Wednesday, August 13, 2014

busyness, depression, suicide - my thoughts

I've been a bit short on words lately. Busyness tends to do that to me. It pushes my mute button. I go into a sort of robotic routine, and it becomes difficult to piece together any sort of meaningful words. Oh, they're there, in my mind, and they mostly come to me in the shower when I don't have paper, pen, or keyboard to record them. (Why do my greatest thoughts come to me while in the midst of a shower? I have realized that it is probably because that is the only time I am by myself and in relative quiet. I may need to invest in some of those bath markers for children so I can jot down notes.)

Our garden has been a bit of a flop this year. Perhaps it's from the extreme amount of rain and the chilly fall-like days we've had all summer. We lost all of our squash and eggplant. The zucchini and cucumber harvest was pitiful. In fact, I find myself planning a trip to the farmer's market just so I can have produce to make pickles and jam. I am very thankful for the green beans and the tomatoes which should be ready in another week or so. That's how it is with raising your own food. There are good years that produce more than enough. And then there are years when the harvest is smaller and not sufficient. But we do what we can, and fill in the gaps with what we can find from other local farmers.

I can't help but just speak a few words regarding the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. Yesterday, I found myself angered after reading this blog post on the Matt Walsh blog. I'm admittedly not a devoted Matt Walsh reader, but I have read some of his articles in the past and found myself agreeing with him. But it both saddened and angered me to read his post regarding depression and suicide. I found his article to be extremely insensitive and misinformed. I know the dark depths of depression. I know what it feels like to feel like there is absolutely no hope.

When I am experiencing a depressed episode, I can't think straight. I'm not myself at all. I'm totally disconnected from all that is around me. And it's not because I want to be. Goodness, how I cry with all of my mental energy for deliverance! It's an uncontrollable mental prison that shackles my mind and renders it helpless. It's not a choice. It's not situational. It's unpredictable and vicious.

And that was why I found Matt Walsh's article so incredibly insulting. I won't deny that there is a spiritual component to depression. There is a spiritual component to everything. But I would never choose depression. I would never choose suicidal thoughts. I would never choose darkness and oppression.

So that's where I found him to be wrong and insensitive. When I heard about Robin William's suicide, I felt empathy. And I felt a heart ache that only those who have suffered with clinical depression could have.

And, yes, I am soooo thankful that I have Jesus. And, yes, without Him and His hand on me, it's hard to tell where I would be right now. Would I even be here?

So, I beg the church... Don't discriminate. Don't speak harsh words. Don't pass your judgments. Don't act in a haughty manner, thinking you know everything about everything because you have a degree or read the Bible everyday.

Because that only pushes those of us that suffer with depression into a deeper anguish.

I'm open about my dealings with mental illness because I decided several years ago that it is a vehicle that God has given me to reach out to others. I didn't choose the illness, but I do choose to surrender it and my life to my Father and let Him use it for His glory.


Marne said...

Amber, your thoughts are always insightful and from the heart. Thank you for your openness! It comforts me to know that others understand mental illness and I hope that someday soon it will be taken more seriously by all.

BECKY said...

Hi Amber,
I am so sorry that you suffer with bouts of depression, but am so glad that you know Jesus, and find safety, peace and refuge in Him during those difficult days. I read Ann Voscamp's journal today, and she, too, has struggled with depression. It's an incredibly poignant story that speaks to the Church, and how it handles these topics and the people who suffer with them. Here is the link if you'd like to read it.

We each suffer with something, and I hope I never make any one feel judged in this way.

Blessings to you,

Jen said...

Depression is so much more than a heart issue. My 20 year old daughter has had to deal with it for so long! It breaks my heart when people say things like, "just give it to Jesus". Yes that is true but a lot of times there is more to it.

It really bothers me when those that have no clue regarding depression and mental health run their mouths about it.

It is defiantly something the church needs to address. My husband and I have started a counseling ministry through our church.

Monica Goldstrohm said...

Well said, Amber. Well said.

Lulu said...

no one knows what you are going through but yourself...
depression is hedious, no one wants it..i hate when people tell you to snap out of it, as if you could just like that..
i wish people had more patience and compassion for each other..
God bless..

Rachel E. said...

A friend of mine posted a similar line of thought on Facebook. While I agreed with the basics of what she said, I also have to disagree with some other portions.

I find you hit the nail on the head. I would hope you find the following comment from Facebook similar to your line of thinking.

"We need to remember that crimes against self should not be considered crimes. We need to keep it what it is. It is a violation of God's plan. Plain and simple. Depression is very real. We can't belittle depression any more than we can mental illness. They are serious issues that need to be dealt with. Only those with hope in the true Anchor really have a way of dealing with such things. (Unless you truly have an amazing network of people around you who truly care.) Our hope is in Him. Not everyone is there. Not everyone will ever be there. So, not everyone knows that we can do all things through Jesus. And not everyone knows that he will never leave us nor forsake us. And more important, he will never ever give us more than we are equipped to handle. Never."

Heather said...

Our lame attempt at a garden this year has also failed. I've been in a funk of deep thoughts and life altering perspective changes lately. (Living in the end times, faith honing, realizing what is really important and how much of my life I've wasted--those sort of thoughts.)

So then when I got to the Matt Walsh part, I thought, "Gosh, I feel like I almost could have written this post." Almost. Not saying I know what you're going through right now with the depression, and I'm sorry to hear that, by the way.

When I first discovered Matt's blog, I loved it. Then he did that "Christians don't have to be nice" post, which I found really distasteful, because while it's true that no one HAS TO be nice, I've seen a lot of Christians (specifically Lutherans in my own church, sadly) use that as en excuse to be smug and self-righteous toward others.

So I stopped reading his blog, but then it was hard to ignore all the posts Facebook posts about his Robin Williams post. I agree, he belittled depression and only served more confusion to the already misunderstood issue that is clinical depression. My family also struggles with depression/anxiety disorders.

As I told my mom, "Telling someone who is in a suicidal depression to simply 'CHOOSE JOY!' is about as effective as telling a cat to get a job."

Sorry for the long comment. All this to say, Amen, Amber! Well said. I'll keep you in my prayers in regards to the depression.

A Primitive Homestead said...

I suffer from depression and it is something I cant control. Since losing my 17 yr old son over two years ago I have feel into a sever depression. A time when I needed those around me I did not get the support I needed. One of the things that hit hard was how some that call themselves christians were the most curel.