Even as a person who battles with this, I have to say that I have mixed feelings on this article I read recently saying that depression and suicide from depression is not a choice. For me–and I can only speak for myself–as much as I don’t like when I get into a state such as this, living in this state of depression is a choice.
I think it’s noteworthy to mention that studies show that the feelings of depression and the feelings of pleasure both send signals, rewarding the brain.
Before I fall into a cycle of depression, I am forewarned by God what is actually happening. He speaks to my soul through His Spirit within and tells me what is going on–that I’m on a very dangerous and slippery slope, and He calls me back to focus on Himself.
Then, if I choose not to listen (I’m hard headed) that’s when I get stuck in this viscous cycle that deep within me I want to break free of, but I have no choice but to live in it, as long as I continue to live according to my flesh.
(Again, my brain rewarding itself with those feelings of self pity and shame and regret and over thinking).
But, I have a choice.
I have a choice to stop mid-stream and call upon Jesus. And what happens every single time? He sends someone my way (inevitably it’s usually always the same person, strangely enough, because He knows I will listen to her, even when I don’t listen to another sole on this planet.) And invariably, He speaks words of Truth into me that I can not deny came from Him, because they are the exact words I needed at the exact time i need them, (and usually she doesn’t really know what’s going on with me because we don’t stay in contact all the time.)
But I can also choose to ignore the cries of the Holy Spirit deep within my soul, telling me to reach out for help. And as long as I continue to ignore Him, the suffering gets worse and the pain more intense. But when I choose to fall upon my knees and ask, plead, and sometimes beg (depending on the state of my heart and how hard I’ve let it get in ignoring Him) for His mercy, He never fails. He always comes through and when I focus my eyes upon Him, and begin to praise Him in the midst of the storm, -even when I don’t want to–He lifts me out. He sets my feet upon the rock and brings me to life again. To that place that I thought I’d never see again-joy and fullness that only He can bring.
However, I can say that depression doesn’t need to be a stigma. I agree we need to be open, transparent, honest about this issue, and the Curegiver-Jesus Christ Himself.
Before I knew Christ, I had no way to battle this. I had no resource to fall back on, nothing that could pull me out of that pit.
Because of Him, I live. Because of Him, I can breathe again, because of Him I’ve been set free. I now know that all those years battling these intense feelings within were ways in which the enemy was trying to drag me under and make me feel hopeless, (and thereby leading me to the point of seeking God.–from which point I refused His help every time—for years.) But God. He didn’t give up on me like He had every right to. He kept pursuing me and reaching for me, despite myself and my foolish pride, thinking I had all the answers.
It’s only when i hit my rock bottom that I was ever able to receive Him with a genuine heart, desperate for His healing and desperate for His salvation.
Some people ask “Why does God allow suffering?” Well, I think it’s pretty simple but we can overcomplicate it. For me, I know that God used the suffering and worked on me during my suffering, to bring about His Divine plan for my life–to bring me to the point at which I knew that I could not figure this life or its purpose (or mine) out on my own. He continues to do this every day.
But, I have to choose to listen.
When I refuse to follow Him, I’m allowing the enemy a stronghold on my mind. But when I choose to listen and submit to Jesus, He lifts me up out of that mire that I went and jumped in, willingly sometimes and other times not so willingly.
God is good, all the time. And all the time God is good.
Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.”
We need to talk more about depression. Please, share this with your friends. Help the world understand that depression is NOT a choice.