Emotional Scars: Breaking the Stigma – Depression

My dear accomplices,

As I’ve told you on my first blog post, together we would reflect about themes we live in our day-to-day life, and share with each other our different experiences and journeys. I think that through sharing we break the stigma of loneliness, we identify with each other and understand that we are not alone in this journey that is life. If we believe that when Jesus incarnated in the form of men (in a means to put an end to the separation there was between men and God, cause by sin), we cannot forget that just like us, He also experienced negative feelings such as sadness, anxiety, anguish, fear, discouragement, disappointment, loneliness, dissertation, rejection… because He was 100% men and 100% divine! However, even though He carried all this emotional human baggage, He still carried out with excellence His mission of rescuing us from the consequences of our sins. All the suffering, homicide, violence, arguments, wars, sickness, traumas, emotional scars and our total loss of identity… He took it all upon Himself. If we trust Him, accept His unconditional love and let Him in, Jesus will initiate in us the process of restoring our identity through internal healing. Why do I mention internal healing, you ask? Because the lack of it is what makes us drown in the deep ocean of depression.

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If we look back, talking about depression used to be a taboo! Driven by our own prejudice, we catalogue those who need psychological help crazy, and those who take medication unbalanced, and tell them they should live the lives we call “normal”! This discriminatory view created another stigma: the stigma of depression. Without realising, we outcast and shame everyone that lives in a depressive state. The most absurd thing is that a considerable number of churches / believers that preach love, compassion, the acceptance of differences, unity and hope also reject people (it could be any of us) and give a speech of condemnation! They dare call themselves Christians and declare other backsliders and non-believers based on the fact that they are suffering from depression. It’s precisely because of our tendency of creating pre-conceived ideas about the unknown, that we become radical, intolerant, aggressive and empty of any love and compassion for the pain of others. Is this the attitude that Jesus would have if He was in our place? Absolutely not! Depression is suffering, it’s pain! It is not attention seeking or self-pitying, being a coward or being weak. Depression is a silent cry for help! What has happened to our capacity of putting ourselves in the others shoe? What happened to suffering alongside each other? Has our selfishness turned us blind?

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We live in a world / society where we must fight arduously to gain anything. Nothing is given to us for free. The crisis of values we live in this world as provoked a state of insecurity, threat, danger, injustice, shock, contradiction and violence, which inevitably makes us live in a constant state of exhaustion. This greying reality brings us anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and a terrorising fear! Can situations like the loss of a loved one drive us to depression? I guarantee you it can! Almost seven years ago I have gone through this drama (the death of my mother princess: the sweet, gracious, elegant, loving, faithful and warrior Maria Helena) e 3 months after her death, I fell into a pool of depression! I had lost one of the pillars of my life! The ground had escaped from my feet and I was left freefalling. Of course, the prayers of my partners in ministry, counselling sessions and the understanding of God’s grace, the interior healing and the pouring of the sweet consolation and anointing of the Holy Spirit helped me out of this depressive state. Was it easy? Of course, not! There is not a day where I don’t miss her, feel her absence, a painful feeling that bursts from my chest! Can you imagine what it must feel for a husband to lose his wife? For a mother who loses prematurely her son? And when unfairly and sadistically, someone tries to denigrate your character and reputation with false accusations, ruining your career, your ministry, your projects and dreams, your circle of friends? And when you are fired without reason? And when you suffer from bullying in school/university/ or even at work? And when you’re a victim of diverse types of abuses, being discrimination or traumas suffered during one’s childhood? And when you go through a divorce, or a miscarriage, or you’ve been cheated on, or you’re suffering through domestic violence? And when you battle through the diagnosis of a chronic disease, prolonged or even terminal? Or when you’re a slave to addictions like drugs, alcohol, sedatives, sex, porn, smoking? Is there soil more fertile and propitious for this mouldy seed to grow?

We forget that depression affects every age group! It’s fundamental to start demystifying, decoding and breaking the stigma of depression, because it is nothing more than a dysfunctionality of the real world!!

Depression

It would be very gratifying, enriching and encouraging if you would comment below your take on this stigma. Feel free to use pseudonymous if you prefer to keep your privacy. I think it’s essential that we go through this process together, because we’ve all lived through mirroring situations or have friends and family who have battled or are still battling against depression. Your contribute will help us discuss this theme further with clarity and of course in a broader spectrum, seeing as each one of us has their own view of the same “book”!!! Please do share your story and I’ll gladly respond.

Do you accept the challenge?

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