THE TRUTH ABOUT DEPRESSION

A couple of weeks ago, the issue of depression became a huge topic that governed internet conversations for a while since it was Mental Health Awareness week. A lot has been said about it: how depression feels like a dark hole of despair that one cannot easily recover from. How we always need to check up on people who may seem to be suffering from it. How suicide is normally the ultimate ending for a depressed person if they do not receive the required attention etc. Yet, judging from the state of affairs, depression seems to be a conversation that will not end any time soon. Suicide tends to be the only icebreaker in many contexts.

Have you ever wondered why a prominent or famous person, i.e. a musician, politician, actor, musician etc. would end their life yet in our eyes, they are the epitome of success? I mean, the availability of money, fame, and the glamour of it all should be enough, right? This was a mind-boggling phenomenon for me a couple of years ago. I haven’t suffered depression, but I have struggled with major self-esteem issues that I believe have given me some kind of authority to speak on this particular issue. A better part of my high school and campus years were plagued with major self-esteem issues that had taken root in my heart and mind. I hid it well though. I wore a smile with such pride as I interacted with different people around me. I always felt like I always had to have it all figured out. My days were filled with ‘brightness’ and ‘joy’ as I kept up a facade while my nights only knew insomnia, tears, and feelings of sorrow and inadequacy.

My story was one that led to a good number of mistakes and compromises that made me want to fill the void I had within me. The advent and expansion of social media never made the situation easier since it was easy to compare myself with people or even friends who seemed to be making it big. I found it hard to talk to people about it, simply because the answers would only be, ‘just pray about it’, ‘trust God’, ‘other people are going through much more difficult conditions than you are, you ought to be grateful’ and many other answers that we recklessly mention in the name of providing assistance. At the time, God wasn’t concerned about my state and had much bigger issues to attend to, or so I thought. I felt helpless, broken and alone. I completely recovered from it though, and this is definitely worth celebrating. My experience taught me a couple of valuable lessons, some of which may seem quite harsh in your eyes. I realized that the battle was in my mind and I had to overcome my thoughts in order to overcome it. As you read on, I encourage you to be very objective especially if you have suffered from depression or know someone who is/has.

  1. A depressed mind is a selfish and proud mind

So this one here gets a little bit touchy. How can someone who is depressed be selfish, right? I like how the Merriam Webster definition puts it; a selfish person is one who is concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself. The definition further states that a selfish person is one who is concerned about one’s own welfare with total disregard for other people. In addition to that, a proud person is one who has a high opinion of oneself. Now, let’s reason together here. When I had a low self-esteem, I became very obsessed with what I felt I deserved and what I thought I should look like. It was always about, ‘I am ugly, I deserve to be this, why didn’t God create me this way and not that way? Why are they succeeding yet I am not?’. Most depressed people tend to feel like they are incapable of accomplishing their dreams or becoming what they were created for. Before you know it, such a mentality drives you to a very dark kind of self-centeredness. As you wallow in self-pity, you can easily forget that your life is meant to touch other people. You fail to recognize your achievements and blessings. You become so obsessed with yourself until you can never see the bigger picture. It’s quite an unfortunate affair because it really isn’t always about you.  Depression affects your family, your loved ones, friends etc. On the other hand, I am fully aware of the fact that there are people who suffer depression due to rejection from these very people. Yet, we have an amazing father in our God, who will never forsake us even when a family member or friend does (Psalm 27:10).

2. Conquer your mind, honor God

Depression starts in the mind. We ought to be careful about the kind of voices we listen to. What kind of words do we allow into our minds and even have them take root in our hearts? My pastor once told us that our lives now are a result of our thoughts. You see, negative thoughts have a way of being so loud. Too loud to the point where it is easy to treasure them above what God says in his Word. As I mentioned earlier, the battle is in our minds. Unless a person discovers this, they will always feel inadequate because of the voices they have allowed into their mind and heart. Your thoughts shape you. They define your reality and the choices you make. Overcome those negative voices, honour thyself. The truth is, negative voices simply come from the Devil. Negative thoughts and imaginations contradict what God has said about us in His word. Negative thoughts do not define you. They grossly undermine what God thinks of us and make us focus on our own weaknesses and inconsistencies. Yet God made us capable; we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, we are more than conquerors etc. I could go on and on… but Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5 said,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Never EVER let negative thoughts keep your mind in bondage and take the place of Christ in your heart. Never let negative thoughts and opinions overrule what God has said about you. Honour yourself, honour God. Let our thoughts be obedient to Christ.

3. Suicide is not an option

In my opinion, this has got to be the highest level of selfishness in dealing with depression. Look at it this way, you were born at a certain time and place in history and in the world. A high and Supreme Being, who is our God, carefully orchestrated and created you, placing within you special gifts and all that you require to accomplish all that He created you for. Yet suicide is not only a slap on the face on your family, friends and loves ones, but mainly on God. Suicide literally screams, ‘This life you created me for is not worth living. I do not think God made a good choice in creating me and so I will end my life’. Suicide not only puts your destiny to a premature end, but you fail to be a positive influence in your generation. As sad as the situation may be, suicide is a total disregard not only for other people but for yourself as well. I often wondered how people lived their life without God, then I saw how suicide is an option for them; it all made sense. Your life will always remain meaningless without Him. Too meaningless to the point where it will be easy to take it away.

4.  Our focus is Jesus

Simply put, NO CHILD OF GOD SHOULD EVER SUFFER DEPRESSION. Life does get extremely difficult. We lose loved ones, we face depression, we experience heartbreaks and rejection, we encounter financial problems among many other challenging situations. Yet, despite all these things, we have Jesus. I have gone through some pretty difficult moments in my life, yet Jesus makes the journey so much easier. There were times though, that Jesus and Christianity never made sense. It seemed like a place of escape for those who were too scared to face life head-on. Jesus was never a reality to me. In those moments, whatever I thought about myself, whether good or bad took center stage in my life and it was easier to make mistakes and have compromises. Jesus just seemed too far away. The Bible seemed too complicated and knowing God was such a task. You see when your focus is not Jesus and what God says in his word, it is easy to think that you have it all figured out.  I tried living life my way, It never worked. I was always empty, and I needed my void filled. Jesus took my burdened and weary heart (Matthew 11:28). It wasn’t a one-time decision though. This has taken years. I never fully trusted Him. It is only recently that I realized that it is so much easier with him; but only if you let him. If you have given your life to Christ, yet suffer depression like a non-believer even to the point of having suicidal tendencies, what really makes you different from them?

As I said earlier, Jesus makes the experience easier. Suffering from depression even when you are born again shows a total lack of trust and faith in God and puts you at a point where you idolize your situation. Simply put, your eyes are not fixed on Jesus. From experience, it shows how proud you are believing that you can handle your own situation instead of laying it at the feet of the Master. It shows a total lack of focus, direction and misconstrued priorities in your Christian life. In fact, what you need is a divine encounter with Jesus. An encounter so deep that will show you how loved and cherished you are in His eyes. This had to happen to me, so that I could realize my power and place in the heart of God. That way, when you have your guard up in minding your mind, you are not the Devil’s easy target. Jesus can never whisper depression and suicide to you, the Devil does that. You cannot be thrown to and fro with every wind of doctrine (John 4:14). You will never get to the point of blaming God for your situation because you become so aware of his goodness and faithfulness, just like Job.

I have been meditating on this scripture for some time. John 14:21 says that,

The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.

I shed a tear when I read this. It was a moment of fresh revelation when I realized that Jesus wants to show, reveal and manifest himself to us. Honestly though, how beautiful is he? He takes our baggage and makes us light so that we can find rest in him. All we have to do is obey him. He has told us to rest, and that’s exactly what we will do. It’s not complicated. Just a loving father who cares about his children, that’s who God is. He is so good, so loving, and the revelation of this needs to sink into our spirits. Let us get so awakened to finding out more about this amazing God. I challenge you to read the Word more often than you already do and most importantly, meditate on it. To be quite honest, the Bible used to be such a boring book. However, when I realized that the Bible reveals to me who God is and who I am, I just can’t get enough of it. I desire to know more and more about what God has said in His word. It is so addictive. It’s light. Practically, I actively find out what God says about a certain situation I am going through. We even live in a time where we have the internet and are exposed to a wealth of information all over the world. For instance, when I feel condemned, I simply google what the Bible says about condemnation and meditate on those verses. It really helps. 🙂

I pray that this post has opened up your eyes to see how much God loves you. You are such a divine treasure, set apart for him. GOD WANTS YOU HAPPY, and we never go through difficult situations so that he could ‘teach us a lesson’. He only uses those difficult times, to show us how close and loving He is. Out of it all, we go through those tests, learn our lessons and should become victorious. You are the planting of the Lord for him to reveal his splendor. As the prophet Isaiah spoke to the Israelites in Isaiah 61:3, so does the same apply to us in this day and time.

God will grant joy to all those who mourn. Give them a garland of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit— that they may be called “Oaks of Righteousness”, the planting of the Lord for the display of his spleandour.

Do not allow yourself to wither away or be plucked out when God is eagerly waiting to reveal his glory to and through you. You are so blessed and highly favoured. Live it and love life all the more because you have Jesus.

With love,

Mumbua

 

12 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Deereply
November 10, 2018 at 12:11 PM

I didn’t finish reading the post because it stopped making sense at a very early stage. Granted, these are your opinions and you’re entitled to them but perhaps if you underwent depression, you’d know that it takes more than focusing on Jesus, reading scripture and ‘not being selfish’ to get through it. Depression is a disease like any other and it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is best dealt with through medical attention and psychotherapy . If that was not the case, then born again Christians wouldn’t be falling ill and dying in hospitals because they would have chosen not to be selfish, focus on Jesus and conquer their minds. I might reread this blog post to gain a better understanding of what you were trying to say but for now, I am unable to continue because I can’t believe what I am seeing in 2018.

Sarah Kimeureply
November 10, 2018 at 12:11 PM
– In reply to: Dee

Thank you so much for taking the time to read up until the point you were able to Dee. I highly appreciate it. Granted that you are entitled to your own thoughts, opinions and inclination, thank you for respecting mine. I shared what worked for me when I went through some dark self esteem issues, and that was Jesus. He is a reality, and turning to Him works. 😊

Odongo Magdalenereply
November 10, 2018 at 08:11 PM

I went through depression and twice I tried committing suicide Dee. I was never treated in a hospital and believe you me there are many reasons now than before for me to go back there but I no longer get even annoyed by them, I can stand up and proudly say focusing on Jesus did it for me. I have a scripture that can’t slip off my head Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth on thee.
That was a major healing.

Sarah Kimeureply
November 10, 2018 at 10:11 PM
– In reply to: Odongo Magdalene

Wow, Magdalene, this is so wonderful and timely. Thank you so much for sharing. Jesus is truly real and He wants us to be in perfect peace.

Betty Mwangireply
November 11, 2018 at 04:11 PM

Honestly I don’t even know how to respond to this…it is very timely and true! When I first heard about depression being talked about in the society I had been exposed to it in the hospital as a doctor…psychiatry ward talking to them. It’s funny that not only patients being treated for depression attempt suicide, bipolar, schizophrenia,drug abuse they have attempted suicide as well. I don’t mean to go all jargon but truth is the only solution I found when I thought about it is renewing our minds. We talk to these people when they come to the clinic and sometimes they have selective mutism, they choose who to talk to and when to talk, so the people accompanying them talk on their behalf. I feel like they battle alot on the inside because no one would really know for sure what they are dealing with on the inside and would only tell us what they have seen from their behaviour. As a doctor, we treat based on theory and it has worked for those I have seen but only for sometime. So here’s the caveat, if they don’t remain on medication,they relapse. So they are basically on meds their whole life, that is no one’s portion. God doesn’t desire that for anyone, at all! Medication and science clearly has its limitations but Jesus doesn’t. He heals today just as he healed more than 2000 years ago. And He heals us completely! No relapse. So I stand with that too, Jesus!

Sarah Kimeureply
November 12, 2018 at 10:11 AM
– In reply to: Betty Mwangi

Wow.. this is such an interesting addition and perspective from a medical perspective. Medication is truly limited. Thank you for reading and sharing your input as well. It is extremely relevant.

Alrx Kamaureply
November 11, 2018 at 11:11 PM

I love your work Sarah because every time I come to this blog,it talks to me what my flesh doesn’t want to hear. It is true that depression is selfishness and lack of trust in God. To help those drowning in it we need to show them how love and the ever streaming grace of God

Sarah Kimeureply
November 12, 2018 at 10:11 AM
– In reply to: Alrx Kamau

Thank you so much for the kind word Alex. You are absolutely right. The world needs Jesus. They do not know it, but they do. That’s why we must always be active to let Jesus be known and understood. He cares. Human solutions can never suffice. Thank you for taking your time to read. 🙂

Stellareply
December 22, 2018 at 09:12 AM

OK, so many problems with this one. I understand fully that its your opinion on the matter, however you chose to title the piece “The truth about depression”. With no facts specifically relating to depression (case in point the chemical imbalance in terms of depression… Or you know, that its a disease). Which begs the question, are you addressing periodic/situational depression, or clinical depression?

” I haven’t suffered depression, but I have struggled with major self-esteem issues that I believe have given me some kind of authority to speak on this particular issue” When we look at self-esteem issues and depression, those are vastly different, I cannot begin to express just how different they are. I’m not trying to undermine your experience, however you cannot equate self-esteem issues to depression in any way, shape or form.

I do not deny that religion can be of great help for some people, but some of the things you’ve written could be triggers for people with depression.
They could spiral further into self blame and self harm bc according to this, it is their fault that they are in that situation, they just need to love God enough and they’ll be out… But they don’t get out, and then they blame themselves for not loving God enough.

Check out the medical side of depression, and try understand it from that perspective. And maybe change the name of the article to “My thoughts on depression”

Sarah Kimeureply
January 05 at 06:01 PM
– In reply to: Stella

Hi Stella,
I am so happy that you took the time to read my blog post, it really means a lot and I highly appreciate it. I fully understand what you are trying to say, thank you so much for commenting. You see, you are absolutely right. Depression is a sickness, a medical condition that is actually treated in hospitals for some. Yet, we have the love and power of God. You have mentioned that religion is a great help for SOME people who are struggling with depression. Christianity has been categorized as a religion, yet it is so much more than that. It is a faith. Why can’t this faith be the answer for all people? At the end of the day, dealing with depression shows where you really put your trust. Is it in the medical doctors and the medication, or is it in what God says about you in his word? Don’t get me wrong, doctors and even hospitals have been so fundamental in our society today. They have really provided so many medical solutions and even treatments for all of us, including Christians. The problem comes in when they become the ultimate solution above what God has said in his Word. It doesn’t matter what type of depression it is, what happens within the body, the chemical imbalance, and all that Stella. God is above all of it. God is above depression, sickness, and even doctors. Is he not the one who gave them the wisdom they have and better understands what happens in the body when someone is depressed? For someone who truly believes in God and follows him, which we all ought to do, what I have written should not cause them to spiral into further depression and self-blame. There is a better way to live and a better way to live life. I was simply sensitizing people on this fact because God’s power is so real and his word is active. Most of the problems that we face as a society and even individually depends on the level at which we have placed God in our lives. Where God is not uplifted, the Devil has an easy time messing with people. All we see in the physical is a manifestation of the spiritual. Yet God is constantly showing us how good and loving he is. How he wants us well and thriving. I pray that you may get this revelation. 🙂

Lynnreply
December 22, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Hi Sarah. I started reading this post yesterday, I got very angry and decided to leave it until I can gather enough courage to write back to you without expressing anger and just taking time to reason out, hopefully with you.

Firstly, I would like to express my disappointment. You have taken time to define a lot of things and even went as far as giving references e.g the meaning of low self esteem, and biblical references that you’ve drawn to give the blog credibility, but not even once have I seen any research or reading you have done on mental illness or depression. You have given an opinion of what you think it is but actually haven’t defined or cited anywhere you read about it.

Secondly, I would like to clearly correct that what you’ve highly covered in the blog, from your experience, Self esteem has no connection to depression. Allow me to help define the two.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, self esteem is: belief and confidence in your own ability and value:
The compliments she received after the presentation boosted her self-esteem.
She suffers from low self-esteem and it prevents her from pursuing her goals.

I have taken the liberty of attaching one link that defines mental illness and covers the different forms it comes in, including depression for your perusal

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968

I hope it will open you up to more reading that you will easily find on the internet.

I took note of your comment where you said, negative thoughts come from the devil, and suicide is selfish, and anyone who is depressed is selfish. These opinions all go to put blame on a person struggling mentally and physically with some causes that are external. And not once have you offered love or a place to seek attention for their condition. That is very unfair.

Lastly I would like to address the Christian dogma you’ve used consistently on your post. If you pastor, your fellow Christian friends, your fellow congregants share the same thoughts as you then I worry deeply for anyone who suffers any form of mental illness, because they have nowhere to seek help. To be your brothers keeper means to seek knowledge of what ails him/her and offer solutions. One with mental illness needs not only Jesus but a doctor who can carefully examine, diagnose and help treat their illness.

I hope my response helps to reintroduce mental health to you and some of your readers and inspires them to read a bit more into what it is before expressing themselves.

Sarah Kimeureply
January 05 at 07:01 PM
– In reply to: Lynn

Hi Lynn,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and even comment on it, it really means a lot and I highly appreciate it. Allow me to begin by apologizing for the anger and disappointment you felt after you read this particular post. I started this blog in order to inspire people into knowing how much God loves them and that they should trust in him. It is never my intention for people to feel otherwise, yet I have come to learn that I can never please everyone with what I write. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, so no hard feelings. 🙂
First of all, I do not use biblical references to give my blog credibility. I refer to scripture in order for people to see what God says about whatever it is I am writing about. I actually do that in every post I write, after all, it is a Christian blog. 🙂
Secondly, I acknowledge and understand the importance of research in different scenarios, especially in academic settings. My big brother suffers from bipolar disorder, and I avoided mentioning it on this post simply because of how it has been a painful situation for him, as well as our family. The manic episodes he would get caused me to do major research on it in order to better understand the situation. I wrote articles on the situation in campus and even came across articles on depression in the process and researched on them as well. One thing that I realized and know for certain is this, only God can intervene in such situations. No amount of research or medication can help a person struggling with any form of depression. It may help for a certain time, in some situations even permanently, yet the best way to attain healing is through hearing and living the word of God. So, will I quote research by a scholar on this blog yet God has provided tangible answers in his Word? Absolutely not, the word of God is real, and all that you refer to as Christian dogma is actually alive and active when someone believes and understands that revelation. The solution is in all that I have written, concerning what God says about us and what Jesus did at the cross. I actually find it unfair that you did not see that, that is the absolute solution. So, people who struggle with depression have a place to come and find the truth. That is in the Word and among the fellowship of believers. And their healing will come through faith, faith in God. The Word of God is above any research ever done by man. Because they only research what God has either created or conquered. I live my life like this, and it works for me. God is good. He is love, and everyone should experience his love and power.

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