Blessed But Still Depressed

 

Some thoughts from a medicated Christian.

 

It’s not uncommon for me to be scrolling on my Facebook feed and happen across a picture with a pair of running shoes and some kind of message shaming anti-depressants. “You aren’t depressed! You just don’t exercise enough!” “Running is a healthy habit, medication is an unhealthy addiction!” “If you’re a Christian, then you shouldn’t need meds! All you need is prayer!” Right, because God always heals people when they ask, right? (Wrong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, pretty much all of Job…)

The fact of the matter is, I am a medicated Christian and I am not ashamed of that. God planned for everyone to be perfect and healthy, however, countless people are born unhealthy and no one is perfect. My brain doesn’t produce the needed amount of neurotransmitters to give me a good, healthy life. Just like my eyes don’t bend the correct amount for me to be able to see clearly. It would be utterly ludicrous for someone to tell me that I shouldn’t wear glasses because it “messes with God’s creation”. Poor vision can put my life at risk as well as make day to day actions and tasks incredibly difficult.

For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, depression is the same way. “What?! You mean to tell me that depression can put your life at risk as we as make day to day actions and tasks incredibly difficult?” Give the nonexistent speaker a prize! YES. Depression makes life feel totally and utterly pointless and impossible.

If you aren’t my personal physician, psychiatrist, or counselor, please don’t ever assume you can tell me whether or not I need medication. Without my medication, I get depressed, hopeless, easily agitated, paranoid, exhausted, unresponsive, numb, and sometimes even suicidal. Running is not going to help me if I can’t even find the will to get out of bed. Diet and exercise certainly play a major role in treating depression, but you can’t expect someone to eat healthily and live better if they don’t want to live at all.

There is scientific evidence that a depressed brain is different from a healthy brain. My antidepressant helps balance and regulate my neurotransmitters, which enables me to change my diet and exercise. But more importantly, it enables me to get out of bed in the morning. It enables me to remember that life isn’t always terrible. It enables me to feel loved and cared for.

If you’ve ever read a message like the aforementioned ones, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel small. Feel proud that you are getting the help that you need and that God would want you to have. The Bible tells us that God doesn’t delight in our suffering (ironically in Lamentations 3). The Bible also tells us that there is no condemnation in Jesus.

Antidepressants save lives. Antidepressants change lives. Antidepressants are important. I am not ashamed to be a medicated Christian and a condescending Facebook post isn’t going to change that.