I'm reading this book called "How to be Happy (or at least less sad)" by Lee Crutchley. A man came in the coffee shop where I work today, saw the book I was reading and proceeded to tell me how I have no reason to be sad, followed by evangelizing me.
What he doesn't know is that I have plenty of reasons to be sad- some from past trauma and some reasons created by chemical imbalances. How could he know that? He couldn't. No one knows the struggles another person faces. All the more reason to heed our words.
That man trying to evangelize me reminded me of so many others within the church who believe that depression is the absence of faith or trust in God (which is ignorance at best). He told me that if I have Jesus I have all I need. Well when you struggle with mental illness Jesus doesn't feel like all you need.
When you have a mental illness like depression and/or anxiety all of the sudden you need doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists, and supporters. All of the sudden you need medicine, you're lacking chemicals and vitamins in your body and your brain. All of the sudden you need healing, rest, boundaries, space, time, patience, and help like you've never needed it before. And yes, I believe that God is the Captain of such things, but when you're trying to live and not just survive it feels like you need a lot more than just Jesus. No one knows why, but sometimes God heals by way of prayers, but sometimes God heals by way of a journey; a journey that can involve friends, family, and strangers, medicine, time, and pain.
In my depression and panic disorder I have come to know El Roi "The God Who Sees". (As named by Hagar in the desert while she was dying of thirst). He sees how little I have to give. He sees my overwhelming need. He sees the depression and the panic before it hits and He sees me shriveled up when it comes. He sees me. And He gets it. And I have found that He's not just here with me but He's really okay with me as I am while I'm here. He's not in the corner wishing and waiting for me to get back up on stage and lead worship again, He's not expecting my healing to come faster than it is, He's not pressuring me to return to places of pain, and yet He's not okay with my present pains. He sees me. He sees how badly I want to be whole. He sees how deeply I struggle to come to terms and peace with my past; things I've seen, things that were done to me, and things I did to myself. He sees how impatient I can be with my own healing and He makes me feel like it's all ok and it's all going to be ok. He really sees me.
Some define humility as being aware of one's great need. Nothing will get you there so fast as depression and anxiety. You can have God and still have really shitty circumstances. Yeah I need God, but right now I need a lot of other things too and whereas I believe He is the author of the good things I need it doesn't change the fact that it's okay to need the things that help you. I think it's okay to say, I need God but I also need you fill in the blank. Because that's the reality we see and that's what it feels like.
Maybe that's why it's so hard to reach out for help as a Christian because we are taught that God is all we need??? When maybe we need counseling, or medicine, or prayer. Idk. I recently heard a story of a missionary in Africa who refused to take preventative medicine against malaria. People all around him and his family are dying of malaria and he says, "No, God will take care of us." He gets malaria, "It's okay," he says refusing treatment, "God will heal me." He dies leaving a wife and children behind. I think it's okay to have more needs than just one. We are only human and He sees us anyway.