Anonymous Depression

 —  September 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

Ladies… gentlemen…

this Twitter account exists.

twitter

Because that student exists.

Not just online… but likely right under our noses.

twitteraccountIt’s not always anonymous depression. There is probably someone in your contact list who when they call you know it’s going to be a long conversation. You may even find yourself wondering if you can do any good about it… or if  you want to do any good about it.

Relevant Magazine recently published an article called “4 Myths Christians Need to Stop Believing about Depression.” In summary:

  • Myth: Depression is a faith issue -Depression has nothing to do with a lack of faith. In fact, for me, it has been the catalyst for even deeper faith. Because some days, in the hardest moments, faith was the only thing I had.”
  • Myth: Depression can be prayed away - “I believe in prayer, and I believe in a God who can heal all things—in fact, I genuinely believe it was His hand that lifted my depression. But freedom from depression requires prayer and treatment.”
  • Myth: Depression isn’t physical - “There are many causes to depression, and whether it’s rooted in trauma, hormones or stress, it almost always affects our body.”
  • Myth: Depression shouldn’t be talked about - “Scripture is filled with passages of men and women who have struggled through the pit of depression and their response was to cry out!”

twitteraccount2Some youth workers know this pain. Shawn Harrison nailed it a few weeks ago in his article “Confessions of a Depressed Youth Worker.” Maybe the hurdle is we feel so stuck in our own stuff that we don’t know how to help students with their stuff.

Or… maybe we’re in over our heads… even though there are resources that we can tap into to help students “journey to freedom.”

Maybe it’s easier for us to plan the next big event for the masses than it is to “leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep” until we find it.

(Perhaps we’d like to do that, but it would go against what constitutes as success in our churches.)

What next?

That Twitter account exists.

Because that student exists.

teen-depressionThis is youth ministry.

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Mark 25:42-45)

I was doing some research for a study I was writing and came across this video from The Skit Guys called, “The Mourning Booth.”  It is a very powerful look at how we handle the “valley” times in our own lives and that of others.

I was convicted deeply that when the tough times arise how often do I try to “do” something to try and make it better. I lend a word of advice or push for the person to “get over it.”  Instead, do I take heed to the command Christ gives to simply be with the hurting? Could simply allowing someone to know they are not alone be the most powerful response?

When our youth, family or friends are struggling, will we see their pain and know offering our presence be more than enough?

I think perhaps I need to be a little more quiet when others are hurting and just learn to “mourn with those who mourn.”  Maybe being near is a “holy response.”

Who are you in this video?

Leneita / @leneitafix



Some great posts from friends around the tragic Matthew Warren story of this past week. Matthew, the son of our pastor, battled with depression and took his own life on Friday morning. Needless to say this has been a challenging season for our people. The response has been incredible though, so proud of our church and of much of the greater Christian community. Here are some thoughts from friends.

From Doug Fields – Friends Show Up:

When my mom was in the hospital, then on hospice, and then when I had to deal with post-death details, I felt extremely exhausted and lonely.

During those three weeks, I realized that I’ve been an average friend to my friends who have experienced crisis. Here’s what happened in my situation: almost every one of my friends made contact, told me they were praying for me, family, mom, etc., and most said and/or wrote, If there’s anything I can do, let me know. It’s a very sweet and genuine gesture. Actually, it’s EXACTLY the type of gesture that I’ve expressed in the past. Exactly!

But here is what I learned during those three weeks that has changed my response: I’m not just offering up help, I’m showing up. (I’m embarrassed it took so long to learn.)

From Walt Mueller – Matthew Warren, His Family, And Guidelines For The Rest of Us:

  • Don’t speculate. Don’t speculate on what happened or the reasons behind it. Don’t speculate on the specific causes and circumstances. We don’t know. We won’t know. We don’t need to know.
  • Don’t simplify. This was a 27-year-old man whose story was just as complex as your story and my story. There are no easy answers here.
  • Don’t downplay depression. It’s not something a person can magically turn on and turn off with the flick of switch or a decision. If you’ve been there yourself or with someone you love, you know how powerful, deeply difficult, and complex depression is.

From Beth Moore – Sadness and Madness:

But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.

The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.

I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.

JG

Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, Katie Edwards and Matt McGill return for episode 160. The gang quickly jump into your questions about: Doug’s blog, a volunteer dating students, teaching help, picking volunteers for events, student leadership conference, depression and suicide, and feeling bad about leaving a ministry.

JG