Geoff and Rodentdron, perhaps I should have put "religion" in the search box before starting my own thread as this is exactly the topic I had in though. Since I tend to look at "Anxiety" rather than "Depression" threads I missed this. :)
Fly-Away-Blue-Bird I'm in a similar position to you and Faith in that I am a Christian, (in fact I used to be a school chaplain), and I experience mental illness. For me it used to be Depression, now it's Anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) and Social Phobia. Interesting my social phobia was church: I got badly hurt by people/procedures there and didn't want to be in the same room as "those people" yet at the same time I wanted to "go to church". Hmm.
The very thought that "Christians should always be happy" or that depression is somehow a sin because "Jesus offers hope" is very upsetting to me. Of course the second one (Jesus = hope) is "true", but that's not a cure or a prevention for debilitating life circumstances (especially when the local Christians are bastards) or when your Serotonin goes pear-shaped. I often say on the questionnaires about Mental Health that I am very rarely "hopeless" because I have a strong faith, but that doesn't stop me feeling "helpless" or "restless" or "nothing could cheer me up", or even "worthless". Does this make me weak in faith? No, it makes me a human person with huge real life situations and some disequilibrious brain chemistry.
(And if disequilibrious is not a real word, it should be.)
Sadly it is harder to open up to other Christians, and people who don't share our faith are often nicer to us. (Praise God for compassionate atheists!!) I imagine that if I were to speak to Jesus about this in person, rather than in prayer, he'd be a lot more like Geoff and Rodentdron than many of the people I avoid over coffee on a Sunday morning. (That's why I avoid them, and I'm actually at a different church now.)
As an "outed" Christian (not GLBTI but GAD, not making fun of same-sex at all but I do feel "looked at" in ways I didn't when no-one knew I was "mental") I do still believe in prayer, and I haven't dismissed the idea of personal evil in the spiritual world, but my advice is always to go to a GP and then on to a Psych and a Pharmacist if that is what the GP says. I'm also a huge fan of beyondblue (of course) and like to direct people to information here.
Don't see an exorcist until you've seen a doctor! :D Bahaha.
Our faith is a great source of strength, no-one must be allowed to take that from us. Our churches should be a great source of support, and at the moment that's what my "soap-box" is...as much as it can be when I feel Anxiety in all its glory.
Thanks everyone for sharing. :)