Monday with Madi: Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak
When you hear the word, what do you think? Do you wonder what exactly it is? Does the word make you feel uncomfortable or maybe even annoyed? Do you think of someone specifically? Do you maybe think of yourself?
I have struggled with depression my entire life. Even when I was twelve years old, laying in my bed, feeling so insanely sad that I couldn’t move. Sometimes, I didn’t even know why.
I have been battling this issue since I can remember. It was with me in middle school, then hit me like a train in high school. Even a few days ago I was feeling it.
I have always been confused about how to feel about my depression. Do I hide it because I am ashamed? Do I tell every single person I know that I have it so that maybe I can be a little more understood? Do I hide in my room all day and not process anything, so that maybe these wretched feelings will cease?
I couldn’t figure out how to handle my depression … but I definitely knew I had it.
After years of wondering how I should feel about my depression, struggling with who to tell (or if I should tell no one at all), I have realized this: depression should not be kept in the dark.
We live in a society where people can easily feel a need to put on a fake front that they’re perfectly okay. Sometimes, though, it’s the exact opposite. Teens and even some adults have started glorifying sickness and pain, in order to seek attention. When people use it for attention, it causes the people who actually need to be heard out to end up being shut out because they are viewed as just another one of “those”. But, there has to be a balance to this chaos. People have to start speaking out, in a healthy way.
Now, I am not saying walk up to people you know will judge you and tell them your deepest darkest secrets. Trust me, I have been down that road too; trusting every single person that I come in contact with. Sometimes, they weren’t always looking out for me…and then I have gotten really hurt. Matthew 7:6 says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
So then what am I saying?
I am saying this: people need to know they are not alone. That is why I want to talk about the topic of depression for the next few weeks, to comfort someone. I have noticed that sometimes in the church or as Christians, we don’t think we are allowed to struggle or be negative. But God tells you to come as you are regardless of your current circumstance; not put on a mask and show the world what you wish you were. God still sees exactly who you are and the sooner you’re willing to admit who you are as well, the sooner you can move forward.
This stigma, that struggling with depression makes you weak, needs to be out casted. We allow so many irrelevant people to waltz right into our lives and tell us who we are. Because we haven’t found ourselves yet, we believe every single thing they say. We don’t even think for ourselves. We hear a negative label slapped on us and we let that sink in deep and define us. If you were made in the image of Christ and He is perfect, don’t you think He knew what He was doing when He created you? We have to start embracing our unique gifts and our struggles.
Life is hard enough as is. You have to be fighting for yourself and your joy in a world full of sadness and corruption constantly. There have been moments in my life where I have felt people judging me because I have depression as if I am not as strong as them. But someone today needs to be told that if you struggle with depression THAT IS NOT TRUE.
I believe it is quite the opposite. If you push daily through depression, consider yourself a fighter. Every day you are waking up and willing to conquer another day, and for some people, even that can be hard. More people need to know that it is okay to feel and to hurt; that you aren’t “messed up”. We all have the things we struggle with, and just because your’s may be a little more visible, that doesn’t mean hundreds of people around you aren’t struggling with the exact same thing.
More people need to know that they have a safe place. I want to help be that safe place for someone to start to understand a little bit more about what they may be going through. When I was going through my darkest days ever with my depression, I told no one. I didn’t want to be the weak link. I didn’t want to be viewed differently. It wasn’t until after I had been through an insane amount of pain that I was willing to admit to my family, and my best friend, what had occurred and what I had done. But sometimes, we need to understand that those close people in our lives wouldn’t have judged us in the first place if we would’ve come to them about it and been willing, to be honest about where we were at mentally and emotionally.
My whole life the devil has fed me the same lie: no one will ever understand my depression and my loneliness. I believe he did this to make me feel as small and as cornered as I possibly could so that I would cast myself out so badly that NO one could reach me, therefore making no one able to pour into me and be a light. Don’t doubt that someone is able to speak positivity into your life. Some of the people who have had the greatest impact on my life have not walked in the same shoes I have or have the same story as me at all. But they have been used as a mouthpiece to pour into me.
Whether you’re the person going through the depression, or you’re the friend, mother, spouse, teacher or even the coach of someone going through depression; don’t be afraid to speak out. We can’t call people out, but we can care for them.
Next week I want to talk about how to tackle situations in our lives that cause us to feel depressed. It is important when struggling with depression to help yourself out as much as possible. Having depression is enough as is. I want to look at how God wants to partner with us in order to help us succeed in the plans He has for us and moves forward.
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In fact I think talking about your depression makes you strong. Thank you for offering up your insights and honesty!
Thank you, Elise! We do too!
Thank you so much for this at just the right time for me. I have been battling depression, like you, mist of my life. I am going through a really tough time with it now. I suffer from chronic severe pain. I am seeing a pain specialist as well as a psychologist who only works with those like me. Thank you for your words and and I look forward to the rest of this series.
You are such a blessing! Reading your heart on the pages as a young woman and stepping out in faith is what Jesus is all about. I am sharing this with the young women that I know. Even if they don’t have the same struggle, just the courage that you have to show your heart is amazing! I always have to remember that Our Father wants us to be empty to be filled by Him. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Praying for His great blessings upon you!!
Thank you so much for your kind words as well as sharing with others, Tina! You are a blessing to us!
My daughter has just recently been caught up in anxiety depression and an eating disorder. I am trying to be supportive and pray everyday that God will comfort her and give her strength. I hope during this series you will address how to help my daughter rise up out of this (she is in treatment – but how do we help her at home). My first inclination is to have her focus outward to helping others instead of focusing on herself and how bad she feels. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thx!!!
Thank you so much for sharing what you and your girl are processing, Kathryn! I’ll ask Madi to weigh in on this. As her mom and one who has not struggled with anxiety and/or depression, I’m going to admit it has been very hard. Especially in the beginning, I just kept telling her to stop worrying, quit focusing on the negative and definitely got mad at times. I have seen that in order for our relationship to work and for us BOTH to grow, we have had to meet in the middle in some ways. I have had to grow in the area of compassion and patience. Madi has chosen to grow in doing the things she can to overcome anxiety and depression.
It sounds odd, but it has been a beautiful journey together. We have so grown to value each other. I am a more gentle and kinder person because of Madi. She grows stronger and stronger each day, but still has a tough one every now and then. Mostly, I am very grateful that we are learning TOGETHER!
Thank you! I do see our relationship growing closer as she begins her recovery! I pray that her relationship with God is growing and changing as well!! I will continue to follow this series with a prayerful heart!!!
I spent a year out of school when I was twelve. I had no friends..(that I wanted to be around). I was always sick with asthma (without help for it then). I was poorer than the kids I went to school with, and that alone left me feeling alone. One year of counseling..and my life flipped over. I was understood, supported, loved and authorized freedom to make some of my OWN decisions. That event was the beginning of my finding the Christ who loved me. There is someone or someway through. Jesus will see to that.
As one who has walked through depression and found myself in the deep, dark pit, I appreciate you stepping out and sharing! I can relate to the whole suffering in silence, but through the years God has really shown me the importance of stepping out and sharing. So important to admit the struggle, ask for prayer and trust. Sometimes in those situations we need others to really help us do that. Praying God blesses you Madi as you step out and share! Good to see you this weekend Lynn!
It was so good to see you, Jill! Jesus can use all of our struggles as we are vulnerable and share both our hurts and our healing!
Thank you for being so open and honest. Speaking about your battle with depression is a very brave thing to do, and I know you will be an encouragement to others who know what it is to be depressed. I am 47 and have struggled with and fought it since I was young too. I suffered in silence for way too long. It is only through the Lord’s strength and the positive support of a few other trusted people in my life that I was able to be real and talk about itas an adult. Im so glad you are sharing your heart and helping others who need to hear this!
Thank you so much for sharing Madi! God is going to use you in such powerful ways! I appreciate your vulnerability and honesty. As someone who has battled with the same thing, I couldn’t agree more with your words. ❤️