Depression isn’t Sensational Enough…

Over the last two days, I seem to have developed a very sensitive and tempermental stomach.  I couldn’t enjoy going to Metrolina Expo with my mom yesterday because my stomach was cramping and today, it was all I could do to get out of  bed and go to church.  This feeling isn’t all that foreign to me…my anxiety has always manifested itself in stomach cramping and other unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects.  However, since I’ve been treated for the depression/anxiety, it’s mostly gone away (as evidenced by the expired bottle of generic Pepto that we just found during a particularly panicky search for help).

This recent bout with my mental issues has brought to light a shortcoming in society and, particularly, the Church (capital “C” this time) when confronted with someone battling depression or anxiety.  See, depression isn’t “cool.”  It’s not something that y0u can see; it’s not a broken arm, it’s not a disease, it’s not something that makes you turn yellow, or snot run, or puke.  It’s not a black eye or a gash.  It’s not something that requires surgery.  Because it’s not any of these things, there seems to be this belief, especially in the Church, that it’s not “bad enough” to merit the same level of care/concern as physical problem.  I think it stems from the Church’s tradition of ignoring mental problems and of refusing that they even exist.

“Just love Jesus more and it’ll go away!”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that, or “just pray about it,” or “just turn it over to God!” like there’s some sort of magical, instant remedy in prayer.  I also can’t *tell* you how many times I prayed for help and for peace.  It just doesn’t happen that way.  And that belief pattern has caused so much pain for Christians battling mood disorders.  I used to feel like there was something horribly wrong with me because I couldn’t just “pray” the depression away…but now that I know better, it simply pisses me off to hear that kind of rhetoric.

You know the real kicker?  The rest of the world is much more supportive to those suffering with mental issues. They’ve somehow managed to realize that depression/anxiety are real conditions, real problems.  As a result, they don’t simply sweep under the rug those who suffer.

My church?  Only one person has checked on me, and she understands because her husband has similar problems.  Otherwise, I get the “I’m praying for you:)” thing, and I’m left to flounder, isolated and alone.  My work friends, however, most of whom aren’t Christian, check on me constantly.  And we wonder why we, as Christians, aren’t affecting the world like we should.  It’s because we ignore people around us whose problems aren’t “cool” enough, or sensational enough. 



Getting Back into the Grind…

Back to the salt mines today…although it wasn’t unsuccessful.  I got my big case taken care of and we surpassed our goal, so all in all it was a good day. 

Conversely, though, I’m achy and my stomach hurts.  I think it’s probably finally just categorically rejecting Thanksgiving. 

On an excellent note, I pulled a couple of recipes from The Jew and the Carrot and I’m making a Jewish feast tomorrow night for our friend John!  J&C is such an awesome blog…it has great recipes and very interesting cultural and religious perspectives.  As a Christian, I think it’s a good idea to learn more about a modern culture that directly descended from the cultural atmosphere in which Christ lived and in which the early church developed.  What interests me most about J&C is the similarities in what we face toward our own religion…the questioning beyond old answers, thinking ethically about items not specifically mentioned in scripture (vegetarian/veganism), the move toward a more organic, simple, authentic life.  I love it. 

I love seeing our generation stop taking the crap that we’ve been fed for so long as truth.  More is not better.  Cheaper is not always better.  Conversely, “stuff,” spending on stuff, is not better.  Quantity matters less than Quality.  Time is more important than Money.  Power is useless in the end.  The newest, shiniest technology isn’t always an advantage.  Sometimes pen and paper is better.

I have hope for our generation; hope that we’ll let go of “stuff” and instead will focus on people, relationships, helping, caring, spending time, creating things, and taking care of ourselves.  The American Dream is not power and prosperity, or, at least, it shouldn’t be.  It’s being able to spend the time you want with those you love without having to worry.  And there’s a hell of a lot more that we could be doing to make those things happen.