“50% of brain injury survivors struggle with depression after one year with that number jumping to more than 66% after seven years.”
When I first heard these statistics, I didn’t believe they would apply to me. I had never been depressed before and I now had so many things for which to be thankful.
I had just survived a near-fatal car accident.
My recovery from my brain injury was going far better than anyone expected.
I had a wonderful wife and two young, healthy children
I had an amazing support system made up of family and friends who loved and cared for me
I had returned to my job as a family doctor, something that because of the severity of my injuries wasn’t supposed to be possible
And most importantly, I was a Christian and Christians weren’t supposed to be depressed, especially ones as “lucky” I was.
But none of these things seemed to matter. I didn't feel very “lucky” and was having a hard time accepting my “new normal” and embracing who I’d suddenly become. I wasn’t sure how to act or how I was supposed to function as this new person and I wasn’t even sure I liked who I’d become. After denying that I was feeling this way for some time, I finally admitted that I was depressed and needed to get some help.
I was very fortunate to find the help I needed when I finally got honest about my struggle with depression. This “help” came from many doctors and therapists who seemed to understand some of what I was going through. They helped me make sense of how I was feeling and knew ways to effectively treat it. I was also lucky enough to be surrounded by loved ones who were always there for me and helped pick me up when I was down.
A very important part of my “help” also came from reading the Bible and learning about all the people in it who dealt with some sort of mental illness. I guess either the churches I went to when I was younger didn’t talk about this or I wasn’t paying close enough attention? Whichever it was, I’d always been under impression that people in the Bible were free of these types of struggles, and if I was living as I should, the same would be true for me. But I have learned this isn’t the case! The Bible talks about many "well-respected” and “strong” people suffering from all sorts of issues, including depression and many other mental conditions. However, these people made the decision to stop carrying the burden themselves and to start letting God carry them through their struggles!
Illness of all kinds, both physical and mental, was not part of God's original plan. But because of our sin, it came into the world. But God loves us so much he came to rescue us from this mess. He sent his son, Jesus, who lived an unblemished and spotless life and who died for our sins so that one day we can live forever in a perfect world free of all disease.
Until that glorious day in Heaven, there will undoubtedly be many trials. It is during these difficult times, however, that we can find our hope, strength, and courage in the promise that God will never leave us and will always be there to carry us.