Friday, September 9, 2011

The State of My State

It's Friday, and here I sit in my Doctor's office, waiting to see him. One month ago I came to him because I was struggling with the bluest period that I had experienced in a long time.  I felt like crap, I had (have) gained a bunch of weight, and I wasn't doing my life as a husband, father, friend and pastor very well. Over the previous months, I had been an organizational, and emotional mess. I couldn't keep my thoughts together, I was forgetting things, and had a general malaise that was taking me over. Several times in the weeks leading up to my appointment, I had written out, and thrown away my resignation. I was in a very low place.

I leaned on my wife, my sons, and a few close friends, but even that didn't seem to be helping. After a few, un-Louis like conversations with people that didn't deserve them, I called and made an appointment with my friend, who is an Internist. I sent a note to my Pastors, letting them know where I was in my emotional state, and that I had an appointment to see about it. The response I got was an encouraging, loving show of support for getting the help I needed. This is, for some of those in ministry, a refreshing change from what some of my friends have experienced.

When I saw my doctor, he prescribed a new drug to add to the other medicine I was taking.

Today, as I sit here, ready to check in, feeling 2 months better, I know that there are multiple reasons for my better "state". First and foremost is the support of my family. They have put up with my crazy, told me that I was still the father and husband they loved, and were just present for me. Second, the prayers of my pastors and friends both from my church, and from all over the country that I have grown to love and count on, and third, and the part I want to encourage you to, is that, if you are struggling with depression, go see a Doctor. Let them help you.

*Warning. The following is a mini rant, and you are welcome to skip down to the next paragraph without repercussion.*

In his book, "Leading on Empty", Wayne Cordeiro says that often times, well meaning, yet totally not helpful Christians tell those of us dealing with depression to:
Confess your guilt.
Pray more.
Find a new church (Seriously? Go where you have none of the friends, and support mechanisms that you currently have, and get even more depressed because you feel even more alone?).
And, my personal favorite, "You just need more faith."
This last one, I was actually told. In the midst of one of the Bluest periods of my life, one in which it took all the faith I had just to stand up, I was told that God wasn't helping me because I didn't have enough faith. WRONG. I was being held up by God and being pointed toward the help that I needed through a Physician.  I couldn't have gotten through some days without the faith that God would still be God, and that He was holding me, pushing me and sometimes carrying me.

I say all that to say, if you are struggling with depression, please tell someone you trust, ask them to pray for you, and go see a licensed physician. Your family doctor would be a great place to start. You can get through it. Will it go away forever? I don't know, I haven't finished my life yet. But I can say that it can get better. After a year long struggle, I am getting better, with prayers, friends and medicine.

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