How Hard It Really Is: A Short, Honest Book About Depression


Hello lovely friends! After a year and a half of painstaking work, my book on fighting depression is here. It’s called: How How Hard It Really Is: A Short, Honest Book About Depression.

The book covers:
• The science behind depression
• The helpful (and unhelpful) dialogue around mental illness
• The debate between seeing it as a choice or disease
• Stories of survivors
• A secret culture of suicide worship
• An interview with a depressed doctor
• The problem with finding a “cure”
• My own attempt at suicide
• A myriad of voices from nearly two-hundred surveys conducted over a year

The paperback is here. The ebook is here.

For my video on depression, check here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xggg6xFObIE

Be blessed and love y’all, friends. A reminder that if you’re in a dark place, I hope you’ll reach out. You are truly more loved than you know. 
— J.S.


Are Depression and Anxiety a Choice?

Anonymous asked a question:

A lot of hurting young people on my dash. Is depression and anxiety a choice? My pastor believes it is. “Generational curses”, “biblical strongholds”, etc. Thoughts?


All right, dammit: Who is this pastor? I’m a fifth degree black belt and I can break into a house by scaling a wall, so give me an address and a picture and I’ll have a friendly interrogation with him. I’m trying to see what he means — but no.

Seriously though, most people who don’t suffer from depression or anxiety just don’t get it. It’s like telling someone you have a migraine and they offer you a glass of water. You sort of want to punch their face off.

Pseudo-biblical language that doesn’t even speak to reality only shortcuts a huge issue. You can tell me to “rebuke it in Jesus’ name” all day long, but I need some freaking help.

Let’s get this part right: while not all our emotions point to legitimate choices, having feelings is NOT wrong. You’re allowed to feel your feelings, all right? It’s okay to be a human being and no one should ever blame you for that.

If you’re denying your emotions, you’re also denying your humanness. Even the spoiled little princess on the latest reality show gets a fair hearing on why she flipped a desk about getting the wrong-colored car (hint: it’s not about the car, but her emptiness). What’s important then is to examine why this is happening and how to react in the moment.

People go through different seasons and occasionally experience severe internal weather patterns that you don’t just “choose” your way out of. There’s no easy off-button for those cloudy emotional fogs that suddenly overtake you. A lot is at work here — upbringing, situations, spiritual warfare, personality — so blanket-answers will not help.

Continue reading “Are Depression and Anxiety a Choice?”

Jesus Says Take A Break

You need a break.      

I know you hate this idea, and so do I, but you really need to take a break.

Everyone around you is multi-tasking, phone-apping, book-cramming, reading or scheduling or building or flying – and you suspect they’re all more productive than you, so you’re pushing, sweating, clenching, bleeding to get this done. 

But you: you really need a break.

God commands rest.  How could He command rest?  I’d rather read my Bible and fight for the offering plate than REST.

Most of us have bought into the neurotic productivity of American Do-Ism, so you have American Idol and the Olympics and Like buttons and your GPA – so no, I won’t take a break, I can’t take a break, I have to keep up or shut up.

But a funny thing happens when you refuse God’s commands.  The very core of your humanity begins to break down.  You can probably already feel it: the restlessness, the twitchiness, the constant checking of your phone. 

See: God knows how you’re made and what’s best for you.  That’s what His commands are all about.  He knows that if I don’t take a break today, and tomorrow, and for a long time, that I’ll eventually consume more energy than I can create and my spirit will be crushed.  It won’t be any one thing on my schedule or any one exam or any one person: but the accumulated weight will be too much to bear, and I’ll either melt down or check out.

Continue reading “Jesus Says Take A Break”