Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Normal" isn't so normal.

Do you ever sit and wonder what "normal" is? Nobody thinks they or their lives are normal. If I had to define "normal" I think I'd call it, the delusion that everyone has of everyone else's life, and the illusion we try to create to match it. Hmmm. Well, as far as putting it into words I think that is the best I've got.

I'll admit, I spend time thinking "I wish my life was just normal." I wish that things were as pleasant as they appear to be on the outside of other peoples lives. "On the outside"......

There are many directions we could take with this topic, but there is one I want to focus on. Depression. Depression is an ugly creature that takes over and steals joy in life. Many people keep their depression a hidden part of their life, tucked safely away behind the fear of the stigma that comes with depression. I too, fear that stigma.
I suffer from clinical depression. I have for years. Once in awhile my doctor and I decide to try not treating it with medication. It always works well for the first month or two...then I find myself crying all the time, or dreading waking in the morning. It's like I'm watching myself become more and more depressed but despite my best efforts to pull myself out of my slump, I fail.

Many Christians believe and profess that faith in God should be all you ever need to be joyful and if you are depressed than there is an issue with your faith. I have been told this by people before. It is a sad thing. It is the last thing that will help you because then you feel like a failure in your faith on top of everything negative you may feel.
I'm stepping out and exposing this struggle I have so that others who secretly struggle will know they are not alone. I think our Christian family would be far better off if we didn't worry about keeping up appearances of "normal" and exposed our faults and struggles so that we can build each other up. What if we let our guards down and truly bear one another's burdens as it says in Galatians 6:2?

For some reason when people find out you are on medication for depression (insert dramatic gasp here), they get this crazy image in their head. Some people just chalk you up as mentally impaired from that point on, and it's almost like they are afraid of you. Some will also try to look down on you. They might even attribute any slight change in your behavior to "your meds". Why is this? Are we not all human? Do we not all have struggles and inner battles?

I often struggle with taking medication for depression because it makes me feel weak. I listen to those who feed me lies and belittle me for not being able to "snap out of it". Friends, there is nothing wrong with treating depression. Take heart, and know that I applaud you for facing your giant. You are far from alone. Many times the people who struggle with depression are those you would never suspect. Often they are the goofy out-going ones that seem to have it all together....on the outside. Those people may go home and cry themselves to sleep, we don't know.

Faith is indeed critical. Not how it is often twisted though. Keep God close as you fight your depression. He WILL help you. God is an important part of the healing process. However, it by no means EVER means you have weak faith because you are depressed.

Let us put away our ideas of "normal". It is too often the image in our head of how things are supposed to be that messes us up. No more illusions and delusions. Be real. Real love, real kindness, real hope. Here's to tomorrow......

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