Since Robin Williams death, there has been a lot of commentary about depression and suicide. (Also, lots of horrible trolling.) Largely missing from this discussion has been a religious lens. In particular, many Christians are taught that depression can be solved through prayer, that medicating chemical imbalances is bad, and that suicide is a selfish decision rather than a symptom of true illness.
I grew up around many Christians who shared those beleifs, and I've had friends driven away from church communities because a family member suffered from a mental disorder and the church doctrine expressly forbid medication. I've never understood this. By analogy, a true believer with pneumonia would avoid antibiotics or one with a compound fracture would just pray that the bones find their way back together. Or imagine the implications for all those kids – toddlers even – being treated for ADHD.
Doctors don't treat mental disease as lesser diseases. They are, in fact, quite serious. And yet some denominations and congregations refuse to recognize this.
And that's why I found this blog post – "Jesus Isn't Going to Take My Zoloft" – so important:
This struggle has plagued me for years. The fact that my depression and anxiety didn’t go away when Jesus “came into my heart” and the reality that I had to be medicated to live a normal life made me feel like a second-class Christian. I have been told multiple times that God doesn’t want me on depression medications. I have been told that the root issue of this all is my sinfulness and the Jesus would heal me when I dealt with my depravity. But as I have grown in my faith and studied more about psychology and theology, I have finally come to a realization that has been liberating for me:
Jesus isn’t going to take away my Zoloft and none of us will ever find lasting satisfaction in life.
No, I am not “limiting God’s ability to heal me”, but rather am admitting that maybe “healing” would be the worst thing God could do. As Christians, we have over-realized our eschatology. We believe that the full benefits of salvation are meant to be experienced today. But that’s not true.
Brandan Robertson's point is that physical and psychological healing are beside the point. And the idea that depression is a sign of sinfulness is not just wrong but offensive and counterproductive.
Read the rest of his blog post here.
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