Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can 'Faith' Bail Me Out of My Depression?

The treatment options available for people struggling with Depression have evolved significantly over the years. It wasn't too long ago that treatments such as blood letting, icy water submersion and lobotomies were the preferred cure for people suffering these type of illnesses. Today we have scores of humane treatment options and a menu of antidepressants to choose from, all promising to deliver people to the promised land, and return them to the living. Many have reported brilliant results with the use of these treatments, but there are others who haven't been quite as fortunate. To those who relate to this latter scenario, the best piece of advice I can offer is to let your FAITH take over. Right now the seas are too rough for you to navigate the boat. You need to move aside and let God steer for a while.

I can personally attest to the frustration these failures generate in the minds of people in pain. When it feels like you've tried everything and you're still not feeling better it zaps your motivation and plummets you into a world of despair and hopelessness. Nobody that has't experienced depression can understand what you're feeling, so you gradually isolate yourself from the world and you feel like this curse has invaded and taken you over completely. Sound familiar? I know, I've been there. So how did I finally surface from this environment of despair? It was strangely simple, I must admit, so simple that it probably doesn't qualify as a technique. But regardless of the brand you choose to give it, I urge you to give it a try. It's easy and its free and I promise it will give you a brand new perspective and a renewed sense of courage. What did I do? I SURRENDERED!

That's right, I surrendered. That little word that is usually associated with weakness is the strongest step you can take in your battle with depression. You see, others may not understand what you're going through, but God does. He knew all this would happen long before you were ever born and He has been waiting for you to ask for help. So instead of the anguish you put yourself through, trying to make sense of the past and dreading the future, try a different route. Try God. What's to lose?

Regardless of how you feel right now, this is not a life sentence. Eventually you will feel better, but its pointless to keep banging your head against the same wall. Did you ever hear the saying, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got?" It's true. Just stop, and say these words, "God, I'm tired and this is too much for me right now. I need your help." Then follow through. Give it all up to him and let him steer your boat right now. You'll see that with Him driving, you won't be landing in the same dark ports over and over again, but new ports filled with hope and strength. Do it now, He's waiting.


Elizabeth Barrette said...

It depends on the cause of your depression...

* If your depression is caused primarily by a biochemical imbalance, something needs to be done to make your body work right or compensate for the fact that it doesn't. Conventional medicine is probably the best bet; sometimes herbalism, dietary changes, or other alternative options may help or may work better.

* If your depression is caused by a life upheaval that happens and then stops, time is the main fix; you should return to normal eventually regardless of what is or isn't done, unless something else gets damaged in the meantime. Catastrophic upheavals can cause enough damage that the mind and/or body can't recover without help, in which case talking or other mental approaches may help the mind and pills or other physical approaches may help the body.

* If your depression is caused by ongoing ambient stressors, such as a toxic emotional environment or dietary problems, then it is unlikely to get better until you change your environment or move to a safer one, regardless of what else is done. Some things, such as talking or drugs, may blunt your awareness of the ongoing harm but won't actually fix it.

* If your depression is caused by a damaged or absent connection to the Divine, then spiritual work and faith will be needed to fix that; pills won't help and neither will anything else. This one is hard to cover up even somewhat with other methods.

* If your depression is caused by an untrained talent or unfulfilled life purpose, that needs to be taken care of. Nothing else will fix it, although some things such as drugs may blunt your awareness of the problem for a while.

* If your depression has multiple causes, which is fairly common, then each of them needs to be identified and addressed. Otherwise, any single effort will fix only part of the problem. Unfortunately, most care providers only know one style of treatment; a doctor won't think to check your spiritual health and a priest has no oversight for your physical health. So it's a good idea for you to take charge of visiting people who specialize in different fields, particularly if you've had the experience of "well, this sort of helps, but I still don't feel quite right."

Anonymous said...

I find that when I'm depressed I just can't reach out to God. My anti-depressants and mood stabilizer allow me to actually talk to Him again.

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