Depression and faith is an interesting mixture, a dichotomy that shouldn’t go together but is often found tightly interwoven. In a lot of ways, they’re the two most defining aspects of my life. They under-gird pretty much everything that makes me the person I am today.
Some days I just want to rip out the entire foundation. It’s not like there’s anything in this current structure worth saving. There’s not much happening in my life these days.
I started attending church in the womb. I don’t know a single moment of my life without that influence. In a lot of ways, I’m extremely thankful. In more ways than I care to admit, I struggle with processing bitterness and resentment into constructive channels. I hear this is called growth.
From birth to age five or six, I was raised at the South Tampa Church of God. After that, we attended Without Walls International Church–yes, that Without Walls. It gets a little less conventional from there.
Mom and I–Dad has never been in the faith picture, really–began to walk out the Hebrew Roots of Christianity. Jesus was Jewish, after all. For all intents and purposes, we became Messianic Jews. I’ve never liked that term, but it is the most common one for walking this way. Long story short: we read the Torah regularly in the Rabbinic cycle, we kept kosher, we celebrated the feasts of Leviticus 23, and we believed in Jesus. It’s like it’s a whole book or something. The level of strictness swung wildly through certain years, but Mom and I always seemed to cling to a more balanced view than those walking with us. We didn’t want to be Jews. We didn’t want to be Christians. We wanted to be as closely aligned with what God says He wants His people to be.
Ironically, I tend to favor the New Testament while Mom tends to favor the Old. It’s probably why we’ve found more balance.
We left Florida and never really got established in a church here in Tennessee. After a year, I left for a nondenominational Christian college, getting enough credits to cover my Bible minor twice over. I attended a Calvary Chapel during those years and loved it. Follow that up with a stint at a Calvinistic missions school in Italy and you could say I have covered the spectrum of Christ-followers in searching my faith out.
And then even a passive involvement with the church ended when I got home from Italy. We tried out a church for three months, and then one morning just didn’t go…and never went back. I’m not sure why. This wasn’t the first gap in capital C Church community involvement: that year between Florida and Bryan had been the exact same.
Depression doesn’t want me to have faith, mainly because it doesn’t want me to have anything. I don’t think there’s a connection between being depressed and not attending church. I maybe would’ve thought that before, but I’m still very much depressed and actively attending church today.
That first bout was heavy, but I thought it was normal. And it’s light in comparison. I was post-break-up, post-move, post-leave all of my friends. You’re supposed to feel isolated and alone after all of those things. It all changed for me after a Thrice concert, but I still can’t really write about that. The words don’t come.
The second bout–the current bout–began in Italy in 2013, as I mentioned earlier in this miniseries. Four years later, I’ve begun to assume it’s just not going to end.