After one year, more than 50% of brain injury survivors struggle with depression. After seven years, that number jumps to more than 66%. But I really didn’t believe any of these statistics would apply to me. I had never been depressed and I had so many things to be thankful for.
I mean, just think about it!
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
Most importantly, I was a Christian and Christians weren’t supposed to be depressed, especially ones who were as “lucky” as I’d been.
But for some reason, none of these things seemed to matter. I really didn't feel all that lucky and was having a hard time accepting my new life 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. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even sure I liked who I’d turned into!
After denying how I was feeling for some time, I eventually admitted that I was depressed and needed to get some help. And when I finally got honest about my struggles, I was very fortunate to find the help I needed.
This “help” included many doctors and therapists who seemed to understand some of what I was going through. People who knew ways to help me make sense of how I was feeling and who 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.
In addition to all these things, an important, and I believe necessary, part of my “help” came from reading the Bible and learning about all the people in it who dealt with mental illness. 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? Whichever it was, I’d always been under impression that people in the Bible were free of these types of struggles. But I have learned this is simply not true!
The Bible is full of many "well-respected” and “strong” people suffering from all sorts of issues, including depression and other mental diseases. However, they made the decision to stop carrying the burden themselves and to start letting God carry them through whatever they were struggling with!
Illness of all kinds, both physical and mental, was not part of God's original plan. But because of our sin, it came into our world. But we have a God who 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.
But 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 in our weakness God will always carry us.