Where Is the Joy?
Depression and Faith
In preparing for the Courageous Conversation on Depression and Faith, Pastor Choongho asked me for my story. My initial response was that my experience with depression was more from the practitioner’s point of view. Having walked with dozens of people on the tightrope of lost hope, I could share what it was like to journey with someone through the dark night of the soul.
Then, I remembered a season I went through personally. My family had gone through a tragedy. We lost my sister-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly. When all the ceremony was over and all the family and friends had gone home, the quiet settled in. It was summer and my daughter had gone to spend a week with her grandparents.
I found myself in my apartment, lying on the couch in the dark. I had come home from work, dropped my supplies by the door and collapsed on the couch. No lights. No dinner. No appetite. No TV. No energy. Just dark.
That’s when I recalled a question a college professor had asked an entire Marriage & Family Therapy class. “What’s the difference between healthy people and unhealthy people?”
“Healthy people know when to ask for help.”
The next day, I asked a colleague for a recommendation for a therapist.
Where did the faith part come in? For me, a part of my journey was my anger at God. I had made mistakes in my life and God had been faithful to forgive me and set my feet on a solid path. I was living by the notion that if I was a “good girl,” everything would be ok. My sister-in-law’s death challenged that. Suddenly, I had to come to grips with really bad things happening to really good people. My therapist helped me find my way through that jungle, sometimes challenging my beliefs and other times affirming them.
I still struggle at times with sadness and grief. We all do. It’s a part of life the faith community does not like to talk about. As the counselor, I would much prefer to be leading a “Healing Holy Humor Hour” than talking about depression! The reality though is depression is a part of life. We need to talk about it and share with each other so that no one feels alone. So that anyone that might find themselves alone in the dark with no energy and no appetite might also remember, there is help. And, there is hope.