I’d heard many times about brain injury being so commonly associated with depression - how 50% of brain injury survivors struggle with depression after one year and how that number is even higher later on. But I didn’t think these numbers would ever apply to me. I just knew that I wasn’t going to be depressed. Depression wasn’t a part of my past nor did I see it in my foreseeable future.
I mean, I now had so many great 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 called it an absolute miracle. I had a loving wife, two young children, and many other close friends and family who’d supported me throughout this trying time. I’d even returned to my job as a family doctor after being out of work for just five short months, which was something they predicted was going to be next to impossible. And, most importantly, I was a Christian and I didn’t think Christians were supposed to be depressed, especially ones as “lucky” as I was.
However, none of these things seemed to matter or make much of a difference in how I felt about my current situation. I sure didn't feel very “lucky” and was having a really hard time accepting my “new normal.” I wasn’t even sure how to act or function as this strange person I’d turned in to, someone I barely even recognized. I wasn’t even sure I liked who I’d suddenly become. I didn’t feel like I was being the husband or father my family needed me to be. I began to feel like my life lacked any meaning or purpose. I felt embarrassed about the things I could no longer do, things that I could once do so easily. So I finally got real honest with myself and realized that I wasn’t 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 many well trained doctors and therapists. 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 other friends and family, were a great help for me during this time. But when I started reading the Bible and learning 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 it 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 would be true for me. But I learned that’s simply not the case!
Mental illness is seen throughout the Bible. What I found out, though, was that many of the people who dealt with it found a way to overcome their problems. They made the decision to stop carrying their burdens themselves and chose to let God carry them instead.
Illness and disease of all kinds was not part of God's original plan, but because of sin, it came into the world. But 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 all live forever in a perfect world free of all disease.
Until that wonderful day, there will undoubtedly be many trials and we will go through many tough times. But when these things happen, we can find our hope, strength, and courage in the promise that God will never leave our side. He’ll always be there to carry us.
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message)