Personal · Uncategorized

Dear, Church…

I promised to write this a week ago, but I was worried that I was acting out of anger, and that I would just be spouting offense to whoever read it… But I have prayed and thought, and I have come to the conclusion that there is such a thing as righteous anger.. And if I don’t stand up and fight for us, who will?

Last week, I was startled and infuriated at a church sign I saw. I don’t even know the name of the church, or the town we were in. We were just passing through. The phrase gracing the front of their building left me.. Well, speechless. It’s taken me a while to find the right words to say.

“We are too blessed to be depressed!”

There are not many more statements you could make to someone with mental illness that would be as horrifying as this one. I’m trying to stay calm and be as formal as I can here but… Are you kidding me? What were you thinking? Were you thinking at all? Do you know what kind of message this sends to us?

Your ignorance is astounding.

The first few times I wrote this blog, I packed it down with definitions and statistics about depression and mental illness.. And I think the reason my computer malfunctioned every time I tried to post it is because this needs to come from my heart.

I am appalled. I am offended. I am hurt. I am insulted.

I’m a 5th year senior at JSU, and my major is Psychology. Maybe it’s my fault, because I’m surrounded by people who are advocating and talking and tearing down stigma.. But I cannot believe that someone could think this was okay. I live in a safe, little bubble of mental health awareness, and I think this was meant to be an eye-opener, for me and for you.

I have been battling depression for 10 years now. The fact that you can pass it off as something I can be “blessed” enough to not have is… Well, it’s ridiculous. Believe me- I am blessed, brothers and sisters. I have a wonderful job, a fantastic fiance, friends and family, my cat, school.. You name it. I have so much. Does realizing this stop my depression in it’s tracks? Oh, if only…

You are so blind, Church.

Depression is not something that just goes away when I feel happy. Depression is not a “phase” I am going through. I do not have depression because I am “sad” or “unhappy”. I am not depressed because I’m “not trying hard enough”.

Depression is a monster. But more importantly, it is an illness. I did not choose depression- it broke its way in. I did not ask for depression- it managed to find me on its own. I do not want depression- but I cannot stop it now that its here.

That last statement makes me sound so defeated. And I hate that. Depression doesn’t get to do that to me.

I am a fighter. I fight every. day. The second I wake up, my mind is a battlefield. It feels like something is weighing me down, sitting on my chest and squashing my will to get up- my will to live. Sometimes, I don’t get up. Sometimes, I stay down. Those days are few and far between. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that some days, getting my feet on the floor is the greatest victory I will have in weeks. Some days, it’s all I can do to sit up, to walk to the kitchen and feed the cat, to shower.

Does this make me weak? Does it show how un-blessed I am, that I can’t even get out of bed in the morning? If you ask me, I think it’s the opposite.

I am blessed to live with depression. Not because it has made me stronger, but because it has shined a light on the One who is stronger than I could ever hope to be.

I am blessed that I have someone fighting for me. I am blessed that I have a Spirit of power, and self-control. I am blessed that when I cannot get up, He gives me a hand.

I am not “too blessed to be depressed.”
I am blessed ENOUGH that I have made it 10 years- 7 without diagnosis or medication- living with this disease.

I love you, Church. And I pray every day that someday I will open your eyes and help you see that we are human, just like you. We believe, just like you. We are redeemed, just like you.
I know you may never feel the things we do- and I pray that you never do- but next time you’re looking for a catchy phrase for your sign, do us all a favor and use your heads- and don’t insult mine.
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