN’T FIX IT. And they don’t need you to! Believe me, Lord knows I have tried. But the reality is they simply need to know that you love them and accept them for who they are. Depression and all.
Lastly, if you or a loved one deals with this speak up. We would love to hear your story. We would love to hear how God is working in the midst of your storm.
We were not designed to be alone. We are learning that the hard way. We need each other. Often God answers our prayers through the humans he created. He has proven that to us over and over. Be an answered prayer of tangible grace to someone. That can be as simple as a phone call, a text message, a hug or a listening ear.