misunderstood illness

THAT DREADED ‘D’ WORD — DEPRESSION

(March 19, 2021) Charles Schwab shares very openly, very personally from his heart and life experience…

The ‘D’ word – Depression – is extremely relevant to Christians today! Depression is real, and the church needs to face that reality appropriately.

‘Mental illness and Christians’ is in the news fairly regularly.  In 2013 Matthew Warren, the youngest son of high-profile mega-church pastors Rick and Kay Warren (Saddleback Community Church, California), took his own life after a long struggle with unrelenting depressive illness.  Reports are that he had received the best medical, counselling and pastoral support available. And there have been others before and after that.

Later, Matthew’s grieving father tweeted caring supporters, ‘Grieving is hard.  Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest.  Your notes sustained us.’

Failing to understand
The church and Christians have often failed to understand depression and how to deal with it.  Consequently, there are some shocking and demeaning views held by people who ideally should be able to show positive care, understanding and help towards the mentally afflicted.  So often, for various reasons, this has not been the case.

Depressive illness has a special meaning for me, not the least reason being that in 1998, at age 53, I had to leave my pastoral role because of it.  I had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as suffering from chronic anxiety and depressive illness that rendered me unemployable. Unemployable in any field!

Some years later I asked him again for his professional view about my situation and the future. His reply was in words I could understand, and I received them kindly in the spirit in which they were given.  They were not offensive, but illustrative of the truth as it is medically understood.  My psychiatrist is exceptionally good at his profession, someone I respect and admire who has helped me a lot.

His words were, ‘You can’t unscramble an egg.’  So, medically speaking, I’m stuck with it. (more…)