Depression: I’m not referring to the temporary state of sadness that we all experience. Rather, I’m talking about a mental illness that affects people and nothing that’s done or said can snap them out of it. It can last for days, weeks, months or even longer.

It causes you to want to escape life, eat a lot or not at all, sleep a lot or not sleep at all, avoid loved ones, abuse things like drugs or alcohol and it possibly even leads to wanting to end it all.

Depression is serious and shouldn’t be discounted or laughed at.

I used to be a discounter. I used to not believe people when they blamed depression. I used to roll my eyes and think, “yeah, whatever… they just need to get over it.”

Until it happened to me.

And then suddenly I realized, they weren’t making this up and that depression isn’t something that one can just “get over”.

Sure, people can fake it… that can happen with anything. And sure, people are looking for something else to blame.

But when it’s all said and done, depression is real and we need to understand that fact.

Especially in the Church.

Of all people who have been charged to love without pretense… why is mental illness still taboo?

I do believe aspects of illness and disease (whether physical or mental) can be spiritually induced. But there’s also just the simple fact that we live in a broken world and our bodies are affected by that brokenness. We’re prone to disease, and that includes imbalances in our brains.

So what do we do?

If you are the friend or family member who knows someone that struggles with depression: love them. Listen to them. Understand the struggle is real. Don’t excuse it away. Take it seriously if they say they’re struggling. At the same time, you don’t have to have the answers, they just need to know you care. And if they’re talking ending it, encourage them to get medical help. Now.

If you are the one that’s struggling, know you’re not alone. Figure out what may be a trigger. For me, it’s sugar. I can’t have much sugar, otherwise, it will leave me seriously depressed for days. Sugar is a real trigger for me. So, I have to stay away from it. It sucks, but it’s a reality. So, figure out if you have a trigger. And if you do, figure out a plan to avoid it.

Also, find someone who will listen. Having a fellow human that cares is worth a ton. And I promise you’ll feel better after talking it through. It won’t solve the problem but it will help.

And know that God has not forgotten you. Depression is a real experience, even for followers of Christ. Jesus hasn’t left you, nor have you failed Him. A lie the enemy will tell you is that God doesn’t love you anymore and/or you’ve somehow offended God and He’s punishing you. That’s just not true. There is *no* condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Period.

Jesus does care and you can cast your burden on Him. Pour out your heart to Him. Know He listens and know He cares.

I do believe it’s possible to be supernaturally healed of depression, however, if for whatever reason that doesn’t happen instantly, it’s important to do what you can to help, while still looking to Jesus.

Depression is real and people need our help. This isn’t a one-time conversation, but a discussion about a real disease that needs to keep happening as long as people struggle. They need it and I need it… and one day, you may need it as well.