The choices this week of a dearly loved comedian, Robin Williams, bring to light a struggle many people live with and battle most of their lives. It's far too common. Just last year my niece, Dez, committed suicide in a similar way to Robin. It's sad, tragic, and shocking for many of us who know them and don't often see the dark clouds they live with, the depression they can't seem to escape.
Like many of you, I have struggled with depression most of my life. It's a family burden and one my mother deals with as well so I'm not simply writing thoughts as a casual observer, but as an unwilling participant. Over the years my own struggles have made me aware of how difficult depression is to battle. There are days that begin with the dread of what's ahead. It demands, for me, an ongoing battle against the darkness.
Some would say that if you are a Christian you shouldn't have problems with depression. They would then try to help by giving you some bible verses and tell you to "just get over it!" But it's really more insidious than that. It weaves its dark shadows through a life and shows up at the most unexpected times. For my sweet niece it was the middle of the night and she could no longer live with her dark moments. She made a permanent choice for a temporary problem and we, her family, are left devastated.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, you need to know it's a common human malady we all battle at times. You are not alone even in the dark moments when you think no one cares. The morning sun will come and the dark clouds will lift.
Some may struggle with depression on a regular basis and come to a point where they just don't think they can go on another day. If that is you, don't give up. Talk to someone. Get help. See a doctor. Call a friend. Talk to your pastor. The dark clouds of the moment will pass. The sun will shine again. There are people who love you, you are not alone.
When you see someone going through a time of depression pray for them, listen to them and be there for them. If they threaten suicide call for help immediately! Don't wait!! Any threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
Years ago, in my first church, one of our dear members took his own life in the bedroom of his five year old daughter on her birthday. It was a tragedy magnified by the situation and the day. But once he made the choice the lives of everyone around him were changed forever!
For those of you living with depression get help, tell someone, ask God for his help. He is there and he will come to your rescue in that dark place. There is help! Ann Voscamp wrote about depression in her recent blog. Her words are helpful on this topic. I encourage you to read her August 12th post at http://www.aholyexperience.com/.
One of my favorite bible authors is David, a man who battled depression in his own life. In one of his journals (Psalms 40) he talked about being in a miry pit of despair and unable to get out. It was a dark place for him, a time of real depression. What he describes in these words is what everyone battling depression needs- HOPE! There is hope and it comes from God. These are encouraging words from someone who struggled with depression and found help in God,
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord.”