There are many things that I believe fuel my depression and anxiety, as well as plenty of things that I believe exacerbate those conditions. Yet one of them, one which I have talked about plenty, both on this site generally and in this series specifically, is stigma. Yet I wonder how much we could heal ourselves and heal our society if we were to be as Christ-like as people supposedly want to be.
I say this after this morning’s sermon, where my pastor talked about the importance of seeing Christ in your neighbor, of living the life of service. Too often, my pastor proclaimed, we worry about status and survival. We worry about if we are earning enough, possessing enough, being ‘good’ enough people. When really, all we need to be great, to be Christ-like, is to serve one another. Christ after all wasn’t worried about status or wealth or possessions.
Instead, I believe these things keep others focused more on what is in their home than on what and who is around their home. I’ve said before that a sense of community has been a powerful pill pushing back against the darkness and the demons of depression. Yet how much community remains these days? When so much of the world exists on our phones and on the internet, what does community even look like?
And I don’t want you to think I am rallying against phones and computers as evils, as tools of the devil meant to pull us into darkness. They are powerful tools and could serve powerful purposes. Internet, phones, etc are all tools that allow those who might be trapped by the isolation of their mental illness to reach out and find the support they need. Last year when the world shut down because of COVID, these tools allowed me and so many others to continue to get the support of therapy and psychiatry without being able to be there in person.
Yet even after the lessons, both good and bad, of the pandemic, too many still focus on how much they can make. And instead of viewing those who are struggling with demons as an opportunity to give back, to be Christ-like as they claim to want to be every Sunday morning, they view mental illness as something that limits others, that makes them less able, and possibly even dangerous. This is not how I believe Christ would have handled those plagued by the darkness of mental illness.
Yet there are others who are answering this call to serve, and for them I am eternally thankful. There are others who do want to serve their neighbors and their community. Those people allow me to remain optimistic. Indeed, it gives me hope that one day we might be truly able to discover who and where we could be if we were truly Christ-like.
Thank you for reading, be well.