On the Lies of Depression

By Katie Orr

The initial excitement of our move, my husband’s new job, and a new home filled with blank walls (in waiting for a little HGTV-splendor) carried me only a few months before the reality of my burdened soul caught up with me.

So my walls laid bare. For two years, boxes and boxes of cute decor and happy family pictures stayed packed away.

It wasn’t for lack of time. I was a stay at home mom in a small community with very little to do. We hit the library once a week and that was about it, beyond church activities. And the walls didn’t stay bare from a void of desire or know-how. I typically love creating and decorating and making my home (especially my walls) my own.

Yet they were naked and mocked me each time I walked by. You should have your boxes unpacked by now.

Truly, the walls weren’t alone in the tormenting. My dirty van, un-done dishes, and the continual chaos of life with littles jeered at me, too. And the pressure ran deep. I hadn’t recognized it as such quite yet, but I was depressed.

Facing Reality. Fighting Lies.

There is something about the “D-word” that is scary and a bit shameful—specifically as a Christian and especially as a woman in ministry.

Admitting a struggle with depression can feel an awful much like failure.

I was depressed for years. But because I was never suicidal and continued on as a functional adult, I assumed what I experienced was something different than depression. Realization and diagnosis was one journey, but once I did face the reality that I was depressed, I had another battle in front of me—the battle against the lies I believed.

If I struggle with depression, I must be doing something wrong. 

Depression is sinful; I must have an idol in my life which I cling to more than God. 

If I am depressed, I must not be experiencing God enough…or He must not be enough for me. 

Good Christians are not depressed. I should not be depressed. 

While I certainly had and still have many areas of sin in my life, I slowly began to realize that my state of depression was not a direct result of something I did wrong.

My depression was real but it was not my fault. It was most definitely linked to many moves and life-transitions in a short amount of time, as well as a family history of chemical depression.

After making several appointments—then canceling them when I chickened out—I finally sought help and accepted my reality. Depression. I started taking medication and felt better within days. Yes, days! The main regret I have from that season is not finding help sooner.

My empty walls began to be filled once more. The drive to complete tasks and be creative returned. The attraction toward being alone or asleep began to be replaced with a yearning for relationship and rewarding activity.

What about you?

Whether you are depressed or not, it is important that you recognize these lies. The more I open up about my depression, the more I realize how pervasive depression is. Chances are, even if you are not depressed, someone nearby is. And if you walk around holding to the lies that depression is sinful, then you are not a safe place for the woman in your church who is drowning.

Have you bought in to the lies of depression? Do you fear the diagnosis or the shame that might come with it?
What other lies do you see surrounding this issue?

Published October 15, 2014

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Katie Orr

Katie lives in Harrodsburg, Ky., with her husband, Chris Orr, pastor of Pioneer Baptist Church. They served on staff with Cru for six years before her family left campus ministry for the work of church revitalization. They have three young children. Katie currently serves as Social Media Specialist for Flourish. She loves to equip busy women to experience God and is creator of the FOCUSed15 Bible studies, which train women how to have intentional Bible study in only 15 minutes a day. Learn more about her Bible studies at FOCUSed15.com.