I have tried to write this article two times before, beginning four, almost five years ago, but those versions of it didn’t feel right to me. So, I have opted for a simpler, more to the point approach that will at least be a beginning.
Anxiety and Depression
Almost five years ago, I suffered a major bout with anxiety that ultimately developed into a full-blown clinical depression. After almost two months of suffering and fear and confusion and learning, I realized that I was going to need medication. At that time I began to take Sertraline—a generic form of the anti-depressant Zoloft.
My original intent was to wait and tell my story after I got off the medicine. However, this last Christmas, I had a serious recurrence of the anxiety and had to increase my medicine rather than get off of it. Then, four months after that, I had to increase it again.
The Church and Mental Illness
My writing this May raise a few questions among those I serve as a pastor and perhaps others I am connected to from past churches, school friends, ministry colleagues, etc. I’m prepared for that. In fact, that’s why I’m writing. I would like to help shed light on a very serious problem that, for some in the Church at large, is a blind spot.
Why write? Because
-of the stigma attached to mental illness.
-of yet another person in the news committing suicide because of that stigma.
-many Christians continue to be unenlightened when it comes to mental illness
-millions of people in America alone are suffering with panic disorders, anxiety, and depression
-there are many in our churches who are suffering and they need an advocate
What To Do
For those who are suffering from panic disorder, anxiety, depression, or a mental illness of any kind: