Recently I read about a young woman with Lupus. Her disease pushed her into depression.
On Wednesday, Selena Gomez, who has lupus, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after having a panic attack following a recent health setback. According to People, Gomez was hospitalized twice within the past few weeks for “a low blood cell count,” which can be a side effect of having a kidney transplant. While it’s important that she was able to get treatment for both her mental and physical health, her hospitalization shows how critical it is to address mental health in conjunction with chronic illness.
There is hope and healing
In both my human and spiritual families I know people plagued with chronic illness. They too struggle with depression, as do countless others. Depression can be a very serious mental and spiritual illness. It strikes even teenagers. And it may require hospitalization, as in the case of Ms. Gomez. The good news is that 80-90% of those who do seek treatment report feeling better within just a few weeks.Sadly, depression is the linked cause for over two-thirds of suicides reported each year.
However there is hope and healing, and there are many who will journey through this trial with us or your loved ones. For example, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time day or night 24/7, to talk to someone who understands. Or go online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and help.
There are always spiritual aspects.
The Lord Jesus understands our weakness and suffering, temptation and despair. When facing rejection and crucifixion He struggled in the Garden with deep depression. As He was about to pray He asked His disciples to stand by Him and to support Him. All through the night He prayed, asking His Father for another way to rescue the world from sin.
And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” – Mar 14:34-36 ESV
The prophet foresaw Jesus’ suffering as he wrote about it hundreds of years before. The Lord’s suffering was part of God’s plan:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. – Isa 53:4-5 ESV
Whatever the reason for our depression Jesus understands.
He has dealt with it. He has walked that weary road. Consequently we can know with certainty that He is with us.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. – Psa 34:18-22 ESV
The righteous, those who put their faith in Jesus, the Savior, will and do face depression. At times they will feel their spirits to be crushed. They will feel alone. They will feel unable to take even one more step on the journey. But what they must know is that He is walking this path with them. He is always there and in this time of testing He has already provided a way out.
The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews speaks to our depression
It points to the testing of great men and women of faith in days gone by. The chapter points to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the people of the Exodus. They all faced depression.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. – Heb 11:32-40 ESV
But there always is a way out.
We too cling to our faith, knowing that God’s blessings await.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1Co 10:13 ESV