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The Truth About Depression

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[Image by Katrien Deblauwer via Goop]
SHINING LIGHT

The Truth About Depression

By: Amy Osorio

The negative side of society has introduced depression as a taboo, something so exaggerated that it shouldn’t be spoken about or shouldn’t be paid attention to.

Then, we have the Christians who don’t do their research (Biblically and psychologically-wise) who throw incessant, ruthless “you need Jesus,” remarks at those with depression ((which in reality, yes, you need Jesus, we all do, but hear me out)). I myself have been a ruthless partaker in judging those with depression until my mom and a couple of close friends of mine were targeted by depression, and then I fell into that deep hole, as well.

Something the Lord has been letting me experience for a while now is the sorrows of this world. Now, I’m not about to give you a sob story because this isn’t about me right now, I want this real life story to point you back to God, and I am by no means an expert on this subject (yes, I had depression and anxiety, but mental illness is different for everyone), but it intrigues me profoundly.

Nevertheless, just because I am currently not experiencing depression does not imply that I have to dismiss it as a means for desperately grabbing people’s attentions because it is not. Depression, from my understanding and point of view (because I have loved ones who’ve experienced it, who are currently experiencing it, and I myself have experienced it), attacks at any time, any day, can attack any age, both female and male, will attack even if you “haven’t done anything bad,” even if you’ve been doing “good” all day… all in all, depression doesn’t have conditions nor does it care about your title.

“Depression doesn’t have conditions nor does it care about your title.”

Elijah’s title as a prophet and child of God didn’t matter to depression. Depression didn’t sit there to look at Elijah with pity like, “Hmm, maybe I should go easy on this kid, after all he belongs to God.” Evil has no respect. That’s where God steps in. I’ve always been keen to advice that when we experience a broken heart [this] is God’s way of letting us see, first hand, the frailty of humanity versus the ultimate, eternal strength of His love. I believe the same goes when we are experiencing mental frailty like depression, anxiety and deep discouragement. God is allowing us to witness how weak our feelings and emotions are when we don’t put our full trust in Him, when we depend on ourselves and the world for sufficiency, instead.

“God is allowing us to witness how weak our feelings and emotions are when we don’t put our full trust in Him, when we depend on ourselves and the world for sufficiency, instead.”

When we read 1 Kings chapter 19 verses 1-8, we are introduced to a scene of terror and despair. Jezebel has put a threat against Elijah’s life, and she wants his head, literally. We then read that Elijah became afraid, “and immediately ran for his life,” says verse 3. Now, knowing of the God you serve, after all the miracles He has done through you and the places He has saved you from, why would you run away? Why would you distrust Him? That’s the kind of mark depression and anxiety leave on you, they’ll make you feel like everyone’s against you, even God. You’ll start to feel like maybe living isn’t even worth it because of the amount of pain you’re experiencing, but you know what you really want. You don’t really desire to die, you just want the pain to stop.

“That’s the kind of mark depression and anxiety leave on you, they’ll make you feel like everyone’s against you, even God.”

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Elijah felt the same way. In verse 4, we see Elijah asking to die, “He sat under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, ‘I have had enough! LORD, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.’” Have you ever had enough? Have you ever been so done with the maltreatment, with the internal evil thoughts and abuse, with the incessant negative voices? Elijah was over it, he was so done that he thought his only option was death. Something that caught my eye in that verse was that Elijah still prayed. Yes, he was depressed and discouraged and so deep in his sorrow and pain that he wanted to die but HE PRAYED. Yes, he was complaining to God, he was asking that the Creator may take away the life He created, BUT HE PRAYED. See, even in your despair the best thing for you is to pray, to communicate that pain to God, even if you’re kicking and screaming and throwing a fit while praying, but pray it out.

What happens next in Elijah’s life is what made me realize just how much of an amazing Father God truly is. An angel appears before Elijah and tells him, “get up and eat.” I don’t know about you guys but have you ever been so sad that all you can do is eat, because somehow food comforts you? Same. But here’s what’s astonishing: the angel gave him baked bread (Jesus is called the bread of life, John 6:35), and a jug of water (salvation in the book of Isaiah numerous times, the Holy Spirit in Isaiah and John and Jesus in John and Revelation are considered the water of life)… let that sink in, really quick. The angel of God appeared to Elijah and fed him bread and water, Jesus + the Holy Spirit, twice, so that he can get back up to tackle the journey ahead.

Someone who cares for Elijah fed him instead of badgering him with, “Wow, you don’t believe in God at all,” or “you need Jesus,” remarks. I can imagine God thinking, “My son is feeling alone right now, let’s feed him. He needs comfort.” That alone fills my heart with immense joy because God understands us!

“My son is feeling alone right now, let’s feed him. He needs comfort.”

Jesus being God came to earth in flesh to dwell amongst us. You see him at age 12 in the Scriptures, and then again at age 30, but there are 18 years of lost files where the Bible says nothing, but we can allude that He was out being a child, a teen, a youth and then an adult. Where we can allude that he went through loss, heartbreak and despair in 18 years. Where we can allude that our Jesus was a human who smiled, laughed, probably got upset, probably loved food as much as we do, who probably worked a lot because indeed He was a carpenter. This Jesus who stepped down from the throne to sit with us on earth to be in tune with our feelings and emotions. You know, He was called the Man of Sorrows? This Jesus is the same Jesus that experienced persecution and was beaten and spit at, this Jesus was the same Jesus that took a cross upon himself to bear our sins and tear the veil asunder. This Jesus says to you, “My beloved, I understand you. I know exactly what you’re going through, I went through that and more.” This Jesus doesn’t diminish your pain, doesn’t belittle your sufferings, He doesn’t laugh at you nor [does He] see you as weak for what you’re going through.

“This Jesus doesn’t diminish your pain, doesn’t belittle your sufferings, He doesn’t laugh at you nor [does He] see you as weak for what you’re going through.”

This is the same Jesus that was with Elijah and is the same Jesus that is with you, today.

You might be asking, “So is that the cure for depression? Am I just supposed to believe that an invisible person is supposed to cure my illness?” Yes. When you have faith that you have been completely justified by Christ because of what He did on that cross, you put yourself in a position to let go of depression and anxiety. You put yourself in a position to not be held down by those illnesses anymore.

To this day, I still remember the first time I got an anxiety attack, [and I] still remember when I was depressed for 4 months and shut myself out from the world. I needed to go through that because in my weakness, I saw God’s glory. I’m not saying you have to have it all figured out because you don’t, I’m not saying stop being depressed TODAY because that’s unrealistic. As much as I desire for you to get better, this is day-to-day. God took 6 days to create the world when He could’ve done it in one day, but He is God. Good things take time, so do you, beloved. I pray God interrupts your life to show you just how much He truly cares for you. I pray He uses this real life story to remind you that you are not alone and that you don’t need to go through this alone. I pray you surrender your life to Him and cast your anxieties on Him, and watch Him go to battle for you.

“I pray you remember that you are not your depression and that this isn’t permanent.”

I pray you remember that you are not your depression and that this isn’t permanent. I love you, and I am praying over you. Grace and peace.

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Amy Osorio

Contributing writer to Modern Witnesses
A 23-year-old Puerto Rico native, endlessly learning about God with a deep passion to help people. Amy used to see the world unrealistically “good,” until she met the One Who confronted and transformed her views and pointed her to Himself. Philippians 3:13-14 describes her state of mind currently, ‘Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ On most days, when she’s off from work, you can find her reading, writing or telling jokes that only she finds funny.
For more Amy: @amymosorio 
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Note from the Editor: 
Hi friends,
I want to encourage you to share this piece. I want to thank Amy, an incredible thinker, woman, Christian and friend, whom I have had the privilege of getting to know, through this ministry. Thank you, Amy, for using your talent of writing to bless those around you and for choosing this platform to share your heart. This is a difficult and often misunderstood topic, and we hope that you can use this to find help or help someone else find the help and spiritual strength they need. There is no shame in asking for help.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. For those of you in the U.S., you can find resources here, for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and/or call 1-800-273-8255.
With gratitude and love,
xx
Gabriela

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