Depression: The Gift Disguised as a Diagnosis
BY CHRISTINE VEZAROV
You’re sitting in the doctor’s office, willing to believe God is good and He makes it all work out – and the next thing you know, you’re given a slap diagnosis to apply to your forehead in permanent marker: depression.
Oh. This isn’t good… this is serious.
As soon as the words come out of your doctor’s lips, all your internal paradigms and Sunday School lessons you’ve taken for granted take a hit.
Doubt creeps in: “Is God really good if I’m depressed? … What is wrong with me?”
I used to wonder this on the daily, feeling that diagnosis heavy on my forehead. I wore the bitterness and helplessness of that very question for so long. Depression became my identity everywhere I went, wondering if people saw it in big bold letters too.
Let me tell you: depression is no small thing. It sucks the dreamer out of you, limits your ability to hold a healthy perspective and isolates you until you believe this has always been your fate in life.
I get it.
Amidst all of this, I’ve come to understand something profound:
Depression is a gift - if you let it be one.
If you’re a Bible-believer like I am, you know you can’t just “pick and choose” what verses to apply to your life... It’s all or nothing, babe. And there’s some not-so-pleasant stories in there.
For example: enter Job, a wealthy and God-fearing man who has everything going for him. Early in his story, we read that God allows him to be tested by Satan (Job 1:8-12).
You read that right – God allowed it.
In Job 2:10, we see him maintain this other-worldly, heaven-minded perspective when he says, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
It’s maintained throughout Scripture over and over again . . . One that stands out in particular is the telling of Joseph’s story when he’s sent into slavery in Genesis. We see this same perspective make an appearance:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20, ESV – emphasis, mine).
Nothing passes through God’s hands unless He lets it - AND He has the ultimate blueprint for your redemption and the good of others as well.
And I can’t help but think these people saw their circumstances with a different kind of eyes. Somehow, they saw the gift.
That’s what I’ve learned these last five years: depression often feels like a bully, but it can also be a gift - if you let it be one.
You don’t have to be passive anymore.
Choosing to be assertive is a muscle that needs to be worked out. As I do so, I’m experiencing these three beautiful truths – these gifts – up-close and personal:
001. I am not my own savior – God is.
Are you a natural control-freak with perfectionistic tendencies like me? You need everything in order, to have it all together and remain calm – while you’re swirling inside and trying not to let all 246 plates drop…
Hear me: you were not created to be your own savior.
Over and over again, we see God ready and willing to do the work on our behalf. He takes on the load, goes before us, dies for us and proves Himself the perfect one to be our Savior (Exodus 14:14; Isaiah 45:2; Isaiah 52:12; Proverbs 20:22; Psalm 18:47).
You get to rest in this fact.
And because of that, you get to cultivate intimacy with Him through whatever you’re walking in.
002. I was not created to do life alone – I get to participate in community.
Letting God in is one thing, but letting other people is a whole other battle. It’s one worth fighting.
One of my favorite verses is from Psalm 86:6: “God sets the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free, and gives them joy.”
Do you consider yourself lonely, isolated or a prisoner to your mind, diagnosis or circumstances? Yes? Guess what? This verse isn’t just a hypothetical nicety – it’s for you specifically.
You were not made to live life alone, bear your burdens, and pretend everything is fine to everyone and their dog. You get to share in your sorrow and joy – together.
Healthy community changed my life, and I want it for you too.
003. I am not the only one going through this – somebody else needs my story.
Sorry, you’re not the anomaly here. I know it feels like you’re the only one (any other Enneagram 4’s out there?), but you really aren’t.
Take a look at our world today: mental health is talked about more than ever in history. There are campaigns, celebrities, and local initiatives being undertaken, stories shared and circulated every single day. I know it seems vague and irrelevant, but this means something for you and the people in your world:
You get to speak up – you don’t need to hide.
You get to openly work this out – you don’t need to pretend.
And eventually, you’ll share your story with someone who’s going through the exact same thing you’re going through right now.
You can be a breath of fresh air, a voice of hope, in a way no text, sermon or Pinterest quote could.
It’s here – when the messy, uncomfortable and dark moments see the Light for the first time, in stages you start to see how this whole thing might just have been a gift all along… and you won’t want to trade it for anything else. I promise.