Since the death of Robin williams I have been involved in many conversations about depression and suicide. I myself suffered from this monster for a number of years and the depression did lead to thoughts of taking my own life. But I am still here. Being a follower of Jesus Christ and living with this illness is controversial to some and to others it’s something very real.
I am a big believer in the supernatural when it comes to the Christian journey, the benefits of being part of a family where your father just happens to be the creator of the universe, but all to often when it comes to the subject of illness, especially mental health, it’s ignored or forgotten, that because of the fall, our brokenness and the bodies we live in, well we are not immune to all pain. Amen to having the mind of Christ and to being a new creation but then there’s the issue of our humanness
Everyone’s journey is different, but I believe if your part of the body of Christ, then are are certainly things that one can do to not just simply survive during depression, but actually live as well. So what I’m about to say is not the only way but after years of struggling and working out how to seperate myself from depression while finding my place in the kingdom, I think it’s important for all Christians, especially those who are suffering, to hold on to certain things.
Isolation is a killer, when the shit hits the fan many people will isolate themselves and doing this is asking for trouble. I don’t think Christians are meant to be alone so when we make a choice to cut ourselves off from friends,family or church it creates an opportunity for the father of lies to move in an ransack our spiritual and mental lives. Self examination is less likely to take place and hopelessness moves in
Christian or not hope is a very powerful thing. I’m sure we have all met people who either say they have lost hope or they don’t bother hoping anymore. But when we are the ones that forget what hope looks like, well it can feel like your the walking dead. It’s important and awesome to have hope in the grace of God and our new life in Christ, but that stuff is even more powerful when we can see how that is connected to our human lives, vocation and using our gifts to contribute to the world.
I spent years suffering and choosing to suffer alone but after I became a Christian I was introduced to community, allowing others to speak Into my life and learnt that I must participate in the process of sanctification. These things changed my life and I received much healing from past chaos, depression and patterns that were doing me no good. I’m in no way perfect and of course we all have our bad days but I would say
that making a choice to no longer isolate ourselves, holding on to hope and putting ourselves in a space where other Christians can encourage us, challenge us and walk beside us is a powerful weapon to counter attacking depression.
God never works in any particular order when it comes to this stuff, and he is always working in our lives, but sometimes we need to starve the things in out lives that that want to kill us-Depression, and instead feed the things that that will transform and save us-Hope, Community and life giving Choices.
If your reading this and you are suffering from depression then I want to encourage you. It’s worth holding on, you will benefit from making yourself vulnerable by allowing good people into your life and your contribution to the world and the body of Christ is needed. God knew you before you were conceived and knows you now and your life is worth living.
I havent blogged since January this year and its been a real challenge to take the time to reflect and put into words anything that I thought was worth writing about. Well this week I had the opportunity to do something that i have been wanting to do for about twelve months, something that I knew would not only be eye-opening but would potentially change my life. I spent two hours at the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation centre, otherwise known as a Detention centre for Asylum seekers.
For readers not in Australia, the issue of asylum seekers arriving on our doorstep, especially those who have made the choice to travel by boat has been an on going politcial storm for awhile now. My intention is to not make this blog entry all about how much i hate what the Australian Government is doing/not doing and point the finger in anger at all the human rights violations taking place as there is enough of that already.(I might leave that for another entry but for now my Little rant is over;-))
I said earlier that i have been keen to visit asylum seekers in detention for quite some time. I am in my second year at university doing a degree in International Community Developement and during this time i have been working out what i want kind of work/vocation i would like to be involved in when i finished my study. Outside of uni i have had t to expectnumerous encounters with people who had fled their countries because of conflict, arrived here by boat and spent time in detention. Every time i would walk away really impacted by their stories.
On the way to the detention centre i was really anxious, i realised that no amount of preperation could actually prepare me for what i was walking into. Yes it sounds dramatic in a way, but the people who i had met out in the community who had unfortunatley been locked up both here in australa and abroad spoke of a deep deprerssion and the struggle coming to terms with their freedom, especially with the rest of the their family on the other side of the globe or the memories of oppression always at the front of their minds. How much more intense would it be on the inside?
Well it was intense and extreemly confronting but it didnt take long before i was reminded of a couple of things. 1. The visit was never about me and 2.They are not boat people(many refer to them as that) I have my freedom and all the privilidges that come with it…and i take it for granted as well. I can leave my house whenever i want and have visitors at any time. I know where my family is(well most of the time) but im certainly not worried for their saftey and even though there was a time in my life when i was displaced..well i think you get the picture.
What an honour it was to meet these men!. All of them had been through hell(&some more than others still are)to get to Australia and now live day to day having no idea what the future holds for them. Missing their wives and kids or knowing that family memebers are missing and are not in a postion to do anything but wait. Yes their stories are sad but the i saw a spark in many of their eyes that said something very different. STRENGTH. I may be able to visit them regularly and give them encouragement and hope(and thats exactly what they need) but i have no doubt in my mind that spending time with them will mean no more standing on the sidelines.
Have you ever been to a detention centre or refugee camp, met any asylum seekers or been one yourself? If so i would love to read about your perspective. Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for reading
I have been thinking a lot latley, probably to much which is why i havent blogged in awhile. I had in my head that each blog had to be long, detailed and profound which made it really tough to sit and just write because of all the stuff that i have been keen to write about.
The word why gets thrown around a lot. Kids ask why all the time, its part of their curiousity and adults often ask why because they want more detail..trying to work out whats for them or clearing things up kind of thing. I have been thinking about a different kind of Why.
I have found that its really helpful to remember why i am doing the things im doing. University, following Jesus Christ and even blogging. It is when i forget the why that i feel like throwing my hands in the air and say “why bother”. So im really thankful to be reminded every so often to dont let go of the why because it can be a bit like fuel.
Nothing new or profound here but i rekon everyone has a why in their life that drives them..sometimes we need to pull into the pitstop and be refreshed. i hope you find some encouragement from reading this.