Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression Meets Jesus

I won't pretend I was the greatest Robin Williams fan of all time, or that he revolutionized the way I see movies. Honestly, I may be in the minority, but I never enjoyed his appearances on Conan, or his standup routine. I thought he was too sporadic and unorganized in his comedy routine. I enjoyed the more subtle and straight forward comics.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed him as an actor. The movies he starred in are easily recalled as favorites and I think he was brilliant. I think Hook stands out as the one I remember the most. I also enjoyed his voice as the genie in Aladdin.

After the news of his passing, the outlets of social media flooded my feeds with sadness and shock. A phrase that was stated over and over again was something I struggle with when it comes to individuals with mental illness such as depression.

"If you are struggling, please get help"

This plea is almost always from individuals who are not themselves walking in a mental illness. This is it stated as a way to ask those who are struggling to see the conditions and circumstances, read between the lines and get better. The intentions are meant to be for the good of the individual suffering. However, individuals who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses don't see life so easily.

In light of this tragedy, my perspective is that we live life differently and hopefully, as a societal whole, we could alter the influence of mental illnesses such as depression. Instead of pleading with someone to get help, if you see or know someone battling, YOU step in and do something, say something, be involved. Break the unwritten ethical code and intrude on someone's life. Change the course of the normal and everyday routine, burst the individualistic bubble that people with depression live in. Stop waiting for someone to ASK for help! Be so involved yourself, that someone who suffers, or is plagued by chronic depression will not have room to entertain the thoughts that would lead them to hopelessness.

You may not have had access to Robin Williams' life and been able to communicate to him, or be his friend. That's not what this is about. This is about the thousands who suffer everyday around you, with thoughts of hopelessness in which it is NOT too late for them.

Self-help talk may last for a little bit, but it doesn't ultimately connect someone to the real issue and reason mental illness exists. In the book of Matthew Jesus summons His disciples, gives them authority to heal every kind of sickness and disease (10:1). Suicide eventually becomes a solution for many who suffer. A logical conclusion for many is to end the functioning of the entity creating the problem...the brain. There is a better solution. God has sent His Son, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:12 says that no one has seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected. You, me, we are the visual of God for people to see. If you are abiding in Christ you will be the very picture of God for someone else. Healing, wholeness, restoration, reconciliation, these are ALL God's business and I want to be about God's business.

I personally could do better about reflecting this truth for those I interact with daily. Please don't resolve your level of helping people by making a statement of "get help...if you need it," instead, be so involved that
YOU see the warning signs,
YOU recognize the disease,
YOU become part of the solution for the healing needed in someone else.

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