Hello God, am I really invisible?

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by Ipoh, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. Ipoh

    Ipoh New Member

    This post is about the lack of support for mental health from the Christian community

    Please do not get me wrong, I am not blaming God for my condition or situation. But I really do feel confused about the whole Christian ethos, which I have grown up in and now I sit outside.

    I have been an active member of a church for over 20 years who have been happy to take my time, finances, energy and commitment for what were supposed to be good causes. The people I worshipped with are mainly good people however, now that I need them most - they are no where to be seen.

    Depression is a peculiar illness, I wonder do people think it is contagious or do they see something, maybe a reflection of their own vulnerability that makes them seem uncaring. I do not have the answer do you?

    I am disappointed by the lack of support by many "Christian friends" who seem to talk a good religion but I am sure the bible speaks about evidence through our fruit. I have not "come out" so to speak and said high from a roof top - hello I am depressed - but my decline in participation in church life, no longer active and withdrawal I know has drawn comments. So it is clear something is not right, but the comments are more along, has he fallen into sin? or is he having an affair or involved in some other public sin? Why could it not be - hey, my brother looks as though he is struggling let me go and talk (not pray) to him and see if I can help?

    I will always respect other view points on life, so if you read this message and don't believe in God - that's ok I will still welcome your comment and will respect your view in hope that in your response you will respect my belief in God.

    For me the question remains that whilst in broader society - mental health is viewed so negatively, yet with so many people directly and indirectly affected by this illness - why is it that it is not championed effectively in the same way that Aids and Cancer are championed? and as for the Church that continues to keep silent, the simple question for me is why? surely it is not what Jesus would advocate! or is it simply as I contribute less, I am worth less and have slowly but surely become invisible.

    thank you for reading my post
  2. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    "ditto" to hanginthere's response

    You wrote, "but the comments are more along, has he fallen into sin? or is he having an affair or involved in some other public sin? "

    Response: OK, are you assuming people are saying this about you, or are people actually saying these comments about sin to you?

    If they are SAYING them to you, I think you need to find a different church. My view is any church that assumes you have to be sinful to have physical or mental problems is a farce.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I think sometimes we tend to avoid depressed people because we fear they will emotionally drain us. I think we all have such stressful lives and are barely treading water ourselves. We feel as if we can't take on someone else's problems on top of our own.

    I also think that people are drawn toward positive people. They want to be around people who make them feel good. I'm not saying this is right to act this way, but I'm saying that it seems to be human nature. They are protecting their own fragile emotions.
  3. cheryl888881

    cheryl888881 New Member

    Since you have received such good and sound advice from the previous two posters I will just add a little something.

    I think that when you get on the other side of this depression you will have a great testimony to tell of how God's grace, love and compassion brought you through all of this. That has been my own experience. You will be a blessing to all you come into contact with because you have been there. Sometimes it takes something like major illness, depression to bring us closer to the heart of God and through that we become more receptive to others around us who need our help.

    I think many people are just afraid of depression and many times it is looked upon as a mental illness and people don't know how to handle it or us.

    My baby brother has manic depression which is a form of mental illness and my father is a minister. He tried to hide this from everyone and in so doing missed so many opportunities to reach out to others with this illness. He believed that if you were a "true" christian you would not become depressed, that God would get you through it. Well, as he has later in his life found out from suffering from depression himself it is simply not that easy. Yes becoming closer to God and reading scripture helps us all the time but sometimes we need medicine, counselling, etc to bring us out of the depression. It does not make us less of a christian or sinful in any way.

    Keep trusting in the Lord and seeking his face. It is sad that the people in your church are withdrawn from you but remember they are only humans as you and I and just because they are "christians" does not mean that they will always do the right thing. (such as reaching out to those who are hurting). Keep your eyes on the Lord and not on man. The Lord will bring you through. I know!!!

    You will be in my prayers. Do not feel ashamed, embarrassed or that you are sinning, if you are truly not. Seek out a support group or others who are in the same "boat" as you are in. And you can come to those of us here any time. We do understand your pain and will enter into prayer for you.

    With prayers,

    Cheryl888881
  4. Lms526

    Lms526 New Member

    I could relate to your post so well. I have experienced the same lack of support from people who call themselves Christians. I know that severe depression is one of those things that you can't fully understand unless you've experienced yourself. I understand that. I have several people in my life who I consider close friends. They have been very honest with me about the fact that they don't understand what I think and feel as far as depression. But they want to understand. They ask questions and make a good effort to try to understand. But then there are the people like you mentioned. The people who don't understand and don't want to. After all, everyone know it's is easier to judge and criticize than it is to try to walk a mile in another person's shoes.

    Sad to say, it is a common teaching today among Christians that you if someone is sick (whether physically, mentally, or emotionally) it is their own fault. Many people believe it is caused by a lack of faith or some hidden sin. I think to someone on the outside looking it, it can look like we choose to be mopey, depressed, unhappy, and negative all the time. But anyone who has suffered with severe depression (as I have) will tell you it's not that easy. I truly wish it WAS that easy. But it isn't. I would give anything to be delivered from my depression without counseling or medication. But I am also a realist. I know that is probably not going to happen. I will probably never be 100% depression free. I know that I am making slow progress. I am slowly getting better. But I know I will never be "cured".

    I have also been treated at times like I have some kind of contagous disease. I know how frustrating and hurtful it can be to experience that. For over a year, I attended a church in my area. From the first day I was there, I felt the people to be very unfriendly. People would barely even acknowledge I was there, much less strike up a conversation with me. There were a few exceptions. But they were few and far between. I always kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in. Last week, I decided to attend a church that I had attended briefly about 10 years ago. I'm so glad I did. As soon as I walked in the door, a man asked my name and a little about me. Then he proceded me to introduce me to at least 10 other people in the church. I felt loved and accepted. Even though, I don't know anyone very well yet, I know that the people at this church accept me just as I am. If you don't feel that at the church you are currently attending, I would highly suggest you find another church. I know you probably don't believe this, but you deserve better.

    Personally, I think a big part of the reason why depression and other mental illness hasn't been championed in the Church is because those who are suffering aren't talking. They suffer in silence. There is still a stigma attached to mental illness. People with mental illness are often made to feel like some kind of second-class Christian. It takes great courage to speak openly about mental illness. Quite frankly, a lot of people simply don't have the courage to do that. But if we want things in churchs to change, I think someone needs to start speaking up. I once heard a quote that has stuck with me.

    "Evil thrives, when good men do nothing." I know you feel like you are the only Christian in the world struggling with these types of issues. But I guarantee you are not. If you ever spoke openly in church about it, I guarantee that you would have people coming out of the woodwork telling you that they could relate so well to what you shared. I have never really spoken openly in a large group setting about my depression. But I have done it in a small group. I have found that people I never would have expected have or are also struggling with depression.

    I think that you need to have at least 1 close Christian friend who has also struggled with depression. I have this in my life. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a difference it has made in my life. I have a friend who has struggled with so many of the same thoughts and feelings that I am right now. She is much further along in her recovery than I am, but I don't have to explain myself to her. No matter how crazy something sounds to me, when I express it to her, she usually tells me that she has experienced the exact same thing. I have only known this friend since April of 2007, but we have become very close friends in a pretty short amount of time.

    If you feel you need to take a break from church for awhile, do it. Don't let anyone feel guilty about doing that. Just recently, I didn't attend church for about 3 weeks because I just felt I needed a breather. There is nothing wrong that with that. I'm glad that I did it. Even just 2 or 3 weeks can make a huge difference.

    I am so glad to hear that you don't blame God for how you have been treated. For a long time, I DID blame God. I was very angry with God for several months. I thought that He could deliver me from my depression but won't. I have gotten very far away from God over the last several months. But I am slowly making my way back. I have learned that no matter how far we stray, God will always takes us back. I still have a long way to go, but I think that when everything is said and done, I will come out on the other side with a much stronger faith and a much deeper love for God and others.

    I will keep you in my prayers!

    God Bless,
    Lms526
  5. Pottersclay

    Pottersclay New Member

    I think weather a person is a Christian or not...many just do not know what to say or do to help. I think they should first sit down and pray with that person, just be a friend.

    We shouldn't isolate someone because they have health issues or if someone has made a mistake. We all have health issues and we all have made mistakes in our lives.

    I am a Christian and I try to be there for friends when they are going through hard times.

    You are special and God does love you. YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE.
    I will keep you in my prayers. ((hugs))

    With love and respect,
    PC
  6. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    You wrote, "Sad to say, it is a common teaching today among Christians that you if someone is sick (whether physically, mentally, or emotionally) it is their own fault."

    REPLY: I'm not quite sure how to respond. I've gone to churches all over the US because I've moved alot with my hubby's job. In all of the churches I've attended, there was only one that had some goofy philosophys. If your present church makes you feel this way, please make a New Year's resolution to find a different church. I can't imagine attending a church that has the viewpoint that illness is associated with sinfulness.

  7. Pottersclay

    Pottersclay New Member

    That quote that if your are sick it is your own fault is not scriptural.
  8. Lms526

    Lms526 New Member

    Joyfully-It's not so much in churches where the teaching that if you are sick it's your own fault comes out. But I have read it time and time again in many Christian books. I've also heard it from tv preachers including Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and others. But in the churches, it's most of an unspoken thing. No one comes right out and says it, but it comes through loud and clear anyway. I have recently swtiched churches. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made

    Potter's clay-Yes, I know that quote is unscriptural. But the trouble is there are a lot of Christians today who DON'T know that kind of thinking is unbiblical. Especially since there are a lot of people/authors/pastors who are able to make you think that it IS Scriptural.

    Thank you both for your imput.

    Lms526
  9. Pottersclay

    Pottersclay New Member

    If you want less grief from mankind about what they think is the truth...stick to the truth; THE BIBLE. We are human and will make mistakes. some mistakes will unfortunately hurt others wether it was intentional or not. I think most people have good intentions and really do not want to hurt anyone. BUT if they get away from God's word the bible then the real trouble begins.
  10. skikat

    skikat New Member

    dear ipoh
    i am so glad that you posted about this s it happens often. i also am a minister, i am an evangelist and try to teach the christians that i speak to . i also teach pastors that are getting ready to go into thier calling. this is certainly a problem in some churches. i would tel you (even though saw this post late ) that i would also do as some of the other s suggested. find a church where you are welcomed and cared for .

    as far as sickness and sin, i dont believe that at all, except in the case of recieving communion as apostle paul related in the epistles. i believe myself, that job was in depression. and he was perfect in all his ways. but how could he not have depression? he lost family friends, home, all friends, and finally his wife.

    yes, GOD brought him through, but while it was going on, he was miserable. and had done nothing. it was a test. you will come through yours also. we will be praying for you. remember, GOD is LOVE. and if you go to a church where love is not shown, then they are the ones lacking.

    i had back surgery and one time i had an elder in the church that believed in "divine health" he said that i should not have anything wrong with me if i was a christian. i should be in divine health. so i aa\sked him,"why brother - d, do you wear glasses??? he said, well , that is just a part of ageing. i told him that the bible said that, moses died,very old and his strength was not abated nor his eyes dim. he never spoke of it again as he had no answer.

    sometimes whatever sickness e have is allowed because GOD wants us to do as jesus said, bind up the brokenhearted, and those that are wounded in spirit. that is a form of depression.

    find love in a church, and you will find GOD. all of these posts before mine are wonderful and right on target. consider yourself blessed, because all of us are your friends and we really do care. i will be praying for you too. remember, when man fails, JESUS never fails us. and he is near to you when you feel him least. just watching to see how you handle things. then usually when your trial is over, you can help others that have the same problem, because you can identify it in someone else . -ps- (I HAD YOUR PROBLEM FOR MANY YEARS BUT WAS FINALLY HEALED.) but it was in GODS time and not mine)

    then you can extend help to them.YOU WILL HAVE "EMPATHY", NOT SYMPATHY, FOR OTHERS WITH YOUR PROBLEM. this is how we learn. be blessed this day and come here often. i hope that this helps in some wayand i will be praying. count on it. i know the others will too. good night ad i will try to watch for your posts also.gentle nights aand brighter days is what i want for you . YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE!! -SKI
  11. Ipoh

    Ipoh New Member

    Friends,

    I just wanted to say a big thanks to those people that replied to my post. I have not visited the site for a little while and came back this morning because I was feeling very low.

    Issues in my personal life has got worse with my wife. I do not feel able to talk to her and therefore feel trapped - its a catch 22, I need help to deal with the issues to be able to sort out the issues

    I am frequently having suicidal thoughts, each day at least 3-4 occasions and I don't know how to deal with them. I was just looking at your comments and they have encouraged me. I have a friend who I am going to talk to and has been there for me and probably I will go and see my doctor for some prescribed medication - I am not sure how much more I can reasonably manage on my own - but I wanted to say thank you and that the time you spent replying has meant something to me and maybe others who visit this site

    God bless and I pray too for myself and all of us that either healing or Gods grace will be sufficient for us
  12. ixoye

    ixoye New Member

    I’m sure you know that every negative thought is from the evil one, and how crucial it is not to entertain these thoughts. You do not want the devil to get a stronghold over you. You need to stop it by speaking out the word of God over your circumstances.

    (Luke 10:19) I have been given authority and power over all the power that the enemy possesses and nothing shall in any way harm me.

    I submit myself to God, I resist the devil and He must flee. (James 4:7)

    The Lord is my refuge and high tower when I am oppressed, a refuge and stronghold in my time of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

    You are my hiding place from every storm of life; you even keep me from getting into trouble! You surround me with songs of victory. (Psalm 32:7)

    I arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept me - I arise to a new life! I shine (am radiant with the glory of the Lord), for my light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon me! (Isaiah 60:1)

    Ipoh, I am glad you are going to talk to a friend; you need someone you can confide in. You need to talk your problems out in order to let go of your pain. Once you release your pain, you will feel better and get a better perspective. Then you will be able to deal with each problem, one at a time. Perhaps you could speak to a therapist as well.

    Help is available, but you need to take the first step.

    I will pray that God directs your path and that you have the strength to make the right choices.

    God bless,
    Ixoye