Matthew Warren was the son of megachurch pastor Rick Warren, founder of Orange County’s Saddleback Church, and author of New York Times number one list, The Purpose Driven Life. Warren regularly preaches to 22,000 people in his Christian church, and has been an inspiration to millions more. Many wonder how the son of this motivational speaker could despair enough to take his own life. The answer is a single word: Depression.
A Life of Depression
Matthew suffered from depression his whole life. His parents took him to therapists, counselors, and doctors, but he was unable to rise above the control of the disease.
In a statement posted on his church’s website, Pastor Warren stated,
“[Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”
The unfortunate story of Matthew’s life shows that even good parents, qualified doctors, and faithful Christians can be touched by depression. It is not something that someone can will themselves out of, or can overcome on their own if they try hard enough. Warren said he and his wife have “known for years God would use us to fight mental illness but were protecting Matthew’s right to share his own story”.
Getting Help for Depression
Depression is a serious mental illness, and it needs to be managed with the help of a professional. It is important for all of us to understand depression and to be aware of the symptoms that go along with depression. Stories like the Warren family’s are painful, but they are a good reminder of the seriousness of this illness. Pastor Warren is speaking publicly about his family’s ordeal through social media like Twitter, because he knows there are many more people like his son who are in need of help. He encourages others to get help.
“When in pain, pray. When you worry, worship. When in grief, share it in your small group.”