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Depression and Christianity

Fly-Away-Blue-Bird
Community Member

Hi all

I am new here and it has taken me a while to stop and admit that I have depression. It has taken a while because depression comes in many forms and I would go undetected most of the time because I appear happy on the outside but my mind plagues me each day. It scares me to talk about this because it means that the abuse of the past still has a hold on me and that just makes me mad! Now I am going to share with you about my religion but I don't want this thread to be about tearing it apart, because that would make me even more depressed!!

I am a Christian and I have been for 13 years now. I have been healed from many things of my past but other things remain. I think being a Christian has made it harder for me to admit and to talk to others about my depression because the stereotype I get is that Christians should be happy.. I know that when I go to church everyone is smiling and it is difficult to imagine that anyone but me could feel so sad, so lonely and so different from anyone else. I don't even share on Facebook what I am going through because when I see another friends write something about depression all I see is the typical Christian answers of "Go to God, you can overcome this through him, You will be alright keep smiling, what have you got to be depressed for Christ took it for you, etc etc." Those answers come from people who just don't understand!

So here I am, opening up to strangers.. Please be kind  🙂

46 Replies 46

Vegetarian Marshmallow
Community Member
Well, my nonna is a pretty religious Catholic (pretty much every time we see her, she tries to convince my brothers and I - all atheists - to read the bible or go to church or check out a Christian youth group or something) and I think she's been depressed.  Feelings aren't generally shared very much in my family, and she's the kind of person who doesn't like to bother other people with things.  But by way of trying to get my brother to open up about *his* problems, she once mentioned about how, in the time after my nonno (her husband) died, she wanted to die, and so she was prescribed something-or-other by her doctor.

What about those depressed friends you mentioned??  Surely they're obvious targets for conversation about depression.

I think everyone gets that "You should be happy!" pressure, not just Christians.  I don't think "Go to God" comments are anything to do with the fact that the person saying it is religious, but rather that the person is a numpty - the kind of person whose default answer for *anything* is "Go to God".

"I lost my dog!"
"Don't worry, The Lord will watch over him.  I'll pray for his safe return.".

"I miss her so much.  Can't believe the cancer took her.  She was so young."
"God has a plan.  You are in our prayers."

That sort of stuff.

Whereas, my nonna (really the only religious person I have regular contact with) does not simply invoke God for everything, but actually engages on the issues faced by the person in distress.

Faith
Community Member

Hi I am also a Christian and devout Catholic. I acknowledge God since I was young

Recently I took courage to ask a doctor how would I know if Im depressed. I am an allied health professional too so i have done a research myself about my weird mood started few months ago.

so i was diagnosed as having depression. Its good that I was able to go to a GP who listens. I said that I dont want to be on any medication at the moment and would prefer counseling. 

 I think being a Christian (or any person who believes in God) will not prevent us from having a mental illness. Depression is as debilitating as any physical illness.

Sometimes im thinking that some sort of evil spirit possessed my soul. I used to be an optimistic person but i cant control my sad emotions.

the weird thing is that there is nothing to be worried about my life. 

Let's see this struggle as an opportunity to be able to reach out and help others who have problems.

i sometimes think that there is a reason why i have to go through this. Maybe to be able to fully understand my patients who have this condition. Im hopeful that i will recover soon and will be able to show true empathy to patients


geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

hello I am an atheist but that's not the point here, and I feel so sorry for you to feel this way. Christians may go to church bearing a happy face, but I'm sure that there are a large % of them that are suffering from this illness. No religion can stop depression or any of it's other side shoots, it doesn't have any sympathy to anyone, all types of professional people have depression, and my first psychologist also suffered from it, and in some ways this was good, because she knew how devastating it was. You can't really learn about how this illness cripples us from reading a book.

Christians go to confession, because maybe they need to talk to the priest about their depression and if people believe, and I don't mean this in any disrespect, that God will look over them then that's their right to think that way.

My ex wife was a christian and she had no complaints from me, we used to joke about various parts but no more than that. If she wanted to go to church that was fine by me, but she suffered from PND.

When you go to church your faith as well as other religions feel a comfort, complete satisfaction and warmth being in God's home, all their worries have been put aside being in church, there are no dangers confronting them, you are in Lord's hands, however when they leave it's a different 'kettle of fish' they have to enter the world where problems occur, and I'm sure that that many people deep down have this burning feeling of depression, sure we can hide it and put on a happy face but eventually this becomes too much and we break, revelling that we do in deed suffer from this illness. It's a strong illness that requires attention. Geoff.

Faith
Community Member

Very nice insight from you Geoff.

However about confession of Christians, we dont need to confess to the priest about our illness *^____^* only sins. so even i regularly go to church activities, i dont think i will do that 🙂

but if an individual would like to go to the priest for some advice or support i think there's nothing wrong with it.

Yeah you are right that only people who experience this condition will understand. 




Damien
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Everyone,

Geoff and Rodentdron, perhaps I should have put "religion" in the search box before starting my own thread as this is exactly the topic I had in though.  Since I tend to look at "Anxiety" rather than "Depression" threads I missed this.  🙂

Fly-Away-Blue-Bird I'm in a similar position to you and Faith in that I am a Christian, (in fact I used to be a school chaplain), and I experience mental illness.  For me it used to be Depression, now it's Anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) and Social Phobia. Interesting my social phobia was church: I got badly hurt by people/procedures there and didn't want to be in the same room as "those people" yet at the same time I wanted to "go to church".  Hmm.

The very thought that "Christians should always be happy" or that depression is somehow a sin because "Jesus offers hope" is very upsetting to me.  Of course the second one (Jesus = hope) is "true", but that's not a cure or a prevention for debilitating life circumstances (especially when the local Christians are bastards) or when your Serotonin goes pear-shaped.  I often say on the questionnaires about Mental Health that I am very rarely "hopeless" because I have a strong faith, but that doesn't stop me feeling "helpless" or "restless" or "nothing could cheer me up", or even "worthless".  Does this make me weak in faith?  No, it makes me a human person with huge real life situations and some disequilibrious brain chemistry.

(And if disequilibrious is not a real word, it should be.)

Sadly it is harder to open up to other Christians, and people who don't share our faith are often nicer to us.  (Praise God for compassionate atheists!!)  I imagine that if I were to speak to Jesus about this in person, rather than in prayer, he'd be a lot more like Geoff and Rodentdron than many of the people I avoid over coffee on a Sunday morning.  (That's why I avoid them, and I'm actually at a different church now.)

As an "outed" Christian (not GLBTI but GAD, not making fun of same-sex at all but I do feel "looked at" in ways I didn't when no-one knew I was "mental") I do still believe in prayer, and I haven't dismissed the idea of personal evil in the spiritual world, but my advice is always to go to a GP and then on to a Psych and a Pharmacist if that is what the GP says.  I'm also a huge fan of beyondblue (of course) and like to direct people to information here.  

Don't see an exorcist until you've seen a doctor!  😄  Bahaha.

Our faith is a great source of strength, no-one must be allowed to take that from us.  Our churches should be a great source of support, and at the moment that's what my "soap-box" is...as much as it can be when I feel Anxiety in all its glory.

Thanks everyone for sharing.  🙂

Bless.

Sheiknah
Community Member

Hi There,

I am a born again Christian and I hear what you are saying! I don't open up to just anyone that I feel depressed but my close friends know and they are Christian. I have had some unhelpful comments definately but for the most part I am lucky I guess to some extent that the church i go to recognizes illnesses like this and my friends are empathetic . Even if they don't all understand. I wish my hubby would understand more !! Some have gone through it themselves, are trained professionals or have some grasp on healing or have some sort of understanding in small or large. All have compassion but some understand, I mean like the Pastor the other day was speaking about something and he said " I am not talking to people who suffer from depression as I know how hard that is cause I too suffered from it for many years " and I guess that's the thing. Those that have suffered with it understand and those that have a "healing ministry" or are professionally trained or have empathy also but not everyone. I dont share on FB either cause I dont want every Tom dick and harry putting their two bits in cause sometimes their two bits worth is really unhelpful !! I am aware that we live in a spiritual world. I've experienced it and sometimes ( As Faith was mentioning they feel like an evil spirit has possessed their soul) deliverance ( or exorcism haha ! ) is needed. I also realize that some things can be situational or chemical. I feel like mine is situational. Unfortunately the spiritual realm can latch onto that the little suckers !! : )  Like many things that have been stressful over a long period of time had lead to depression for me and cause they have not been solved and worked through it is still there. I have had prayer and instantly been healed of some things but every case/ things is different and I think some of the unhelpful comments that you mentioned above are people that really dont understand  really what it is like. That's why I guess I feel its a wise thing not to tell just anyone no mater what their faith is. It's nice to meet someone of the same faith that is going through this as you know you are not the only one walking into church or any happy atmosphere for that matter and having to put on an everything is fine face !! Are there any of your Christian friends you can be real with ? So nice to meet you : )

Sheiknah
Community Member
Hey guys wondering if we can inbox privately on here ? Thanks so much !

Ruth_M
Community Member

Hi Sheiknah,

Unfortunately there isn't private messaging on this forum, and our guidelines don't allow the sharing of personal contact information. However, if you check out the beyondblue facebook page, you can find other users who are also using facebook. Welcome to the forum- we hope to keep hearing from you!

Best wishes, beyondblue moderation team

Dear Hugh,

You don't talk to the other moderators ?    Lol.

Adios, David.

PS  The exclaimation mark gives you away.