Honestly, if you’ve never had depression or a mental illness, I don’t want to hear your opinion about it. There are too many misconceptions about depression in society, especially conservative societies.
How this post came about
We were at church the other day, and an old lady was leading the sermon. When I say old, I mean old. She was eighty.
I haven’t regularly attended church since I was in high school (for various reasons). So, I’m still a bit sceptical. I’m not sceptical about God or His existence, but about churches.
But I digress.
At one point, the pastor said that one in five Australians have a mental illness, like depression. She then said that if you prayed and believed, God would take your depression away.
I hate that. It’s very irresponsible to say that.
I’ve been a Christian my entire life, but for most of my adult life, I’ve been wary of the church—because of the above mentioned, and some other misguided beliefs. Believe me, I have asked God repeatedly to take my depression away, and I still have it. So, does God hate me?
On that note, God doesn’t hate anyone. God loves whoever accepts Him. That’s His thing, He loves. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
As I said, it was an old lady, and she grew up in a different world. So, I can’t really blame her for having those old-fashioned beliefs. But I’ve heard the same thing from much younger people as well.
It’s so toxic because instead of being compassionate and caring, you’re making someone who already feels bad feel worse. Like it’s their fault when, in reality, depression can occur for many reasons, including genetics.
Personally, I don’t think depression is something to be ashamed of or to pray away, but it’s something that gives you compassion for other people going through it as well or other tough times.
I’m lucky that I only have mild depression (but it can flare up into serious depression at times), but it has forced me to look after myself a lot better. I have to eat healthy, exercise, and express myself. Those are all good things.
I just find these misconceptions silly, because you would never say to a diabetic that they should just pray more—you would encourage them to drink their medication and stay healthy. Depression and mental health are the same.
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
It’s not new
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me. Depression speaks more to what is wrong in the world today.
Depression is nothing new, and I don’t think that way more people get it today. Per capita, I think it’s only marginally more than in the past when people didn’t talk about it. It’s probably more a case of being diagnosed more today than in the past when it was this mysterious thing. Plenty of people had depression, they just couldn’t really do anything about it.
Also, it seems like the bar of happiness is so much higher now. Just a hundred years ago, many people were content just to have enough to survive. Now we’re constantly being bombarded with these messages from the media and social media that you have to have your dream job, and find your soul mate, and you have to be fit, you have to be healthy, and self-actualised.
You know what? Happiness is so overrated. I’d rather live with purpose with my depression.
Do you have depression? What are some misconceptions that you’ve had to deal with?