I finally looked through my brother's phone last week. I ended up on the floor of my bathroom heaving huge tears into a bathmat because of the wall of guilt that I found myself slammed against. The thing about my baby brother's depression was that no one really knew its depths. It wasn't until reviewing his text messages and pictures he saved to his phone did I really have to confront the doubts that had plagued him. And now knowing how long they had been haunting him just took my breath away.
You see, I never knew. That's one of the issues with depression is the suffering try to mask their true emotions from those even closest to them. They don't feel as though expressing them will do anything more than cause someone else pain.
I started a board on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I titled it "Depression....it's okay to struggle." I did that because if I could hold my brother one more time and explain to him how much I loved him, I would also whisper that I know now about his struggle and that it is okay.
There are so many debates among Christians that our faith is the essential oil of the rest of our lives; it will cure anything. We treat Jesus like our personal genie so that if someone is struggling we tell them to "just pray about it" or "Jesus solves everything." I don't mean to gloss over that fact. I do believe that the God of Abraham, Jacob and Issac is alive and moving just as he was when Jesus walked the earth, but do we really believe that even having a personal relationship with him makes up Teflon to attacks by the enemy?
Of course it doesn't. In fact, it makes us as Christians even better targets. Jesus himself told us before he was betrayed and crucified "...While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world." John 16:33.
Since we have been instructed by Christ himself that troubles are apparent in this life, then why do we react as if we are surprised? And why do we allow others to believe that their struggles are not valid? My brother's suicide has taught me a lot so far. But the most potent realization I want to have forever is encouraging others that whatever it is that they are going through, it is okay. You have free license to struggle, no judgement here. Now being given that license, you also should approach someone you trust in order to help you work it out.