I am in no way intending to offer medical or psychological advise. I am not a medical doctor nor am I a licensed counselor. However, if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, panic attacks—or any other kind of mental disorder—I am counseling you talk to a reputable Christian counselor or psychologist, see a good up-to-date doctor, and take your medicine.
On December 12, 2013, I had my first overwhelming experience with anxiety. I wrote about it three years ago (Yes, Virginia, Christians and Even Pastors Can Suffer with Depression and Anxiety, Found A Gem Today In My Garage!, I’m just going to say it!) So, why am I writing about it again?
People Suffer In Silence
I am writing again because a lot of the time—especially among Christians—people struggle with anxiety and depression and often do not get help.
Sometimes it’s the stigma, sometimes it’s a religious conviction (either self-imposed or imposed by others), and sometimes it’s just ignorance. In any case people suffer, sometimes with tragic conclusions.
Covid Era Depression
I’m writing because it’s been almost a year since the first Covid quarantines, and what we know is that, many people have suffered with depression due to the stress and the isolation, and many of those are children.
I’m writing because…
I’m writing because my first experience with anxiety and depression was a nightmare! My experiences since then (even this year) have been frightening. Why do they continue to be frightening? Because when it happens it is discouraging and reminds you of what you have experienced before. Fortunately for me, I have learned some things that can help that I did not know initially.
Why am I writing?!!!
I am writing because you can get help! You need to:
- Get counseling
- Find a good doctor who understands
- And TAKE YOUR MEDICINE!
Medicine? Maybe so. If your brain has a chemical imbalance then it needs adjustment. Can’t God do it? Of course. And perhaps He will choose to perform the miraculous. I can guarantee you that, even if you take medication, you’re still gonna need Jesus every step of the way!
I remember the struggle I had when I began to realize that I needed medicine. I had been trying to address the problem with exercise, vitamins, and diet, etc. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But it wasn’t working for me.
So I called my doctor and I asked her how you knew when it was time to take medicine. She said when it gets to where you can’t function, you need to consider medicine. Then I began to consider that, even though I felt defeated as a pastor that I wasn’t able to pray the anxiety and depression away, I could not be a good steward of my life if I could not function on a daily basis in a normal way. So, if taking meds could help me get back to being productive and able to be a husband, father, and pastor, then I would take the medicine and wrestle with the stigma of Christians and medicine later.
The medicine worked. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to get off of the medicine. Not because of addiction (antidepressants are not habit forming). No, it’s because I still have a chemical imbalance in my brain.
If someone you love struggles with anxiety and depression, please take it seriously and encourage them to get help. Don’t force your stigma on them. That mentality can have tragic results.
If you are struggling and those around you don’t understand, get help.
Categories: Anxiety and Depression