This account was recently sent to us by a Christian. For reasons of confidentiality, his name is not published. His analogy of symbiosis is very apt and insightful, for it is a correct description… depression is something a sufferer wants to retain, though it hurts him, because it suits a sinful outlook.
“Up until very recently I was living with the spectre of clinical depression. Now, at the age of 37, I realise that this was a life-long symbiotic relationship.
I say ‘symbiotic’ because we fed and depended on each other. It could not exist without me, nor could I exist without it. The problem with depression, apart from the obvious, is that it makes you feel special and insulated in a negative way. It becomes your shield of excuse for inaction and bad behaviour. You will always find yourself saying things like ‘Sorry, I was really down when...’
It's a very broken record, replayed over and over again. At the time you feel it is true, but what you do not realise or admit to yourself, in my opinion, is that your inaction, coupled with a lack of faith in the Lord, compounds the problem. It feeds your situation.
When I say a “lack of faith”, what do I mean? I do not mean you throw caution to the wind, go cold turkey, and assume that is that. No! What I mean by lack of faith, is that we do not take this problem to the Lord with full expectation that He will help us. We only expect our human version of the solution to be resolved within our time frame. When we do not get it, we despair. We give up, when we should continue and increase our prayer time with the Lord, and more time studying his word.
I can say, most assuredly, that when the Holy Spirit Guides us and the Lord reveals the smallest detail to us, no antidepressant can compare. The first time this happens, it is like a drop of water falling onto a dry sponge. Our spirit soaks up God’s spiritual truths until we are saturated. However, like anything that is saturated, it will dry out if it does not receive a constant supply.
I have been a Christian since October 2000. Since this time I have asked God to cure me of depression many times. But, on reflection, I know that those petitions were sent to God with my own human expectations attached to them! I wasn't really asking God. I felt it was expected to ask, and that I was not genuine of heart in prayer. I couldn't have been. I know this because I was slack in prayer and study; if I truly trusted and was genuine of heart, I would have done these things so much more, with genuine conviction.
Now, I come to my more recent past. I got drunk a couple of years ago and very nearly ended with a prosecution. I would have ended up with a custodial sentence for sure. This is a disgrace! I am supposed to be an ambassador for Christ! My speech and actions influence others. The process afterwards was one of sheer fright and regret. Heather and I had just moved into our house after spending 18 months at her parents’ home. We could have lost the house due to lack of income; I could have lost the love and respect of my wife. But, most of all, I had insulted and let down God.
I don't think I have prayed so much for forgiveness! The more I prayed, the more I studied, and, the more I studied, the clearer became God’s word, and the lighter my overall mood became! My wife and I began to pray and study together, whereas before I was embarrassed to do this.
I took myself away from the temptation of pubs, and stopped drinking. During this period I realised that I wanted God, and trusted Him to take away my depression. This time prayer was different; it was heart-felt and genuine. It felt like I was closing a door. I felt that my prayer had been heard, and I could leave this with the Lord. I can't describe it any better than that. I gradually lowered my medication and then stopped completely.
At this time, I told a long-time friend, who was like a brother to me, that I did not want us to socialise anymore. I did not like who I was with this person, and always ended up drunk with him. I found it very hard to say ‘no’ whenever he asked to me to go for a drink. Telling him was hard; I had tried to witness to him to no avail over the years. I believed I had to cut ties with this person. It was a strong impression, and I am convinced the Lord wanted me to take this step, because my friend wanted the world, and I now wanted the Lord. The two do not mix, as I know from experience.
Since all this happened, my wife and I have grown so much in our walk with the Lord God. We no longer watch TV and have thrown out music and video we feel would cause offence to the Lord. This gives us so much more time together, both as a couple and with the Lord. It’s amazing!
Looking back, my depression was the symptom of guilt for my sin. Satan likes us to wallow in all this because it makes us ineffectual for Christ in such a state. The Lord gave me a long hard lesson, and I praise Him for that. Hindsight is great: I can see why I went through all the troubles I had. The Lord put me through the furnace when I did not listen and did not trust Him. He got rid of my dross and out came pure gold.
It has been a long couple of years, but at last I am free in Christ from my depression. The Lord is wise. My wife and I have prayed for a baby, but, up until recently, I really was in no state to be a good Christian dad. The Lord now feels that I am, as we have found out Heather is pregnant. It's only been a few weeks, but, God willing, the baby will be born and will be normal and healthy. (2010: which it was!).
With all things you can ask the Lord for more faith, and He will give it to you if you are genuine in heart. I have asked and He moved in a massive way! Have you ever heard of a vicious circle? Through prayer and study you can replace this with a wonderful circle of God’s love.”
© May 2008. Used with permission
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