I had planned to write an article on closet space today, but it feels trivial in contrast to what’s on my heart right now. This post may be out of character, but maybe someone somewhere needs to read these words.
You see, I lost a friend to depression twelve years ago today. Note that I said depression and not suicide, because depression is an actual illness just like cancer or diabetes. It’s a disease of the mind.
When a loved one passes away after a battle with cancer, we don’t say, “He died of organ failure” or whatever the case may be. No, we charge the disease that claimed their life.
I don’t say this to defend or affirm suicide in any way. I still feel the effects of being left behind to grapple with haunting questions and unending guilt. The what ifs, the should haves, could haves, and if only’s…
Depression is a complex disease and it plagues so many of us. I’ve watched another friend pick up the pieces after a failed attempt. Still others are trying to walk through life clouded by darkness. And I, myself, have fought this on-again, off-again battle for over half of my life. Even as a mother. Even as a Christian.
Sometimes I feel as Christians, we can be even more susceptible to depression. If Satan can attack our thoughts and win over the battlefield of our minds, he renders us ineffective for the kingdom of God.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:5
I am learning the importance of spending time in the Word and arming myself with its truths. But there have also been times when I had to rely on medications to assist with the chemical imbalance in my brain, and there is no shame in that.
Through loss and my own personal experiences, I now understand the need to be sensitive to the wars that others are waging inside.
If you take away nothing else, let it be this: always be kinder than necessary.
If a friend or family member has become reclusive or withdrawn, please reach out to them. And then reach out again, and again.
Let them know they are not alone. Tell them how loved they are.
Don’t give up on them. Don’t write them off.
Recognize their cries for help. It can be something as subtle as an unexplained posting of song lyrics.
As I sit here thinking of the kind boy with the dry sense of humor and the incredible musical talent, I know that his memory lives on in me and countless others. While I can’t go back in time and change what’s happened (Lord knows I would), I can help raise awareness for this often misunderstood disease.
If you would like to learn more about an organization that is dedicated to providing hope and help to those struggling with depression, check out To Write Love On Her Arms.