Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Reader Response: Grab the Lifeline!

Thanks to reader “No Name” for his question on the message board of my “He Was Ill” post:

“My last therapist (a nun) told me that “it was my purpose in life to suffer.” I don’t buy that for a second! My family shuns me (I apparently embarrass them) as did most of my friends when I had a breakdown some years ago. I don’t know where to go from here. Any suggestions?”

First of all, let me quote from two of your fellow readers who responded on the message board:

“It’s an uphill climb–and sometimes you slip and fall–but by God’s grace, you get back up and try again. My faith has kept me going.” –-Chris


“As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for the better part of 30 years, I say that there may not be a cure but you can get ‘better’. My advice is to read all the information you can get your hands on from the neuroscience in the brain of persons with this illness to the thoughts on meditation and medication … in short everything.” –Katy

For my part, I don’t believe that God intends for any of his children to suffer. Why does he allow us to suffer? Well, I’m trying to force that answer out of him in prayer. But I haven’t gotten anywhere yet.

So, until I can figure out his plan, I rely on support. It’s my lifeline. And that’s the first thing I’d do if I were you: grab the lifeline.


For years I relied on support group meetings. I went three to four times a week to listen to people who had similar stories as myself. Psychotherapy and different types of counseling sessions have also been helpful at certain points in my recovery.

Right now my support comes mostly from this blog (reaching out to others and learning how other depressives treat their depression), friends, and books.

I’ve mentioned before that I carry six phone numbers in my pocket (actually programmed into my cell phone now): Mike, mom, Trish (who filled the gap when my aunt GiGi died), Beatriz, Ann, and Michelle. During bad spells, I call two of them a day. For maintenance, I get by on two phone calls a week.


If none of them are available, or if they are but I’m feeling antisocial (or my mouth is extra dry from my meds and I don’t want to talk), I pull out one of my favorite books and start to read: usually William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” or Kay Redfield Jamison’s “A Quiet Mind.” Other great reads are Andrew Solomon’s “The Noonday Demon,” Ronald Fieve’s “Moodswing,” and Elizabeth Swado’s “My Depression: A Picture Book” (that one will give you a much-deserved laugh).


If you do one thing, find a friend who understands you. And then another. And another. They can point you to the right doctors in your area, and to other depressives who gather at various places around you to share their treatment secrets. Some of the DRADA groups here are networks for persons struggling with mental illnesses to swap information on counselors, doctors, and hospital (or other kinds of) treatment programs. You might also check out their groups online, to find one near you. NAMI too has very useful information, especially for the families of mentally ill persons.

If you’d rather not lift a leg from your bed, then start to make friends by clicking on the comments to the “He Was Ill” post. There you’ll find several like-minded people rooting for you and everyone else who suffers like you do.

  • http://HASH(0xd009640) in_the_dumps

    I have been depressed for most of my life and have received treatment off and on for the last twenty years. I am one of those people who meds don’t work well enough to suffer through the side effects. So I have to just tough it out. I am so tired of the physical and mental pain in this body, I truely understand those who say “no more”. I’ve begun to wonder if suicide is a part of life, and more a learning experience for people left behind. Rather then condemning those souls to an eternity of suffering, as taught by the church, God accepts them home. They have suffered enough.I of course understand why the church couldn’t teach this. We’d have people jumping off bridges because they couldn’t get a loan or other such nonsense. But if ‘our lives are recorded, God knew us before we were born, when we were young, when we got old’, why would our suicide be any more a surprise than our birth, to God? Just wondering.

  • http://HASH(0xd009bf8) Walter…South Carolina

    Well, I will give you my opinion; I think that even though God DID know us before we were born…we have a free will to choose right or wrong when we get to that “crossroad” and each of those decisions influences the next and so on. As in the Bible,when Adam and Eve were perfect and in a perfect place, they still had free will…that is how satan was able to manipulate them into sin. You see, if it was not like that, we would be merely walking around like robots and God did not want that. It would be the same as your child having to play what sport YOU wanted,take whatever college courses YOU want, etc. Now also,about the suicide topic… I have had people tell me that EVERYONE who commits suicide will not be saved. I do not necessarily agree with passing judgment. That is Gods place. But,here are a few things to ponder: Look at James 4:17(when I read this It makes me think that,if someone is what we call “retarded” or does not have the ability to reason rashionally to know that suicide may be wrong and they take their life…I believe it is between them and God. Now,read this that I copied from a search I did on Blingo(suicide in the bible)…Again let’s go to Scripture and see what a biblical response to being at the end of our rope is: (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NIV) [8] We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. [9] Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. [10] He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, [11] as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. Paul too was at the end of his rope, and when he says he felt the sentence of death and despaired even of life, he is saying the same thing that the person who commits suicide is saying. The difference is that Paul said it with words not actions and in fact then realized this all was to help him learn to lean more fully on the Lord. That is what a true relationship with Christ is all about. He also says that he was greatly helped by the prayers of other believers. I hope that I have helped here in some way.

  • http://HASH(0xd00b4d8) Mason Metz

    How will tacking ones life Help If you are not there to live it? I don’t think that is what god intended us to do you can’t help if you can’t share your feelings with others around you. You don’t like the pain your feeling. Why would you think others will like that pain? Do you think that they should kill themselves to after they have to feel the pain of loosing you? NO THAT IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS ANY OF US TO DO. HE died so that we could live in him you would be destroying the very thing he created for everyone. SO you see that is not the answer. Some times it is the very painful things that that make us stronger. Sometimes pain is necessary for survival. So be strong for your happiness to survive. It is the ones who survive this who will truly be happy. Mason Metz

  • http://HASH(0xd00bbe0) Mason Metz

    I forgot to tell you that these thoughts may come to you many times in your life. Each one will get you through the next. Never give up. I always told my kids that there are 3 words together that I don’t believe in and that is I CAN’T. I believe if you say I can t. You didn’t try. You can always come to me and say I couldn’t. An I will always be there to help you try again. You just have to believe things will always be better if you truly want them to

  • http://HASH(0xd008140) Bill Peterson

    Yes, all mortals were given free-will at birth.If “bad circumstances” were forced upon you & caused depression then a program of meaningful PRAYER could get a mortal out of the “bad circumstance” that faces you. I suggest you go to “The Seven Great Prayers” by Paul McManus at:

  • http://HASH(0xd00daa8) Marie

    Is it wrong to ask why God allows suffering? Some worry that asking such a question means that they do not have enough faith or that they are showing disrespect for God. When reading the Bible,however,you will find that faithful,god-fearing people had similar questions. For example Habakkuk 1:3 Did god scold the faithful prophet Habakkuk for asking such questions? No.Instead,God included Habakkuk’s sincere words in the Bible record. God helped him to get a clearer understanding of the matters and to gain greater faith. People of various religions have gone to their religious leaders and teachers to ask why there is so much suffering. Often, the response is that suffering is God’s will and that he long ago determined everything that would ever happen, including tragic events. Many are told that God’s ways are mysterious or that he brings death upon people-even children-so that he can have them in heaven with him. But God never causes what is bad. The Bible says: Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly! Job 34:10 Do you know why people make the mistake of blaming God for all the suffering in the world? Its because they think that he is the real ruler of this world. They do not know a simple but important truth that the bible teaches. The real ruler of this world is Satan the Devil. As 1 John 5:19 says. When you think about it, does that not make sense? This world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”Rev.12:9 Satan is hateful,deceptive,and cruel.So the world,under his influence, is full of hatred,deceit,and cruelty.That is one reason why there is so much suffering. 2nd reason why there is so much suffering is that,mankind has been imperfect and sinful ever since the rebellion in the garden of Eden. Sinful humans tend to struggle for dominance, and this results in wars,oppression,and suffering.Ecclesiastes4:1;8:9 3rd reason for suffering is:”time and unforeseen occurrence.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 In a world without god as a protective Ruler, people may suffer because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is comforting for us to know that God does not cause suffering. He is not responsible for the wars, the crimes, the oppression, or even the natural disasters that cause people to suffer. Still, we need to know,Why does god allow all this suffering? If he is the Almighty, he has the power to stop it. Why, then, does he hold back? The loving God that we have come to know must have a good reason. 1 John 4:8 If you would like to know you may contact me by the email addy below. With warm regards

  • http://HASH(0xd00ddcc) Suzanne

    I agree with all authors that God does not cause suffering, nor does He allow us to stay in that state forever. If we will just pray fervently, from the heart, about our soul’s condition, He will give an answer. That “still, small voice” is not only your conscience, it is God’s voice in your world. I have known great suffering, both physically and emotionally – a traumatic accident at school when I was 11, that kept me in the hospital for 3 months; a nervous breakdown when I had attained my dream job in Washington, D.C.; two more breakdowns, the last in 1977. I tell you this because the doctors finally diagnosed me with Bi-Polar Disorder, and through trial and error, were able to prescribe medications that have helped. I also see a therapist twice a month to keep me grounded. I have had only one clinical depression in which I THOUGHT of suicide – but I am too much a “child of God” to ever go through with it. I have known a couple of suicides, both of which I did not understand. They were both young, attractive, well-off, and supposedly happy. What a tangled web we weave…The Bible says God does not condone suicide; according to the blog above, I’m am sure He would welcome someone who is in critical pain and the only way out was, in their minds, to take their own lives. Pain was invented by the Devil, and he is the ruler of this world. Wars, natural disasters, murders, rape, some mental illness – these are all results of Satan in this world. But the free will to choose God as our savior, will release us from the pain. Easter is coming, and with it, the eternal hope of resurrection. If you don’t have a good psychiatrist, or you’re not on meds, GET THEE HENCE. Bi-Polar Disorder, as well as clinical depression, can’t be CURED; they can only be maintained. Since 1977, I have had at least 5 hypomanic episodes, all of which were treated on an out-patient basis, and that’s because the local community mental health facility cared enough to get me through it. I have successfully come out the other side; I have my own condo; a part-time consulting job; two cats that try their best to keep me grounded; and, last but not least, a support unit of at least 3 people whom I can call, day or night, on which to “vent” and get over whatever “day”mares I might be going through at the time. Saying to you to “wait it out” might sound difficult at this time, but you’d be surprised at “what difference a day makes.” I hope this has been helpful, and I wish you the peace that transcendeth all understanding.

  • http://HASH(0xd00ed2c) Krystle Holden

    Ok first you are right, It is not the Will of God that you suffer,God is our father and its like this, would you want your childern to suffer for any reason ? NO !Second its not God that causes suffering its the devil, and people blame God when really its their own mistakes that has allowed the devil to enter into their lives, and sometimes not even their fault at all but still, its definily the devil. Jesus came to this earth so that he could see you healed ! mind, body and soul ! its called compleat salvation. I have been in church for 4 yrs now and just this yr i am finally STANDING on the word, and for 4 yrs after salvation, i was plagued with depression also, even since i was real young. But finally I have taken the Lord at his word trusting that he is NOT a lier and SPEAKING 1 Thessalions 5:16 into my life, ” I am rejoycing always in Jesus name” I tell this to everyone that knows me and truly i am rejoycing always ! it makes me sooooooooo happy to know that my God is big enough that all i gotta do is, say something that he said about me and speak it into my life and it happens ! The word truly does manifest itself ! Mark 16:20 the word is awesome ! ya know the bible says Hebrews 4:12 that the word divides the soul(let the word, cut all the bad things out of your soul,the realm where you hurt,so that you may be cured from your depression like me.God is awesome and i trust that he will do for you what he has done for me, DO NOT SPEAK BAD WORDS AGAINGST THE GOOD WORDS YOU HAVE SPOKEN OR YOU JUST KNOCKED YOURSELF BACK TO GROUND ZERO ! ),so my suggestion for the best thing you could do for yourself is speak the word over your self. I have a my space if you want more of the word and things to say and speak over yourself and other things such as salvation and living right My name is Bluebird and use my email to search for me too, id be glad to talk to you and anyone else who may need to know the word, your prayers have been answered ! are you listing ?

  • http://HASH(0xd00f404) Krystle Holden

    sorry i thought it would show,

  • http://HASH(0xd0104e4) Kay

    There are times that not even a friend will be there to answer our calls, but I think God wants us to call Him, ask Him for help, talk to Him like you talk to your human friend, tell Him what is troubling you, cry to Him if you want. Know this, when you call out His Name He will be there always to answer your call, He will never forsake you, for God in Heaven loves you, too. He will understand you, comfort you and secure you. Have Faith in Him, Believe in Him for He is right there beside you. Ask Him for guidance in your daily life, even every second of it, for He will not led you astray. May Peace be with you always!

  • http://HASH(0xd010bec) VEE


  • http://HASH(0xd010f10) nicki

    hi, i read a book called..”The Evolution Angel” it answered all my questions..i have peace now because i have understanding…i don’t remember the authors name but i can tell you he is an emergency room doc. the book is a paper back book, green in color….good book….really good book…i think you all would enjoy reading it…i did…i read it 5 times….:)

  • http://HASH(0xd013de0) cornell thomas

    Hear this, “we have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge.” Also, “We perish for a lack of knowledge.” Our heavenly Father is One with His Word. He will not nor can He be different or do different than His true Word. The problem lies always with us for a lack of discernment, understanding, comprehension, obedience, applicaton, keeping it, trusting in it, accepting it, believing in it, applying it, abiding in it etc. In the book of Mathews, “When Jesus went back to his own hometown, because of their unbelief, He could not heal but a few”. In Ephesians, it says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It also tells us to put on the whole armour of God so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil(the enemy). Our strongest weapon for us or against us is the words that come out of our mouth (Prov 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”. Our Creator has order by His laws that operate whether we recognize them or not. One of the laws is whatever seeds we plant, the same we will harvest. The bottom line is we know the difference between evil and good by experience. God did not want this (humans to experience evil and suffering) and instructed Adam and Eve to avoid this. But they disobeyed; hence, we now know evil. It is the results of disobeying God. But be encourage, Jesus obtained victory. It is by accepting Him and obiding in Him (the Word) that we too CAN be victorious. Suffering is usually because of disobedience, a like of faith, and not trusting God, which is witnessed by our conversation and actions. When we get our conversation (every word) to to be in harmony with God’s Word, our deeds (actions or fruits) to comply with what He (the Word) say do, totally trusting Him (the Word) and surrender to Him, asking and reminding Him of what He (the Word says), then we can expect His promises (the Word) to rein true for us. Remember, faith comes from hearing His Word (Rom 10:17) and we walk by faith (in His Word), not by sight – 2 cor 5:7. Matthew 28:18 tells us that “all power in heaven and in earth was given to Jesus” and that SAME power, He (Jesus) gives to us (those who believe in Him and accept Him as their Saviour and LORD. So be of good cheer and overcome the world by trusting in Him (the Word) and abiding (doing, living, applying, etc) in His Holy Word. Isaiah 53 “… 5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised foer our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace wqas upon hium; and with his stripes, we are healed. (done deed). Peter says .. “…by whose stripes ye were healed” (done deed) 1 pet 2:24. So just claim, believe, and accept even when it is not evident in the physical but have faith that it is a done deed in the spirit. Therefore, let your conversations and actions testify of this done deed and it shall be as He (the Word) says. So be strong and of good courage for greater He the Holy Spirit) that is in you than he that is in the world. My email is if you would like to communicate more.

  • http://HASH(0xd0149c8) aletha

    I believe that we suffer because in order to know true peace we must experience turmoil.

  • http://HASH(0xd015330) cyndi

    I too have had a long history with depression. Grew up with alot of abuse, and addictions, which I was taught I couldn’t do anything about. I can take care of me and change me but no one else. I recent was forced out of a long term relationship with a addict and bi polar husband. It did however help me to see somethings about myself, I attend 12 step meetings which have been a god send for me. I am learning to accept others for who they are, the only thing I can change is me. My x tried to kill himself a few times ussually after him being caught cheating, so part of that was manipulation. I have come to realize that some folks need or crave as part of thier addiction alot of chaos in thier lives, I used to be like that but am changing. I was taught and always believed that there was something wrong with me, that I was defective. I now realize that I am just as god intended me to be and not defective. I really believe a certain amount of depression and anxiety are normal in our fast moving world. I really like what was said about keeping friends phone numbers for emergency calls. Life is full of stressors and if you have people who will listen that is a true gift. For me it is like a pressure valve and when I don’t let off steam it comes out in some very uncomfortable crazy making ways, which then I percieve as proof that I am crazy, which now I realize isn’t true. Some folks go to a meeting everyday when they are in a crisis, I am not real good at being totally honest about what bothers me, but I am learning. Take what you like and leave the rest.

  • http://HASH(0xd016130) anon

    According to my psyciatrist, I’m no longer depressed and don’t need medication or her therapy any longer. That was approx. a month ago..I say hurray…I’m not certain as I still have days that I feel really down, but I’m thinking that’s a natural response to grieving and my path is going the way it’s supposed to. I have other issues as we all do and I’m trying to live with them as well. I’m certain that all will work out in that dept. too. Actually right now my eyes are dialated for a procedure I had done today so I shouldn’t even be on the pc. Having difficulties seeing needless to say..Good luck to all that are “depressed and being treated,” as I feel badly for anyone that is. It’s not a swell place to be in. I’m hoping that I will stay well and never look back to that place in time again except with resolve and knowing that there is nothing to be done other than try to accept and live again……

  • http://HASH(0xd016454) blueeyes

    having suffered depression for 30 years in my life the only thing that i found to help me beyond drugs is to have a loving family, have good friends , and someone who understands what and why you are depressed.also you need to divert your attention to something that releases your tensions, for me it is all the people around me , also i look at my brother who is quadriplegic from birth ,and thank god that he gave me two good legs ,two good arms ,and the ability to love .

  • http://HASH(0xd018354) mia

    Depression and anxiety have been a big part of my life and now I can finally say I have it under control. I found a medication that works for me but meds are not the only thing. I am thankful I have good support from family and friends. I have also found a spirituality that suits me and I have found strenght in it. Meditation has helped me a great deal too. I realized it is many little things that can help a person get better not just one thing. There is no magic pill. I never thought I could get better. I thought I was meant to be depressed and I was meant to not live. I was wrong. I am alive today and I am meant to be here and I have a lot of work to do :)) Life can be great!

  • http://HASH(0xd019e24) JOYCEE


  • http://HASH(0xd01a604) Robb Robinson

    As a healer and a believer in all religions, Faith it’s self holds all answer’s due to Gods will to intend for us to grow exponentually in a search for the truth and the righteousness to always do our best and not to let the wrong doing’s of other people’s children to intervue but to reach out toward one another and help teach ourselve’s and everyone else to remember we are not alone and comfort the mistaken in all of us to grow where growth is allowed not persecuded. Amen I pray for all of us to become competent and ambious in the right and the knowing of the all mighty. and soon this to will pass and our lives will be given back whole and not void of lack of within but abundant from outside us and all around us. Never give depression a home where it should not have been given. amen and be strong for you will will your own destiny in the appropiate time. Robb

  • http://HASH(0xd01b02c) GUSTAVO LOMELI


  • http://HASH(0xd01b350) GUSTAVO LOMELI


  • http://HASH(0xd01c5d8) regrtful

    I believe, like many others on here, that God does not allow suffering but my flesh or my ego delights in it as it is slowly trying to kill me from the inside to the out. God knows that I have had enough crap happen in my life to know that my actions not God’s wrath or vengence was to blame. My actions have consequences to each one either beneficial to those involved and myself, or very hurtful to those involved and myself. I believe that what I am going thru today will pass and that if what I thought to be real love was actually “real” then this personn and myself will learn what we could only learn thru this type of painful situation, or we will never speak again. I know this, I have been changed though it is a lot like the blacksmith’s iron, It burns like hell before it finally cools and molds. With Love

  • Anonymous

    I am so sorry for your pain. I guess the answer to your question depends on what religion you subscribe to (because often times your beliefs are embedded there). I am a Christian and attend a wonderful loving supportive church and it is interesting because a lot of the attendes are counselors. The churches mission is to love God others and self, with a healthy understanding of who we are in Christ. If I could say anything I would pray you could find a wonderful “normal” church who exceptes and loves you.
    In the bible it says that God loved us so much, however he gave us “CHOICE” to choose Him. Basically he said life on earth is literally a blink, and you have the freedom to follow and love me, or not. Obviously with every decision we make there are consequences, sometimes grave consequences. We also know that so many people make decisions that negatively or positively affect us, so on and so forth.
    God is not a controller, and he has said he will not stand in our way.
    I know that Christ lives in me, and the more I walk with him, the more I learn about what it is to be a beautiful selfless person, who forgives, learns, share and grows with him. There is so much truth connected with our identity in Christ. We are so loved and that outpouring of love can fly to others. There are so many things we go through some very painful, however in my experience I have been able to be others lifeline from what I have been through, and vice versa.
    You are so worthy to be Free in your mind. Christ came to set you free. We are in this world not of this world. I know we are all given a “mantle” to hold, and often times are character is tested so that it can sustain the gift, (usually it is a gift we are given that fills us while helping others).
    A great read is
    Sacred Romance by John Eldrige, and all of his books are awesome. I have been through depression several times, for long periods, and often times “real” books that have met me where I was at and were so inspirational helped me to literally tears the chains down. Amen!!!
    With love,
    Your sister in God.

  • brandon

    I believe that the reason we are allowed to suffer is to better ourselves on a whole. If you coast through life saying you believe, but never have your beliefs tested, you can never truly grow. Experiencing a true test of faith is the only path to growing stronger as a christian or whatever your belief may be. As a side note, most the suffering we go through is caused by our own actions, or someone elses actions that by our suffering helps them back to God, therefore even if we are suffering it is always for the better if we just endure and continue to pray and strengthen our bonds with God.
    P.S. post your opinions as i am only 15 and this is just what i have learned from my short time living. I am looking to learn more aswell so tell me what you think please.

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