Tuesday, November 21, 2017

If you Struggle with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Read This!

Depression, suicide, discouragement...  Are you disturbed, wrought with depression, and teetering on the brink of self harm?

Hopelessness, well, I've known it well.  Depression, yes, it's been a constant companion on my life journey.  So if you struggle with these very real problems, I'm glad your here.  

It's a blackness of the soul.  It's a sincere emptiness.  It's truly a dwindling hope that eventually opens up to a giant black space where hope has no place.  One has given up, and there is no longer any hope that things will get better.  When hope is gone, then suicide starts looking increasingly helpful as an end to the pain.

Depression is pain of the soul.  It's extended.  It lasts for days, weeks, months, and years.  Each day seems to only offer the gift of another day of misery.  Sometimes it get be blotted out with drugs or strong drink, or lustful sexual encounters, or fickle, insipid relationships, but nothing seems to drive it off completely.  

It urged me to stay in bed.  Though I didn't need much encouragement to do so.  In my story specifically it played a part in a circular pattern in my life: Drug use, drug use, more drug use, exhaustive collapse, mental breakdown/physical breakdown, withdrawal, depression, more depression, sobriety, recovery, more recovery, and slowly more and more anxiety, and depression and anxiety and depression, and discomfort... and relapse, drug use, drug use, and the cycle repeats.

I did that for years. But there was always a question lingering in the background: Why am I here?  What is the purpose in anything?  Why do anything?  What is the meaning of life?

Without understanding the meaning of life, without understanding why I existed, depression was a natural consequence. 

Depression can express itself in society as gothic teenagers, or emo boys, or teenage girls with cut marks on their arms.  That's the stereotype, and often it fits, but there are many other expressions of depression.  

Ravi Zacharias tells the story of a doctor and his wife.  The doctor worked long hours in an ER.  He was a surgeon, very successful obviously.  Each day he would return home from work at 9:00 PM and his wife would be in bed and hear sometimes come in.  And then he would leave again for work around 3:00 AM.  And she would often awake when he left.  She would always listen for him, because she seemed to hardly ever see him.  Over and over he worked in this routine, day by day, week by week, and year by year.  He helped others.  He had meaningful work.  He served everyday.  And then one day she heard him come home, and then she heard a thud noise.  He had killed himself.  

Deion Sanders after winning the Superbowl was on the phone ordering a new Lamborghini, and he got off the phone, and he realized that he'd just achieved his ultimate and it had failed to satisfy him.  And there he got on his knees and accepted Jesus Christ as savior, realizing, that every pursuit in life was meaningless, and He needed an eternal future.  

The famous quarterback Brett Favre took many sacks and endured many concussions in his career. The pressure and the struggle of his fame, fortune, and family concerns led to addiction to Vicodin.  He achieved so much in his career, but still struggled with meaning, and with drug addiction.  He got clean from drugs and turned his life around.  He had a great career. But there still seemed to be something missing. And isn't it interesting that when Brett Favre came to be conducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, he credited all his accomplishments to his savior Jesus Christ.  Very interesting, that even when we achieve so much, even when we're at the top of the world seemingly, we still find meaninglessness in our hearts that can only be filled by a transcendence beyond the decadence and finity of this life. 

Depression at it's core is an expression of meaninglessness in the heart of man.  It's an emotional and intellectual decay stemming from the human heart and it's desire for eternity, for something greater than itself.  We each have that desire for a power greater than human power.  We each ache after longings that no single experience or event in this life can satisfy.  

I've stood in a highway hoping a car would run me over.  I've looked at the person driving that car as the car approached me. What a thing, don't you think?  I've laid on roads in the night praying for a car to come, but none ever did.  I've held a hunting rifle in my hands hoping I had the courage to use it on myself.  I've lived in such wretched sorrow that I despaired of every passing moment of life.  I've wished for the end of conscious so I could finally have a little bit of peace.  

I've intentionally attempted overdose and death by pills.  I've been assaulted and abused in my life.  I've been locked away in mental hospitals and rehabs.  I've developed codependent relationships and had one night stands that left me feeling empty and gross. 

Why am I telling you all of this?  So that you understand that I'm not someone jumping into this topic who hasn't lived it.  I've lived depression.  In some ways I do still struggle with melancholy in my daily life.  

But I'm here to tell you that recovery and healing is possible despite the darkest bleakest depression.  I really wish someone had told me this when I first struggled with depression.  But no one did.  I just got pills thrown at me by pyschiatrists, art therapy, expensive inpatient treatments, and "coping mechanisms" from all the latest pyschology fads.  Some of the medications and therapy sessions could help take the edge off, but the underlying issue was always left untreated.

The truth is there is an answer to the sorrow and bitterness and emptiness of depression.  It's meaning.  Truth and meaning are the answer to the darkest depressions.  In short, the answer to depression is Jesus Christ.  Before you throw your hands up in anger and storm out of the room saying "Oh great religion! That's the last thing I need!"

I thought the same thing.  But I had a lot of old ideas about faith that weren't actually true.  I didn't know that there was good evidence to believe that there really is a God that guides the universe.  I never knew that there was good historical evidence that Jesus Christ actually existed and lived in the ancient middle east.  I never knew, because we've been raised up as young people in a society that has rejected faith, and decided to try to play god for itself.  Humanity has tried to play god in our society and it's a big mess.  That's why so many people are so depressed and suicidal and hopeless.  

I never knew any of that.  I was just a depressed, angry, bitter and lost kid with no meaning or hope in my life.  

Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  (John 14:6).

Jesus said," Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest." 

Jesus offers each of us rest, sweet, sweet rest.  To finally set down this burdens we carry, of darkness, of emptiness, of pain and lay them down at the cross.

Paul, a man writing about what Jesus had done for him said, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 3:14).  

Living with Jesus as my friend, is a life in which I don't ever have to face a day alone.  I don't have to be miserable and morose and lost.  I don't have to try to summon some inner strength to get through the day.  Christ carries me through the day.  And the truth is that we're designed that way.  We were never designed to try to make a way for ourselves.  We were designed to recognize and connect with Christ.  Then Christ puts his Holy Spirit within our souls.  It's like suddenly being plugged in to a new energy source.  We go from dead, empty 2-dimensional ghosts to 3-dimensional Spirit-powered living people.  

We were never designed to "cope" on our own or try to figure it out ourselves.  We were designed to be connected to God, to be plugged into Him, receiving love and joy and peace from His thrown that can then carry us through our days and lead us home when we die.  

If you've tried everything and nothing has helped your depression, try Jesus.  If your suicidal and depressed and considering death anyway, you might as well try Jesus before you kill yourself.  There is nothing left to lose at the bottom.  Jesus can transform your life.  Jesus can cause you to be born again.  Jesus Christ is alive.  He is a living savior, active in the world, and seeking you out.  Seek after Him.

I have a few recommendations, some things that I did when I was a lost, depressive kid who couldn't hardly hold a job or go a day without pills.  

First of all, get a study Bible, like the NIV Study Bible. Read the New Testament, and ask Jesus to reveal himself to you.  Start to pray and ask Jesus for help.  Next, order a DVD copy of the movie The Gospel of John, it's word for word the gospel of John.  I watched that movie about two hundred times over and over while I was loaded on dxm and drunk out of my mind back in 2011.  But somehow Christ still spoke through those words to me.  Check out this documentary by Ray Comfort on Youtube called "The Appeal of Suicide."  It's amazing. Next, Google some churches in your area, find a decent baptist, methodist, lutheran, pentecostal, Salvation Army, or non-denominational church community.  We all need a community around us.  When I had been going to AA meetings for a few weeks, then I joined a church in Weston where I used to live.  It was hosted out of a school where they rented the auditorium.  It was awesome, I met all sorts of people and joined a small group.  And about 8 months later I was baptized, a sort of public declaration that Jesus had changed my life and soul forever.  It was awesome.  

Honestly, my life was a total disaster and that's putting it lightly.  Now Jesus has totally changed my life.  But let me add this: I still take medication for depression and I still have my melancholy days. But fundamentally my life is joyous and peaceful now instead of hopeless and despairing.  If you're feeling lost, anxious, depressed, and out of your mind, then come to Jesus.  I promise you, Jesus Christ my savior will not let you down.  It's amazing what he's done in my life.  Now I have real meaning, and a real future.  And it's real. It's true.  Depression and meaninglessness no longer have a hold on me.  Christ be with you, come to Him before it's too late. 

Hope, Cc 2.0
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