I’d heard all the statistics regarding brain injury and how depression was so commonly associated with the person who sustains one. I’d learned that 50% of brain injury survivors struggle with depression after one year and how that number is even higher later on. But I didn’t believe these numbers would apply to me. I just knew that I wasn’t going to get depressed! I’d never been depressed before and I seemed to have so many wonderful things going for me.
I’d just survived a car accident that could have easily taken my life and my recovery was going far better than anyone expected - many even called it a miracle. I had a wonderful wife, two young children, and many other supportive family members and friends. I’d returned to my job as a family doctor after just five months, which they predicted was going to be next to impossible. Most importantly, I was a Christian and I didn’t think Christians were supposed to be depressed, especially ones as “lucky” as me. But none of this seemed to matter or make a difference in the way I was feeling about my life at the time!
I sure didn't feel very “lucky.” I was having a really hard time accepting my “new normal” and wasn’t even sure how to act or how to function as this strange person I’d suddenly turned in to, the person I hardly even recognized. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even sure I liked who I’d become. I began to feel like my life now lacked much meaning or purpose. I felt embarrassed about the things I could no longer do, things that I could once do so easily. I often wondered if I wasn’t doing something I should be doing to make myself better or if I just needed to start working harder. I didn’t feel like I was being the husband or father my family needed me to be. So, one day, I finally sat down and got real honest with myself about how I was feeling. I realized that I was not going to beat the statistics after all. I wasn’t going to be the anomaly I thought I’d be. I was depressed.
After finally admitting this, I started getting help from doctors and therapists for my depression. They began to help me make some sense of the way I was feeling. They even knew ways I could combat what I was dealing with and ways to effectively treat it. They, along with so many others, were a great help for me during this time. But it was when I started reading the Bible and actually trying to learn the truth about who and what was in it, I found another great source of help.
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 but I’d always been under the impression that people in the Bible didn’t struggle with depression or other types of mental illness. I assumed this meant if I was living like I should, the same thing would be true for me. But when I decided to take a closer look at what the Bible actually said, I learned that’s simply not the case! Mental illness is seen throughout the Bible in many well known and highly thought of people. What I found out, though, was that these people found a way to overcome their problems. They made the decision to stop carrying their burdens themselves and chose to start letting God carry them instead.
Illness and disease of all kinds was not part of God's original plan, but because of our sin, it came into the world. However, God loved 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.
Yes, until that glorious day in Heaven, there will undoubtedly be many trials. But it is during these difficult times that we can find our hope, strength, and courage in the promise that God will never leave our side and will always be there to carry us.