When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend – Mark Meynell
Mark Meynell has battled depression and shame throughout his life and ministry. Mental illness can be hard to talk about in church, let alone if you’re a church leader.
And it’s still a taboo.
In his latest book When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend, Meynell walks you through his darkest moments and gives gritty accounts of how he felt. He also explains what is and isn’t helpful to say to depressed people.
It’s not pleasant reading, but it’s important.
Depressed in Church
Christians who’ve suffered mental illness will know that the level of understanding and empathy in the church is variable.
I’ve battled depression for years. At its worst, I was highly medicated and receiving weekly counselling. I was in such deep despair that I wanted to die.
I had some wonderful support from Christian friends, but others caused me serious emotional pain.
Was I only suffering because of my idolatry? Maybe if I just trusted the gospel a bit more (which I’d never doubted in my darkest moments)?
Some told me not to trust psychologists or GPs. I even heard Christians saying depression wasn’t real. The problem’s always faith.
I can barely describe the emotional agony and shame this brought me – emotions that Meynell explores in this book.
If you are someone suffering from mental illness, Mark Meynell is encouraging, comforting, affirming, and relatable.
He’s also challenging. Yes, sin and faith can be factors in mental illness, the mentally ill can be more prone to certain sins, and prayer is absolutely vital.
But he masterfully busts the myth that it’s only a spiritual problem.
If you want to understand why Christians get depressed, why Christians kill themselves, and what you can say and do to help, this book’s where to start.