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Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression

Author, speaker, songwriter, and professional vocalist Tim Kaufman shares his story of battling depression and finding hope again. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: Outwardly, vocalist Tim Kaufman

wore a smile on his face.

But inwardly, he struggled with a debilitating depression.

The depression kept him trapped in a cycle of self-sabotage

and thoughts of suicide.

Through it all, his wife Alicia stayed close and encouraged him

in his faith.

Now, Tim shares how to triumph over

depression in his book, Singing Hallelujah When

You Feel Like Hell.

Well, I'm so glad, Tim, you're with us today.

Such an important topic.

Welcome.

Thank you.

Tell us a bit about your story here.

And thank you for your courage in being honest about what

you suffered with for so long.

What happened?

Well, for decades, I was always

a step ahead of depression, always outrunning it,

but it was always nipping at my heels.

Caught up with me in 1991.

I had a three year depression and then rallied

and was able to stay ahead of it again until about 2003.

And I went on medication.

And that really worked for a period of time.

But because of shame, I decided to wean myself off

of my medication.

And in 2010, I had a major crash and burn

that lasted for almost four years

and decided to write the book because this was just too

important a topic to ignore.

OK, a couple things to touch on here.

First of all, you said because of shame.

Yes.

Go into that a little bit.

Why was that the problem?

You know, we're supposed to-- especially if we're in public

ministry, like I was--

we're supposed to have it all together.

You're leading people in worship.

We're telling people where they can find help.

And then we come off of the platform, off of the stage

and we just feel lousy.

We feel guilty for feeling guilty.

And it becomes just a cycle that never ends.

And you took the time in your life

to explore reasons this all may have started

and never good enough was a big discovery for you.

Share about that.

Yeah, I had this mantra going through my head--

not good enough, never have enough, not good enough,

never have enough.

And that's why one of the things that we address in the book

is self-sabotage.

How you intend to do certain things

and then you do everything that you can to make sure

that doesn't happen.

And so I wrote the book because I

wanted to help people shorten their season.

Also, to make sure that they touch on everything.

For instance, cognitive therapy, how you think.

I was taught how to think biblically,

how to meditate on the things of scripture.

But I could never sustain it.

Once the medical issue was addressed,

then I could go back and do the cognitive therapy,

and it stuck.

It held, and it worked.

One thing that really struck me in your book as so special

was you said as part of the process of healing

and discovering-- maybe why in your case you had this never

good enough mantra.

Yeah.

Part of the healing process is not just

discovering who offended you and stopping there, but forgiving.

How important is that?

Yeah, and I like to say that in secular therapy,

we go back in time to find who to blame.

In Christian therapy, we go back to find who to forgive.

Because there are two kinds of sins.

There's the sins that we commit.

And then there are the sins that are committed against us.

And as children, we often don't know what to do with that.

And so we internalize it.

Somehow, we blame ourselves, and we carry that shame

into adulthood.

And then a root of bitterness--

Hebrews 12 talks about--

springs up, and it defiles many.

Now sometimes the church can be cruelest to our own,

so to speak-- to other believers.

What kind of reaction were you getting

when people begin to learn of your battle with depression?

I was fortunate, because I was in a pretty safe place.

What I have found, though, is like when I have spoken

and people will come up afterwards--

I had, for instance, one 70-year-old lady come up to me.

And her eyebrows were fallen.

And you could tell she was a godly woman.

Her Bible was worn.

I mean she loved the scriptures.

But she came to me and she said, is it OK if I take medication?

I grabbed her by both shoulders and I said, go to your doctor,

get on the medication.

And three weeks later, her depression was lifted.

Because the accusation from some Christians

may be if you really were experiencing a love of God,

this wouldn't be an issue.

Exactly, exactly.

It's something that is erroneous.

But I tell people if you have diabetes,

you take some medication for your diabetes.

If you have a heart issue, you take the heart medicine.

If you have depression, you need to take your medicine.

I was surprised by a statement you made in your book, which

is perhaps the most dangerous place is not

when you're in depression but when you're

beginning to advance out.

Why is that?

Because your reasoning returns.

And here's what you think.

I have gone through this for so long.

I've read all the books.

I've gone to the seminars.

I've gone to the doctors.

And here I am.

I'm still in the same place.

And with that, you begin to say, I

don't want to go through this anymore.

And there were two occasions-- summer of 2010,

summer of 2011--

if there had been a gun in our home,

I probably would have used it.

Well one of your experiences I believe

you were telling your wife--

I'm just so scared.

I'm so frightened, right?

That was at the very beginning.

And then I was very weary.

And that's where a lot of people get.

They get to the point where they're so weary.

But I'll tell you where it turned.

The pivot point for me was when hope returned,

because depressives lose hope.

I was talking to my wife, and I asked her.

I said, honey, why haven't you left me?

Because as one of my daughters said, Dad, it wasn't only you.

We all went through it.

And I said to my wife, why haven't you left me?

And she just kind of turned her head and looked at me and said,

I'm your family.

And when she said that, I realized

I have got to get well.

I've got to do whatever I have to do.

I have to turn over every stone in order to get to the place

where I'm better.

And thankfully because of good counseling,

of good medicine, and of a good support system,

of a good circle of people, that continues well to this day.

So someone's watching today, and they say, all

right, I have to get well.

Give us a starting place.

Call the largest church in your area and ask them who they

recommend as a counselor or as a psychotherapist--

as a psychiatrist.

The big churches have something in place

likely, right?

The big churches usually have something in place,

and they're the best networked.

And so that's where I would start,

because a lot of large churches have their own counseling

ministries.

And you just want to go.

Get up off the couch and go.

And we don't want a victim mentality,

but we need to tell somebody, don't we?

Yes.

Do something.

Do something.

In fact, Charles Stanley, I was listening to him once when

he was preaching on depression.

And that's exactly what he said.

To the depressive, I would say the first thing

you need to do is do something.

And I'm very grateful, because my wife--

when I couldn't rally myself--

she would call up friends, unbeknownst to me,

and they would knock on the door and come in.

And all of a sudden, I had to engage socially.

And then we would--

we're going to meet so-and-so for lunch.

They're expecting us.

And we would get out.

And that's part of the process as well.

Time, as someone who has come out on the other side of this,

would you just lead us in a brief prayer

for folks who are watching this and are

struggling with depression?

Yes, I will.

Father, thank You that You do all things well.

Thank You that there are people who are getting answers today

that I was able to find.

I pray that they will be helped.

And I pray, Father, that You will bring into their lives

the right people, the right books, the right podcasts.

Thank You for this broadcast that is helping so many people.

And I pray that You will do exceeding abundantly above all

we ask or think because You are the God who is at work in us.

In Jesus' name I pray it.

Amen.

Amen.

Well, Tim prayed about good books.

Here's one for you.

It's called the Singing Hallelujah

When You Feel Like Hell.

It's available on his website.

Take note of it.

That website is TimKaufman.com Tim, thanks so much

for your honesty.

Thank you.

Appreciate you being here.

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