I know you have a plan, God, but why does it hurt so much? I closed my eyes and flopped onto my bunk bed in my dorm room. It was my final semester in college, and it wasn’t going as I had hoped. I was busier than I wanted to be, and two of my closest friends were battling depression while others were also struggling.
It’s easy to downplay how traumatic a broken heart can be. But the reality is that being rejected by another person can have a profoundly negative impact on the well-being of a person. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states that in the two months following a breakup, 40 percent of those affected are clinically depressed, and 12 percent moderately or severely so. When we’re rejected, it’s hard not to feel unimportant and unloved.
Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, poet and hymn writer William Cowper, Mother Teresa, and contemporary author Ann Voskamp—each has been recognized for their devotion to Jesus. And each has also battled depression.
I’m lonely,” wrote Augusten Burroughs in one of his edgy memoirs. “And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs.” I’ve seen Burroughs’ quote shared multiple times on social media. Clearly, he’s expressed a feeling many of us share.
The familiar darkness of clinical depression rolled over Leigh as she sat on the edge of the bed holding a revolver—tormenting voices urging her to pull the trigger. As a Christian wife and mom, she knew this picture was all wrong, but the consuming illness had clouded her mind. Apart from her husband and doctor, no one knew of the daily struggle she faced. Leigh slowly put the gun down, walked out the room, and chose to begin reaching out and sharing her story with others.
She told me that she was depressed. It was so bad that she had attempted suicide more than once. And even though she wasn’t at a dangerously dark state at that moment, she was still in a deep hole. Struggling with sleep, she hadn’t enjoyed a good night’s rest in a long, long time.
This week I bought $30 worth of toilet paper in order to qualify for a mail-in rebate. The rebate form told me to address my envelope to “Road to Glory.” Really? I hadn’t slain a dragon or won a championship. I had merely purchased TP. So I laughed at the ridiculous title as I wrote it on the envelope.
In December 2013, Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech went for a routine mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the turmoil of raw emotions, specialist appointments, and the scans and surgery that followed, she instinctively reached for hope from God’s Word—the Psalms in particular. In January 2014 she Tweeted, “Psalm 91:1-16 in any version; God is so good to us all, cling to His Word and find hope that will never disappoint.”
Senseless violence and dark injustice can make for a steady rain in life—dampening spirits in mists of gray. In the summer of 2013, a 17-year-old from a rough neighborhood jumped in front of his mother to protect her from an attack. The bullet struck and killed him, leaving his mother clutching his lifeless body in front of their home. The boy’s brother, who witnessed the crime, said later, “I lost a big piece of my heart that night.”
The late film director Krzysztof Kieslowski was once interviewing actors for a film. During an interview, a young actress described to him how she’d go out and walk the streets of Paris when she felt sad.
In his book, Me, Myself, & Bob, Phil Vischer shares how he invented the popular VeggieTales characters of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. Phil’s Christian videos sold millions of copies and he became an overnight sensation. But the creative genius was not a gifted businessman, and his exploding company took on too much debt until it went bankrupt. The rights to Bob, Larry, and the other Veggies were then sold to someone else.
Q: Would you recommend to a family member or friend who is struggling with depression to take an anti-depressant? —Grace
A: It’s important to understand that many things can trigger a bout with depression. Consequently, multiple causes call for multiple treatments. The possibilities certainly include the use of anti-depressants.
At the very least, it would be good for a person who…
It was the kind of eatery where you stand in line, place your order, and then step aside to wait for your food to appear. After I did just that, a young man took my place in front of the cash register. He ordered his food by using gestures and broken words. Paying was difficult for him, because one of his wrists was turned so that his fingers pointed back to his body. And walking to a table meant overcoming the uneven function of his legs. This young man struggled physically, yet courageously.
Q: "I feel depressed and angry. How can I get out of this hole?" —Olga
A: Anger like sorrow is a normal human emotion. It’s not necessarily a sin to be angry, and at times, not getting angry is sin.
As God’s children, we are to love what God loves, and to be angry what God is angry with. God gets angry…
I just don’t know what you want,” he said in exasperation. “Well, if you don’t know after all these years, I guess you never will!” she replied bitterly. “If I do something, you question my motives,” he responded defensively. “If I don’t do anything, you blame me for not trying.” “I’d rather you do something and do it wrong than not do anything,” she said.