Usually this time of year I start feeling anxious. I wonder if I will be able to cope with the demands of a fall and winter schedule. This year is different. I am excited about re-engaging community. I can’t wait to see what God has for me.
As I have been pondering this, a frightening thought has come to mind. What happens when the weather changes? What happens if I get depressed? How will I deal with that?
I don’t think that depression is something I have ever directly admitted on my blog. I have struggled with depression on and off since I was a teenager. One particularly bad winter I spent several months sleeping on the floor instead of my bed. It went undiagnosed until one year in my mid-twenties a friend of mine who is a nurse said she thought I was depressed.
I have struggled with being a Christian who has depression. There are many in Christian circles who think it is a sin to be depressed – a form of bondage. They think that depression is always some sort of spiritual flaw and that the depressed person just needs to believe more or differently. The terrible thing is that I can be my own worst enemy in this area.
About eighteen months ago I decided I was cured from depression. I believed that I had found the ‘spiritual formula' to stay out of it. So last fall when I recognized that I was depressed, it shattered my faith. I started going to church infrequently and then stopped going all-together for three months. I was caught up in sin and miserable.
I so want this year to be different. Typically around October or November I start struggling with depression to some degree. I AM going to pray for God to shield me from depression. Someone once advised me that instead of focusing all of my energy trying to get out of or avoid depression I need to figure out how to cope with it. Many of the things I figured out then are still helpful today. Yet I think God has more for me and there are more things I need when I am depressed. Maybe the beginning is naming it, and being honest now – while I have a surplus of emotional energy.