Anxiety and Depression

I’m just going to say it!

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:

Go to a good medical doctor

Go to a good Christian counselor

Get informed

Don’t be afraid to take your medicine

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17 replies »

  1. To Dear Pastor Scott
    Thank you so much for being willing to write on this topic. I have long felt the need for it to be brought to light in the church.
    I appreciate your courage and transparency. May the Lord bless and keep you…
    Love, Prayers & Hugs!
    Lori Smith

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  2. Well said Pastor Scott. No one chooses to feel this way..there is no snapping out of it! Thank you for this timely post.

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  3. I am glad that you have posted this. Many people think when they see a Christian in leadership that they don’t have issues or problems that they are this perfect person I always hear comments and they say well you’re supposed to be a Christian when you make a mistake, and I heard that many times in my life. I come from a family of fourth generation depressant on my mothers side with the women. I thank God that when I got saved I believed Jesus severed that in my life. I can truly understand what you are writing about. But there are times that I struggle with downtime and I know that when I go to his word it helps me. I have a Christian friend that has been on medication and has lost their jobs because of their unwillingness to accept the things that they have to do rather than do them they used this as an excuse and sometimes looked forward to getting laid off from their job because they couldn’t handle from day today situations and issues in the workplace. I remember one day I was working back in 2000
    I experience what a mental disability could be like for someone who is institutionalized I believe that the Holy Spirit wanted me to experience it and there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re in prison in your mind without bars. I believe with continued prayer for the body of Christ who do suffer with many different mental incapacity even those that suffer with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
    My prayer is always towards suicide- when I was in high school I had a handful of friends they committed suicide which always been in my prayers.
    I am blessed by your humbleness to be open publicly and believing for the Lord Jesus the bring you complete healing.

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  4. Thank you so much Pastor for this timely message. I’m one of the many that struggle with these issues .
    It’s tremendously comforting to know that you understand .

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    • Thank you Kathy! I am sorry to hear that. I know it is so hard. I remember how it helped when a good sister in the Lord took time to encourage me from her experiences. It helped so much. You are not alone Kathy!

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  5. As I read this I am aware of a Godly man and his family who have walked with integrity through an often gray area for many. Healing and hope come in so many ways as God directs them. Thank you for sharing your journey daily with us. I have watched you live out the healing and touch others through it.
    Having a community that surrounds you as you heal is so critical. Thank you for includong us through these seasons.
    As a pastor you are more equipped than ever to weep and mourn and rejoice with those walking through depression and anxiety. Thanks brother for sharing with us and now many others. You are truely a broken vessel pouring out the love and healing of Christ.

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