Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Depression: It’s Spiritually Incorrect

posted by Beyond Blue

I’ve been politically incorrect for as long as I can remember. I really should wear a sign around my neck that says “I apologize if I say something offensive,” because it feels like I am eating the soles of my shoes a few times a day.

But when it comes to my mood disorder, I think that “spiritually incorrect” is the better term.

There are lots of “spiritual” approaches to treating depression, each of which has a devoted following. There are “The Secret“-loving folks (and half of Oprah’s viewers) telling me that all I have to do to feel good is think positive thoughts–to throw the intention of personal sanity and well-being into the universe and fetch it when it returns to me. Then there are the Tom Cruise disciples warning me about those toxic pharmaceuticals I’m putting into my body (they say fish oil and vitamins are enough). Then there are the New-Agers claiming that mental health is only one yoga class, acupuncture session, or hour of Tibetan meditation away. (FYI: I believe in all these things–positive thinking, fish oil, vitamins, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation–but they alone could not treat my clinical, suicidal depression.)

And then, even more dangerous (in my opinion), I have intelligent, theologically-trained pastors, priests, and ministers of every denomination advising me that God alone is what I need–that if I read the Word, and lay my head on Jesus, then I can stop seeing both my psychiatrist and therapist.

Because prayer alone will be enough heal me.

In the face of such ignorance I say this, a prayer a priest friend recently taught me: “Jesus, save me from your followers.” (Or, my secular version: “I’m sorry. My fault. I forgot you were an idiot.”)

If I sound angry, it’s for a good reason. These attitudes not only perpetuate the stigma of mental illness–they worsen the depression of millions of people around the globe because, in addition to their other symptoms, the depressives now feel responsible and guilty for having brought on the pain themselves. And in trying to overcome it by themselves (with the help of their prayer beads), they stay stuck in the Black Hole, or resort to suicide.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that religious leaders who are uninformed about mental health are plentiful.

Back when I was a sophomore in college, a priest preached in his homily that “the world needs God, not Valium, and that the place to go with problems is the confessional, not a psychologist’s office.” I stood up and walked out. Every now and then I’ll hear a variation of it, and I’m tempted again to walk out again (but with kids, that’s not so easy).

In the psych ward–where I thought I was free of judgmental, evangelical lunatics–I was accosted by an ignorant pastor. After the chapel service, where we read psalms and sang “Amazing Grace,” he told me to stay put (because I couldn’t stop crying?).

Pointing his holy finger at me he said, “Honey, all you need is the Word. I was right where you are. I was down and out too, and then I picked up the Bible and God cured me. Praise the Lord! All you have to do is believe.” I was so doped up on sedatives at the time that I don’t remember what I said to him, but I don’t think it was nice.



The other day I found another warm fuzzy when (what was I thinking?) I Googled my name. It was a response to an article about depression I wrote for Catholic News Service. I have no idea who this guy is, and I’m not anxious to meet him, but this is what he said on his blog:

It wasn’t easy dealing with crazy people a hundred years ago, and it still isn’t. Medication helps a lot of people and it is kind of an “Oh, crap what do I do now” kind of solution. But here’s the kicker: melancholy is a gift that this culture desperately needs. Those of melancholic temperament tend to be a little bit deeper than the average person. It is a gift and a cross that the depressive has to bear. So what do you do on the days that you just can’t do anything at all? When you are so damn sick that you can’t get out of bed? You ask for the strength to go on. Look at Jesus, who is on the next cross over, and cry to Him. Tell Him this really sucks and you don’t want to do it. Maybe He will tell you to stay in bed. He’s really cool like that and He won’t push you too hard. But maybe His love will give you the strength to go on. And that’s what makes a hero.

I hope his heroes stay alive longer than the ones I know. Because plenty of folk–like Holocaust survivor Primo Levi–have perished on their knees.

Somehow Christians and God-fearers of all religions are programmed to believe they are “above” mental illness and depression. Faith conquers all.

Even though these devout individuals don’t feel morally weak when coming down with a stomach bug, or something more serious like a viral pneumonia or arthritis, they absolutely do feel morally bereft if anything (genes, stress, illness, trauma) disrupts the structure and function of brain cells, destroying nerve cell connections–resulting in neural roadblock to the processing of information (which happens with depression).

Thank God for the few examples, like Archbishop Raymond Roussin of Vancouver, British Columbia, who have gone public with their struggles.

I remember the afternoon my guardian angel Ann forwarded me the news clip stating that Roussin was taking six months off in order to treat his depression. I was buried in the Black Hole myself, and, empowered by his courage, asked for a six-month leave myself from my writing responsibilities–especially from the regular column I write for Catholic News Service.

I felt as though I had another believer in this with me, and we were going to rest and get well together, even maybe using this horrible pain to teach and instruct others who may experience it later in their lives.

The spiritual bond I felt with Roussin has deepened as I’ve seen him emerge publicly as an unbelievable honest, vulnerable, caring, and brave religious leader. Because of him (and others like him), I am proud to be Catholic.

Roussin’s recovery from depression reminds me of the wisdom of that joke about the guy who dies in a flood despite his prayers for God’s rescue.

As the floodwaters rise, a man named Sam calls for God’s help.

First a neighbor offers him a ladder.

“Nope, my God is coming,” Sam replies.

Then the police arrive with a rescue boat. “Hop on board!” they instruct him.

“Thanks but no thanks,” Sam says, “God will save me.”

And finally the national guard provide a helicopter, and he tells them to go away, too.

Sam dies, goes to heaven, and asks God, “Why didn’t you rescue me?”

“I sent a ladder, a lifeboat, and a helicopter…what more could I do?” says God.

Today it seems to me that anyone who suffers from depression (and admits it) is a tad spiritually incorrect. And especially if she accepts the help of the ladder, lifeboat, and helicopter (medication, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and so on). But hopefully, with enough people like Roussin educating religious leaders, that will soon change.

Or maybe I’ll just have to hang on to the sign around my neck.



  • http://HASH(0xce5e8d8) Rhonda

    Amen to this post. I have sat listening while a religious teacher talked of ‘guilt’ leading to depression… WT… my brain defiantely screamed. Guilt i’m familiar with, but it usually arrives after I’ve reached bottom. One, I feel guilty for faking it. ‘It’, being life and pretending to be a ‘normal person’. Two, I feel guilty that I can no longer fake it. Some people can not comprehend the depths of clinical depression and find it hard to believe that a highly functioning individual can be brought to the fetal postition and unable to function. I thank God for my doctors, my working medicinal cocktail, and all other helps available. For those whom think they know what causes, leads to, or cures depression… I don’t pay much attention. While they have theories most have not lived the reality. Treating depression is a matter of art and science and I look forward to new discoveries but most of all I hope for better education.

  • http://HASH(0xce5ebd8) Melanie

    This is an awesome blog. At my old protestent church, a whole sermon was done on a simular topic and I was scgoked and huet as a sufferer of deprssion. I can only hope that it hasn’t done to much damage to the physiology of my brain

  • http://HASH(0xce5fedc) Melanie

    i mean shocked

  • http://HASH(0xce6091c) Margaret

    Thank you so much for Depression:It’s Spiritually Incorrect. There was a poster in the Episcopal Church I attended in GA. It was a picture of Jesus and read,”He died to take away your sins, not your mind!” I love that because I’ve always said that God gave us brains & expects us to use them. Unfortuately, I’ve known too many “Christians” who are all too willing to give up thinking for themselves and follow what the minister says, no matter how ignorant he/she may be. Too often, the Church makes things worse for those of us suffering from depression. I know that with God, all things are possible, and I also know that God works through people, ie psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, etc.

  • http://HASH(0xce61300) HASH(0xce6121c)

    love your blog-so honest and real- have a few issues myself-some depression,anxiety etc.-haven’t quite been where you have- but nothing would surprise me as far as that goes…laughed about the “helping others”- I recently,finally ,admitted that I am not a do-gooder ! it was great!( I have other strengths,as do you.) Telling the truth is a good thing-usually.Am also over trying to be the perfect Mom or christian or whatever,just passed 40, I think that helped -so far mid-life is so much easier. Thanks for sharing what I well know is painful “stuff”-there are plenty of us out here-fighting that overcoming tide-

  • http://HASH(0xce624a0) elmo

    I am also someone with lifelong depression. Been on anti-depressants for 20 years (and I am not yet 40!) and can relate to much of what you write here. With that said, however, Jesus healed the sick and the lame. He even raised the dead. If he could do this for those people, why can’t he do this for you and for me? I think it’s important to distinguish between people who are like the friends of Job who unhelpfully “help” him when his life goes to shit, and those who are exhorting us to keep praying, asking Christ to heal us if it’s God’s will, or if not, to give us the strength to bear this cross.

  • http://HASH(0xce627b8) Anonymous

    Thank you for expressing so clearly what society (and especially the religious community) needs to hear. I had to put up with people at church telling me “You just don’t have enough faith” when my husband was diagnosed (& later died) from a terminal illness. Learning to forgive those types of people was very difficult, but, it is out of ignorance that they speak.

  • http://HASH(0xce631f8) Rachel

    I have had struggles with depression since I was 7. It helps me to forget what the people around me who have never been behind my skull and go around spouting off slogans like, “Happiness is a choice!” when I turn to the good book itself. A lot of godly men and women struggled with depression. There’s David, Job, Naomi, Solomon, and Elijah just to name a few. I don’t know if these people were depressed in the clinical sense, but it seems that feeling bad does not automatically make you a bad person. What about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? He was so unhappy that he sweat drops of blood and nearly died before he could reach the cross. Jesus was called the man of many sorrows, not the man of jollification, by the way.

  • Victoria Chall

    As a person with 3/4rth of a Master of Divinity degree, I can tell you that I so very much disagreed with the Methodist Church and it’s non-help to the Mentally Ill, that I quit a Seminary. No empathy there… just judgement and fear.
    And as a woman who has gone through 5 Clinical Depressions in 25 years with varied results on meds or not, I had always felt that when I was in the deepest part of the depressive state that God had utterly abandoned me. Where is God when nothing touches you; not family, not beauty, not hope, and no angels. I was beyond the “still voice” and only in the abyss. This is an absolute state of being alone in the universe. I was dialing but there was no answer.
    I have blessedly joined the Episcopal Church at a large urban church that has plenty of clergy and they all have training in making referrals to psychotherapy for the parishoner. Thank God with whom I am now enjoyed a wondrous relationship with.

  • Mary

    I have something to think about.. was Moses bi polar? He heard voices. and they say it was the voice of God..
    Now a days when people say they hear voices they say it is mental illness.
    Another thing I want to say is… I had a friend that the court made take a shot every three months. If these shots were suppose to “balance her brain chemicals” Then why is it she became stiff as a board and was in pain? Seemed to me that if the shots were to balance her Chemicals then it should not have messed with her other body parts. What is the name of the chemical and why can’t that be replaced with a vitamin?

  • dennis

    There seems to be several on-going blogs about depression – and, I think that’s good. To attack any one or the other professon or kind of friend who tries to help may be anti-productive (IMHO)
    I’ve survived 70 years of seeing the world from a rollercoaster – up/down/in/out – all of it a “Wheee!” – but not all of it a pleasant “Whee!” Adding resentments toward groups of people with UNhelpful advice has never helped me.
    As they say in AA and AlAnon (the 12 Step Programs of which I survive and sometimes prosper) “Take what you can use – and leave the rest!”
    ALL of the modalities I’ve heard mention can be helpful to some – at the right time, in the right balance. Take what helps and discard the rest – for the time being. Frankly if someone had it in them to just hug me on a regular basis or hummm a simple song 24 hours a day to me – I’d be healed from now on. But, we don’t do that for other people, do we?

  • dennis

    I just realized that in my note above I did not do for you what I wish done for myself at times – usually!
    First, I state to you that tho’ I don’t know exactly how you feel I hear your pain and know it must be tough going through what you go through now and then.
    Second, I’ve danced the Sufi dance with friends on full moons at the equinox (4x a year) It has a beautiful, simple dance and the words are these: “From you I receive, to you I give. Together we grow – in this we live!”
    Third, There is a song that has no words, but it is expressed in the vibration that comes from the heart and flutters the lips oh so gentle and goes out to you (and I grab some in the process) Here it is:
    “Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” (This hummm is the sound oflove for you personally from me to you. I’d like for you to embrace it as I am embracing you now)

  • Raymond Goeckler JR

    I am Manic-Depressive or now called Bi-Polar,have suffered with this for over thirty years,had elecrial shock traeatment ,received numberous antidressive drugs,have had several bad alleric reactions from some convulsions,swellig up red skin all over,burning tinging of left hand ,arm,sholder,chest,heart stoped.Dr. tested Heart,neck for peinced nerve,all testes showed no evivide of having a heart attack,or that I May have a nerve compressed.Tried sucide 3 times,still here.God must still have a plan for me.Which Jesus is working on in me.I am reading,studying my condition,and tryingto hang on.Looking for a prayer ‘Blessed was the day and Holy was thou when our Savior Lor Jesus Christ first came into the world,[about 6 words not given at end for healing].

  • Anonymous

    Dennis, you’re a sweetheart.
    I’m delighted to have found this place. I am trying to recover from 20 years of forced membership in a cult called the Deformed, I mean, Reformed Church. And, I laughed outloud for the first time in many many months, maybe years, at the Jesus Prayer! Thanks

  • Prescilla

    YOU GO GIRL!!!
    I faced the same thing in my church and it wasn’t pretty what I had to say. This born again christian had a few choice things to tell those that thought she was “mental”.
    YES!! It’s not just me. That alone makes me feel much better.
    Thank you.

  • LJ

    I find it interesting, to say the least, that at my most contemplative time about the process of writing a book, I find this story.
    Not just any book.. but a book about my father’s struggle with mental illness. I won’t go into the details of the 25 year HELL this man has suffered. But, what I will contribute is the analogy my very dear grandmother passed onto my children about their Papa.
    “We have illness and disease in this world. People you know suffer from different ailments all around you. Grandma suffers from diabetes that she contracted as a child. Without my “medicine” I would become blind, loose limbs and eventually die. God works through special people in special fields by putting thoughts and ideas in their minds about cures for diseases. Sometimes though, some people in the world get confused about what is really a disease and what and who needs God’s medicine. Did you notice I said God’s medicine? Did you know that all of the cures for diseases God has provided us with. Even small things like headaches were given a remedy for. Bark from the birch tree is what aspirin is made from. Before it was aspirin, they used the bark from the tree. Maybe we as a society have gotten too far away from the “natural” part of the remedy… but almost all pharmaceutical
    medicine is predominately made from the plants, roots, flowers, venom, etc. of the things God provided us with. Papa has a mental disease. It is not that hard to understand. Grandma would die without her medicine and so would Papa. We have been given the cures all around us. It’s just taking longer to find some of them than others. We want Papa to be whole, or as whole as he can be. The only thing that seems to help him is the medicine he takes. That is how God is helping him. Just always remember that…..Don’t judge a “remedy” that works for someone. It may just be that God is answering their prayers in that way. Even if it is different from what we think will work……”

  • LJ

    I find it interesting, to say the least, that at my most contemplative time about the process of writing a book, I find this story.
    Not just any book.. but a book about my father’s struggle with mental illness. I won’t go into the details of the 25 year HELL this man has suffered. But, what I will contribute is the analogy my very dear grandmother passed onto my children about their Papa.
    “We have illness and disease in this world. People you know suffer from different ailments all around you. Grandma suffers from diabetes that she contracted as a child. Without my “medicine” I would become blind, loose limbs and eventually die. God works through special people in special fields by putting thoughts and ideas in their minds about cures for diseases. Sometimes though, some people in the world get confused about what is really a disease and what and who needs God’s medicine. Did you notice I said God’s medicine? Did you know that all of the cures for diseases God has provided us with. Even small things like headaches were given a remedy for. Bark from the birch tree is what aspirin is made from. Before it was aspirin, they used the bark from the tree. Maybe we as a society have gotten too far away from the “natural” part of the remedy… but almost all pharmaceutical
    medicine is predominately made from the plants, roots, flowers, venom, etc. of the things God provided us with. Papa has a mental disease. It is not that hard to understand. Grandma would die without her medicine and so would Papa. We have been given the cures all around us. It’s just taking longer to find some of them than others. We want Papa to be whole, or as whole as he can be. The only thing that seems to help him is the medicine he takes. That is how God is helping him. Just always remember that…..Don’t judge a “remedy” that works for someone. It may just be that God is answering their prayers in that way. Even if it is different from what we think will work……”

  • Iris Alantiel

    I personally find prayer very healing as I recover (fingers crossed that this is recovery), but I think you’re right, Therese. It isn’t all you need. Sometimes you need that helicopter, too. I’ve had times when I couldn’t even reach a place when prayer was possible. And I don’t think my depression is near as severe as some others’.

  • ROZ

    This is my 1st time here. I suffer w/severe depression but I have chosen to deal with it one day @ a time without meds and w/o counseling but it is extremely hard. I’m 44 and have thought of suicide for the past 30 years. But fortunately I am a coward and because of my faith am afraid of hell after earth. I have not suffered hell on earth over 2/3′s of my life to commit suicide and be condemned to hell for eternity. So I stumble through life one miserable day @ a time. I have lost everything in my life that I love except my mother and she doesn’t understand my depression either. My husband left me @ 27 w/a set of 4 yr old twins which I have raised alone. I thought I’d be the perfect mom by giving them everything they wanted and needed. I was the neighborhood cool mom that all the kids wanted to hang around and talk to about their problems and I did the basketball, football, track, ROTC, dance, praise dance, cheerleading, choir rehersal, bible study and church things with my twins all the time. I never had (or wanted) time for myself and we were never home on any night because I was trying to be a good mom and keep my kids active and involved. They did good in school one graduated suma cum laud, head cheerleader & student council vp and the other a above average student in ROTC and active in church and other things, they didn’t start giving me trouble til college/now. They are 21 and both hate me. They have left home and don’t talk to me at all. I’m all alone in the world and that calls for depression, serious depression. My mom even says that they love me and it’s just me. People on the outside looking in never understand so I just keep it all inside and try to make since of my senseless life one day at a time. I don’t meditate, and I’m not really praying right now because I feel that God has to be mad @ me for some reason or I’m paying for something that I did in my past. I saw a therapist for a little while but she just wanted to medicate me and send me to someone else, so I stopped seeing her. I can’t afford to pay endless $30 @ a time anyway. As I cry daily and try to make sense of it all,I just go it alone one day @ a time. It’s not good to know that there are other people out there that suffer just as much as I do but it is good to know I can tell you guys my feelings without judgement. Thanks all.

  • Connie

    ROZ, Hello, My name is Connie and I just can imagine how living day to day with depression is taking a toll on you… I am 38 year’s old and I’ve been living with depression since I was a kid… I did it day to day and just almost a month ago, I took my full bottle of (xanax) which is suscribed to me for herniated disk’s and managed to kill myself, the EMS brought me back to life when I died in the ambulance and for my efforts I got to spend 3 day’s in the hospital and 5 days in the Psych Ward…I don’t remember much of anything, I parked outside of my aunt’s house and her family saw me and knew something was wrong, It is because of them that I am alive today. They had to tell me the event’s of what happened, I don’t know who I became those 2 day’s I don’t know who I was, I was mean, refused to go with the EMG and the police had to say Connie, If you don’t go with them then we will arrest you THAN take you to the hospital and than the psyco ward… I was told that I than said ok, That I will go with them. Talk to you family Dr. My family Dr is now ordering my Cmybolta for me. I feel so much better and I do NOT believe in suicide… I believe that we go into an unborn baby than live life harder in our next life.. I knew that a break-down was coming, I could sense it I just blacked out one day and don’t remember the outcome.. I was honestly shocked withself over what I did, now I just need to live with the fact, I’ve forgiven myself for it and continue to take my med’s. Jeez, my middle daughter called me my second day at the hospital, woke me up to tell me that she was in walmart and heard my uncle’s wife telling the people in the pharmacy about my suicide attempt, That than knocked me out of whatever it was I was in than I had a phone call to make and I was NOT very nice to that WITCH at all. From that day on I have been back to myself and have to keep track of myself to make sure that I am not going back into that state again.. Please call your family Physican and help with your situation, you will feel much better with the med’s to help you and believe me, They do help ALOT….. Please think about this, Connie.

  • Beverly

    I also suffer from depression. I work everyday, go to church on Sunday, attend AA/CA meetings often. As I listen to the speakers in AA and the Pastor, I realize that this is just who I am. I have acknowledged my illness not as something that can keep me down but as something I can now recognize and understand and accept. It could be worse. Because I understand my moods (after years of monitoring myself), I am able to catch myself as I begin to fall into an episode. I stopped taking my medicine because it made me feel more depressed and suicidal. I have learned that talking to ANYBODY helps. I have to force myself to do things and occassionally still fail at that but then I ask, what’s really important! ME! So, I pamper myself even in my depressed state. When I am alone, I dress myself carefully, making me sexy and pretty even if it’s just to walk around the house because I don’t have the energy to see outdoors. It works most of the times. I write my feelings and AS SOON AS SOMETHING starts to bother me, I WRITE, SPEAK, or even SCREAM at what ever it is, so that it doesn’t fester in my soul. I believe that’s were we allow our depression to get us. WHEN WE KEEP IT JUST FOR US. You don’t have to tell people you’re depressed, they know, and they will listen. Don’t be ashamed to have feelings, to express them no matter how “nutty” you may think they are. Just get rid of them. Don’t lie to yourself about who you are at any given moment, but be honest about it and look at the good and the bad. Finding an even field and not being so hard on yourself can take you to a new high. Even if it’s just for ten minutes. Suicide is never the answer because in reality, we want to live, we want to see tomorrow, we just don’t want the today that we have been given. Remember, tomorrow is another chance to be okay. Hold on to that if nothing else.

  • Margaret

    While reading your information on depression I wanted to share what I have been dealing with,hoping that I will get some feed back. I agree with you in response to having many people giving you advise on how to handle your depression. I have tried just about everything including prayer,calling as many friends as possible asking them to keep me in prayer.Somehow I’m still dealing with it in a way that almost seems hopeless to me. Not long divorced after fifteen years,feeling the guilt of it beng my fault brings on more and more depression. Not wanting to leave my house,staying in my bedroom most of the time,just not finding a way out.What can I do to forgive myself and move on with my life,sometimes I feel like it’s coming to an end. I still love my ex husband but when we were together he would treat me good one day and then bad another,sometime I feel like I pushed him into having an affair by saying that he was at the time that he might not have been.
    I feel like giving up.I need some help to get over my depression.

  • isabell

    hi everyone, i have dealt with depression for a 10 or 15 years, it has never been severe i just know that with in the last 2-3 years it got a little worse. Margaret iwent to a divorce too, i know prayers do help a lot and also reading scriptures. but sometimes i feel that i need something more practical to add to it, i attended a divorce recovery course, that really helped a lot, and reinforce what i already knew, my husband left because he chose to, he could have been more loving and choosen to help me and keep our relationship but he chose to leave, so dont feel guilty because it wont help think of it as a very painful learning experience and do an evaluation of yourself like what would make you feel better, and then look for books that show the steps, like for instance read a book on how to improve your self esteem. try to create or look for a support group,go to church and really believe in God, He could really carry your burden if you allow Him. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and i have meet lots of friends there they are my support group. take care, i hope i helped a least a little.

  • Galt

    Having suffered with depression since a stroke at age 13 (I’m 60 now), perhaps the most wrenching experience has been the reaction of people whom I know love me and care about me, but “they just don’t get it.”
    They have never suffered clinical depression and they try to equate the situational depression (death of a loved one, loss of a job) with it. “All you need to do is get ahold of yourself and get over it.” That’s what they most frequently counsel. I have given up trying to explain it, it just frustrates me more, and have decided to concentrate my efforts on helping myself as opposed to convincing others of what is wrong.

  • Aj

    I am SO thankful for this article! I have struggled with depression since I was a child with multiple health issues, includuing diabetes and Lupus. Due to the illnesses & medications to treat them, I had awful chemical imbalannces. My parents dragged me to psychiatrist after psychiatrist, hoping someone could ‘fix me’. Almost 10 years ago, after a heart attack and kidney transplant, my current doctor acknowledged my depression & anxiety and diagnosed PTSD due to all the trauma I experiences as a child. I was FINALLY put on medication and it is amazing how much brighter life became! It took only 27 years for someone to ‘realize’ I needed that to help the chemicals in my brain, just as much as I have needed insulin to compensate for my nonfunctioning pancreas. I have a very strong faith in God and know I could not live without His help. But, as was said before, some people just ‘don’t get it’. It was extremely frustrating when I was in kidney failure, to have people at church look me in the eye & say, “Smile! It’s not THAT bad!”
    I thank God for the people He has gifted to be able to discover medications and treatments for all types of medical problems and diseases. Thanks for letting me share.

  • Linda Fernandes-Bailey

    I am a Christian minister and would never say any of the things quoted to someone who is clinically depressed. I think you lumped all Chrisitans in one catagory. The truth is we don’t all think the same and many of us are very compassionate people. I have refered people to therapists and know its values I also know that medication is life saving for many people. I am sorry that you had bad experiences with clergy and Chrisitianity in general but we are not all the same. The article makes it sound like church is a bad place for people It can be a place of healing and provide a lot of support for people going through hard times

  • Cathy

    Even if you are a Christian minister Linda, there are churches and christians that don’t give a hoot about people like us who deal with major depression. We not only need counselors, shrinks, and medication, we need our family, friends, and church community who will be there for us when we need people to hold us and be there..
    I have been through several church communities who just have never cared, they blow you off as crazy..
    SO THEIR ARE A LOT OF “SO CALLED CHRISTIANS” WHO ARE LUMPED INTO THESE CATAGORIES…
    I am a voice of experience!!!

  • Judy

    Hi Everybody,
    I am a Registered Nurse and have worked with depressed patients and many other patients. I am a Christian and I know that we are not in heaven yet. It isn’t perfect here on earth; I know that you know that!
    There are chemical imbalances and diseases that exist in this imperfect world. Some people don’t make enough insulin for their pancreas, some don’t make enough serotonin or norepinephrine for their brains. There are medications, and other therapeutic things that God has allowed researchers to figure out,in order to help us when we have imbalances in our bodies.
    I am so thankful for the researcher’s that work so hard to figure out how to help with physical ailments!!!!
    People that put themselves in God’s Seat and judge others by saying things; like “if you were a better person, you wouldn’t have those problems”, need to learn about LOVE(GOD)and love and comfort people that don’t feel well. We, who are truly Christians, are here to be like Christ and love others and forgive others as Christ loves and forgives us everyday. Remember, when you have the opportunity, LOVE.

  • anthony coleman

    This blog speaks alot of truth on alot of the clergy’s response to mental illness. However, like Linda said not all Christians and members of the clergy have a prejudice against mental illness. And also this bias against mental illness is also present in secular society as well and the people who adherd to this shallow thinking are just as adamant in their position as any christian can be.

  • Bess

    This article really hits home! I’ve been having problems with bi-polar, but I am/was one of the one’s that believed that God is all I need. Now that I read your article, I realize that it’s not that God isn’t answering my prayers for sanity, it’s that I haven’t used His ladders, lifeboats, or helicopters.

  • Tracey

    Along this line, my frustration is that depression robs me of feeling my connection with God. I want (need) to be feel His presence, but no matter how much I pray, I feel nothing. I’ve always believed we are mental, physical, and spiritual creatures. I know my mental and spiritual strength affect my body. It is frustrating for me that my physical and mental LACK of strength hurt me so much spiritually. Of course grief or sadness can be great tools. I’m speaking of clinical depression that numbs you of feeling.
    Thank you for addressing how important the interrelationship is.

  • clara elton sharp

    I am so glad you admit to being “spiritually incorrect”. I am with you in your group.
    I have depression, and I take two anitdepressants, which help tremendously. If I start feeling more depressed, I talk to my MD. He is very sensitive and sensable, and works with me, along with a therapist I have used for over twenty five years.
    I am not ashamed of my condition, any more than I am with my diagnosis of hypertension or diabetes.
    I attend a church that welcomes and supports everyone, and when one has a problem, whther it is financial, physical, emotional, whatever, the congregation is there to help without judgment.
    There is still great stigma attached to any mental illness, and the public must be educated to accept and respect those who experience any mental illness.
    Are you familiar with the organization called NAMI? National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, I think is what it stands for. They are very active, and supportive. Look up their website. I just googled it and found it easily.
    My prayer is that you are at a manageable point, and that you have someone who is concerned & understanding working with you.
    Thank you for your writing. My best wishes for you.

  • Christy Gilbert

    I have had bipolar for many years also. I was told by pastors that God could heal me. It took my husband and I going on a seminar about depression to make me understand that it was a medical condition just like my diabetes and other problems that I deal with daily. I do not understand why the men that say God uses THEM to teach us do not understand this also.
    Before I started taking meds and until I got on the right meds after my daughters were out of my home I was a terrible parent to them. I cannot get those years back now that they are grown up. I am very upset with those “men of God” for not looking into this disease more before they assumed it wasn’t another disease but just something more or less just in our heads and if we were Christian enough we would be healed. I helped screw up one daughter pretty bad and thank GOD the other daughter grew up with HIM in spite of the way she was treated. She says she felt like she was raising me. It should have been the other way around but as I said I cannot change that now. I don’t know if the people I worked with when I finally did out into the real wourld and got a job realized what was going on in my head because I was quiet at work and then went home and took out my anger on my family.
    I can see right now my oldest daughter is doing some of the things I did. When I remind her that she didn’t like being treated like she sometimes treats my Granddaughter she says it’s not the same. I hope her disease does not get as bad as mine was and still sometimes gets but she is over 30 and I cannot make her get treatment. So far her case seems to be mild compared to mine (aggain thank God).

  • Glenda

    I use to be one of those Christians that believed that as a Christian you shouldn’t need any help from medicine’s, doctors, etc. But I have figured out over the years that sometimes even though you are completely trusting God you still need help from professionals and medicines. I hope you have been able to find some good ones that have helped you with your problems. I am going through mid-life changes and struggling with that right now. God helps doctors help people.
    God bless!

  • Diana

    I emailed my pastor asking for a face to face meeting to discuss the severe depression I had been feeling. He suggested we “email each other” for a while because he was busy and when he “has time” we can meet. It’s been two months since he last emailed me and said he’d pray for me. We still have not met. My best two friends died in the past year and there is no one to talk to anymore. While I appreciate the fact he will pray for me, when a person is walking the line, you need more than that. He assured me I would not go to hell when I questioned my Christianity and the ways depression makes me feel. I wonder how many others have experienced this?

  • Tedd Galloway

    I suffer from severe depression, I have for about ten years. I am a Christian and a minister. I have been in the ministry for more than 30 years. My severe, planned my suicide, storm began doing God’s work. I do believe it was His work. My family and I were living in Africa when my wife was attacked and raped by an African minister. She suffered a breakdown and I had to send her home. The hell began then and I have been treated now for several years. The truth for me is this: We live in a world that is fallen and decaying. It effects every person on the planet, the good and the not so good. That is life. I am grieved for the people that have had to be assaulted by spiritual leaders who are ignorant of the pains of living.
    At times I look at Job and Elijah and understand that they suffered depression also. Elijah begged God to let him die. I have no easy answers for anyone who asks me about the pains and perils of this world. I am assured though that there is a better one coming and I have that confidence because the Creator who tossed the stars out into space knows my name.

  • Jan

    I know from experience, being depressed for many years, all pastors do not know about it. some know nothing about how to treat us, and sometimes make it worse. So be careful who you talk to because they can make you get worse by telling you just pray and study then you will come out of it no you do not some of us have to take meds. and need support to get though it. I have been blessed with an understanding husband that the lord brought into my life, several years ago when I was at my worst, I mean a black hole, I thought I would never come out of, but I still have to take meds, and I do have a close personal relationship with the Lord now.

  • Angela

    I have struggled with my “disease” since 1998. I have also been hit hard with the comments of those so called religious folks. In 2005, I almost lost my battle when I took an overdose. Thankfully God was with me. I say that, because He had sent two wonderful cats into my life. They looked at me with those eyes of love and innocence and I realized I needed to call for help. God was with me when the EMT’s arrived to take care of me. And as they coded me in the short drive to the hospital. God was with me when the ER staff worked to save my life. God was with me when the ICU staff tended to my needs. And yes, God was with me when my Psychiatrist realized how critical it was to admit me to Psych. God was with me when I was given the chance to learn all the things that He had sent my way. God was with me then and I know that He is with me now and forever.
    God has walked with me through many trials and tribulations. He has done so in the form of animals and unusual sources of help. However, there have been times when the very people (clergy) of God have turned their back on me. My most recent pastor came just 2 months prior to my overdose. He never knew me when I wasn’t depressed. He is constantly telling me to move on from the past, but whenever I attempt to do something big it is him that reminds me of how sick I’ve been.
    Sometimes, God has to remind us of the untraditional ways that He comes into our lives. Sometimes, He also has to remind us that we must trust our heart and not the title of those called to serve. It takes a lot to be a minister. Anyone can preach, but a minister serves the heart too.
    As I struggled recently about returning to the Psych unit, a minister I had just met made the following statement:
    You try to maintain your car as best you can, but sometimes you need to take it in for a tune up. Your body and spirit are no different. Sometimes, you have to go in for a tune-up.

  • Emily Cragg (Mom was a Rabinovitz)

    QUOTE–”Prayer alone will be enough heal me.”
    Prayer will heal you if you listen to God’s Spirit and do the work He gives you to do.
    He may want you to change your diet, start taking walks, decrease medications, obtain food supplements, cut out junk food, get some sunshine on your face, and figure out what activities contribute to His Will as well as to your sense of optimism and self-regard.
    Prayer is not a PILL you take to make you believe everything is all right when it’s NOT all right.
    : ) Chai

  • Ann-Marie Cunniff

    I have been reading your column now for awhile and each time I do I experience a strange feeling. I have suffered from clinical depression most of my life and I am recovering now from Agoraphobia.
    When I read what you write, I am disappointed and sometimes disallusioned by your information. I take medication for my diesease but I also take steps to change how I act and feel. The one thing someone suffering from depression should realize is that there is recovery…and no one is advocating (like Tom Cruise) that it’s wrong to take medication, but….When you suffer from depression and you are taking medication which is necessary for the chemical inbalance in your body…your belief system is a crucial part of your recovery. God works through us to be happy. And I want God to be happy, so everyday I go through rituals of meditation, hypnosis and gratitude and as a result of that…I am recovering. Yes, people are being told that they are responsible for the things that take place in their relationship with the energies around them…but that’s where recovery begins…with the knowledge that when you take responsibility for your life and stop blaming God and others….you begin to heal….you begin to be happy…and I’m sure that if you apply some of the principles of “The Secret” and the teachings of positive thinkers, like Dr. Wayne Dyer, you will find that there is the potential to heal YOURSELF….and that suffering from depression, like any other disease is controlled by the choices you make toward recovery. Of course, this is just my opinion…and it’s also my choice to choose recovery…so I am…recovering.

  • Jay

    Having been a therapist now for about 30 years, and a follower of Christ for longer than that, I celebrate the article, and could not agree more. Thanks to Therese for her insights and her honesty. Jay

  • ReginaDuprat

    I being diagnosed as bipolar 1 , since Im with good and exercise a lot and specially doing my yoga.
    I do not need a therapist and Im taking less medication day by day.
    Love
    Regina

  • Jesus is the answer

    I’ll been on both ends of the spectrum and without God there is NO way of actually healing your depression. When I was in high school I was raped. I tried to kill myself and they sent to mandatory counseling. I tried to kill myself again about six months later while in counseling. After having my stomach pumped twice I decided that I had to try something else so I started to take Jesus seriously and I have never tried to kill myself since that day. I’m not saying that people who have medical mental issues don’t need medicine, but a lot of depression could just needing to trust that Jesus knows what he is doing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and mine is JESUS IS THE ANSWER!!!

  • Kim

    I have struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post-Partum depression, depression, anxiety, and addictions (which I’m currently in recovery for now for 15 months). I have often felt the same sense of guilt and shame for not being “spiritual enough”, though I have always been very spiritual.
    The same facts have occurred to me as of late. There is no reason anyone should feel unreligious for taking medication that helps them function properly as long as it is in legal and proper form.
    Jesus is the answer, but Jesus knows my brain has issues that need help. It is not merely attitude adjustment (though that has helped) or lack of faith (I have unwavering belief and faith in my Lord). We don’t tell diabetics not to take insulin, asthmatics not to use inhalers, nor epileptics not to use Dilantin. You do not ignore the Advil when pain strikes…or do you really?
    Satan attacks, but I firmly believe God has given me more than one shield; He has given me full body armor that consists of everything I need to fight my struggles head on and that includes medication

  • KEN

    All anyone has to do gain their sanity is totally surrender every idea or thought that they have ever had……Thy Will , NOT MINE……The not mine is the important part……..recovering know-it-all

  • Anonymous

    After reading all the cases for depression I can only say that I have to give a case for Jesus and His promises. I too have suffered depression ;Loss of my mother, father, brother ,husband and an ungreatful son who believes,( even after bringing him up on my own and doing my very best)that I am to blaim for everything !!! I have handed him over to Jesus and now I am emotionaly free and spiritually alive….. it only took 30 years!!!….. I wish I had read and believed Jesus’s promises a long time ago. It’s not too late . I always check my motive submit my will to His will and receive the joy of the Holy Spirit..Meditation on the scriptures is a wonderful release . Life isn’t always easy but Jesus is my way and God is my destination . I have all this and Heaven too!! to look foward to.

  • The Still One

    I have suffered from severe Bi-Polar Disorder for more than 35 years. I have been seen by everyone from Pastors to the ‘Best’ Private Doctors and VA Doctors {I am a disabled vet} and have been homeless to being tied down at five point restraints {For My Own Good}For days at state Hospitals. Our Health Care System is one of the worst when it comes to treating people with Mental Health Care Issues. But then again during all these years I have had a few family members and friends who have been diagnosed with Cancer receive the same treatment. You’ll be ok, just follow our treatment plans. Three family members did and a couple of friends, I watched them go through pure hell, from not only having the awful affects of cancer invading their bodies, {Thats being sick enough as it is} but all the Doctors reassuring them that they were ‘always’ getting better. If they just would go through “Chemo’ Treatments and radiation treatments. . Only those who have allowed themselves to be treated in this ‘inhumane’ way because it is ‘What Works’ can tell you.
    It is as much hell to go through being baked from the inside out..in order to ‘get well’ as it is to induce mass radiation into one’s system, killing your own bodily systems in order to get ‘well’ will tell you…If I had it to do over…I would not. And most passed away anyway.
    Each day is a struggle for me. And I have found, after years of searching…a few drugs that do help with my mood and especially sleep. But they are older drugs with lot’s of side affects. But they do help. And that’s what helps me. I live every day with hope but have been through enough to know that you don’t believe everything you hear, read or are told…always do what works for you!. God, as I now understand him…is gracious, understanding..forgiving and always there. We are not going to burn ‘In Hell’ because we do not follow a certain Doctrine…just know in your heart..that God is always with you…always there and knows and understands what you are going through. You are never separate from him…you are a magical part of his Universe. As much pain as we are in…now will pass. And we may not always understand his work…when this time here is over…we will be free again. God is not to be ‘Found’ out there somewhere…we are a part of him…no matter what.
    As is now being researched, An inconspicuous presence, frail, bent, clad in the now legendary bordered white saree has shaken up the keepers of morality one more time since her earthly demise a decade ago. Mother Teresa’s letters lately released “Mother Teresa : Come Be My Light” speak of her anguish at feeling alone and Godless in a mind littered with doubt and faith faltering with disillusionment.

  • The Still One

    I must end this with the simple truth that she spoke:
    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
    ~Mother Teresa~

  • Ian Pridmore

    I would willingly be interviewed. I have Schizophrenia and was invited and coerced to leave my regular church as some of the congregation were uneasy attending church with a Schizophrenic. As one of ‘God’s children’ said “When we go to church it is the last place we would be expected to ‘exposed’ to people like you”????????
    We lost a son who died..the Church was basically crap with NO SUPPORT.
    Add these 2 things together and you have a group of hippocrites so dangerous to the ill and hurting it is almost beyond belief..In the UK in 2006 there were 271 murders. Only 4 were attributed to people with mental health problems..a message in there I think!
    Love and Light
    Ian.

  • Daine

    I think that whatever works for a person suffering with depression is what that person should do.
    I have learned to be careful who I talk to about my severe/chronic mental illness ( depression is just one of my Dxs).
    My prayers and good thoughts go out to all of you.

  • Sherry

    I am an RN who has been off for 1 year with anxiety and depression. Every word addressed in my direction would yield uncontrollable tears as a result of years of pain and rejection, last being an ex husband whose only mission in life was to make me “pay” for moving on outside of his abuse and take my precious child from me. My expectations for myself were rediculously high because I am a Christian and I feel people look at me for signs of Jesus Joy in my life and I wanted to be the best testimony of Christs healing, love and strength. I have used this year to grow in the Lord, put on my armor, and accept the blame for no one elses behavior but my own, seek forgiveness, and learn to forgive others. I accepted Gods help with medical treatment (regular doctors visits and antidepressants to stop the tears that just added to my guilt), a counselor who offers a support system and encourages my steps of healing, and I accepted the fact that God makes no mistakes, this time was to stop me, heal me and teach me valuable lessons so that I can live an enjoyable life….realistically. God never says “try harder”…He tells us to lean on Him, and let Him carry us when we just can’t! Thank God for a living Lord who is not judgemental and understands our weaknesses as well as our strengths! I believe we are to reach out to the resources God places in our lives, we are obligated to take them because we may then become someone elses resource from pain and depression in Gods glory.

  • Pastor Pam

    I am a United Methodist licensed pastor and in my congregation I have several that have Bi-polr disorder, and also deal with depression.
    Mental illness is a disease and it upsets me to hear of religious leaders that say all you need is Jesus. Well, yes I believe you need Jesus Christ and he will always be with you and carry you through those difficult times! But, I do believe that there are people who do need the medication, therapy etc. I have witnessed it over and over again! God did create us all and we all are different he also created each with different gifts & talents. The way I look at this God created those who are doctors who do the research, he also created the Pharmacist that do the research. Each day we learn more and more about mental illness. I can remember the day when a person had mental illness (depression or whatever level) they were sent to a Mental Hospital (state) and remained there and were continously medicated with heavy medication, they are like zombies. They lived there until death! I seen that with a cousin of mine.
    Now with medications, people can work, and live normal lives, and also be spiritually strong as well.
    So don’t give up on all of us Religious leaders! I have found that people in general do not want to fact these issues and so they turn away from it, leaders, church goers, family, and etc.It seems that if they don’t face it, it will go away! Mental Illness is very real and I am thankful for those doctors and nurses, and pharmacist who have been involved in the research to help become more aware of the needs and what works, so people can live normal a life and be happy in the life God gave them!
    Pastor Pam

  • Michelle

    My mother believes the lord is all I need to cure me of my deep depression well that road lead me deeper actually it lead me to depths of HELL. I’m spritual and I do pray but I’e realized medication and meditation must be in my daily routine also. I did blame myself for a long time but It’s not my fault I realize and every day I must work at keeping my mental state focused. I believe those who judge like my mother are ignorant of the depression and the demons that come with it. If more people would educate themselves we would have less blame and more understanding.

  • Michelle

    I forgot to add that I would also like to be interview. I come from a STRICT CATHOLIC FAMILY and have struggled for years with guilt.

  • Anonymous

    I want to make a question. If i have afraid everything is because I don’t trust in GOD?

  • Anne

    I have suffered from depression all my life. Want to know what cured it? Treatment for multiple subclinical allergies. An MD can’t do it…they don’t have the tools to define subtle allergies in the first place. (I was “diagnosed” has having “ideopathic edema” because I swelled up and they didn’t know why). You have to go outside the medical/pharmaceutical complex and find a really good NAET practitioner. A good one. It’s an art and if it’s done wrong you will waste your money and your time. But if it’s done right, you will regain your life.
    Anne

  • Tracy

    My pastor, Mark Sutton, wrote “Conquering Depression,” an excellent tool for overcoming/living with depression. As someone who has learned to live with continued bouts of depression, Bro. Mark has, just by his example alone, debunked many of the myths I used to believe about depression. Furthermore, his openness about his own battles is encouraging to me, someone who has had to live with life-threatening depression for 20 years.

  • Mitche Leigh Hunt

    We have all heard that old homily: You can’t get blood out of a turnip. Also, as I understand it: Turnips do not get depressed.
    Now, having alerted you to two of the rather inane mental tools I use to curb fits of depression — other than just throwing my arms up in the air and yelling “screw it” — I ask this question to anyone feeling guilty about feeling depressed: How in the world can anyone with an ounce of decency, compassion, intelligence, and the desire to make a difference by being a good friend and neighbor living in our societal waste land of wars which mutilate American youth and civilians in other nations for control of non-renewable resources such as oil, industrial confusion, inflated dollars that forbid families to care for themselves, wages that keep them from even trying . . .
    How can any intelligent human being caught up in this madness, who has the ability to recognize what it really means — one group of people with the eco-political means to wreck the lives of other groups of people — not be depressed?

  • Angela

    It really is amazing and disturbing at the number of people who have been dis-heartened by their faith leaders. Since I last posted, I had a very humbling experience.
    Feeling the loss of my spiritual leader, I was very depressed. Then I awoke with a swollen eye. After speaking to my family doctor, I realized that I wanted someone to pray for me. I broke down in tears as I realized that my pastor would not take a call from me. God provided prayer instead from my doctor. I was very upset by not having a needed/wanted resource. I understood from our talk that I had misused my pastor and since I was “healthy” now, that he would no longer allow me to use him as a resource.
    On Sunday in church, I requested continued prayer for my illness and that I wanted to praise the care of a Godly Doctor. I realize now that my pastor may have fealt that I was publicly slighting him, but that was not my intention. As I left the service, my pastor told me, “you know that you can call anytime that you need prayer, don’t you?” I shrugged my shoulders in disgust. “Don’t think that I won’t pray with you. Remember I’m here for you,” he said.
    It is simple little misunderstandings and double-talk that cause so many of us to become depressed. However, I decided that my best course of action would be to find a religious leader who doesn’t know all my junk, and only let them in as far as I want. I’ve been burned one time too many. I’ve read a lot about being careful who you tell what. Unfortunately, I realize that my full disclosure policy with all my careproviders, including my pastoral staff needs to be modified. I plan in the future to not share things that would cause a new spiritual leader to judge me.

  • Monah

    I so agree with the lack of education for illness in the church body. I have gone through some really horrible experiences in which I was told “I didn’t have the faith.” I have been very mistreated by christian people but I think God would have me learn from these times to become more compassionate and get involved in trying to help more people. What satan means for our bad, GOD will turn into good if we realize every one doesn’t “get it!” But, they are the people who do not need this kind of help. They need a dose of reality but we will leave that up to God because he is really good at taking people where they need to go so they will hopefully be better for the journey! I have had panic attacks in my sleep and I was afraid I took. I slept with my bible on my heart and nothing changed. I finally discovered a doctor who had a caring compassionate relationship with me and introduced me to prozac. I also have post traumatic stress syndrome because of an abusive ex spouse so I have to take a sleeping medication and zanax to help me calm down to enter the sleep mode. I really believe a lot of this is hormonal since I have been experiencing more of the panic stuff which started around thiry-five years old. I am now fourty-four and I am doing so much better. God has gifted me with song writing abilities and a voice. I have been through a lot of mess and I now have a message. I have learned so much that I wouldn’t have known had this not have happened to me. I am not always understood so I don’t get involved with those who treat me badly. I do not expect some one who has never known these horrible places to “get it” but I am going to do a c.d. with songs that will give people hope and I am going to write a book with the help of God and others he places in my life because autism, retardation, limitations in life can become just that..a limit not a hopeless situation. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Jesus loves every person no matter what they are dealing with. He is a God of power and he is a GOD of understanding and mercy. Nobody has all of the answers and that is why we all need each other. I have called the ministry God has given me, Life-Line because that is what I want to be to some one else. When you think you see light at the end of the tunnel only to find out it is a big ginormous train, there is still hope after the train passes and you are left flat on the track. God is a God that speaks life to dead situations. Do not give up. Hold on, he hears you and he loves you and some one will be there to throw out the life line from the light house of love. I can be reached at http://www.shoutlife.com/lightheway and I have songs that will speak to your heart. I do not sale them. They are gifts. They might not be the “cure” but I believe God didn’t bring you this far to leave you and it helps to hear words from some one who’s “been there!” May God bless and strengthen every one who reads this and may you feel a glimmer of hope once again!!! MONAH

  • Anonymous

    I know exactly where your coming from. I am there myself.
    Most of my life I was raised a catholic. So I can do guilt along with the best of ‘em. As an adult I came to have a personal relationship with Christ and I gave up on trying to be religious. It wasn’t working anyway and I never could quite get it right.
    Currently I am a stay at home mother of four and I homeschool.
    Another issue I have yet to find anyone understands. I am blessed beyond belief and have so many good things to say about my life.I have so many wonderful things to say about what the Lord has done for my family and for me.
    The thing is I have recently been diagnosed with depression. I was a bit shocked I guess because I went in to have my blood tested, thinking I was dying. It would not have shocked me one bit to hear that I had a rare blood disease and they were giving me a year or so to live. That’s how bad I felt when I went in.
    Depression? how could that be? I read my bible every day I am a bond servant to Christ. So where does that leave me? Am I faithless. No. Did I turn to the dark side. Of course not. The fact is that we live in a fallen world and we have to deal with alot of stress.
    At first I just carried the bottle of medication around each morning, grappling with the guilt. Then I realized that God was the one who put the medication into my hand. Would the enemy try to help me? Surely not.This could be only a temperary situation. Would it really be so awful for me to get some relief. I used to be able to do so much more. I am sure my kids would appreciate that I can get up out of bed and not need a nap just for walking down to the couch. I am two weeks into taking the medication and I refuse to allow guilt into my life.
    As I look back to what God has accomplished I can see that I have had to deal with more than most. Sometimes I feel like I have lived two lifetimes. To say I grew up in an abusive home would be an understatement. As a teenager I went to so many foster homes I lost count. I barely graduated H.S. and that was only with a GED. I studied on my own and educated myself. Then I went to college in my thirties after my adulterous husband committed suicide, nearly killing me and my daughter in the process. I have moved so many times, for various reasons, some not by choice. All to end up in the place I left.
    I have stress, I have emotional wounds that are healing, but are still sometimes tough to deal with.
    I have come along way with the Lord since I gave Him my life in 2002.
    At one point I suffered from multiple personalities, brought on by fear and anxiety. Post traumatic stress.
    I do not have to deal with that anymore. Praise God! Through prayer I was healed of that and my mind renewed. That was a long journey of forgivenss and letting go, so Jesus could work in my heart.
    So this is the long and the short of what I am trying to share.
    If your doctor has diagnosed you with depression or anxiety disorders, take the prescription and get it filled. Do not wait.
    Your faith will make you well, because your faith is in The Most High God, not in the drug. Recognize that guilt and shame are from our enemy. God loves you and only wants what is best for you.
    The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus gives us a life more abundantly.
    Pray for those who persucute you.
    Hang in there God has a purpose for your life.
    Patricia King

  • Mona Callahan

    Wonderful! I too have been through so many traumatic situations, I feel most comfortable talking with veterans…Now try that on for size. I can relate to their pain. So surely I can say, sing or do something for someone so I can hear Jesus say one day: “Well done, thou’ good and faithful soldier, you have fought a good fight…enter into the joy of the Lord.” Praise you Jesus for dying so I could truly live. Thanks Patricia. God bless, Monah

  • Juanita

    I can identify with each one testiomy I was diagnois with major depression and aniexty disorder I grew up in a very dsyfunctinal family alcohol abuse, child abuse, physical, mental, sexaully abuse, you name it I start to drink when I was 15 and after going through a series of drama and trauma I want to just die. At the age of 20 plus years after the birth of my second child I was introduce to a lot of drugs and alcohol my life took a turn for the worse after being in a state of depression for over 20 plus year, I throught the devil has defeated me but that devil is a liar. I receive JESUS CHRIST in a jail cell for a crime that I committed in my depress state of mind alone with a lot of other stuff that I’m not to proud of ,but I’m glad I had this experience, the way I see it that god will allow us to go through some stuff to do what he need’s to do in our live’s and went we take these prombles to our spirtually leaders they don’t have a clue to help us but in prayer. I gave birth in 1994 to my third and finiale child and in 1997 I when in treatment for help of my drug addiction and after receiving the help I so badly needed I got save in 1998 I when to a psychiatrist to follow up on my depression and after taking some anti-depression medication for a while it work for a while until I got marry in 2000 my husband coming from almost the same background I ask god what was the reason for sending some one almost like me and he say I want to execise your faith in me because you’ré going claim victory in this depression. After my husband relaspe in 2002 my world came tubbling down he stay out on a binge four 4 years back and forth into treatment programs I though I was going to lose my mind again we been together for nine years and I have sticking in with him without severly getting depress and using drug again. I been drug free for almost 11 years I counselor people with the same issues as my self I pray on a regular basic, I read God’s word, I sing in the choir,I praise god and I treat everybody that come across my path good I take no more medcine I been healed by the blood of jesus I still go to support groups and session to help somebody else out of their’s depression God is so worthy to be praise I got my joy back. JUST BELIEVE GOD IN HIS WORD IT WILL COME TO PASS.

  • Toby Nolt

    I can identify with depression. I have had very low self-esteem all my life. I have had depression most of my life. I had five children and when my youngest child was 3 I just didn’t want to go on amymore. I didn’t feel loved by anyone. I felt my parents kept me because you didn’t give babies away. I know that was all wrong but I still believed it in my head. I just know that people did not understand and most of all my husband. After a number of years I was admitted to a hospital. and It did take a lot of therephy but I am feelong and doing better. The second time I was admitted to the hospital my Dr, said “until you accept Jesus into you life you will not get better. You need him.” I have accepted Jesus and have gotten in with a good bible based church. It has made a wonderful change in my life. I still get Mental Health help. It is like being an alcholic. You are always ” a mental cripple.” I have learned a lot and try to practice it to stay on top. I do wish more people understood depression. I may not understand it either. May be I just think I do. Any way believe and have faith. Someday we will see his face and we will be free from the mortal trappings. Toby

  • Patricia King

    Toby,
    **HUG** (I just think you need one)
    As I read these comments, I notice the re-occurring theme running through all of them. Abuse and rejection, shame, and feelings of hopelessness. The fact that you have gotten saved and are in a bible believing church shows that you are walking in the will of God.
    I would like to share with you something very powerful that the Lord did for me. When I was going through my ‘mental’ issues that I mentioned in my earlier post, I was not on any medication and I was not surrounded by people who would encourage me to do so. All I had and all I clung to was the hope of Christ. I figured if He made my brain then He could fix it. During an evening service in worship Jesus came to me and He said “go up to the alter” Well, I hummed and hawed for a bit because no one else was up there and I was like did I just hear God? so He gently nudged me and up I went- feeling kinda weird as it was a large church but only about 200 people were in attendance that evening. As I approached the alter everyone disappeared. I was in the presence of God. I just stood there looking up and then I heard Him ask me “do you want to be healed?”
    YES! “Then receive your healing” He replied. I raised up my hands and (this is hard to describe) it felt like He reached into me and re-arranged my DNA. I just stood there bawling. For how long I do not know. When I went to walk away there were people face down on the steps of the alter and all over the floor praying and weeping. No one touched me during my time at the alter, Only Jesus.
    When you said that it’s like being an alcoholic, that you’re always a cripple. That is just not true. These things can be removed so completely that it’s as if they were never there. Speak positive into your life and do not believe the situation is not going to change.
    What I learned after going up there was that I had responsibilities in my situation. I was literally rejecting my own self because I refused to acknowledge my past and the things that had happened to me. I too had a lifetime of rejection from parents and my entire family really.
    Of course not everyone deals with things the same.
    But never stop seeking what it is God wants to do through your situation.
    Remember Paul asked three times for his thorn to be removed, but God had a purpose for leaving it. Believe in your healing, thank God everyday for it and continue to let Him work through you.
    Toby you are going to be a witness to the Goodness and Faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
    Those who SOW in tears will REAP with songs of joy! Psalm 126:5 (niv)
    Be Blessed~~
    Patricia

  • Jeanne

    Dearest Lady,
    Once again, I find I must thank you “officially” and profusely from the bottom of my cracked, yet open-while-under-repairs heart. You are an amazing, truly authentic lady, and your gift of sincerity has saved my frazzled, depressed, exhausted, searching mind once more. Your ability to tell it like it is returns me to a place of Hope, for the timebeing at least. I have a tendency to eventually slip into denial about the depth of my depression because I feel like I’m failing again, and that it surely must be my fault, and ‘why am I not better again by now?’ and ‘I must not be trying hard enough; I must be getting a payback for being like this, etc…All notions I continue to work on, with the invaluable assistance of both a psychiatrist AND a therapist, medication and cognitive behavorial correction…sound at all familiar??? Your openness is not only welcomed but serves as a remedy in and of itself. You help us to remember we truly are not alone, no matter what our heads are trying to convince us of. I know of people who have thrown away their medication in a fervent attempt to believe and please a well-meaning 12-step person…a great mistake that usually becomes evident in less time than more, fortunately. The zealous clergyman, the oh-so-certain sober/clean individual that has somehow deluded him/herself into believing that they are now qualified psychiatrists/counselors, well meaning yet misinformed converts to whatever path…frightening…”Turn back…it’s a trap!” Thanks for being here for us, My Dear. You are providing a most precious service. I will continue to “tune in”…Ah, but that we could just love this whole thing into oblivion, eh? Well, perhaps at some future cosmic date…for now, we have our various spiritual belief systems, (for some, the comfort of agnosticism), the prescribed remedies provided by the world o’science, and each other. I’m going to go talk to my naughty, wayward, lazy, unruly brain cells and tell them to just get in line with “The Secret” and God…NOW…and we’ll be magically free. You betcha…

  • C. Lee

    Depression is a horrible darkness that clings to every part of your life and your soul. Some of us have God-given personality styles that make us more susceptible to it. It’s not anti-spiritual, it’s just there. It does need to be addressed, not ignored. God doesn’t wish for His children to be miserable. He has a plan for each one of us. When we allow the depression to go on, without seeking relief, that is when we hurt ourselves, our relationships, and God. Relief may come in the form of prayer, pills, people, or positive thinking. Each person is different. At some point, however, the depressed person has to decide that enough is enough and to choose to live rather than to continue to die slowly inside.

  • Linda

    What a great article! And how true, regardless of one’s religious belief. I come from a family rife with depressive mood disorder and alcoholism (no doubt due to the inability to cope and no perceived alternatives) of many of my ancestors. I experienced the first of several major depressive episodes when I was 25. It took 3 months with no therapy or medication to work through it. At times I thought that I would die, unable to eat or sleep, every nerve on end and tears that came daily for no apparent reason. Years later I was diagnosed with depressive illness with rapid cycling mood disorder. I have been on antidepressants for many many years now; while the meds and monthly talk therapy keep me going, I have accepted that I will never feel what I assume is “normal” – I have learned to put on a happy face even when I feel as though death would be the perfect solution. I have days when I don’t want to wake much less get out of bed, but I do, and usually feel better as I mush onward with my life. Do I pray about it? Hmmmm, sometimes. I am a former Methodist, former Muslim, who has come to believe that God is neither the holy father that Christians see, nor the holy creator that Islam teaches. Don’t get me wrong though! I firmly believe in a divine Creator; but I am not certain how hands on He is insofar as mankind. So, I ask for help and guidance, but am not surprised if none is forthcoming. Or perhaps I am too blind to see as the old gospel songs laments. The bottom line here is that mental illness is just that – an physiological problem that can be managed but not always cured, as with other ailments such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis. I cannot deny that keeping a positive attitude never hurts, no matter what the situation or problem. And maybe that is what is really at work when a person turns to God for help and believes that help is on the way. Positivity.

  • Ilene

    Thank you. Someday, I truly believe, necessity, that great Mother of Invention, will call upon both the religious institutions and the various schools of psychology and psychiatry to unite with artists and scientists worldwide, and listen to the voices of the people who know how good being spiritual really can be, but who know longer have the strength, the will, or the ability to practice what is in their/our hearts. That is what happened to me: I was dying–literally–and metaphorical–and I was suicidal–and then a colleague (an Angel sent by God?) urged me with tears and deep concern in her eyes to see a doctor immediatedly. She begged me to get help. And I did. And I have been ever since my angel showed me, I was and am worth it. We can’t believe it when were miserable, but maybe all it takes, is that one other person outside of ourselves to say in so many words, “I love you.” And then we hopefully can feel his or her genuine caring for us before we give up. Blessings and integrity, Ilene

  • Brian Flanagan

    Thank you.

  • Dana

    Wow!
    What a great article. I can relate to so much of what you have said.
    Yes it is true everyone has an answer and a cure! If I have an off day, the first thing I am asked “have you taken your meds today?”… Um I am a grownup I think I can remember to take my daily pill all by myself! Or the advise…”go to church you will feel better, they can help you.” Help me do what? They cannot change the way my brain works, they cannot make me stop feeling the constant sadness or anger, they change my financial situation or relieve the pain from the past or diminish the stress I carry. I HATE when people do this so much -it actually adds fuel to my fire by causing me to feel angry and resentful!
    At any rate, thanks again for the words of encouragement and for letting us all know – again, that we aren’t alone in our minds chaos.

  • Ralph Lyda

    Walter Cronkite’s daughter wrote a book about people she knew dealing with depression (unfortunately for me, rich people who could afford to take 10 years off work when they felt depressed). I wish someone would write a book about people below the poverty level dealing with depression. I would qualify to write it or be described in it, but I’m a)too depressed to write it, and b)can’t afford to take time off work to write it. I’ve dealt with it constantly for the past 15 years, and had a hand-to-mouth existence the whole time. It’s really hard when one is undereducated, but too depressed to be in school (thank goodness I am finally back in school after 14 years). My family took a course from NAMI (National Association Mental Health[?]) for dealing with family members who suffer from depression. They have related to me about a hundred times better since the multi-month course. If anyone can possibly get his relatives to take the course, I recommend it. My way of dealing with depression is through humor. I tell clean jokes and read clean humor, like Lewis Grizzard, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, and the guy who wrote “They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?” Anyone want to fund the book about poor people and depression?

  • “Peaches”

    I sense that the writer has experienced much of what I have. People asking “How could this HAPPEN to such a strong person as you? Couldn’t you DO something? You usually know EXACTLY what to do!” Well – just goes to show you that when people with depressive tendencies say “I just don’t FEEL like myself” … they AREN’T.
    THANK YOU for putting this HORRIBLE disease into perspective – I just hope people who think those of us who suffer from it are paying attention. We’re NOT weak. We DO have faith, and hope, and trust. It’s just not ENOUGH TO FIX IT.

  • maggie angel burger

    What an amazing article. I am in the process of writing a book from the perspective of a poverty level person who has worked full time, 10 years,three kids ,one bipolar son, and full blown depression.It is so amazing to have a beautiful perspective on the spiritual perspective as I too practice what you have and keep on keepin on. I am now living in Florida with my best and oldest fried who has given me a home and a life filled with whatever makes me happy. I am blessed beyond belief and intend to give and gain new perspectives so people can climb out of the black hold. Thankyou!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mausi

    Thank you for an amazing article. I have to agree with Peaches and the expectations others have of me at times.
    “You are such a strong woman, how can you be depressed? You have such a wonderful life!” the list goes on and on.
    Yes I know all of the above and I am so thankful to God for all of my blessings. I also know I am human and as a human I am not perfect,as much as I would love to be. Perhaps this is a reason for some of my depression,maybe its because of my strained relationship with my mother. Who I have been asked to avoid at all cost. Yes she is that mean. Does it affect me? Sure it does, beyonds any words. Yes she is old and one Dr. thinks she has some form of dementia due to an illness.
    Still I am the target of her lies. Do other know all of these things. No,no point in kicking up dust.Besides I get tired of crying. So I go on, or try to. Take my meds and yes I pray for peace,healing,guidance. All of the things I was taught as a Catholic.
    I just want it to all go away so I can get my life back in order.
    Trust me I will accept any ladder,lifboat or helicopter that comes my way!!

  • Kady

    Just came across this entry–sorry so late w/comment!..I appreciate the honesty about your observations of some of the narrower responses we depressives experience in this society, particularly from those who are supposed to know how to help and only offer the cliched [sp?] & simplistic to us. I guess people need to think there is a definite, perhaps immediate answer to every dilemma, however serious. The human psyche seems to abhor the vacuum left by a lack of easy–if any–answers. But they end up leaving us alone in it. That makes me angry, too. I admire your ability to live your own truth and the respect you have for your own perspective. Which some would divest us of, too–sometimes categorizing it as a distortion born of our diseased mind. AAHHHHH!!! [Thank you, that felt good.]
    However, I think you may have missed the point on a couple of things.
    Firstly, the principles of such material as found in “The Secret” are not quite so simple, and are very metaphysical–and ancient–in nature. They have to do with empowering us with the knowledge that we are children of the Divine Creator, and therefore have inherited much more of the power to create our reality than we are taught to think–perhaps even more than we could ever imagine. And they are meant, I think, to get us dreaming again. [A thing I have a hard time remembering how to do!!]
    And in reference to the blog entry from the gentleman you aren’t sure you want to meet: I understand how you received it and how it sounds on the surface. I think his point about the ultimate purpose of what folks like us go through may be correct. It is not easy to be of a paradigm so vastly different in substance [& perhaps vibration] than is found on this Earth-plane. That can sometimes make you “crazy”. And many dark-nights-of-the-soul look like insanity–but can lead to healing & enlightenment. Whether being deep gives one problems in this world, or the depression leads to being deep, one can debate forever.[Maybe it's both.] The melancholic “gift” we have may be more a gift to the world, rather than one for ourselves; our depth and what we learn in our struggle, and the paradigm that results, seems to be one the world does need. I have often drawn comfort from believing that is all part of the service I came here to offer–or perhaps, can choose to. The gift of one’s being is really the only one any of us has to give, ill or not. [And if all of that is just a myth or illusion that I've just chosen to believe because it brings me comfort, I think it's just as likely to be true as any other "truth" I've encountered so far in this world. And it doesn't make me sicker, at least!]
    But there are always rewards, though they may seem long in coming, and aren’t always in the forms we would want the most, or have been taught are real, or important. One of which, at least for me, is a deeper relationship with God, the Mystery, etc., than I may have had otherwise. I know it has often been the one and only thing that has made sense of all this, given me any purpose, and sometimes, just kept me alive another day. Like Paul in the New Testament, God has not yet seen fit to remove the “thorn in my side”, but He/She has helped me to endure, and there have been small miracles [if any miracle is small]. Even though the struggle is not over, I endure. Sometimes I don’t understand what the hell God is doing, but I somehow hang on to my faith. [And it seems to hang on to me, even when I want to let it go...] And I do think sometimes Jesus says, It’s OK, rest today. Sometimes a warrior needs to put down the sword, eat, rest, replenish. His love doesn’t always give me answers [at least, not immediate, or ultimate (yet)], but it does give me strength. I think that’s what the blog writer meant to convey–not that Jesus would wave his magic wand and poof!-we are healed!
    I also think the writer of that entry points to a definition of ‘hero’ that is more accurate than the flashy, macho ones we are taught by society. I think our experience can develop the true qualities of a hero in us, if we manage to let it. For those who are felled in this battle–no failure is involved, and nothing but compassion is due them. When you come to the razor’s edge of a precipice, it’s hard not to fall off. I think even God understands that. At least, mine does.
    But if all this is true, it in no way means we are meant to continue suffering, that we just have to accept it, that wellness is not for us. It just means, I think, that there is purpose on this journey TO wellness & ultimate healing, as well as at the end. [I hope, anyway.]
    Hope I haven’t muddied the waters, and I apologize for such a long post.

  • Barbara

    To those who don’t understand or comprehend depression {but THINK they do} and tell me it is Spiritual Warfare and I need to pray, I will ask them if they have ever known anyone with PMS {stay with me here….}. Of course, almost everyone has known someone who has had some degree of PMS. I will then draw the link for them…. that they must agree that depression is real also because serotonin is closely linked to estrogen and progesterone. Just as a compassionate warning to the women who are in their 20s and 30s….you may {as I have} experience a worsening of symptoms as you near peri-menopause, which can start as early as the 30s. Sometimes being aware of what is happening {ie:hormonal changes leading to brain chem changes} helps me deal with it a little better. There is so much research yet to be done.
    Very interesting perspective on “melancholics”. Thank you.

  • Kady

    In response to Barbara’s post on 10-22-07:
    I’m not sure you were referring to my comments, but I hope I didn’t sound like I was suggesting that depression is ‘spiritual warfare’–at least not in any fundamentalist or simplistic sense. The ‘battle’ I was referring to was the battle with depression itself, more than anything. [And whatever issues accompany it for each of us.] It feels like a war sometimes, doesn’t it? I have struggled with depression since childhood, and have been actively addressing it with therapy and medication just about as long. I really do understand from the inside out. I definitely see it as a medical issue, including a biochemical one, but at the same time, I can’t help but try to place it within the context of the spiritual, as well as my own personal spiritual path, and try to understand what higher purpose it may serve in regard to whatever it was I wanted to accomplish in this incarnation. It sounds contradictory, I know, but I think it’s more of a paradox–things having different meanings on different levels, at the same time. This does not mean that I think that we somehow deserve this disease or that we are not meant to overcome it, heal from it, etc. I could not believe that and survive this!
    About ‘melancholics’ being deep–or inadvertently becoming so, etc.:
    Anyone who struggles with a mental illness ends up confronting and grappling with some of the most fundamental issues of life, like purpose of existence, meaning of life itself, the purpose of our own, even if there is a God or not, the reason for human suffering, etc. [Kinda of like Job did, as a matter of fact.] Our malady forces us to. And sometimes wrestling with these issues can be quite a battle, too. It has been my observation that many, many people on this planet are hell-bent ['scuse the expression] on staying busy and avoiding thinking about that stuff at all, preferring to live on the surface of things, instead. But we do not have that luxury; we are tripped-up, slowed-down, and forced to go deeper if we are to survive the depression [or whatever the disorder], not to mention learn from it, and possible be transformed in any positive way by it, and make anything purposeful and meaningful out of it. We are doing consciousness-work. We also tend to challenge those around us to do the same, by our very existence in their lives, don’t you think? [It has sure worked that way in mine.] That challenge and stimulus to growth is something very needed in this world, as well as the further development of compassion. I think this is part of the ‘gift’ we bring, part of the meaning of our suffering–any suffering.
    [Again, that does not mean that we are meant to suffer or keep on suffering--this is where paradox comes into play.]
    I think there is much in the myth of the Hero, as well as the Warrior archetype that can be helpful to us. By placing our personal stories and struggles [in general, and with this damn disease] within those contexts–well, I think we might be surprised at what we see, and the insights it brings, esp. about ourselves! [I believe in viewing everything from all angles, gleaning what information there is to be gleaned from them, and putting all that together to see what picture forms.]
    And when I mentioned those “felled in the battle”–well, we don’t all survive this thing, whether it’s a living death or a literal one. I personally believe in reincarnation, and that no one is ultimately lost, or remains eternally ‘un-healed’, so-to-speak. And that we are received and embraced by a compassionate Universe, and helped to recover, regroup, reorganize for the next leg of the journey.
    This is part of the philosophy that helps me, anyway. I mean in no way to impose it on anyone else, or imply anything negative. Please take what makes sense and leave the rest–even if that means all of it! :-)

  • Annah Durrant

    I have sufferd from depression. I even self attmited myself at one point, because I was suicidal. I was a christain. I understand Christains don’t understand it. It’s a disease. But God can heal. He has heald me. When I was finally really to stop living for my self, and REALLY make him Lord, that’s when He heald me. I was on so many anti’s that they say it’s like getting off crack. God heald me and gave me laughter when I needed my pills. I know it sounds crazy, and I think med’s are awesome. I don’t think you should get off of then unless you know, you’ve had an incounter with God, and He’s telling you to.
    The point is, God can be the answer. If you’re ready. If your ready to stop living for yourself. A good, threripist is great, and drugs can be great aslo. They can help you get out of bed and get dressed. It doesn’t really matter if people understand or not. God’s the only one who truly knows. He’s the ONLY one who will always be there for us, when everyone else fails. And He’s the one that wants to be there, not only when things go bad, but all the time. Because He loves you, and does not like to see you hurt. He made you. You are His child. He’s the only one who has the answers, but you have to be willing to listen and obey. NOT man, but God. He’ll be there when you call on Him. But we have to be willng to obey and listen.
    What if you don’t have the strenth to go to HIm? You’re leaning on your strenth instead of His. Let Go.

  • J. Chartier

    Catholicism is a deplorable religion that encourages war and bloodletting. lets not forget the dozens of so-called religious leaders of this faith who are nothing more than child rapists dressed up like priests? I dont know how anyone could “be proud to be catholic”
    it’s a satanic religion steeped in lies, superstition and fear. The history of this disgusting religion bears out that it is political, materialistic, idolitrous, morbid and sadistic. It never ceases to amaze me that seemingly intelligent people can ascribe to this paganism and rediculously ritualistic religion. Catholicism shows all of the signs of being the “whore of babylon” that is described in Revelations. Some good works done in the name of Jesus is not enough to erase centuries of false religion and all the debauchery that goes with it.

  • Narvette

    Thank you so much, Therese, for your blog! I often read, but, this is the first time I’ve felt moved to comment. Like the other bloggers, I too have fallen victim to the comments and negligence of clergy and other believers to the point of experiencing even deeper depression.
    I’ve suffered from depression since childhood even though I wasn’t diagnosed until my 20s. My prayer focus has to be on releasing the sense of guilt I feel since I finally realize that this is a legitimate illness and my cross to bear. Depression is not something any of us has chosen. One of the few blessings in suffering from depression is that when others are feeling down, or appearing aloof, including when I feel offended, I’m slower to criticize because of my own struggles. It’s great not feeling “alone.”

  • intheblue_07

    you are right that we need help…and that ‘help’ can be as simple as a friend who said something funny (or ridiculous) that make us laugh, or we see this really cute little kid who make us smile, or the standup comedy we see on TV…in any case, we need God’s mercy to position us in the right place to encounter those ‘cures’….

  • Sharon

    Depression is an illness like many others which are beyond our control without help. You would tell a diabetic not to take their insulin and just read the word and have faith in the lord? You wouldn’t tell a cancer patient they just need Jesus and not Chemotherapy? Why is the disease of depression so hard for people to grasp? Look at how many alcoholics and drug addicts who died suffering because everyone told them all they needed was will power? Perhaps picking up a drink or a street drug is a choice but so is picking up a cigarette, over-eating and I could go on, however the point is until you deal with the root of the problems then eventually it will progress into an incurable disease without proper treatment.
    Sharon

  • Zee

    I came across your work for the first time today, through a link. Thank you. I see so many of my own struggles in your words. You have given me some new perspectives, and I appreciate it. Thank you for having the courage to write so openly and honestly, it has touched my life. God bless you.

  • Theresa

    I have a familial history of bipolar illness and depression. I am so depressed right now that it is a struggle to get up, take a shower, get dressed. It has nothing to do with my belief or lack of belief but is a genetically linked physical illness. 33% of those diagnosed with bipolar successfully commit suicide. Guilt tripping people with religion when they have a physical illness is a form of sadism. I once had a Christian pastor come to the hospital see a family member whose daughter was in serious condition with a brain tumor. He had the effrontery to tell her that it was because she committed adultery that her child was so stricken. It reminds me of those idiots that demonstrate at veteran’s funerals with signs that say they are going to hell and that Jesus hates them. There are Christians and then there are those who wrap themselves in the Bible in order to torment others. Woodie Allen said it best when he said that Jesus would never stop throwing up if he came back and saw what people were doing in his name. Amen.

  • marja bergen

    Amen!!! I just found you and your blog. And it’s funny I should find you today because I just wrote a post on my blog, marjabergen.blogspot.com, entitled “I’m seething” – seething about the same thing you write here about. My blog and articles on http://www.canadianchristianity.com are on faith and mental health issues. So you see, this post is close to home for me. Archbishop Roussin is close to me as well. I live in the Vancouver area as well and read his story last May.
    My passion is to reduce the stigma in the Christian world. I’ve written a book about living as a Christian with bipolar disorder. I’m hoping to find a publisher soon. Another book, Riding the Roller Coaster (Northstone 1999), has been out for a while but is still available.
    I’ve started a mood disorders support group with the help and great support of my pastor. We call the group “Living Room”. We’re hoping to encourage other groups to start up – everywhere. It’s one way in which churches can help those who live with mental illness – in a Christ-like, non-judgmental way. We recently launched a website: http://www.livingroomsupport.org. I hope you will take a look and pass the information along.
    I’ve come to believe that the best way to help churches get over the stigma is to help them understand how they can be supportive. I’m tired of fighting them. I want to be more positive in my approach. Yet sometimes – like today – I end up seething.
    It was good to talk to you.

  • bob

    hurrah! thanks so much for this article.

  • Mary

    I can safely say that I am a depressive in remission, if there is such a thing. I do not take medication, eventhough I have been prescribed meds by my family doctor and a psychiatrist I once consulted with. I decided to not take the meds and focus more on my inner strength that I’ve brought forth through my spirituality. Now, I do believe that there are people that suffer different levels of depression/mental illness that may range from mild to severe which meds and other types of treatment are vital. However, I just want to offer a commentary here because it seems to me that people are so focused on the illness and how bad it feels and all the negative thinking that results. The longer someone remains focused on the illness, that’s where the depressive will remain. Just like a person with high cholesterol has to take her meds, she also has to put forth effort in eating well and exercising to ASSIST the meds for her recovery. The same it is for depression. One thing is to take meds,but more importantly, it is the effort put forth to assist in recovery. What do I mean? If you continue to focus on how bad you feel and how terrible everyone is and everything is, and continue in a victim role, you are furthering the illness. A depressive has to help herself by putting forth alot of effort to change negative thinking patterns. Getting in touch with your own spirituality does help greatly in your recovery. This is how I dealt with my own situation. I will say that in my case, my depression may have been a mild one (albeit long-term episodes). I am constantly “on watch”. This means that I am constantly monitoring my negative thoughts. Alot of times, this is what is needed for recovery, for those with mild depression. So, bottom line, yes,spirituality, faith, God, Jesus, does help alot. Sometimes, dare I say, speaking from my own experience, that alot of maturing is needed. We can be 30-somethings and older and still have the mind of a child in certain areas of our lives. Another example is my mother. She is 65 and still thinks like a child in certain instances. I’ve caught her and I’ve confronted her in certain situations and have explained that she really needs to “grow up” but instead she resorts to becoming depressed with a pout. Alot of it boils down to what you believe and how you manage your thoughts that afterwards affects how you manage your feelings.

  • suzanne

    hi,
    i feel ya. everyday is a struggle. i do take medication, and it works. just pray alone is not sufficient. i do pray. being bipolar, and the ups and downnnnns, can be awful.
    god bless dear
    be strong
    with light, suzanne

  • waves

    Yes, there are many levels of depression, but everyone be careful of judging anyone with this illness. It is devastating and debilitating on many levels. I know first hand. I suffer tremendously from depression.
    No one can take their own level of experience and put it onto another person. There are too many medical and psychsocial factors involved to make any judgement about another person’s depression. The only analogy I can think of is a biological infection. The infection could come from an internal source or an external source….the worsening of the infection might depend on the state of the person’s immune system….the response of the infection to drugs depends on whether the correct antibiotic is found to treat the infection. Even when this happens the infectious bacteria may become immune to the drugs.
    I don’ know if this analaogy really puts my point across. The point being that depression on all levels is a biological process…..all psychological processes are biological. The pain of depression is so very real and in all honesty I cannot conceive of why someone would ever choose it for themselves. It is life wrenching, joy robbing, tortuous pain.
    Thank you Beyond Blue.

  • Anonymous

    I was a Catholic for over 45 years. I struggled with guilt and anxiety. After years of soul searching I came to realize that it was the Catholic religion with all its guilt and oppression that was making me miserable. Calling a priest “father” is wrong – we have only one heavenly father and one physical father – strangers have no right to this title. Going to confession is wrong – we have our Lord to speak to every day. Some of those priests are bigger sinners than we are! Who are they to forgive us? Purgatory – it does not exist in the Bible – Jesus paid the price for us. There is nothing we can do after we’re dead to attone for our sins! Saints – we’re all saints in the eyes of God – not just a special few that Rome deems fit for that title! Please look into your Catholic past – looking into another church (a Christian one) might be just what you need. I know it worked for me.

  • therapydoc

    But what about the idea that depression distances one from everyone, everything, even that sense of connecting to the Old Mighty? Maybe that’s what you mean here.

  • Laney

    My depression comes from my one and only son basically abandoning me when he got married. We were always close and there for each other. His wife has made it impossible to continue our mother-son relationship. I realize when a man gets married his wife and family come first, and that is how I taught him. But she has lied and twisted so many things to put a wall up between us, it has broken my heart. To make a long story short, I have lived in depression for many years now and it is taking its toll on me physically as I have nobody else to turn to as far as family goes. My friends have disappeared either getting married or moved away. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith. Everyone has to feel as though we have a reason to be here, a purpose. Since my purpose as Mom is over, God has seen fit to make me a keeper of sick little animals and sends me them quite a bit. I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but my little furry friends give me the love and companionship when my depression gets overwhelming. They seem to sense when I am down. It’s truly amazing! I have a gift with healing animals, even when the Vet says to put them down! I look upon my pets as all little angels sent to me to give me a purpose, because GOD knows we all need a reason to live and a feeling of being needed. I still have my ups and downs quite a bit, but I go on trying because my pets need me to take care of them. Sad to say my son has betrayed his Mom and perhaps one day when it is too late will realize it. I feel bad that this may happen to him because there will be nothing he will be able to do about it at that point. There is nothing worse than lonliness and nothing to really look forward to, but I will endure and pass on knowing I put forth a lot of love and kindness in this world. I have met my Angel through meditation and she talks to me when I need consoling.
    It is the toughest time at Christmas when I see families together so happy and I am all alone. Recently I have made a new friend through work and she has invited me to her home Christmas day so I have that to look forward to. Christmas Eve i will cook a good dinner for my furry lil angels and have them to love. I am blessed with so many sweet souls in that way.
    God Bless and White Light to You All!

  • Margaret

    Thank you for your article.
    I tend to blame myself for my depression. There seems to be a mythology that people should be happy all of the time. If they are not happy, it is because they are not doing something correctly. No one is happy all of the time. People who have clinical depression do not choose to be unhappy. It is the way that their minds function (or mis-function.) It is so much easier for me to see depression as an illness in someone else.
    Since depression includes poor self-esteem, it is not surprising that I blame myself. It is comforting to read acknowledgement that it is not my fault. If only I prayed harder-was more optimist-thought better thoughts exercised for a half hour everyday-forced myself to be more active, etc. then I would be happy. The bottom line is, I can do all of those things and I am still stuck with the depressed me. This is not to say that I haven’t gotten better using all of those tools. I have gotten better. My mind will never be the same. I need to stop blaming myself for becoming ill. I need to forgive myself for becoming so depressed that I wanted to die. It isn’t a lack of character or will that caused depression, it was an illness.
    I look for the gifts in adversity. I look for what I have learned. I need to learn to be kinder to myself. Thank you for helping me to see that.
    Margaret

  • Wendi Peysar

    Thank You for writting this aritcle!
    I would say I only wish I had found it sooner, but you know, all things in His time!
    I too have struggled with BiPolar and Suiciadal Depression. After one of my many hospitalizations the clergy from the church we were then attending did finally come to visit me. He at least admitted that he really did not know a lot about mental illness and didn’t understand it in a way that he could empathize with me. I was actually amazed and impressed that he was willing to admit it! Of course I still had the nice people at church who would tell me their tales of being depressed and being on antidepression medication at some point in their own lives until someone prayed with them and they felt the hand of the Lord come upon them and save them. DO THEY REALIZE HOW THAT MAKES US FEEL? That we must not believe enough, have enough faith, are somehow not in the good graces of this God that we have believed and worshiped. It only places us 15 steps backwards.
    During this extra trying period of my life one of my daughters was about 16 years old. She was attending this same church’s Wednesday night youth meeting and heard the leader talk on how people with mental illness are getting those thoughts from the devil! That there is an evil force that is trying to overtake our thoughts and actions. Needless to say she came home in tears. I called the clergy the next day and was told she must have misunderstood. This same leader in a seperate meeting talked about how the mentally handicapped did not have the ability to understand babtisim and asking forgiveness therefore could not be saved. Again, my daughter came home in tears as her youngest sister was entrusted to us with Down’s Syndrome.
    I believe God knows what it is that will work for each of us to treat whatever illness we endure. That is why some find resolution to problems in different ways. He also gave us doctor’s and medication to treat some of our illnesses. I know I wouldn’t be here with out my 3 that I take!!
    If the church wants to take this stand on Mental Illness, than why is it that they don’t tell the diabetic (me also) to quit taking their insulin medication and just pray from healing of your pancrease.
    The nicest prayer that we can give each other is to give us the strength to seek the help that we need in the time that we need it.
    If you want to physically help someone suffering with Mental Illness, first of all ask if there is anything they need, then second, just do something nice to help them realize you aren’t judging them or thinking less of them. You would be amazed at how strong and intelligent these people really are!
    P.S. Please forgive my spelling as when I get into a topic that hits close to home I tend to type faster than I spell. LOL

  • Becky

    I have a stepson and 3 of my own children. We figured out this summer that I have been struggling with depression for about 6yrs. It gradually got worse over the past year. I had my son and when he was a year old, we tried to have another baby. I miscarried at 6weeks. So, I thought OK, now is not the time. We tried the year after and I had another miscarriage at 6weeks. I then decided to wait and lose the weight I had gained through all this. I thought that I was emotionally stable after the miscarriages. I was OK. I had lost 10 pounds. and found out I was pregnant again. This time the doctor had me do an ultrasound right at 6weeks and get on meds to help my hormones hold the pregnancy. We found out it was twins!!! Wow. I couldn’t believe it and I was more scared than ever that I would lose them. I never prayed until I found out I was pregnant with the twins. I prayed every night and still do. Through all of the hormonal ups and downs of the miscarriages and the twins my hormones went crazy. I figure I started getting depressed after the first miscarriage. It slowly got worse until this summer when I was about to let everything and everyone down. I wanted to die. I felt the people in my life would be better off if I weren’t around. I had valid reasons for the way I felt. But, there I was at night, praying to God that he helped me get better. My husband was the one who came to me in my darkest moments and was my guardian angel. Maybe God sent him to be my husband because he knew this man was the only one in my future who could help me with my depression and so I didn’t take my own life. I don’t know a lot about the church and their views but I believe God gives us what we need and the power to change for the better. I also believe people need to not judge. God does not judge. Who gives others the right to judge? If other people are not hurting us or our families, why does anyone care what they believe in? We all have our own opinions and we need to help others. God died for us. The least we can do is respect and help others who are in need. Whether it be physically or mentally. We are all equal.

  • Sherry Hill

    I’m sorry that you feel god can not heal you but I know he can. I do not say to not go to a doctor or to not seek concil. for 4 years I suffered with depression and sometimes I still do. I didn’t have the money to get medical help so God has been my only help and with out him I wouldn’t have made it. With Him through prayer and reading my Bible I’m gradually coming out of it and when I feel sad I tell him all about it and he whispers sweet peace to me.

  • regina

    I think ‘all roads are good’. Yes, depression for many, as other mental illness, is chemically and neurologically based. Even mild depression can lead to a re-wire of brain that might need an assist of ‘medications’ to begin the healing.
    I will add though that in my darkest days I have somehow found deeper connections to my spiritual life. Do I pray that a ‘higher power’ whatever form it will take can ‘cure me’? No. I do though hope and pray that I will be ‘shown the way’.
    For me it is many things. This time of year, Dec., I need additional light. So I now have full spectrum lights above my computer. I try to avoid sugar, all the time. I give myself some rope for the holidays but know that the ‘yucky’ feeling the day after may be the sugar. Alcohol is a non issue. I don’t do that at all anymore.
    I work on being positive. It is NOT where I come from in my family of origin. Is it genetic? Probably. Is it environmental? Glass was always half full in my house growing up. Family tells me now, I’m ‘too good’. Ha, it is so funny to hear that. I was the ‘troubled’ kid growing up. Maybe it was because I saw the elephant in the middle of the living room and wanted them to see it. I did then and still do, but have learned to live with them all and try with love to find the compassion to accept them with all their faults. Good shrinks, spiritual teachers, excercise and meds have helped me to ‘find the way’
    Pax.

  • Annie Turner

    I’m not a Catholic but reading this article is so true. Sometimes God sends helpers to His Sheep in any form possible. It’s upto us to recognize the helpers & pull them in. Because Prayer is just the stepping stone to remedy of problem (For example depression).
    Continue writing these informative articles that makes one think about their faith & how God is there in any form.

  • Anonymous

    Irealy loved your article. It spoke to me so vividly. I, too experienced this problem very darkly at one time, and lighter since.I also was experiencing terrible mind boggling body pain along with mental pain. I had been mentally abused by my husband, and bonbarding visitation from neighbors and friends. I guess I was the kind of person everybody appeared to like and would come to for answers to everything. People at church always wanted me to do so many things, also I played piano and organ very well, could play by ear and reading. I was asked all over for weddings, funerals, church and just fun times. Through gradually breaking down, a close two close friends had eyes on my husband, and tried to control me. They did since I was so beaten down. To make a long story short, my job included, which ws a very good one, I could not take all the pressure, and tried to cope by doing passive aggressive things, and my mariage caved down,and mor terrible mental cruilty. With all the physical and mental pain I was a large basket case and living alone. Dr, said nothing wrong with me, body pain was all in my head, therefore, I would do these passive aggressive things to cope and try to find out if these things would help the pain and find the root and it wouild go away. It was terrible. My husband would tell people at gatherings, that I had a psco pain, which would embaress me so badly. At church “Holy ladies would say I was causing my own pain and I letting devil talk to me and I did not have any faith which would make me so MAD. I knew I had arthritis,but was not being diagnosed, and I would say are babies responsible for their Rheumatoid arthritis, or little children, is caused by their anger? They said RA arthritis was caused by your mental thoughts and all the hog wash. Since then, I have been diagnosed with Fibromylgia and Arthrites. I have deterioated, my back and joints, etc because those earlier Drs said it it was all in my head. My story is so long, I cannot tell it all. But I did find healing myself.I had counslers, but they were just a source of listening to my thoughts. mostly. But one day I believe God said to me to buy me a book to write in ( these were the days before the popular books you write your thoughts in). He said keep it handy at all times and when you get a thought about the way you are thinking about something, a thought that is uncomfortaable or causing some arousing in my heart , emotions etc, stop and write it down and I, God will interpatet it to explaining why you are feeling this way about this situation and how you can chang that thought and/or action, and if you will do this, Your life and thought patterns will change, and you will understand yourself. As I did this, I was astounded at what happened, and how when a certain thing would happen, I was urged to get my book, and I would start writing the thing, then would start having instant insight to this internal turmoil I experiencing, I would write this all down, then would meditate on this. It was such a healing experience. This went on for probably 3 yrs, then, since my life was changing, It gradually was less and less. Now after 35 yrs, it happens very little. It seems I understand myself, and even if I get down, I know Or do now react right etc, I usually understand why. I still suffer physical pain sometimes a 10 in pain measurment, I no longer really believe I caused it, even though I am tempted to think I did. I still have to shut out those HOLY Ladies voices out saying I caused all my pain, and those Dr’s voices who said my pain was all in my head.God bless the first Sane Dr. who said to me. “Do not EVER believe your caused all of your pain, because it can cause you to to crazy, and I just about did. Thank My Wonderful Heaveanly Father that He taught me about myself, it was an amazing experience that I could hardly believe, and if I would tell anybody, they treated me as though I was crazy, so I did not tell it. I thank Him also for good Drs, after that who have given me medication to help me. I thank him for good counselers who listen to me and complement me on my insight.(God gave to me). I still fight negative thoughts, pain tends to do this, also I live with situation that is painful with my daughter. I have a 11 yr grandaughter I take care of and I am 70. When I get out of bed, sometimes I feel like someone hit my chest with a bat, and I sccot into the BR, but later I loosen up. I take her to school ev mornint etc, lots of things to do 2 dogs, 2 cats, hamster and fish. I have to keep going even though I do not think I can some days. I love and thank you for letting me tell my story. I dod not tell you some of the worst with my daughter, which keeps on going. I guess I need to write a book, it would be a best seller for someone who could maybe glean some healp from all the things I have been throurh. I really believe some of mytroubles could have been different if I could have been more mentally well, but I was not perfect, and I just did not seem to be able to do any different at the time with all my pain. Now I can, even though I do fight depression, God has given me my grandchild to live for so she keeps me going through all my pain. If I were by myself, living with this pain, I probably would be in a chair or bed. My Drs think I could be in a w/c, but i DO NOT THINK SO. mY DAUGHTER just walked in and dropped a bomb. Another day for depression. Thank you for letting me write this. I have got to fight. Dee
    avenly Father,He brought me good counslers and medical Drs. after he taught me all those things about myself. dically, or pshc. who had any knowledge to help meffu

  • Kathy

    I really enjoyed your article. I have had the same reaction from clergy. Well meaning people,however,I believe that unless you have actually been there, you do not really know how it is. I really feel for your struggles also because my brother ,who died last yr, was schizophrenic and my mother was always being told by family and church men that he didn’t need meds all he needed was to be saved and his mental illness would go way. They also tried saying that he was demon possessed because of the hearing of voices that goes with the illness. It was reallly sad that they didn’t understand the nature of the illness. I thought that they were saying that he wasn’t alllowed to be sick. I have always believed that “mental” illness is just that, NOT something from the devil or demons and being saved does solve a lot of prolems, but not all, and we all have our own personal struggles that don’t make us less Christian for having them. Take care, carry on. It will all be good.

  • Kimberly

    Thank you for writing this article. I’m a baptist who recently found out that I have this illness. I hear the same things when it comes to finding a cure. I believed anyone who offered me advice on healing this disease and tried their remedy for it. Nothing worked of course, I do however, believe in my doctors advice who believes that I’m in a healing process right now and give it about a year with my medication and I will be completely healed and taken off my meds. I’m thankful for that and am looking forward to being myself again with the much needed energy. Being strong is having to live with such a disease and still having to take on the everyday tasks and chores in our lives and are alot harder for those who are sick. I am really grateful for my spouse who supports me. I have two young kids who look up to me and need me more than ever right now. Taking care of a household while being sick is what I relate to as being strong and having that kind of strength to go on. When someone calls you weak, turn your head and look at all the things you accomplished with this disease,then you’ll find out how strong you really are.

  • just1dering

    A friend of mine whose life included an ongoing struggle with depression killed himself this past Sunday. He was a very spiritual person who had a hard time talking openly about his depression. Only he knows the reasons for this. What I can say is that his silence did not seemingly make his path any easier. I can’t help but think he too felt that his illness was spiritually incorrect – that if people knew the extent of his pain they would think him less of a spiritual person. This is an ancient situation – remember Job and his friends?
    My friend has taught me this. Spiritual perfection cannot be defined in human terms. There is no one to one correlation between the conditions in our lives and the perfection of God’s interior kingdom. As a person living in time/space I cannot escape the conditioned world and its pain and struggles. As a spiritual being I am part of a mysterious often paradoxical perfection that reveals itself to me.
    It has never asked me to lie about the conditions I am experiencing and I am always encouraged to know that I face nothing alone. Life is not an either/or situation it is always a both/and.

  • Angela Johnson

    Whoa!! I thought I was the only one who felt like they were going to go insane. Some days, I really feel that way. I don’t have anyone at all to talk to about this. I too, feel like it’s my own fault that I’m depressed and emotional. I’ve got many illnesses and I’m only 38 years old. I love the Lord and know that He is the only thing that sustains me in this life. Without Him, I wouldn’t be here and often wonder why I am. Depression is terribly high in my family and I think my 22 yr old daughter is falling into it too. She already has panic attacks, I ask for prayer and thank you for your articles.

  • CAROL

    i HAVE HAD DEPRESSION ALL OF MY LIFE. I AM 66 AND MOST OF THAT TIME I BELIEVED THAT I WAS A WEAK PERSON FOR BEING SO DEPRESSED.UNABLE TO COPE WITH LIFE. I HAVE SINCE LEARNED DIFFERENTLY. I WOULD NOT BE ALIVE TODAY IF I WAS A WEAK PERSON. IT TAKES STRENGTH TO LIVE WITH DEPRESSION. I AM A STRONG PERSON TO HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR. I HAVE HAD A LOT HAD A LOT OF GRIEF TO DEAL WITH ALONG THE WAY. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF IGNORANCE:
    WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WAS A MEMBER OF A BAPTIST CHURCH. ONCE WHEN I WAS UNUSUALLY DEPRESSED AND COULD NOT GET OUT OF BED I HAD MY PASTOR COME TO PRAY WITH ME.I NEEDED ENCOURAGEMENT AND THE PRAYERS OF OTHER CHRISTIANS ESPECIALLY MY PASTOR. HE CAME AND DID NOT COME NEAR THE BED. STOOD ACROSS THE ROOM AND SAID A SHORT PRAYER AND GOT AWAY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. A FEW SUNDAYS LATER HE PREACHED A SERMON ON LACK OF FAITH AND GAVE THE EXPAMPLE THAT ONE OF OUR OWN DEACONS WIFE HAD SO LITTLE FAITH THAT SHE TOOK TO HER BED WITH DEPRESSION. THE WHOLE CHURCH KNEW WHO HE WAS TALKING ABOUT.
    SUCH IGNORANCE! NO ONE WHO HAS NEVER HAD DEPRESSION KNOWS HOW IT FEELS TO BE DEPRESSED. IT IS NOT JUST A STATE OF MIND IT COMES WITH BODY PAINS AND NEGITIVE THOUGHTS. IT IS A PROBLEM WITH THE BRAIN A BODY PART.THE BRAIN DOES NOT MAKE ENOUGH OF THE RIGHT CHEMICALS AND IT CAUSES DEPRESSION.WHY IS THAT SO HARD FOR SUPPOSED EDUCATED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND? ESPECIALLY A DOCTOR OR A PASTOR.
    THERE IS SO MUCH IGNORANCE ABOUT DEPRESSION. PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT DEPRESSION BEFORE SPOUTING OFF ABOUT IT. IT IS A CHEMICAL PROBLEM. THE DISEASE IS BAD ENOUGH TO HAVE TOI KIVE WITH WITHOUT ALL THE PERSECUTION.YOU ARE WEAK AND OF LITTLE FAITH.I THINK THESE PEOPLE WILL HAVE A LOT TO ANSWER FOR WHEN THEY GET TO HEAVEN.I LIKE THE SAYING DON’T JUDGE UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED A MILE IN SOMEONES SHOES. I ALSO LIKE THE VERSETHAT SAYS DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.

  • Crystal

    Well said. I suffer from depression and fibromyalgia. I baffle doctors and my pastor. Jesus does give me the strength to keep fighting. I am very open about using medicine as a healing agent in my life. God has sent me people that are so awesome who have these disorders and I do believe them to be a teaching tool. We don’t deny we are sick but we do deny it’s exsistence the right to control us. We can fight back with meds,people, anything God gave us for healing. Out of our greatest pain does come our minsitry. Keep writing and reaching out. You do have a gift to share with others especially other believers in Christ. You are NOT alone, my friend.

  • Sandra

    Yes, there is so much ignorance about depression and all mental illness, me myself suffering bi polar mainly depression and bouts of severe depression, 4 suicide attempts and 5 or 6 hosp admittions in the past 12 yrs. It is v. frustrating when evryone from naturepaths, 2 religious believers claim they can “fix” u, i believe depression has had much 2 teach me and i realized i had much emotional pain 2 heal, cos medication didnt do much 4 me. Afta many yrs of tirelessly looking 4 answers i took a bit from all my advisers, and my inate connection with my inner Godself and universal God gave me strength and guidance 2 do th deep inner wrk nessasary. No religion, just spiritualiy, we r also all God beings and have been given th ability 2 heal ourselvs, mind, body, spirit no matter how bad, i feel like i am living proof. I still have low wks, days, i stil cry and get angry, but i am a totally different person, now 36yrs. Im grounded, wrk at jobs i luv, have great rel with people i luv, am peaceful, luving, creative, and more empathetic and compassionate than iv eva been and even all my fam and friends hav been saying his more and more. I truly believe healing my inner wounds and demons, meditation, councelling, natural therapies and my conection 2 my spiritual self (oh and much patience and pain along th way) i am becoming even happier and healthier than th average “well” person. We will all have a cross 2 bare in this life and depression, as tormenting as it may b can also make us beta people equipt with compassion and empathy 2 help others. People will prefer us 2 psychitrists 1 day. I now help people in my wrk thu being a Wolistic Health practioner and guiding people on there journey 2 healing and wholeness.As long as we are alive ther is always hope. Just find ur own way. Let luv rule. Peace 2 all.

  • hormanchristine@yahoo.com

    I read several of the commentaries from those to who suffer from depression like I do.I find it frustrating for me because I feel like I don’t have anyone I can talk to or can even remotley begin to understand how godawful I feel.The deep feeling of saddness is unrelenting and stubborn and no matter how hard I try with thinking postive thoughts,trying not to think about all that has gone wrong in my life ect.I find that I end up right back to where i’ve been for years.Deeper and deeper into the abyss I go.Lately the only time I seem to find reprieve from this is when I sleep.So I sleep more and more.I have gotten to the point now where I cannot deal with feeling like this day after day and I feel that the only way to put and end to this misrable hoplesness and deep sadness is suicide.
    I have finally reached my limit,it’ts become to unbearable!
    I am greatful to have been able to find this webpage because I know there are people who suffer as I do and know and understand.
    thank you for your time,Christy H

  • Sue

    The world is depressed. Society as a whole is selfish and out for themselves.Enough of that.
    My husband (passed away from a heart attack at 46) was bipolar, and borderline personality disorder. He learned to try different things to help him cope and he was successful. My daughter (not biologically his) is 24 and is in the hospital right now. Her sisters are certain she is doing all of this for attention and would breath easier if she was banished from my house. (They are launched and making their lives work) It is difficult to be depressed and all that must be endured, but it is so very hard on the family and those that care. I am manipulated because I care. It sucks…ass.

  • sam p

    i just find it really difficult to enjoy myself like i once used to. feelings of guilt can be overwhelming. i feel guilty about things that happened in the past present and also i look to the future and only see doom and gloom. i often loath waking up and having to face the day.
    i was on medication for anxiety/depression and after 6 or 7 years i felt that the only difference it made to me was that it was financially draining and was very difficult to wheen myself off them due to the side affects they caused. i do not miss them at all.
    i continue on, wondering how its all going to end.

  • luci

    I want to isolate from people. Ilove my family and am happy around them. When I feel strong enough to socialize I am fine and I guess I put up a strong front, But it takes great effort, almost too much effort so I give up alot……. i dont pick up my phone because I don’t feel like talking to anyone. I do work part time and I enjoy what I do because I can make others feel good about themselves and that for me is therapy. Is this depression??????

  • Shontell

    Luci,
    I’m no psychiatrist or therapist, but I’ve experienced depression for over 20 years, and from the information you provided, it sounds a lot like my experiences with depression. Sometimes even now, I still don’t make the connection with my mood and actions as being depression, but it usually is. If this is how you feel often, you should seek professional help to confirm if you are experiencing such are not. Helping others is definitely a form of therapy, but it is usually not enough to sustain. Be blessed!

  • Bernadette

    My favorite articles on depression are all the one’s that offer hope and faith which is always helpful to those who experience depression. You NEED these tools to lift yourself gradually out of this condition. And usually {like for me} it is more of an in and out type of healing, but w/MANY different types of therapeutic choices to combine, until finally the puzzle is resolved and replaced with confidence, inner strength, exercise, socializing, eating right, spiritual development, some counseling, rest, having a hobby that you love, pets, loving others and yourself on an authentic level. It can seem complex at times, however the solutions are quite simple. The healing can be challenging at times but all the effort and persistence has great inner rewards.
    Wintertime can be a toughy. And it can be a little more of a challenge getting to the gym or waiting for a warm day for a walk.–Or even forcing yourself to do healthy things for yourself when feeling blue.
    In my experience, 9 times out of 10, I feel A LOT better whenever I’ve literally MADE myself drive to work or go out to meet a friend for lunch. And afterwards just feel TONS better normally speaking.
    But back to the topic of winter blues ….. there’s a bunch of articles and positive feedback regarding those special lamps you can sit in front of every morning. You know the type w/the lightbulbs that create like a physiological effect on your emotions for the better?
    –Haven’t tried that yet. I’ll write back, or post here once I get purchase one, trying out for myself. Blessings to all. Enjoy your life in all the way[s] that you can.
    {p.s. there’s been times here and there I did some journaling, listing ALL the things I am grateful for. After a week or two of WRITING it down almost every morning, it actually did make me feel better. Just food for thought}
    Bernadette

  • betty

    thanks….
    i just had my first session of theraphy. all my life i’ve dealth with problems with no help. and after 35 years of bad marriage i feel the need to run away and not look back. theraphy is the only way i can deal. after reading deprssion: it’s spirtually incorrect….i know i’ve done the right thing

  • Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this article!!! As a fellow Catholic, (and a proud one at that) I find that so many of my peers question my medication and psychotherapy. As if I was some helpless, faith-less soul needing saving, they look upon me with sad eyes. Hey, don’t be sad for me, and don’t tell my that my soul won’t be saved! I have saved myself time and time again by simply talking with my therapist and adjusting my meds. Do I believe in God? Of course! Do I believe that Jesus died for my sins? Definitely! But I also know that as a human I am prone to illness, and mental illness is what I suffer from.

  • KAREN

    I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT JESUS CANNOT DO IF WE BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH THE KIND OF FAITH THAT YOU BELIEVE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT SEE THE PROBLAM. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT GOD PLACED PHYSICIANS ON THIS EARTH FOR A REASON AND THAT IS TO HEAL PEOPLE THROUGH THESE PHYSICIANS. THERE ASRE MANY SITUATIONS THAT THIS HAPPENS AND WE CANNOT AND ARE NOT SUPPOSE TO QUESTION WHY? I HAVE BEEN PATIENTLY WAITING FOR A DIVINE HEALING FOR AN ANKLE INJURY, AS IT TURNS OUT I AM NOW IN WORSE SHAPE AFTER 3 YEARS AND AM HAVING TO GO THROUGH PAINFUL SHOTS FOR SOMETHING CALLED DIRECT REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME, AM I MAD? OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE I KNOW THERE IS A REASON WHY I AM GOING THROUGH THIS. THERE ARE MANY LESONS FOR ME TO LEARN..PATIENCE,TRUST,AND THE LIST GOES ON. I WILL NEVER LOOSE MY BELIEF OR FAITH IN THE LORD ALMIGHTY AND I DO KNOW HE IS CAPABLE OF MOVING MOUNTAINS…WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO BEIEVE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE!!

  • Bren

    I would like to comment about religion and depression, as I have both. First of all, having lived on planet earth a very long time, I have made a few conclusions; Not that my conclusions are right for everybody, but I do think they are for many. I have , from an early age, wanted a good relationship with God. I fell by the wayside often, came back, repented, etc., and tried again. But from my early years, I think I suffered a degree of depression, and then, once in my forties, the depression got so bad that I had no choice but to go on medication, as it was the only way I could stand it. (If you have never felt like this, then you don’t know what you are missing, or maybe you really don’t have depression.) It hasn’t been fun. The point of my message is this, Disease takes many forms.. Heart, lungs, liver, etc,and through God’s generous grace, he has given this longer living generation a gift.. Medication. God never promised to take it all away. God only promised that He would be there to help us cope. He gives us a mind, he gives us gifted people to help those of us that need a gift… Medication. Do not feel ashamed. Do not fail to do what you need to do to feel well. Forget this “junk” about not having enough faith to be healed. God heals us through others most of the time.

  • Janet Hughey

    Hi,
    I too have struggled with depression for at least thirty years,if not longer. The personal pain I have endured from family, friends,&church family,is beyond belief. I have comteplated suicide more times than I would want to admit. The reason, I just want the pain to go away. Unless you have been afflicted by this illness, please don’t pretend you have the answer to the cure. Did I choose to be the way I am? No way!! I so would like to be normal and enjoy life as others do, however,I have not been given that option. When I wake every morning, I know it’s just another day that will be a challenge, for you see there are days I just struggle so hard to get through the day. There are times when I would like to spend the rest of my days on earth asleep so I would not have to face another day of struggle. Yes,I am on medication. I dare to thing what would happen if I were not. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing one day this misery will be over. Regardless of how my christian family feels about this condition, if I just had enough faith, if you were just closer to God, I know God understands and helps me to get through another day.

  • Sheryl G

    That was a very thoughtful column, very well written and easy to understand. I suffer from major depression, I have battled this for years, especially all thru my 40′s, I am now 49. I sometimes want to say that I have “situational” depression, because I’ve had a lot of men in my life, I’m in the divorce process for the 4th time now. And I’ve never felt worse in my life, I’ve never been this lonely and sad and I don’t know how in the world to get back up. I suppose I’ve made some bad choices, or wrong choices, when it comes to men. But this last one, I really thought was the one sent from God. He helped me get sober, he saved my life. I’ve spent nearly 8 years with this beautiful man, the love of my life, and then back in October, I discovered he was having an internet affair, with a younger woman who lives 2000 miles away. He cant’ even be with her, but she told him to move out on me, and that is what he did, he simply left. My heart is so broken, he took all the money, I don’t work, I’ve been ill and having tests done, and he knows all this, and yet he stopped caring, suddenly. I don’t understand this, how God could put me in this situation. I thanked God every day for that man, I really thought he was sent to me. Now I feel so betrayed, by my husband and God. I have prayed so hard, every day and night, for something, anything good to come along. There is nothing in my life worth living for anymore. I only have my precious dog, Ziggy, who loves me unconditionally, and I love her so much, but I’m starting to think that she needs a new home, new family who can love her and take care of her, keep her happy, because I can’t fulfill her daily needs anymore. She’s active wants to play all the time, I do my best, but I know she needs more. And then if she’s gone, I’ll have nothing. I’ve been suicidal before, I hurt a lot of people in my family when I did that, so I told them I would’t try it again. Just a few days ago, my uncle killed himself, and now that’s all I’m thinking. He suffered for a long time with illness and depression and now he’s gone, he took himself out of that situaion. What should I do?

  • Susan

    I too am a christian, with bipolar, and i also have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. Talk about a double whammy. I struggle every day to look to God in order to keep my head above water. To stay optimystic when there seems to be no reason. I have over the years attempted suicide more times then I wish to admit, and my Faith is stronger that ever. I’v come to a place that It is a life or death matter for me to stay connected and spend time with God on a daily basis. I get up in the morning and spend on an average of 2 hours Praying meditating on the word and being with my savior. Not everyone has the luxury of the time I have but to me it is piority. He gives me strenght and a reason to live. During a bible study the other day, I came across a question of what are your priorities. Are they eternal or do they have an end? And What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
    This sparked may qusestions in my mind. Do I want my kids, and grandchildren,I want them to say grandma was an overcomer, she loved the Lord and through her trials and tribulations she remainded steadfast with her love and determination to follow Christ. Rather then the alternative. This is my goal to bring glory to god in a way that is eternal.
    Thank you for listening,
    Susan,
    Michigan

  • JEFF0264

    A very true look into others perception of depression.
    I tried getting clean and sober at 17 . I would go to meetings pray hard work with oyhers, but that downard spiral would start turning.
    I have been chastiesed , for not praying enough , not being honest.
    In 1990 TIME ran an article on Prozac, itwas a very dark season I was in . I lost thirty pounds would have major binges and scream to God for help.
    I feel to often we fail to realize God created others to help , and yes doctors.
    I went on the porozac and had 9 years of clean time ,aloving family….I was blessed. Things have changed. I tried a treatment for hep c. My family is gone , I rarely smile and have had nerve damage and now the depression stays. And stays.
    I love God and pour my heart out , try to purge myself wiyh tears.
    I will never understand my demise, nor do I understand God.
    But as Bob Dylsan dsaid ” the only thing I know how to ,is to keep movin on”

  • Anonymous

    I have depression..without my meds …I am not a viable individual. Physically and emotionally I go down..I hate the feeling the kneejerk feelings…and loss of energy and looking upon winter as nuclear..(as in the nuclear winter).ruminateing thoughts,too!…Life has been good with cognitive,behavioral therapy…People realize now I just appreciate life and God in a different,good …way! I am thriving…learned to relax and call on God ..for solice…and the strength to be patient….and know that I am not in control of everything in my life..I..guess..what I am saying is I needed both…..and a lot of care for three years….Acupuncture…hypnosis…..are not even a thought..I have just heard off the Internet about a 3 minute cure ..if you can pay them $97.00/ they (whomever they are) will flip the switch and i will be fine…I never fell for that…please tell everyone to stop making money off the sicknesses of others…friends,husbands$wives and our children…on theNET. Please …THANK YOU

  • Annie Turner

    I suffer from depression or as you say “spiritually disorder”. I’ve been suffering from it for about 10 years give or take. There was a period of time I was denying I had a problem. Still sometimes I think they were wrong in the dianosis but then reality sinks in with the mood swings & flying off the handle for no reason. It’s a real illness. Some people can handle with just meditation or yoga but me & others have to take medication as well. Prayer also helps. I also talk to the Spirits of Loved Ones that have passed on. They help get though the rough times because some of them have walked in my shoes. My Guardian Angel gives me swift kick in the behide when I think I know it all.

  • Joiful

    Thank you for a great article. I too suffer from mental illness and feel the guilt, feelings you discussed in your article about blaming myself that I’m just not good enough. I’m not spriritaul enough. I’m damage goods.
    The person who wrote on Feb 28th….. I have never worded it that way but, I too seem to get depressed over situations. My feelings are if this or that did’nt happen I would’nt be depressed. It’s taken me along time to relize it’s how I process and deal with situations that make me depressed.
    The number one thing I have learned is stay away from intimate relationships when your not feeling well. You attract someone who is going to rescue you. One’s who feed off of that. He becomes your night in shinning armour. Then you become emotionally dependent on them. Then “he” fixes you as you had stated then his job is done and he goes on for his next “fix.” What you must relize is, this is not you, this is not your fault. It’s him, his problem. He wants to be in rescue mode at all times to feel good about the relationship he is in. It gives him a sense of self worth. When you got sober and things were going much better for you he booked. Why? because of his needs, nothing to do with you not being a good person.
    It’s painful and you will go through the grieving process of the loss of your familiar life with him but, in the end you have to focus on yourself and not on him.
    Keep the dog, dogs adjust to your lifestyle no matter what it is. I did the same thing 1 year ago. I had a beautiful well trained dog and I felt so guilty because I was laying in bed all of the time and did’nt have the energy to play with her. She was my only sunshine in my life. She was the sweetest, loving little dog. I let a friend with two children take her home because I felt that was best for her. Now they don’t want to give her back, they love her. I want her back but, I feel bad about taking the dog away from them now that they are attached to her. I really wished I’d never given her away for awhile. Again, focus on your life and Ziggy’s and you’ll make it with deeper understaning of your own needs and not the needs of someone else.

  • Anonymous

    I have been reading your work for about 3 or 4 weeks now, and I can say it does help me deal with the depression I have experienced at least half my life. Those idiots that like to point the finger at us believers who are fighting a battle and are trying to carry a cross that is too heavy need to re read their bibles…if you really read it, and pay close attention to it you will see that even the most devout believers suffered from depression. Those people that like to say it is spiritually incorrect need to go back and take the time to reread!!!!! How happy do you think Adam was when he got kicked out of the Garden, and how horrible it must have been to live several hundreds of years with the memory of what it was like to walk with God, never to be able to do it again…then to see your grandson go up to be with the creator and not taste death…I mean come on…I would have been depressed, that is for sure! To want something so badly, but not be able to attain it and then have to keep on living and living and living…that would have been torture.

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    This realy hit home for me.I have been fighting an infection for almost 2 years now I have heard it all think positive, pray,belive,and medications haven’t worked either.At times it is really hard to make it through 1 hour let alone 1 day.What no one under stands is i went in for a hernia repair and got stuck with a hole in my belly that won’t heal.I just wan’t people to say i under stand today is a bad one ,but lets see if tomarrow is better….

  • jane mackey

    I also suffer from a mental illness and I have tried everything that there is. But what works for me is this God,meds, good support system, and me.I have been so down that I knew I was not going to make it, than there was this song “I almost gave up”. it makes me realize that regardless of how I am feeling that God has always kept me some kind of way. But it always comes to to the facr that I will always have this illness and it will never go away. So how ever positive I can get , so be it.

  • Jo Ann

    I live it everyday. Most times in the last few months my depression won. I dealt with death, suicide, and the lost of love ones for I am dumb enough to believe anything I continue to think it will get better. I am on a roller coaster and no matter how loud I scream I am not really heard. Wanna know the famous cure in my life from my friends and family… Awww take a pill, chill a while, go lay down have a good cry you be better later.. Not one hug to hold me no one knows what to do. HEY WAKE THE FREAK UP PEOPLE HOLD THEM TILL THEY CRY AND LET THEM LET IT OUT ..or stay out of it and just act like you care and go about your life. We have warriors defending our freedom in other country;s and we can not even defend our own.. BUT THAT SAMES TO BECOME THE AMERICAN WAY FREE OTHERS BEFORE WE FREE OURSELVES…

  • Marilyn

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. My husband suffers from mental illness due to medication he was given by his doctor for Hepatitis C. He became suicidal, and suspicious of everyone. He heard voices and was unconsolable at time I prayed for two years for his healing and his being able to return to “normal”. I ended up becoming so depressed at the situation, I was put on Prozac, all the while feeling so guilty and horrible that I wasn’t putting everything in God’s hands with enough faith. I was confused that my prayers weren’t being answered. But God showed me, when I stopped to listen, that He was there for me. He led us to the right doctor, and my husband was put on the right medications. It took a while for the doctor to find the right dosages, but right now, my husband is better than he has been in a long time. God created doctors and scientists to create medications. Thank you for helping me understand that I don’t have to feel guilty and less than a Christian because I couldn’t rely on positive feelings alone.

  • Unsound

    I have to say thats the best I have read on depression. It’s odd, ya know you can have any other disease but not a mental one. I had a friend call me up about 2 weeks ago and say “I heard the funniest thing about you” I said really “what” she replied with “____told me you are bi-polar” I was stunned at first then I thought who cares! I said proudly to her “yes, I do…its not something you will catch from me.” as the conversation went on she said “so is it like your going to do the Britney thing” I had to tell her I have had it for years and only my closest family members knew. Anyway to make a long story short. She has not called since and I won’t be calling her. Ignorance is all I can say to the ones whom think they know all.
    Keep writing, I need it and so do so many others!

  • rae

    This article made a lot of sense. I have been going through depression for the past several months and really all I’ve gotten is guilt for it. I have been told “just snap out of it” and “grow up” and “you will be happy when you DECIDE to be happy” (just like that? really?) and “people in the world have it worse than you.” The ironic thing is that this comes from my husband and his family, all of whom have gone through worse, longer lasting mental conditions. His mother was depressed for years and his brother nearly committed suicide. But I guess if you don’t have to personally deal with it at the moment, it’s easy not to sympathize with how difficult the recovery process can be.

  • Michelle

    The article’s Title struck me and hit me the wrong way at first, i just didn’t like the sound of it. Spiritually incorrect. I still dont like it. I believe God is perfect and everything He does is Perfect including the lives of those persons who have an emotional / mental disorder just as a person who has diabetis or has a cast on a leg that has broken. How could one person be correct on a spritual level and another be incorrect? My little point here is I am Spritual to the extent that I believe I am. My belief is God made me perfectly and everyone else too. God also gave Free Will I believe. Therefore, our choices are not perfect. But our minds and hearts and souls and bodies are made perfectly spritually correct. Our free will is not perfect. I have mental/emotional disorders, someone else is blind that I know. He put a gun to his head and killed his eyesight and the ability to smell as well but at only 17 years old he was in AA in recovery at the time and lived to still be in aa about 6 years later. I met him before he shot the gun he met me as I was already with imbalanced seratonin levels. Free Will. God’s Will. Which is which? After all, Catholics believe we are all sons and daughters of God and His Son who died for our sins. That is the superiority of Spritiually CORRECT. And humbled me and countless others, who are Spritual. Just Spritual. Love to all. Michelle, Va Beach

  • Gail

    Thank you for this article!
    Sometimes it has seemed like psychiatry and spirituality each tries to explain the other away – psychiatrists could say that the God longing is an aberation or disease, and at the same time the religious right maintains that if we just BELIEVE HARDER we won’t be depressed. Neither is right.
    I believe that modern day medications AND talk therapy are both needed and helpful, gifts if you will. I am grateful for them because they allowed me to resume service to others that wouldn’t happen if I am weeping the day away in the fetal position. They also allow a more nuanced experience of conscience, and participation in the community.
    I was fortunate that the first med prescribed has worked well. I regret only the two years I spent trying to pray it away.

  • Holly

    Thank you for this article. I have bipolar disorder and I waged a war against what everyone in my church was telling me(that all I had to do was believe and pray that God would heal me and that I didn’t need medicine or therepy for that to happen), I lost. I gave up taking medicine and seeing a doctor/therepist and prayed till I was blue in the face. For awhile I was okay, but then I started cycling agian. I turned to an old habit(cocaine) for about a month. I recovered from that and tried again. I had so much faith at that time because I became pregnant after trying for 2 years. But then I lost the baby and became very angry with God. I realized that I never should have listened to the ignorant advise and should go back on meds despite what everyone else thinks before I end up doing something stupid. I and my family have suffered because unnecesserily over past year and it’s has to stop. I plan on priting your article and showing it to my pastor and others. Maybe it will make a difference or maybe not. It’s worth a try to keep others like me from going through this problem.

  • ane

    I am so proud and amazed by the courage you all have in dealing with this enemy (depression). Thank you for teaching the world about this enemy that destroyed everything. Depression is like a thief that comes and steal all good a person has. I think all you guys who have depression are very gifted, but you do not know how to handle the gift and that is why you feel depressed. I admire you guys strength and courage in dealing with it. Continue sharing with people like me who wants to know and learn more about this inconsiderate violator that likes to violate you guys personal lives.
    I wish you all the best. Please do not surrender without a fight. Continue searching because I am sure this is a disguise to all the powerful gifts you guys have that the world needs to learn from. I also believe that all and anyone who has it is a very smart person. That is why I believe you people are gifted people beyond measure.
    God bless you all. Love ane

  • Tania F., Melbourne, FL.

    Thanks, this article hits home for me. I myself just like many, feel an overwhelming sense of guilt during a depressive episode, it makes matters worse for me. I have to say, although I have received alot of support from my Catholic Church family, I still hear from some people, whom believe they are “helping”, the same things you have described in your article (and, believe it or not, I still tend to allow the negative comments, to affect me terribly, during severe episodes). I believe God, provides us with Pshycologists, Doctors and Medications, to help us, sometimes you just have to “shop” around for the right one for you, just like a barber or a hair stylist, that works best for you.
    Thank you, since finding “Beyond Blue”, I have felt a great deal of hope.
    Tania F.
    Melbourne, FL.

  • C.D. Cabin

    “Spiritually Incorrect” is a perfect description for depression. I have struggled with it all my life. The first time I felt suicidal to the point of trying to find a way to act on my impulses, I was 10 years old.
    Even in mental hospitals I have been met with judgment and criticism for “feeling sorry for myself,” and “you’re just lazy.” I’m in my mid-50′s and was able, through the past 35 years or so try most of the available treatments for depression (including ect….which didn’t help). Some of us have Treatment Resistant Depression, which doesn’t fully respond to any treatment. So, if you try all those things, and you still have a debilitating depression, the judgments pile up. I had fewer episodes when I was younger. As I got closer to 40, I got worse. They lasted longer. They were always deep, deep and dangerous in nature, but didn’t last as long. By the time I was 50, and my children were grown, I had to end my marriage. I couldn’t deal with the pressures and demands and frustrations my illness caused everyone. I moved to a medium sized city where I could lose myself. I’m several hundred miles from my closest friends and relatives. (The relatives are the worst…..I can’t deal with their cruelty.) I work hard every day to learn something positive. Certain spiritual things speak to me and I focus on them. Some days I can get out of bed. Sometimes I can’t.
    It’s a huge relief to have become a recluse. I never imagined this would happen. Between depressions, when I was a young wife and mother, people described me as “a real people person.” I loved being involved with life……between depressions. The shame, confusion, panic, etc.,
    that happened when the depressions hit was beyond awful. And people were so cruel. But it would cycle through, and I could get back into life again. But then I didn’t bounce back anymore.
    There is no energy left with which to fight this invisible but over-powering enemy. I don’t know why I’m alive. Many I have known and cared about have successfully commited suicide. My suicide failures left me so angry, I would be sent to a hospital and not speak to anyone for two weeks. Then you have to pretend to get well enough to be released or you are imprisoned in those places until they see their God-complex says you have to leave. Another version of hell are some of those mental hospitals. (Not all are like that. Anyway, now they don’t keep people long enough to make any difference either way.)
    Depression is not a socially acceptable health issue. People can spew forth indignities about that, but words are just words, and they mean nothing. Churches….all kinds of churches…were the worst places for me to go. Ignorance is amazing in these places that are supposed to be safe-havens for the suffering. We are not socially acceptable to most people if we suffer depression. My mother’s pastor told me if I would just return to this church I was raised in, confess my sins of having left The True Church, and begin taking communion again, I would be healed!! I left that church because there was no love there, even when I was a teen-ager and a young child. God is love.
    I don’t find God is love in the churches I have gone to…Lutheran,Catholic, Baptist, non-denominational…..even Assemly of God…..you name it and they have humiliated, shamed and shunned those with any kind of mental health issues.
    Thank you for this very honest and enlightening article. At least it will enlighten those who care enough to want to understand.
    We each try to find ways to deal with life. Maybe our experiences help someone else. Maybe there is a reason for us to be here in this life at this time. Or not. I don’t know. I do believe we can learn and share what we learn, even if we are sick. I won’t apologize for this anymore. I will live my quiet life in a place where no one knows how I feel each day but my cat. I wish I could care for a dog, but they are require too much care.
    Since people can’t be kind to me, I ask them to please leave me alone. It’s getting easier to to do that. It’s sad. I miss the life I once had. But peace is worth the price I’m paying.

  • Lin Goodman

    That’s not necessarily true. It has, at times been the most sensitive person who makes the most prolific change, opening themselves completely to awareness and compassion.

  • Michigander

    I had repetitive depressive episodes for thirty years, until a helpful doctor agreed to ignore the standards for thyroid therapy and doubled the normal thyroid replacement (synthroid). I have been able for twenty years to be happy – no depression when I have lost loved ones, or had other life events. I am convinced that my depression was caused by a lack of thyroid hormone. However, I have not felt welcome in church for decades.

  • hopethrufaith

    I found a winner. The first time I was hospitalized for depession, I called a minister (who was also a therapist) from a neighboring congregation. The first thing he said to me was that I should not be concerned about the church and God regarding mental illness and medication. That depression was an illness and that it needed to be treated with therapy and medication just like any other illness. He was trying to reassure me that I needn’t feel like this was a “faith alone” thing!
    I have always like the “Flood” joke. I have found that it is a very good way to explain something that is some times very hard to explain.

  • Jamie

    I have to applaud you for what you have said. And I agree with the last part totally. God gave man the knowledge to create the various treatment for depression. And it gets old when your told by people that it’s been long enough, get over it. I pray to God everyday for the strenght to get out of bed, to help me with thoughts of suicide that even with my meds creep in at times. I am both a christian and a well educated woman. I think that the story of Job can be of help. The hardships he faced where great. But even through the loss of all he loved, his health and lands, he never gave up his faith. Christianity is not a cure, it is a belief that gives us strenghth. Just because depressed people have the illness does not mean we have turned our back on the Lord or that we belive he has turned his back on us. In fact, I feel his grace everyday, for each day he helps me overcome and survive. Those who have never faced true hardship have never had to prove their devotion as we have.

  • carmen Perez-Febles

    Today, I needed to read all: the article and the comments. I agree with every single word. Oh, Lord, those relatives and friends: “what you need is to get out” Really!!!????
    Thanks God for my fantastic daughter, “What the heck mom, do what you want, stay in bed, sleep, read, watch t.v……….” just by setting me free and acknowledging my feelings, does wonders for me.
    I keep asking “Papa Dios” to carry me in his arms (“Footprints in the sand”).
    Well…….. thank you for these articles. It may sound callous, but “MY cold hurts more than YOUR burn,” human nature. This illness has help me to show more compassion toward others and made me more humble.
    Note.- If you are going to cry, put some eyes’ cream, so you”kill two birds” at the same time: 1) have your emotional release, and 2) avoid extra wrinkles. Yes, I have not lost my sense of humor, maybe my mind, sometimes.
    Carmen

  • A T Baker

    The past few days I’ve been in funk and tried for the life of me to get out of it. It’s been hard to think, sleep and pray. But I thank God for at least letting me know that I’m not the only one feeling this way which is something I sometimes forget. I pray that all of us gets health and free from depression and continue to seek God for strenght and guidence to go on to live a productive life. God Bless and Keep all of you who “go through” depression. Keeping fighting for you life. God has wonderful plans for all of us!!!

  • Willie P.

    I do believe that there are those who persistent in thinking . . . that by solely reading the scriptures and praying, all will be well. There is more to it I believe . . . Prov. 17:17 says; ” A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity”. To me this is clear, that we will have difficult times that will blanket many sectors of our lives . . . as we travel these rocky roads, we will need assistance in various forms from our brothers and sisters who have been blessed with the needed gift. But . . . prayer and scripture reading/meditating can not be excluded. We all need a time out that’s paired with a rejuevanation process designed to replenish the mind, soul and body. (Spiritual enrichment)

  • Cheri

    AMEN!
    I had a doctor who was a “Christian” tell me if I really was a Christian I would not need to take antidepressants. Well all I can say to him is he obviously has never been depressed especially for over half of his life. I have to thank my doctors I have now for recognizing that my depression is related to my illness and not to my faith.

  • Bob M

    I am a survivor of 2 major depressive incidents that involved suicide events. I am a Christian and believe that God is as near as my next breath, but His people were not.
    I was in a coma for 40 days and faced death many times. My wife had to make the decisions to try procedures to see if I would respond. This was too much for her to handle and she sent me to a family member’s home for rehab, then informed me she wanted a divorce. Since, this time, I have not received even one phone call, card, or email from my pastor or other church members.
    I am recovering now, but have such internal conflicts about my faith and my basically losing my wife and lover, son, home, job, health, and having to restart without much assistance.
    The point of the post is that churches may not understand depression and will not accept that your actions are due to illness. I do not have a plan or idea on how to address this in the context of faith, but if someone is so inspired, please follow through. Hopefully, they will not spend the time in the “pit of suffering” like I have.
    I can not explain why these things have happened to me; I just know that God is real and someday something great will come from all of this trial.

  • Rhonda

    This was a refreshing site I stumbled upon. I have long held this belief that I should feel guilty for not enjoying or appreciating the life I have been given and even worse, think at times that I didn’t even want it any longer. I viewed my depression as an “insult” to God. It is comforting to know that others had felt similarly. I have had a strange occurence recently. My father died January 6th and my mentally disturbed mother stopped speaking to me because I told my sister and my dad’s brother he was dying and they showed up at the hospital and she is angry with me. It was as though someone switched something on in me. I expected to be severely depressed because of Dad’s death but instead, I no longer felt depressed — I felt a huge sense of relief. That feeling has continued for months. I still have problems with anxiety that grips me from time to time, but I truly don’t think I’m depressed. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing happening? Thanks for reading. Rhonda

  • jeff0264

    In both the new and old testament we read of possed individuals , . Where the severly mentally ill or truely possed by satan.
    Ignorance to depresion and other mental ilness has just recently come to life.
    As I look back at my family history my father was severely depressed and sel medivcated himself with booze until 1974 when he died at 37. His liver blew out.
    Ernest Hemingway was though to be eccentric . Now we know about bi polar ilness…..
    I’m a Christian who like my dad was self medicating my self until I was diagnosed with severe depression. Some years later I can deal with life without my bottle or needle. Yes I give credit to God for putting the people who could help and not say my spiritual program is weak. Etc.
    Think before you speak. Just 50 years ago we put yhe insane in 4 by 12 fooy cages . Now we call yhem homeless and little is done.
    Jeff

  • juanita

    I too am a firm believer in God.Ihave a20 year old son diagnosed as schizophrenia 1 year ago since then he has 5 relapse .I don’t understand and I try not to ?.He graduated in 2006 ,recieved a scholar
    ship but,well you know the rest.I pray faitfully daily ,nightly anytime
    I get a chance because we’re all here for reason.I’ve yet to figure out my calling or my sons,but I’m sure it will be great.For God is great,He also says ask and you shall recieve.Knock ,the door will open.
    And yes it is very hard to deal with daily but,he is my son but,still a very unique individual as we all are,with all our flaws and imperfections.

  • Era

    HI !
    I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT BI-POLOR PEOPLE ARE COMING FORTH TO SPEAK OFF OUR ILLNESS,
    I WAS TOLD I WAS MANIC DEPRESSIVE IN 1976, AT 44 YEARS OLD, I TRIED TO GET ON DISABILTY, BUT COULDN,T.
    THIS MADE IT VERY HARD FOR ME TO CONTURE TO MAKE A LIVING, I LOST A LOT OF JOBS AND LOOKING BACK , I CANNOT BLAME ANYONE BUT MY SELF, NO ONE UNDERSTOOD THE ILLNESS ![ AND STILL DO NOT !]
    THANK GOD I AM 74 NOW AND ON MEDICATION ! THEN I WAS NOT ! SO IF U CAN GET ON MEDS , PLEASE DO SO , YOUR LIFE WILL WORK BETTER1
    IF YOU HAD A HEADACE I BELIEVE YOU WOULD TAKE AN ASPRIN , THIS IS A PAIN, SO TREAT IT .! NO ACHAOL THO . IT MAKES IT WORSE .
    SOMETIMES CHURCH MEMBERS CAN MAKE IT ALL WORSE, YOU MUST BEE YOUR PROCTECTER .
    PARDEN MY SPELLING PLEASE , I HAVE NO FORMAL EDUCATION. ONLY SELF TAUGHT .
    ERA

  • Anna Krestyn

    As a practising Catholic, I have often been frustrated by the mentality that “Prayer is all you need” to overcome depression and that all resource to psychological help is a futile road. Those who hold this position are failing to see the compatibility of belief in Christ as the one who accomplishes all things, and using human means to get there. Christ is always the healer, but he works through human hands. Let’s not forget that grace acts on nature. It’s often by gaining understanding of what’s causing our mental pain that gives us the power to change, and the natural way to achieve this is by the help of other human beings.

  • Tess Owens

    I found a an article called Major Depression: See the Signs and Treat It that relates to the depression are are speaking of. The article talks about how it doesn’t take much figuring to realize that life today is not what it used to be.
    The problems that people face from the second they wake up in the morning are beyond crazy. So too, chemical imbalances of the brain play a major role in the onset of major depression. Although this sickness is still not talked about as readily as a more physical disease (such as cancer), depression plagues many, seemingly successful, competent and outgoing people.

  • dianalmoth

    I don’t know to many heros or saints of the bible who didn’t go through depression and anxiety. Perhaps in perfect faith but that is not easy to achieve and maintain. In the past 18 months I have lost a job of 30 years, lost my home, defrauded of 3 months of living expenses only to lose this home. I have no place to live as of Friday and 3 pets. I am alone.
    So don’t tell me I lack in faith. It’s the only thing that keeps me from stopping all of it.

  • David

    My comment is directed to Era dated May 6,2008. I have heard that story written here about the individual not accepting help from God when he sent the various Life-Savers. It’s easier said than done!
    Let’s face the facts folks we are human & our nauture is a sinful one. I too suffer from depression yet tried many different ways to deal with it. I have been involved in youth Ministry, Lay Speaking, preaching & as of late had a discussion with a co-worker in regards to beleif in the Bible. She made a comment that she doesn’t beleive Mary was a Virgin or Moses didn’t really see a burning bush, but claims she’s a Christian! When I said to her you’re one of those like to order off the Ala Carte menu, basically pick & choose what you want to beleive.
    Well let’s just say I couldn’t let it go there, I told her a story which is published in Jesus Freak, a book about Martyr’s. It happened sometime in the early 70′s somewhere in china, a group of Christians were meeting behind closed doors when the communist soldiers came in and pointed their weapons at the Christians & said we will let you walk out of here alive, but the leader demanded the Pastor’s Bible & stated the only way out as he threw the Bible on the groung & called it a book of lies, and said you MUST KNEEL & SPIT ON THE BIBLE! As the leader pointed and said to a man you first, the man knelt, spit on the Bible & was free to go. Second the leader pointed at an old woman & said you next, she knelt & could barely spit as she asked for God’s forgiveness. The guard said okay you may go, before he could have anyone else kneel a young girl 16 or 17 stepped forward picked up the Bible wiped it off & said Father forgive them. The soldier shot the girl. My co-worker & I had an indpeth conversation & she basically doesn’t beleive in miracles! Five years ago I chose to order Ala Carte I turned to alchohol. It will be four years in August since I have had a drink. I am on disability beacause of my illness, I have Cirrhosis(spelling) I have been on meds for quite sometime & have no desire to drink. I am only 46 years old, yet do not fear for my life & have “Faith like a Child”. For it is truly “Amazing Grace” that I survived such an ordeal, and the ride isn’t over yet. I guess my point is I too ordered Ala Carte at one time or another, and still do at times. But when it come to my Savior I know His name, and more importantly He knows mine. And he died on the cross to save my sins. And no matter what happens in this world I will continue to preach the Love & Grace of our risen Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. A Sinner with a Saints Faith! May God Bless All!

  • kathy ritchie

    It is so refreshing to read your stance on depression. My own journey through this was difficult and a result of alot of childhood trauma.
    I am a Christian, I love the Lord with all my heart, love his word and it is no accident I found this website this morning.
    There are incredible resources for people to use with depression.
    They should never feel the effects of this with all the wonderful Dr.’s we have to help. All the different medications we can use to help us get through. I had a Christian neighbor bring me over videos on depression and told me this is all I need to get out of bed and through it. It made me feel worse, i will never forget it. Ignorance on her part was bliss.
    BUT GOD IS GREAT!!! Praise the Lord

  • Mandi

    My mother thinks that all mental and physical flaws and illnesses are caused by the devil’s minions. They tell you to have self pity, self hatred, and etc. Then if you believe them then you get ill. She believes if you right your sins with God, and it has to be a certain way, you will not be sick. Skin flaps or moles are caused by self hatred that has been passed down through the generations of your family and if you have them, it means that you have accepted the self hatred as your own. Let me tell you it is hard to have mental illnesses and have a mother who pretty much condemns me, saying it is my fault for listening to and accepting what the devil’s minions are saying.

  • Paula H.

    I have severe depression since my father died. I just can’t seem to get over it. I cry just all of a sudden without thinking of anything in particular. I pray all the time for God to help me through this but I’m not getting better. I’m on anti depressants and they have stopped working. I don’t know what to do but pray for strength to get through this. What else can I do? I feel helpless and lonely and angry. Jehovah help me. Please help me. I pray over and over again. Maybe it just takes time but it’s been 9 months now and I still need help. What do I do? God help me please!

  • Michelle Lyn

    How can the metaphysical correct severe chemical imbalances within the physical? I, too, have a severe depression diorder (along with an anxiety disorder and OCD), and spent many years on medications. I am currently off all medications. I currently use meditation, and other spiritual practices and techniques to maintain my mood, but i don’t believe i could have gotten to this point without the help of the many years i was on medication. Without the medication, i was lost in the darkness, but the meds helped me to maneuver out of the darkness enough to realize that there is light. This is working for me now, but i know that if some major life event should happen, i’m fragile enough to probably not make it through without the use of more meds. without the meds, i would never have found the spirituality i now hold so dear. Some people need more time on meds than others, that doesn’t make them less spiritual. It merely means their physical bodies need some help, and if God thought we didn’t need such help, He wouldn’t have helped humanity create our medications, not only for mental disorders, but for every health issue (are they unfaithful, those that take statins for their hearts?). Do not depression meds help prolong our lives just as much, and give us a better quality of life to boot?
    Sometimes, our Earthly bodies need a little bit of Earthly help to be healed.

  • Sevia

    I know what you mean. I had a stroke, or at least that is what the doctors told me. It wasn’t a stroke, it was burn-out from working too hard (I thought I was happy, but now I realize I was sad, depressed, lonely and I wanted to get out.) I struggle through, I do get depressed but maybe only for a few days, but I tell Father, God, my problems, my pain and I know he hears me. And knowing that I will get through this as well. We are spiritual people having a human experience and I know that God has put me in this situation to help others. Find out from God what your purpose is on the earth. Do I still get depressed, sad, lonely? Yes, but I know that the Father, that art in heaven is my best friend and I am here for his reasons and not my own. One day we will be free, until that time comes, know God has a plan for each and every one of us. Continue to pray, and I’m sorry to say this, stay away from preachers and others who say they know God’s plan because they don’t know anything.
    God luck on the path. God is watching you and believes in you and you will be successful. God Bless,
    Sevia

  • Marci Huffman

    I had a cousin tell me to think about depression this way – “Your brain gets sick the way your body gets sick and you have to treat it with medication the same way you would the flu. Sometimes your brain will heal and you might not need the medicine and the time for this to happen defers with each person or it might be that you will need the medicine for the rest of your life.” God Bless anyone going through a depression – It is one of those things that can not be understood by others until they deal with it themselves.

  • Doris

    I also question where is God when the down side of my Bipolar hits me and I can’t get out of bed or end up in the hospital. Where are the Church members? No one visits or calls. Find a Good Group that you can talk about faith questions and depression it does help.
    Doris

  • Earth-Angel Ian

    I have been communicating with Angels for most of my life and before I got Schizophrenia following Brain Injury. In this time I always stuck to my beliefs in God as taught and would not let nobody shake me off the ‘path’.
    2 years ago I was asked to help at an Alpha course for which my role turned out to be the ‘token’ mentally ill person acceptable to the ‘kind’ church people. Show the possibles attending the course that Christians are kind to the mentally ill.
    In a room by the Alter in the church I sat with 8 of these ‘possibles’ and 2 Vicars.
    One woman then piped up in a discussion..
    “I thought we were coming here weekly to learn how to be Christians not to be exposed to people like him”..Refering to my Schizophrenia..What hurt the most was no defence, not even one word by the Clergyman present..only one kind soul out of the ‘possibles’ was disgusted with what happened to me. I was asked by the Vicar not to come anymore as my condition worried people!…Kicked out of the Church for being a Schizophenic!..I have not stepped inside a Church since.
    Ian.
    http://www.earth-angel.info

  • Claudia Duran

    I believe people do have chemical imbalances but when you live to take your medications because you like the feeling it gives you, then I feel you are out of control. I am extremely hyperactive but my parents didn’t dope me up and put me in a corner. Chemically controlling people is what most doctors want to do. Not ALL Doctors. So before some of you self righteous victims have a spell, read what I just said. I happen to have a friend so depended on her psycosis she cannot function normally, but what do her doctors keep doing, putting her on more meds. She is unhappy, overweight because of the medications. If what you take is causing the problems I say stop with the Medication. She is killing herself and do doctors care, In this care I would say no. So research your illnesses, medications, doctors, and don’t fall for the OKeyed DOPE. Claudia

  • Nan

    As I sat here this afternoon in a severe depressed state and feeling suicidal, after losing my job and about to lose my home, I remember you and your blog on BeliefNet. I do not know for sure if God hears me and understands, but I know you do. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    I have always been politically incorrect because I abhor rules and regulations.. AS for spiritually incorrect.. Well I did take anti-depressants for my depression. I took Lexapro which made me feel like a zombie- I couldn’t even cry if I wanted to because i watched a hallmark movie! I just got a big lump in my throat and my eyes burned with the wanting to cry.. And I lost my sex drive, so I weaned my way off of it after 3 weeks. The Anti- anxiety meds made me forget how to do my job. I was in a fog all the time.. slow thinking. La la land. IN the end I figured out my depression was partly my hormones due to the fact that I got worse the week before and the week of my period.
    Yes I did pray to well, because i felt I was having a brekdown, full of low self worth and anxiety over things I did and said in the recent and far off past. I was a basket case. Prayer did help me. I prayed 3 different times to get well and slowly I did, a little more each time. I also started meditating and living a positive life. I HAVE to think positively just like I read about in THE POWER OF INTENTION and THE SECRET, and many other spiritual books I’ve read. I still have my bad days when i’m PMS, but I feel so much better! I’m sure if I had a serious depression problem I would have used meds. but I had gotten head aches from the other anti-depressant.. Maybe I am drug sensitive? I figure we can all use whatever workd best. No one is right or wrong.

  • Patricia Hudak

    I have a friend who is angry at me because I was sick over the last few years and missed a group meeting of sorority. She goes to communion and Mass every day of her life and yet ranted over the phone and hung up on me. The Rules of Conduct need to be discussed at every Mass and every communal meeting in our church. I feel that sometimes Catholics, especially super-religuous people feel they are immune because of their goodness…It is time for all churches to preach how we need to handle people at all times. I feel very disturbed about thinking that this is a person who feels she has permission. I never hear at any Mass how we should behave toward each other and what our behaviors should be. Yet in other churches, it is the focus of their sermons and they are not caught up in dogma and ritaul (don’t get me wrong, I love every bit of my church) but this is our one big lacking that the sermons need to address life’s problems and maybe even make some people squirm a little and maybe learn how to act. I love the liturgy, Mass etc. but we are missing something in our church. It’s a big miss and our critics of catholics always mention it. It is noticeable. I just experience a terrible mouthing from a daily communicant and she whipped it out like she was satan. Her temper was satanic in nature and it was like a electric blot to my memory and my ears. Something needs to be done in our churches, if not there, where?

  • Toni Gerace

    I will never forget watching an Ophra show years ago about Christian Scientists’ parents who let one of their children die because they sought only prayer for their child who gravely needed to go the hospital and get medical attention from a doctor. They never did bring their child to the hospital and that child died. On the Ophra show they were defending themselves and their belief system when and a woman stood up and said “I am a registerd nurse and I can see that you are wearing prescription glasses, tell me what doctor prescribed them for you?” The Ophra show went completely silent as did I sitting on my couch. Ahh hah, revelation time.
    I have been on Prozac for many years and as a Christian I do not let it bother me anymore about what other Christians or anybody else for that matter thinks about it. They do not know my life and it was God who lead me to a doctor that diagnosed me, and then prescribed it for me. I know that truly in my heart!
    So for those people who are judging others who depend on anti-drepresants and are reading this comment with prescription glasses on, I say “TAKE OFF YOUR GLASSES AND PRAY FOR A HEALING, AND DON’T READ ANOTHER ARTICLE, DRIVE A CAR, GO TO WORK OR WATCH TV UNTIL YOU GET ONE!!”

  • Toni Gerace

    I would like to make a clarification on my comment:
    I do not believe that anyone should judge someone spiritually incorrect or weaker for taking or using something that helps them to FUNCTION in life. Whether it is taking an anti-drepresant or wearing a pair of glasses.
    Thank you.

  • Bev

    Thank you so much for this blog – and your ongoing candor.
    Today I’m rarely sent into an emotional spin by others’ ignorance about depression – but it’s taken me years to get here. As if Depression is not enough pain, the “amateur” psychologists are usually more harmful than not! I just rarely talk about it with ignorant folks.

  • regina

    i have battled depression for years i found out after 7 years of pain losing my marriage and a baby that i was suffering from the lack of b-12 and was having seizures there was days i couldn’t even get out of bed it hurt so bad that i couldn’t even walk to my mail box without bruising my legs to walk after they finally found this with me i was much better they even sent me to psychiatrists because i became angry when they told me that there was nothing else they could do for me and told me it was all in my mind i still go through anger moods but its just my seizures or b-12 getting low so how do you find someone to be with when you do these kind of things especially when you go through angers and low self esteem moods? if anyone can comment on this i would appreciate it.

  • Sharon K

    AMEN to all of it. I can’t even find a drug that helps. I struggle with depression & feel “guilty” because I can’t feel happy & look forward to things in life.
    Life has handed me some tough things, abuse, rape, etc. It’s not something a positive attitude will heal. I have low levels of seratonin. It’s hard & I keep going. May ‘religious’ people around me think I’m trying to get attention. By staying at home & wanting to be alone,? hmmmm I don’t think so. I do believe in God & try to practice being a good person. It’s hard not to feel i’m being punished for something, but that’s just the depression talking
    thanks for your thoughts. I enjoyed reading them.

  • Tammy

    I again am looking at my medication not working again. I go to church and try to stay positive. If I have too many things happening at the same time I think that I am going crazy, I am defensive, and easily hurt, and cry all the time. A few weeks ago I ran into a situation that took me for a loop. I came out of a building after a home visit and right in my path was a little two year old boy that had fallen out of a 4th floor window, so of course I called 911, checked if he was breathing, etc. He is ok and still in icu after two weeks but holding his own

  • Randy

    Thank you for sharing your spiritual message. I have been successfully treated for depression for 19 years! I hate taking drugs, but I hate the black hole even more so I continue to take antidepressants. I think society is ever-so-slowly changing its attitude about those who suffer from mental illness, but we need people, like you, to continue to educate the public. Many Blessings!

  • spellbyndr

    I’ve suffered from depression anxiety for years…i’ve tried many different drugs, and found the side effects to be worse than the “cure”…I’ve been told “oh snap out of it” or “think positive” or “you bring it on yourself”…it’s very hard to snap out of it when in a depressive stage, and thinking positive? also very hard…and sorry but I didn’t bring this on myself…years of living in a dysfuctional family with a sexually abusive stepfather and an emotionally abusive mother brought on my depression……I find that staying busy, no matter how much I want to just sleep, helps the most…gets me out of my head….been thru years of therapy, which helped me to understand my behaviors due to the way I was brought up,
    but I still have triggers that can send me into a tailspin…….
    Faith helps, but it doesn’t cure it….I have to agree with a lot of these posts, there is a lot of ignorance out there when it comes to depression, even among clegy and drs…….I just get up every morning, put on my best face, put one foot forward and keep going….
    Thank you for writing this article……it actually validates a lot of what up “depressives” feel…….

  • Renee

    I have battled with anxiety and depression,infertility and definitively can relate to all you say! It was comforting to read your thoughts. I still rely on God for my ailments but God created intelligent Drs. to give us medicine and helps us!
    Hugs,
    Renee

  • Loretta Taylor

    I suffered depression for about 15 years off and on. My last valley happened when my younger brother next to me (out of 6 siblings) committed suicide. I slowly went into this dark abyss to where I didn’t want to live anymore either. Only I knew I could not take my family thru that again. My husband located a great doctor for me and she made me understand what depression is and how medicine helps. I also found out depression was affecting other family members. Some of us got help others did not, but I know it can somtimes be genetic for some families just like heart disease for some and diabetes for others. It’s not some form of punishment it’s just how genetics and life experiences affect you. God wants all of us to be healthy and happy, (our bodies do break down) but he also gives people the gift of knowledge in certain fields to help others. I hope those who are suffering please try to get the proper help and know that medicine sometimes is necessary. God did not directly heal me, but he put the proper people in place for me to get knowledge to understand what I was dealing with. That to me was the blessing I received.
    Love & Live well.
    Loretta

  • Elizabeth Szlek

    Your article is very interesting, but you are definitely missing three, pieces of the puzzle. First, the drugs you are taking for depression do not help depression. That is, depending upon your body’s ability to metabolize them, they either do nothing, make things way worse, or give you a mild lift,which eventually stops working. Second, psychotropic drugs (mind-altering drugs) are toxic and harmful to your brain and body in many different ways. They produce an alteration in your brain which can become permanent. We still do not know the full effect of these drugs on the brain, long term, but it is not good.
    Thirdly, mind-altering drugs affect your soul, since as a Catholic, you do believe you have one. They absolutely harm your relationship to God, making it very much more difficult to enjoy this blessing. I am a Christian therapist, and also a member of the Internation Center for Studies in Psychiatry and Psychology. check out their website at icspp.org. Good luck with your spiritual condition of despondency.
    A spiritual problem cannot be solved with a material solution (a drug).
    Cheap answers, such as , “Just pray about it”, don’t help, either. You need a guide to help you get off the drugs and reconnect with reality.
    Thousands of years of Judeo-Christian wisdom can help, but only if the therapist understands these fundatmentals.

  • Judi

    My goodness! I am so grateful for this article. I have struggled with depression for the majority of my life. At 29 years old, after I was encouraged to “pray,” “think positive,” and “stop blocking God’s healing,” I didn’t see a therapist until was 23 years old. Depression is not just a spiritual problem or a mere battle with “an evil spirit.” All of this literally almost killed me; when my healing wouldn’t come after much prayer, reading the Bible, and holding onto particular verses intended for my healing, I became convinced that I was doing something wrong or that God was “allowing” me to be depressed so that I could learn something.
    Depression is a bona fide, debilitating, mental illness that can be helped with medication and therapy. As a devout Catholic, I do trust God and I am a believer. But I say this all of the time: If God works in mysterious ways, who’s to say that His answer to my prayer wasn’t the therapist down the street?

  • peacelovingoddess

    I have tried praying, meditating, yogaing, laughing my way out of depression, none worked.
    When I finally reached out for help things began to change finally. I believe the hardest thing in times of turmoil is reaching out. Out egos get in the way and we become paralyzed. Our society and religions say to just tap into yourself and God…man what a dis-service we are doing to those things we call relationships.
    I have been on medication and high doses of b12 (I Have pernicious anemia whose primary symptom is depressions) and things are slowly getting better.
    The pernicious anemia was hidden for almost 2 years because we thought it was only depression and I was being treated for it with no real results, the pernicious anemia was getting worse and worse and had even begun to make me fall and give me heart and neurological damage.
    It has been quite the year and I have learned that the balance of faith, medicine, diet, and the ability and willingness to ask for help is what I am responsible to manage.
    Recently I went through a suicidal period, I actually even began to write a note. As I wrote, I just cried and began to imagine all the people who would be affected. Those thoughts were the ones that made me pick up a phone and tell a friend how bad things were. I spent the night at her house and asked many friends over the next few days to hang with me. It so helped to reach out and feel my friends love and support. Be it just laying on the beach or sitting over a cup of coffee for hours, the combination of love, meds, a good meal, hugs.. made such a difference.
    Knowing I cannot do it alone for me has been the trick to moving through this time in my life. I know there is light at the end of this tunnel, and because of spaces like this that do not judge or criticize, I will get to that bright light!!
    I pray we all find the shred of courage we need to reach out beyond ourselves for love.
    F

  • Rita C.

    I am only 19 years old.
    I just got out of an abusive relationship…I was raised in church all my life, and strayed away at the age of 17, lived like I was 30. Got with an older man etc. So many things really went on that shouldn’t have.
    To make a long story very long story short, I experienced panic attacks. I would run home to my father whom is a pastor of an Assembly of God, no we aren’t catholic my mother was a devout catholic then became a powerful women of God. We love everyone though, so nothing against them. Anyways, this may sound crazy but my father prayed for me and told me to rebuke it in the name of Jesus. I loved the peace and comfort I got…BUT still wasn’t always okay. I resorted to medicine…which really honestly only masks the emotional pain. Jesus is the ultimate answer to depression. Yes I believe He sends people like doctors to help and etc. but really he is the only way out of the hurt. I got taken off of the medicine and the side effects were horrible worse than the depression. You see people are so blinded, God doesn’t want us to only believe what we want to or justify what sounds good or feels good to us. He gave the church power to cast out demons. We live in a spiritual world. Satan does everything to our minds he can to destroy us and make us believe and accept things that aren’t okay. For example pharmacy drugs aren’t always the greatest thing for your mind, altering it like that. Look up pharmakia (sp?). It’s evil in God’s eyes, like witchcraft. Mind altering drugs will bring you farther away from Him. Saying you need them is not right. You are underestimating the ultimate power of God. He can raise people from the dead, turn water into wine, heal diseases….HE is SO powerful and loves you so much, He can do anything for you. Faith.

  • Jennifer

    I think everyone should deal with their depression as a very unique problem. No one can say what works and what does not. We all have some sort of mental problems that need to be worked on. The only way you as an individual can con cure you problems is to really want to be cured. that is the key of happiness. stop covering it up or trying to make sense of it. just get help period. something is bound to help you, you just need to try. So next time you feel the endless doom just think am I trying to help myself or am I just feeling sorry for myself and thinking it will never work. the point is to just make a effort to be better, there are a million things out there to try. Get started now and don’t give up. No one can help someone that truly does not want to be helped!!
    ps as you can tell im not a writer just a survivor of depression.

  • Doreen

    After 34 years with my bipolar husband, I could not take my kitchen being trashed during one of his episodes, one more time, so I bolted. I tried everything to make him happy. I couldn’t. I feel as if the church had failed miserably in this area. Our oldest is an Assembly of God pastor and she is still very angry at me for leaving. Although my husband divorced me and then 13 days later he was back at the courthouse for a marrage liscense. The Assembly of God church where he attends happily married him immediantly after 32 years of marriage. I have not been able to see some of my grandchildren for 5 years. I am NOT being shown unconditional love.
    I had to accept that after years of counsleing, medication and prayer that he was not going to change. I am not sure why. I feel that his illness was his comfort zone and that he may have clung to it, but I’m not sure. Some people just never get better. And Jesus was not enough to cure him OR to keep me there. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The court ordered him to sell the house and give me half, instead he let it go into foreclosure so that I would end up with nothing and my credit is ruined for about 10 years. I am 900 miles from my home starting from scratch. I will survive. The church is sadly lacking and not one person in our spiritual circle reached out to me. Not one. Why? He told them that I had cheated on him every 4 years (?) and that I’m a lesbian. That’s the worse he could come up with, I guess. I have no defense against lies and rumors so I refuse to address them. So much for his being on Zoloft, huh? Can’t imagine how bad it would have been without the Zoloft.

  • ayv1soul

    Thank God for my priest; yes he is one of the few theologians who acutally suggests that seeing someone (therapist) or taking something… I take Zoloft-my happy pill… is what some of his parishoners need. I cannot believe that this is possible, for me to write my thoughts on the internet.
    I do pray but I also have learned that God has put people in positions to help others. We need that human intereaction. After all, did he not create us in his image? I take that to mean that there are some who are supposed to be nonjudgemental therapists, some will be selfless teachers, others awesome writers or singers and then there is you… Someone who is not afraid to share her self with thousands of stranger (via the internet) Thanks again… I needed this

  • Jean

    Hi,
    I have been reading all of the emails and “Wow” can i adentify. I have been going thu. depression for the last 2 yrs. after my husband passed. The one thing that i do know about depression is that we don’t like change, or not many of us with depression and loosing a loved one is the worse thing we can go thu. We were married for quite sometime so i feel as tho. half of me is missing. I loveed and still love him so much. I tried therapy, getting out more, just everything that we all here to make us feel better. I found that just FORCING myself to get up and not stay in bed all day was a start. I take a nice shower and fix myself up, keep my house clean, and the hardest thing was to reach out to people. That is what i did…i reached out to my GOOD friends only, talked with them, got out more, and made a list of the positive and negative in my life. Well, i found out that i certainly was not alone but i have a lot of positive going for me that ourweighs the negative. That’s a start!!! I put myslef out there, so to speak, made more friends, and helped other widows as much as i could and it made me feel like i had a purpose in life…that was what i was missing after my husband passed, a perpose in life and GOD. I have 2 great friends that come to me that are now widows, i tell them how i am getting out of my depression and it really feels so good to help my new found friends. Finally i have a purpose. I did have to go on meds and there is nothing wrong with that, or for me it is a huge help. Am now on my way to feeling whole again!!! Thank you God! “Prayer” is part of my daily life, PLEASE it is a must to have God walk with us…HE DOES, TRUST ME! One thing i was missing was talking good care of myself such a a good nights sleep and not sleeping all day, diet, hobbies, CHURCH, Helping others and you know what?,,,i am getting better, Thank you God and i thank him more than once per day and keeping close to my family is a MUST, REAL friends, new widows in my situation. PLEASE try what i am saying and there is so much more to say so please feel free to write me. Just maybe i can help. Believe me, i want to. Depression effects every part of our body and our physical well being. So again, please contact me. I may be able to give you my lay advice. I do not pretent to be a Dr., i am not, just a person that had nothing to live for, or i thought 2+ years ago and again, i am on my way to feeling whole and it all of the simple things i wrote and most of all GOD. He will never give you more than you can handle. I know that now for the first time in my life. Felling so much better. Thank you my LORD, family and friends!!!!!!!

  • Eric

    Hello,
    I empathize with your struggles. Perhaps more than anything, dealing with people that are self-rightous, or those that profess to know the “one true way” (I wonder if that phrase has been trademarked?) to liberating yourself from depression is the most frustrating. I respect everyone’s beliefs, but it comes as no surprise that the folks involved with the church belittle and undermine your depression. Your article is riddled with examples of the troubles many people have to go through when confronted by people that live in ignorance; religion and their dogmas can and often times are, more of a hinderer to progress then a facilitator of growth.
    I admire the way you take various actions to help alleviate your depression. It shows a conscious and concerted effort on your part; I know first-hand that it is much easier to give up then to continue tinkering with different, and sometimes, controversial ideas.
    I wish you the best,
    -E-

  • whisperingwinds

    I think the most important information that was ever given to me years ago by a psychiatrist was: “You have to help yourself to get better”!
    He explained there is no magic cure for anyone with mental illness. And if you do not reach the point in your life to {help yourself}the severe ill will end up being locked up for harm to others or themselves….
    That woke me up! I still times where I do get down in the dumps and it might last like three days to a week. I have just learned this is who I am…and I take the time to pamper myself during that time period. I have learned to ride the wave and it will be over adventually.
    No MD doctor or mind doctor is going to have a magic pill that cures your ouchies! The mind is a very complicated thing…and all the answers are not known. You know yourself better than anyone.
    So take care of yourself and if that means staying away from people as much as you can for a week. Then do just that!
    If it means training yourself (when you know you might be overly emotional because you feel down in the dumps) to keep your mouth shut and not really talk to much to others as you might over react…then listen to the cues your body is giving you.
    I have learned to listen to my body and to live with depression
    to roll with the punches….wait it out. It does get better.

  • Rachel

    I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the tender age of 19, back in 1999. Once, I had a semi-religious boyfriend who told me that “all you need to do is pray harder to God”. I spent years taking different medications, going in and out of the hospital. I truly believed that this was a “curse” from God (someone told me that mental illness is a generational curse), and there was NO chance I would ever get better, or even be off medication. In fact, I was under the impression (and so were my parents) that this was a disease that got progressively worse, and may even lead to suicide! I spent TOO much time worrying about whether or not my folks were going to throw me into a group home, and not enough time on getting better. 2005 was the first year the concept of “recovery” was known to me. Now two certifications later, I teach WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), I was also recently certified as a peer specialist, helping others advocate for themselves, teaching them about recovery, helping them with problem solving and goal setting, and giving them resources. I was married last May (something my parents and I never thought I’d get to do), I am a full-time mom to my 12 year old stepson with special needs, I have a baby on the way, and have been off meds for a year and a half! I haven’t been in the hospital in 3 years! Religious parishoners are not JUST the problem, another big issue is that many mental health providers do not give any kind of hope or positive outlook to their clients. Many just say – “just take this pill, and you’ll be fine.” There’s no education, no support, no hope for a wonderful and fullfilling life. At most, you are stuck with the idea that you will “just get by” in life. Forget going to college or getting a well-paid job, you are just being “grandiose”. Totally NOT true! You can live a so-called normal life. Some people have to do it with meds, others can do it without. But, the key word is “CAN”. You CAN recover. You CAN live a great life!

  • Chris

    I don’t know where to start but am seriously feeling the need to share (vent). I am the mother of a recently diagnosed Bi-Polar adult/child.
    I noticed that around age 14 my daughter had this drive to live on the “wild side”. She was totally impulsive and did so many things that made absolutely no sense. I had her hospitalized for two weeks after she lied about where she was going and we caught up with her at 4am, totally drunk and in a really dangerous part of a neighboring town. There was no mental health diagnosis made and no recommendation for further counseling. I was desperate for help with her but the doctors dropped the ball…
    Fast forward to several bad relationships and a marriage to a stalker/abuser/idiot while he was in jail for kidnapping her and holding her at gunpoint (age 23) After two domestic assults and countless “incidents” including an assult on my husband where his arm was literally ripped out of the socket by my son-in-law, my daughter hooked up with a coke dealer. There was an armed robbery and she had a traumatic brain injury (and was molested) so I stepped in and took the children/cut her loose.
    My daughter then had a breakdown and joined the Army, of all things! She had another traumatic brain injury right after bootcamp and the seizure meds caused a complete phsychological breakdown. She went BEZERK and was hospitalized for about a month. Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and discharged in March, life has been a roller coaster for me and hell for the children. She was discharged on Lithium but has convinced the local VA that she is only ADD so they cut her meds. She would not take them anyway because they made her fat, made her feel funny, and she could not drink while taking them.
    Countless court hearings (over the children) and drama about visitations, losing my house to foreclosure because of the financial strain over the last 6 years, and having my husband of 21 years pack up and leave while I was at work, just 2 days before our 21st anniversary have left me emotionally and mentally exhausted!
    I cannot risk having a depression or mental health diagnosis cost me my career/job. Other than (free) pastoral couseling, where does one go to maintain privacy?

  • Anonymous

    This was a good way to start my day. I’ve been depressed, for ohhhh I would say at least most of my life. I don’t take anything, I lay around ALOT, but then that day comes and I can get up and smile again. I have had suicidal thoughts, plenty, but there is just something in me that says NO!!!! I have 3 beautiful children and I must go on! I do pray alot, and I do attend mass on Sunday morning. Some sermons are worth listening to and some are, well you know, kinda ho hum. With each of my failed relationships I get a little weaker, but oh that much stronger! What I started to say at the beginning is, to read or listen to another person’s story helps me to realize that I am not all that messed up and THAT alone does more than my church or any medicine ever could.
    Peace Out!
    Lisa

  • trainman

    Dear Therese:
    Amen!!! Thank you, and bless you.
    I spend many hours a month at an internet depression support website, by people like us for people like us.
    My question, to people who try to say that depression can be cured by prayer or faith or meditation alone — would you say the same to someone with juvenile-onset diabetes? Both are chemical imbalances, and both can be fatal if not properly treated. For many of us, medication is a necessary part of an ongoing effort towards wellness.
    The illness is bad enough on its own — it looks like a character flaw (or more than one!) from the outside, and feels the same way from the inside. It is so difficult for so many of us to even ask for the help we need, because we believe, wrongly, that the troubles that we have are all our own fault, our own doing, that we do not deserve to be helped, that there *is* no help for us.
    Those whose ignorant self-righteousness leads them to tell those with depression or bipolar that their illness is a punishment for some spiritual shortcoming make me waver, for a moment, from my belief that there is no hell-as-a-pit-of-eternal-fire-and-torment. And nobody who has not themselves experienced serious suicidal thoughts can understand just how soul-deep that pain can be, that even the traditional Sheol seems a better choice.
    And I agree, too, that medication is not the entire answer, even for people like myself where the biochemical aspect of the problem is a very large one. Therapy, lifestyle changes *including* spiritual efforts (whether going to services, prayer, meditation, reading, any one or more of the above) must be come part of a daily, personal effort to improve our wellness that we can never take for granted.
    For those who see a friend or congregant or parishioner or whatever, who seems to be “straying from the path” that they traveled with you for so long — please, before you label their problem as a spiritual shortcoming, consider the possibility that the spiritual issues may be merely a *symptom* of a very real physical, medical illness. And, please, respond to them with the compassion that your faith preaches.
    Once again, Therese — thank you, and may you enjoy wellness,
    Peace, and love,
    trainman

  • katfish41a

    Several years ago the preacher at my church did a sermon in which he stated “I just don’t understand all these Christians who claim to be suffering with depression. How can you be depressed when you have Christ in your life.” I managed to keep my seat, but had a hard few weeks justifying my disease with my faith. Over the next few months our preacher suffered several losses. His mother and his brother both died. Then his first grand child was stillborn. From my seat I could see this man of God suffering the way I do. Aparently so could the Elders who told him to get some help. After several more months he started teaching a different lesson. He spoke about his illness and the treatment. One morning he mentioned the sermon and apologized for saying what he had. He explained he just hadn’t understood what depression was. I’m truly sorry he had to suffer what he did, however Romans 8:28 tells us that ALL things work for the good of those who love the Lord. God taught him a tough lesson. He also taught me that sometomes you have to excuse peoples ignorance. He will make things clear in His time.
    thank you so much for all you write. It’s enough to know someone is feeling the same things and is willing to share, but I hope you realize how much support you offer to many of us out here!

  • Suzie

    This is in response to Chris’ posting about her now adult daughter. I felt like I was reading my own 15 yr. old daughter’s future and it SCARED me!! My daughter is displaying very impulsive behaviors, extremely dangerous decisions, without any thought of consequences or regard for her future. I took her the the local children’s hospital for an emergency psych eval last week and after wasting over three hours there, they sent us home. The only “help” they offered was something called partial hospitalization. Mon-Fri 8am to 3pm where there would be group and individual therapy and discussions on how to make better decisions when it comes to peer pressure. There is a three month waiting list in my area for an adolescent psychiatrist appointment. What if that’s too long? What else can I do in the mean time? Her regular psychologist seems to think she needs to be put on an antidepressant, but the more I read about bi-polar disorders, I’m thinking that describes my daughter best. I don’t want to be one of those parents who says it can never happen to our family, not my daughter. I need to be realistic, but I’m cautious about just putting her om meds and saying “take this and you’ll be better”. I’m hearing too many stories like that. Does anyone have any advice?

  • mommacarol

    I have suffered for years not even realizing it was depression. Days I would cry for no reason, yell at my family over nothing, or even just lay in bed and stare into space. Finally one day my ob-gyn doc said to me “how is everything?” my relpy must have stuck a chord with her and she prescribe me a low dose of what I call my happy pill. I have seen such a difference in myself. who would have thougth that a little pill could make such a differene. I pray everyday, I think happy thoughts but sometimes its just not enough. I can get out of bed and really see the glass is 1/2full. No matter what people do to help themselves, pray, take medication, depression is serious and a true disabilty.

  • Joan

    Whether a person believes in the word or is an atheist, depression is like a coat that can’t be taken off. I eat, sleep, drink, live with depression, and it is no fun to sit or lay on a couch all day. I am talented, smart, and a great person, but on a daily basis I feel the life going out of me. I have lost very good jobs to this illness, my outlook is so dire. I envy the people who are happy, who can look on the positive side of life. And I have tried, for years and years, medicine, prayer, talking to shrinks, on and on and it just gets worse. Family members have died because of this illness. Depression is very serious and frustrating. I wonder if some day this will be the illness that will be my end, I am dying from this disease.

  • dinahbk

    Respectfully, this article sounds confusing. It isn’t necessarily politically or spiritually incorrect, but, it does offer some fence riding, not knowing who or what to believe, and needing someone or something to blame, yet still in hopes of finding that special someone to fix the problem. No worries. I wouldn’t be commenting if I hadn’t been there myself many times and I know how frustrating it can be to look outward hoping someone will have THE answer and only be left with more feelings of despair…or worse, feelings that maybe I DO have more power than I know given to me to overrule this thing, if not beat this thing. I partially agree with the thought that other peoples’ positive feedback, be it religious or secular does have the power to accentuate the weakness of our illness (or should I say the strength) if we let it; but I think it is unfair to diss our own humility and people’s efforts of helping. I don’t think we should allow ourselves the self-righteous placement of disrespect towards them, either, simply because we deem ourselves so victimized or even “special”. Perhaps every single one of these people are exactly what God wanted you to experience in order to hone your own specific depressive thought processes so that you could be given freedom down the road, knowing that the power was within you, as a gift from Him. It is easy when we are depressed to hate the world (again, I know!), and personally attacking others’ assistance when their efforts are nothing more but an attempt to share even a little bit of goodness is exactly what depression has to offer and should be recognized. Depression or not, we still have a responsitibility toward others as much as they have to us to recognize that we are God’s people – with basically good intentions. We are not different from them, nor them from us. We are simply in a different position. I look forward to reading about Roussin and hope your depression,self-acceptance and acceptance of others can come to a comfortable conclusion together. I pray for the same for myself as well. Wishing us luck…!

  • katrina

    I too have had my full of ministers who consistently preach that people who suffer from depression “don’t need prozac – they need Jesus.” How can men and women of God called to preach the Gospel of Jesus – a gospel of a love, goodness and compassion – then turn around and condemn us for not having enough God.
    Yes Jesus is a healer – I know for myself that he has healed me of more things and situations then I can begin to list here.
    However, I have never once heard a minister preach that someone with another type of disability doesn’t have Jesus. Did Jesus not say we would have trials and tribulations in this world? Didn’t Paul have a thorn in his side that He asked God to take away and God told him “My grace is your sufficiency for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
    What about when the ministers suffer physical or emotional problems – but walk around and say everything is okay with them. I wouldn’t say they didn’t have Jesus because they were going through a health challenge or emotional challenge.
    What happened to compassion in the church and among the members? What we all could use is a good dose of an anointing of the Holy Spirit’s love and forgiveness.

  • Robin Parris

    I must say that I am glad to hear that others feel the way I do about depression and our faith. I have been suffering from guilt for being so depressed. Each day gets a little worse than the one before. I don’t know how much more I can stand. Then people quote or I remember that God does not put on us more than we can bare. So I feel that I should be able to handle everything and be so sad. To be honest I can’t handle it and I do feel so sad.

  • Js2ironic

    Thank you! I was so relieved to read your article because I agree 100% I too, was feeling spiritually incorrect for my use of medication and psychotherapy. I had Post-Partum Depression since the birth of my daughter five years ago. Inspired by the Secret, I tried going off of my meds (under supervision of my physician) about a year ago. It wasn’t long before the weight of depression was stifling my existence once again. I resumed my medication (again under the supervision of my physician) and psychotherapy and found my way out of the fog. I will continue my treatment as long as I am living. I know that this might seem like an oxymoron but I am happily living with depression! My treatment is effective and as a result, I am a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, Catholic, citizen…etc. to be around.
    It is easy for those that have never suffered from depression to use blame, shame and ridicule for chosing to receive treatment. God helps those who help themselves. My prayer is that those who point the finger and judge people with depression, never have to experience it for themselves!
    Be well and be happy!

  • dinahbk

    Depression’s hold on us seems practically impossible to unleash. Depression, with it’s many levels, is a gift on one level, where it allows and encourages (not forces) us to turn to a higher power, which is good because it takes us out of our limited thinking and willingness, and also gives us the power to think and move out of the box. But, too, it is a curse for all kinds of obvious reasons. As far as I am concerned, depression could never be romanticized, but it can be beaten up! Therefore, taking the bull by the horns with a personal willingness to go to extremes to CHALLENGE depression (not cure it)is a very realistic option. Perhaps we have been going about this all wrong, expecting special reward or to be completely cured, when in reality, none of us know if that is even a realistic option today. Taking pieces of spiritual knowledge and insight, getting back to basics of eating quality food, taking care to get light exercise and trying to retrain our victimized brains is a huge beginning. Also, incorporating a major assistance program for depressives is to incorporate L-Tyrosine, B-Vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and other “quality” supplements into the diet. This is crucial, regardless if you’re a health nut or not. The brain has to have these things to function properly. These are some of the “chemicals” that are imbalanced, not like the chemicals found in Prozac, etc. The deal is, we’re all in different places, but we all have access to most of these weapons to fight off this disease. We can’t sit back and simply complain. I know I’m making somebody mad out there, and while I apologize, it’s ok. I understand your anger. I just wish we could all change our understanding that complaining about this disease only makes it worse. Most of us need to find a dedicated, stringent routine that will help us get our heads above water so that we can see the light a little more clearly and hopefully experience an even stronger desire to march on smartly. Yes, I’m talking to those of you who are majorly depressed as well. I’ve been there so often, too and feel your pain. So, instead of dissing or praising every person, pill or spiritual attempt, look to God and to yourself to know your body better – a LOT better. I can’t promise a cure, but I can promise a higher quality of living. Let’s sock it to depression!

  • mg

    It’s your mind that help heal your thoughts. I have experienced severe depression and knows first-hand what it can do to your very soul. Each day bring hope. Please keep beleiving in GOD . That what Sstan wants us to do. Give in .Stop beleiving in JESUS. then he can win.

  • Marga West

    Dear Friend: I sympathize with you and depression; I carried it around for so many years so I know that it can be healed and you’ll be surprised at what will heal it. Loving yourself; and that took me some time to learn. Part of it was getting rid of all the childhood trauma (inner child as it is called today) that wasn’t addressed and healed by adults way back then. I can’t blame them, they were not pyschologists and even then (decades ago) psychologists weren’t very good at addressing the child either. With Family too busy, midst Great Depression (talk about depression) trying to feed the family, it’s a wonder they had time to love at all. But here I am, alive and well and happy.
    In fact, the way to self-love is by letting go of putting responsibility and blaming others for our own situation and/or character. The more we accept that we have power to change ourselves, the more we see into our inner Soul or Light as some call it. We can find our deepest truth in meditation sometimes if we have the determination to continue listening to within.
    I now look only for inner light when I need peace and love and intelligence — that to me is the greatest gift.
    It boils down to this, when we look within ourselves to solve our problems and not put the responsibility on anyone else, we find we are the most marvelous of spirits and the loveliest of characters. You too, have a beautiful inner spirit and guide. The Bhagavad Gita (bible of Hindus) says: “Let the Self be a friend to the Self.” Hope this helps you, it did me.

  • Yvonne

    I am here to tell you and by my own witness that depression is alive and well in so many people. The good news is that a lot suffer from the chemically imbalanced depression — I worked in a Psych Unit of a Hospital and know it does exist. It can even be inherited. To my knowledge our doctors did not ask what religion one was — it can hit any religion, race, color, sex, etc. Help is out there — see a psychiatrist!!!!! Even one’s own general practioner doctor does not have current knowledge to prescibe and treat mental illness. One doctor told me I had anxiety and prescribed medicine – xanax (which increases depression)which I later learned as I worked in the field is primarily for the anxiety I did not have!! Talk and behavioral and cognitive therapy is great but not always the cure-all. See a psychiatrist who has the doctor degree and psychiatric degree and can prescribe!

  • kelly

    Thank you for your story. I have suffered with depression and cutting since I was 15. I am now 40 and just beginning to realize that I HAVE THE POWER with GOD to change things. The first step is the hardest. Realizing that I cannot do it alone. I’ve tried every antidepressant on the market and still fell the same as I did 25 years ago! I thought I might find the cure in the bottom of a Vodka bottle, but, it wasn’t there either! I now attend Celebrate Recovery and am surrounded by tortured souls such as mine. There IS comfort in unity. I want to feel better. To get out of this house. To be able to work. Communicate with others. Laugh. Love. Enjoy a sunset or a sunrise. I stay within my 4 walls of my home right now from fear. But, I DO see a light. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • tina

    Oh boy is depression out there. Its does not discriminate. I am 44 years old, I believe I have had depression since I am 14. Not as severe as Iam reading here today. I too was presribed xanax and the only thing it for me was made me cry and put me in worse state than I was in before. Decided to self medicate from pot smoking -to cocaine and others. I finally gave it all up, and gave my depression to the Lord. I had no therapy or support group, I prefered to do it alone and still do to this day. I take alot of different supplements -which has worked miracles for me. I am beyond afraid to take prescription drugs, probably unfounded but I just cant bring myself to take prescription drugs. What helps me is Sam-E which is for mood stability as well as promotes good liver and bone movement. I also take a multiple vitamin- vitamin C – B6 and sometimes B12 also calcium. I also drink alot of green tea and changed my diet totally to alot of greens, fish and chicken. Even more exercise. I love red meat but I try to have only 2 to 3 times a month. Depending when my cycle is around- I double dose on some. I worked very hard on myself by myself. Finally I learned to love myself, unconditionally and the relief I feel is simply incredible. The depression is still around from time to time. But with the weapons I have – I tend to win the battle for the most part. Dont stop looking -Keep battling whether it be from within or with a professional or both. Just try and love yourself and have patience with yourself and most of all understanding of oneself. Like you would afford another. You are worthy and you are worthy to fight for. Of course get your strength from God as well. But it get from within as well. God will hold your hand. I want to thank all you out there – your words have also given me great strength to carry on. The knowledge I have received from all of you has made me more equipped to deal with my depression. My tears are currently flowing down my face as I am writing this, not tears of depression or pain. But of happiness. Thank You All.

  • Danny Cross

    I had a Word from God last night saying exactly the same things. Praise God, this is conformation. Thank You Yours in Christ Danny Cross

  • Lisa

    Thank you for saying what I have felt for a long time. I know GOD can and does move mountains… but depressions is alive and well. People who don’t have it don’t understand it. I have heard people say…you lack self love…you are lazy…blah, blah…Why would someone purposely want to be depressed, want to end their lives and not want to get out of bed??? NOT ME! I have suffered with this illness even before I knew how to tie my shoes!!! I inhereted it from my family thank you and I have learned how to accept that it is okay to be depressed so long as I see it and do something about it…I am on antidepressants, I also pray, and I also LOVE myself…that is why I seek out treatment. So it isn’t all about past hurts, self pity and whatever else people want to blame it on…you wouldn’t blame someone who had arthritis for their illness so stop blaming those that have a chemical malfunction! GOD gave us the gift of medication, prayer, therapy, yoga…whatever works for you…so take him up on it.

  • Susan

    What an interesting article! Wow! I can relate so well. I have had depression problems because of chronic pain from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid and numerous back problems. When I was involved in a bible ministy back in the 80′s their solution was prayer, which did help but the pain was still there. Then when I went to AA for help with a drinking problem, I learned that they are against any kind of medications, it is much like christian science. So I went for years suffering because of what other people thought was best for me, and like an idiot, I listened to them. I finally realized that i am not willing to suffer for anyone, and got myself on an antidepressant and pain medication. Now I am much happier and feeling better because I am making my own choices. We should never listen to anyone else when it comes to stuff like this, except wherever we are guided to go, dr.s, counselors etc. Most religious sects, including Alcoholics anonymous say that they have the answers to life and only their way works. Sorry! I disagree.

  • Gina

    I can also relate. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression, and while I was one of those “it can never happen to me” types, it did. And now all I can think of is suicide. Every morning I wake up and try to think of a reason not to do it. Mostly I picture my Dad’s face (he is my whole world, and then some) and the thought of what it would do to him, (but mostly I fear that he will think I was a coward who took the “easy way out”) and then I get up and get showered so I can head out to work. Though I don’t believe that it’s “taking the easy way out”. I think it’s a feeling that you can’t control, and when you are in that much pain, it feels like the right thing to do, or the only way to stop the pain. I was put on medication (first Celexa then Lexapro) and then I moved out of state. I started a new job but have to wait 90 days until I can get insurance, so needless to say I ran out of my meds and have been backward spiraling for a couple of months now. All the thoughts about suicide have come back full force, and to make matters worse today is the 12th anniversary of the death of my child. Which really makes me start feeling like all I want to do is die. I am not sure why I am even writing this because I have no words of wisdon to share, I have not yet come to a point where I think I can control it, or that I feel like vitamins have helped, or the omega 3 fatty acids have helped, or even any of the meds. The meds make me feel a little less suicidal, and I stress a little, but not so much that I feel like everything will turn out ok. I am afraid of myself, I am afraid of what I might do to myself. I spend a lot of time crying and wishing I could some how stop breathing in the middle of the night while I sleep (which is also a hard thing for me to do, when I lay down at night my mind starts going and going and no matter what I do I can’t slow it down). So they prescribed me sleeping pills as well (Seroquel) and I ran out of those too. I don’t know what the hell to think anymore. I am starting to feel like it is getting more and more hopeless!

  • Deirdre

    Well … the ONLY thing{s} that’ve worked for me is a GREAT combination of everything. And BELIEVE me …. I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING!! –That is aside from taking some expensive extravagent trip to some ‘sacred’ spot in the world, in hopes of s miraculous healing my friend.
    It seems so far after YEARS of dealing w/depression on and off, is simply allowing these deep, intense feelings to ‘ride through me’, so to speak. To allow them appropriate time to digest, process, then finally transform me within, when some level of healing takes place.
    The thing is, it’s literally an internal tornado I’m [forever it seems] over and over and over again at times. It seems like a perpetual case of falling 20 steps backwards emotionally, then eventually through the bouncing around, moving 3-4 steps ahead of where I was before I fell into a depression. It’s frusterating!
    *Sigh* …………. However years ago FINALLY had to just accept ‘for some reason[s] this is just how I am I guess. That alone took some weight off. Yes, I Deirdre, am a VERY emotional ‘high-maintance’ person. So be it.
    So you know what I do? Would you like to hear ALL the things that help balance out this internally/exterally? There’s a list I’ve taken the responsibility to follow to keep on a healthy track, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially. 1st of all, journally IS of great help. However there is a ‘proper’ way of journalling I have discovered. [When jotting down the blues, anger, dissappointment,ect.–MAKE SURE to WRITE down your goals, and LOTS and LOTS of supportive stuff to bring your moods up to elevate yourself up to a level of hope, love. But whatever your writing down, this action in itself of merely writing one’s feelings down on paper is a sign of self-respect. Because your acknowledging your feelings. Plus it’s been known as an immune system booster. After you rap on about raves and rants in your diary–kinda like ‘puke it all up’ verbally {HAHAHAAHA}–when you get to your special segment of POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, it will have sunk into your subconscious. You may be surprised to discover at some point of how healing this practice REALLY is. So try it. If your already familiar w/it’s benefits you know exactly what I’m talking about.
    Okay, the other things I do is get talk-therapy. On many levels this seems to work well. Taking meds helps a lot. Exercising is a mood stablizer. {I walk 4.5 miles 3-4x’s per wk.} Hmmmm, lets see.
    Oh–eating healthy meals + taking cod liver oil and daily multi-vitamin can do wonders as well. Yoga is extremely relaxing,–LOVE YOGA!
    And working to keep your mind off things helps a great deal.
    Any type of spirituality that suits your own individual belief system can be powerful and healing. Basically there’s only one thing left.–SOCIALIZING!! Perhaps this has been my ‘downfall’ so to speak.
    It seems everybody is so darn busy and all, that there’s so very little time to ‘make time’ for one another, be together, CONNECT, and HAVE FUN!!!! I MISS THAT!!! Yes, while in school eons ago, it was a lot easier to have a social life. But you know, you ‘grow up’, everyone else has their own life/schedule, as well as yourself.
    So sometimes it’s like pulling teeth just to have a date w/fun.
    Just respect the person within yourself. And strive to fulfill your needs on every level. FEED yourself on every level. LOVE yourself on every level. Accept yourself on every level.
    BE yourself ….. on every level.

  • Jackie

    Fortunately I have a very godly doctor who was willing to discuss with me at length the spiritual aspects of treating depression. He consistently assured me that my depression was NOT a spiritual deficiency or lack of faith; that my need for medication was no different than a diabetic needing medication or using drugs to fight a cancer.
    I truly believe going on medication saved me from suicide and over more than 10 years I have been able to get better in so many ways including being able to reduce the number and dosage of medications I take.
    It really bugs me when ignorance kicks the people who most need help. I do everything I can to encourage people to use the methods that help them, without judgement. The cancer analogy is good actually. No one berates a person with cancer for seeking out a variety of treatments, trying to find the combination with the best result for that particular cancer. Depression can be life threatening and those who are suffering with it should be commended for getting help.

  • Cindy

    Many people serve their community and the Lord and have a chemical inbalance within their body. That doesn’t make them unchristlike.
    They may be the living sacrifice for those who don’t have the strength to seek out God and help when faced with adversity. I am unable to afford Lexapro at the moment and have been serving God, yet still face daily moments where I write my poetry and meditate. That doesn’t alter the composition of the molcules and chemicals God blessed me with! I am thankful their are people that will speak out on this subject. I work with people with Mental Retardation and Mental Illness they are genuine individuals with loads to give to society. We are each a creation of God and he allowed men to be educated enough to develop medications to alleviate some peoples sufferings.

  • Kathie

    Wow! You are all such healthy thinkers, and yet…”Why?” is a question we never get an answer to, that is, we depressives. I finally gave up on all the RX stuff–according to my new Naturopathic Physician, most of them only wind up depleting your brain of seratonin or the other necessary hormones for mental balance anyway (I think that spiritually I am VERY well-balanced, but mentally, apparently I’m a nut case). So I switched to SAMe, an over the counter pill, very expensive, but worth it for me, as it is the first thing that has continued to work to the degree that I can function and enjoy some aspects of my “black hole” life. It has even helped my Fibromyalgia, not getting rid of all the pain, by any means, but noticeably lessening it. Of course, to even get to this point , I have to take 800 mg per day–like I said it gets expensive; so if you can’t afford it and wind up jumping off a cliff, I won’t judge you, that’s for sure. We all need to buoy up one another like this all the time. Feeling alone is the worst part of the depression-anxiety cycle. Of course, only “hanging out” with other depressives can get very–umm–depressing; but not if we focus on our few gifts, like an occasional laugh, a sense of humor, knowing we are loved, even if it doesn’t help a whole lot–if we avoid the Oprah’s and the Scientologists and the New-agers out there who judge us just because they haven’t walked a mile in our shoes–if we do that , maybe we mainly just need our God and each other to survive on a day-by-day or minute-by-minute (depending on how the day is going) basis.

  • sharon

    You are truly an inspiration. I have written to you before I believe I mentioned my son. He has his depressive moods, and everyone around including my mother think if they give him a nudge or kick in the pants he’ll be motivated to become a man. If he finds a job and so on and so forth it will change everything. I get upset with people who have little understanding of the problem. There is no easy way to deal with it, but I believe as his mother I try to accept whatever his feelings are and don’t try to push too hard. Sometimes people have little empathy or understanding, because it is not like a broken leg or a nosebleed. If we can’t see it,it doesn’t exist. Keep up the writing on this issue. You make me feel better and I hope my son achieves whatever it is in God’s great plan for him. Until then, I continue to be loving and understanding of him. Whatever he needs or me I am willing to do as his mother. I thank you.

  • Robert

    I must apologize for being one of those people who thought some insight into one’s relationship to Christ would help. I can see how my comments, albeit well meant, might be a cause of frustration.
    Personally, I find avoiding the more superstitious aspects of Catholicism helpful.
    I was approached by many people at a time of crisis with words of hope, and eventually I was glad they did. I have learned since that depression is a symptom of unresolved issues with anger. I find it helps to forgive anyone you think has wronged you, and avoid harboring negative thoughts of others longer than necessary to process your feelings.
    I do know this: you can take responsibility for your mental health, and there is no time like the present to do it.
    I am glad the information in Ms. Brochard’s article may help relieve a sense of guilt that “prosperity” gospels may engender, if your life is not a success story, or you find it even hard to get out of bed. It IS self serving hypocrisy that drives much of the “success” gurus.
    I recommend no-one avoid professional assistance, medication or therapy because it is not “spiritual”. This is a false understanding of what is truly spiritual altogether.
    I still maintain that knowing the Son of God thought you important enough to do the Easter thing for you is helpful. I wish truly that others efforts to share this encouragement were not sometimes so counter-productive. I think its because learning the extent of the compassion and patience of God takes time, even more to express it when trying to help another. Learning the difference between serving self and truly being present for another is important.
    This article is thought provoking and relevant.

  • sandra weisz

    Hi Theresa, i too am very very depressed, in my case it is reactive. i also am in a great deal of pain and live in a bad enviroment that i can’t get out of. i have to move to another part of the country where it is still affordible and life sustainable, as southern ca. is none of the above and it is getting worse by the day. btw most of calif is burning while i write this. the prices and the nastiness and overcrowdedness, has kept me homeless living in motels for 2 and a half years, and that has made me very very depressed. worse than i was before. i’m trying my best though. you’re a real inspiration. and as i mentioned before, there is a street named after you on the ventura freeway, and i think of you when i see it. it’s in a really great neighborhood too!Borchard rd. i have a lot to do to get out of this mess all alone, and sometimes i get really angry and resentful and scream. but all it does is make me lose my voice. and i already lost my country. anyway God bless you for your wonderful words. they are a healing balm to my tortured soul.. thanks again:)

  • Sad

    I was diagnosed with extremely severe Major Clinical Depression late last year, which was brought on from untreated extremely severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (after a lifetime of sexual, physical and emotional abuse culminating in witnessing the death of a 15yr old girl in 2006). People didn’t believe me when I told them what I had witnessed and thought I was exaggerating and obsessing about everything, simply because it wasn’t reported in the papers and as I was repeatedly told, “I had nothing to worry about” (even though one of the people involved lived next door and was threatening me with killing me for an entire 6weeks) all the while when working full time over 50hrs per week and studying part-time. I eventually had to move, and sit for final exams and sell my house and find somewhere else to live in 6weeks – needless to say how stressed I was because it was extremely busy at work.
    Cutting a long story short, I then got a new manager who stopped me from receiving trauma counselling (my work has counselling available to employees for four sessions, which could be extended if required and approved by management which my former manager had arranged for me given the extenuating circumstances I faced). This new woman manager then proceeded to bully not only myself, but other staff members, and when she asked me to do something that wasn’t my responsibility (she asked me to write a report detailing two contractors performance deficiencies which wasn’t my place, nor had she addressed these things with them), I stood up to her and told her no, I wasn’t going to do that because it wasn’t my place, nor was it morally or ethically correct to do that. She then proceeded to tell me that if i didn’t do everything she wanted, she would destroy my career and she had done it before to others for less. She then made my work life a living hell and started to report to senior management that i was doing things incorrectly, wouldn’t meet deadlines (which I had to constantly ask her for and she refused which resulted in me working much longer hours as they were unrealistic), so when I reported her to management, they didn’t believe me but believed her and gave her benefit of the doubt because she was knew (and I had been on the receiving end of bullying treatment in three areas of the same place where I had worked for years; one admitted what she had done; the second removed from managing staff because he did it to two other people after i left the area (after being treated like a criminal and was given no promotional opportunities but had to train the new people in the higher positions); and the other was sacked after numerous complaints about sexual harrassment and my former manager believed him about me not training him or sharing information and I nearly lost a promotion because of it (i was going to withdraw)).
    Many people complained about her, and I eventually transferred to another department, and at the end of my secondment, i returned to where i worked. I was then given a directive i could not return to my old job (due to the amount of “stress” i put on this new manager and almost caused her to resign; told I had no interpersonal skills and had to do further study to get them, though i get along with everyone; told i had no future until the manager above this manager said so; told i should get another job as my time was done in the department; was not offered a return to work rehabilitation programme; was told if i lodged a formal complaint my situation would get worse for me and it would be impossible for me to return to work; told by my best friend who worked there the top manager had directed a panel in which i had applied for a job for me to not get the job and he obviously had it in for me and his actions were justified because i had been bullied by other staff and that i was a problem in there because obviously i didn;t get along with anyone and she didn’t know about the other things that had happened to me and why they treated me this way as there was always two sides to every story;was told i was insubordinate twice by two different managers and this is why managers hated me; told by another manager that he once had an employee years ago who committed suicide at work due to similar problems i had in the work place (but he also had personal issues) and the manager “would hate to see me get like that” even though he had a duty of care to protect me from harrassment and bullying in the workplace; the department would not sort my leave issues out for over 4mths even after my doctor requested this 3times it still took a month and a half after his last request (even when he outlined I had major clincial depression and that my conditioning was worsening due to the amount of stress still placed on me; and when i formally lodged the complaint, the manager who would not let me go to counselling, said she couldn’t remember the conversation at all (even though it was twice she told me & i needed to see a psychiartrist in my personal time even though i wasn’t allowed any time off work to even attend this) but would have only said so if work was too busy (which she cannot do in accordance with the policy) and denied she would have told me that; subsequently, i tried to committ suicide three times in four months. No wonder I got extremely severe Major Depression.
    In all of this, I prayed and believed God would help me, and that karma or justice or whatever you want to call it, would prevail and help me. It never came.
    When I was feeling a bit better, I lodged a formal complaint, and with WH&S. It is now in the process of investigation. I have been informed by WH&S someone who did witness how i have been treated couldn;t remember (at least I had an email to prove his was aware of this); and my so called best friend has declined to make a statement twice (and my treatment has cost me thousands of dollars as well as holding me back in my career for months, not to mention the humiliation and stigma – “you’re just obssessing about things, you just need to think positively, you just need to get a new job, you have a great future and im just letting things get to me, its all your fault as you don’t communicate very well and have a strong personality (which I don’t) which puts people off – I have received from having this illness; as well as barely being able to function normally in society, as well as fighting to keep my sanity and life (because every day I wish I was dead, and it wouldn’t take much for me to commit suicide.
    I don’t even know why I;m writing this here – nothing i say or do is going to make anyone reading this change anything, but I guess I wanted to let someone know that I think the only way for people to get better from this type of illness is for people to have a better understanding of the illness, as well as people now start treating everyone around them with compassion, kindness, respect and courteousy, and be aware of their actions/behaviours and the effect they have on others. It can make or break someone. I still believe in God – not the type they teach you in any religion – that God has died for me – if there was a God like that who had existed, he never would have let me suffer through two molestations, being raped, and suffered bashings from an ex-boyfriend for 3 1/2yrs; told i was so unattractive by another ex-boyfriend that he didn’t want to have sex with me at all and to fall in love with someone who had no intention of having a relationship with me, but just wanted sex for me, as well as all the issues I have had with work for the past 6years. The god they teach in the Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican church would never let that happen to someone who believed in him and loved him – I even begged God for his help, and he really has foresaken me. I have been told by priests, and fathers, ministers etc (believe me, I have tried every religion searching for answers) and they all tell me that man has free will – then how come I have been treated so badly and been on the receiving end of so many bad actions of others and I have this burden? I have no idea if I will live through this , right now I have only the hope that this investigation process will come out in my favour, but if it doesn’t, then i pray and hope that something good will happen for me – and for all those who suffer from depression in any kind of form (whether its just a chemical imbalance or those who have had bad things done to them all their lives) – and that ur suffering alleviates itself very soon.
    love,
    Sad

  • Lynne

    It is good to know that we do not walk alone here! No matter what path you take to healing ,as long as it work’s for you, can never be a bad thing IMHO. So many people enjoy that “on the soapbox” stance but truth be told few could walk in our shoes without major difficulty! So I applaude the “everyday heroes”. The ones who have the guts to let it all hang out! Without them the rest of us would be forever in hiding.

  • TLC

    I cannot believe how good God is…just today on the way home from work, I was telling a Christian sister that another in our church said, “I just drop off the radar when things get tough” (I’m facing my third down-sizing in a year and a half)…and I felt so judged, condemmed, mis-understood with this comment. When this message appeared on my screen, it was so inspiring to know someone else understands and that I’m not weak in my faith. The same friend that said I just drop from the radar also told me that if I “believed, really believed, Jesus is in control of my life” I wouldn’t be down or afraid at all. Thank you for letting me know that I’m okay just the way God made me.

  • Mike

    Boy, you sure laid it all out and for good reason. I don’t suffer from severe depression but feel there are a lot of people who care and have compassion for those who suffer. I pray to understand and know the love of the Lord not that every one is healed. We still don’t understand why and how come thing happens to us and others.

  • Donna

    How come if you have diabetes or cancer or anything like that you are not told to go to the Bible. Depression is a disease just like anything else. I suffer from depression and I LOVE Jesus and have faith.

  • Dale Kleimola

    Theresa:
    Don’t be so hard on the ignorant and unlearned clergy, though they be many. They have not experienced first hand the hell that comes with depression.
    I am a pastor and have no difficulty identifying my depression and anxiety disorder — even naming it as it is: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While my PTSD comes from many sources (from molestation as a 3-5 year old; a mother who was better at verbally abusing my father and my siblings and me, than having a constructive conversation; to rar too many moves and schools (about 12 before beginning the 10th grade; to not knowing how to make friends; and not knowing how to feel.
    But the most unforgetable and harshest trauma came from the Pastor who was supposed to be my mentor for a year (he was a Navy Captain in the middle of Iowa — (I think he was secretly building an ark); it was worsened by my arrogant and narcissistic associate pastor who wanted to take my place as senior pastor of a large congregation (he managed to, I allowed him to and ended up on a one year mental health disability leave; the last straw for congregational ministry came from the last congregation I served. They, too, were traumatized numerous times by pastors. They scapegoated pastors for decades — unfortunately, not an unexpected reaction to pastoral leadership. I took a mental health disability leave from there, too, after 12 years of ministry.
    Now I am looking for God’s guidance in finding a new way of serving Him outside of parish ministry (or in a very unique parish situation that would be a miracle to find!)
    In spite of it all, or perhaps because of it all, I have learned how great our God is. During a period of six months without any disability income (the disability provider was fired, but not until they restored my disability benefits and provided me with back disability payments). During this six month period of time, my wife and I were able to manage to keep money in our bank accounts so we didn’t bounce any checks. (Before my disability leave started, I paid thousands of dollars in penalty and fees.) With an income decrease of 30% to 100%, God provided for our financial needs.
    Sorry for the digression.
    My point is simply this. Some pastors are arrogant and narcasistic morons who can’t think past their own ego’s. Others are just clueless. Others are “super Christians” who can’t understand why “ordinary Christians” suffer from mental illness. And still others stick their heads in the sand, ignoring the pain of mental illness so prevelant in their congregations.
    Ah, but through it all, God is still Good. Jesus still brings salvation through his own physical and mental anguish that came to Him because of diseased, narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant, uncaring, unloving, etc. sinners like me.
    And for that, I say, “Praise God!”
    Dale

  • Perine

    I’ve always had bouts of depression over the past 30 odd years but somehow by the Grace of God I have bounced back.
    My major causes of depression have been 2 fold: Financial & Relationships.
    Financially I’ve battled to make ends meet but by the grace of God, he has somehow helped me provide a roof over my kids head and food on the table – they never went a day without and I can only thank God for this blessing.
    Relationship wise, I’ve had 3 serious relationships over the past 30yrs, married the 1st one which ended in a bitter divorce and ended with 2kids after 7yrs. I waited 4yrs before I got into another relationship, that lasted 4yrs (at least no kids or marriage transpired here) and recently after 15yrs between the 2nd misfortunes I got involved with someone last year and to my dismay after 10months, this one has also ended abruptly for the silliest reason of me asking my so called partner to afford me 1 day a week with him and weekends with him and his daughter, which he refused as he felt I’m taking him away from his daughter, who by the way is 13yrs old.
    I’ve blamed myself that I’m the reason my relationships didn’t work out but after counselling, I’ve come to accept I give to much of myself in my relationships. I give unconditionally just to be accepted and yet people should accept one for who they are and not what they want them to be. I took my time, poured my heart and soul into this relationship and was at first rejected by his 3 daughters but eventually they started opening up and accepting me. As soon as this happened, he decided to dump me for a younger woman, whom he was seeing secretly behind my back while we were still supposably dating.
    The break up and disappointment of this relationship has left me majoraly devastated/hurt/angry that someone could do this to me again and yet I knew that he was a womaniser as he told me he had affairs throughout his marriage with his late wife but as a Christian I overlooked it and felt everyone deserves a second chance in life – who am I to judge. But I guess some people will just not change, they enjoy inflicting pain on the ones that devout themselves to them as they somehow feel they are not worthy of love and forgiveness, so why should they show love.
    But I wanna testify and praise God that even though each day has been a challenge since our break up and there are days when I’m really depressed, especially at night and over the weekends, as my kids are grown up and have left home and the bond I had with his kids and the grandkids has now been severed but what keeps me going is prayer, constantly praying (I feel the warmth of God’s presences when I pray) and also what kinda brightens my day is when I can see or hear from one of my ex-partner’s kids and they still show me that unconditional love, it really gives me lift that that is God shining through and telling me I’m gonna overcome and I just have to be patient.
    Praise God for his unconditional love, forgiveness, strength and hope that he instils in me each and every day when I awake.
    I’m honour and proud to call myself a Catholic because all the prayers I’ve learnt & said over the years gives me reason to push on and take life one day at a time.
    Praise God’s name,
    Amen

  • Leno

    I have suffered from a combination of guilt for my diagnosis, religious hypocrisy, and a label of mental illness for sometime now. Frankly, the label has almost been more damaging than anything else–it feeds on itself. However, after being raised by the first paralyzed woman in the U.S. to bear children and, I believe, suffering from the personal PTSD from dealing with that and multiple other abuses, I have found a combination of medication that seems to work for me–Pexeva (anti-anxiety/depressant) and Seroquel (dopamine reuptake). The Pexeva relieves the sadness/anxiety and the Seroquel lets me sleep while on an antidepressant. Therefore, I don’t get delirious from not sleeping on an antidepressant alone. Sometimes, people experience so many traumas in life, their personal chemical balance just gets out of whack and they need assistance. I suppose those who don’t have to take antidepressants just haven’t experienced enough difficulty to understand those of us who have.

  • Ana

    Your comments brought tears to my eyes, I have strugled with anxiety panic attacks and depression for the last 10 years. Was in the hospital once. Was told I had a chemical imbalance. I still believe someday God will heal me, but for many years i did not wanted to take medication as the well meaning brothers and sisters at my church try to chase away the “demons” that were supposedly attacking me, i have been told I need to have more faith, and that i needed deliverance, and often felt God was mad at me, when I go to stores I just get into a gaze like in an unreal world that i have to get out quickly. I’ve seen many doctors and psychiatrist. Had MRI done, can not find whats wrong at times my brain is foggy. I am taking clonazepam and is helping me but i have to hide this from people, who freely take advil for headaches, peptobismol for stomache, insulin for diabietis, and high blood pressure medicine, but my illness is considered bad spirits attacking me, and lack of faith. I still love the Lord with all my heart, but hate the ignorance in church on mental health

  • J.Ames

    Thank you for being mentally ill, I know that sounds strange, but I need you so much some days. Your postings have help stop me from being overcome by “the darkness” some days. It just feels a little more o.k. to be “crazy” in this society when someone else has the same thought patterns and crappy days you do. As for the medication, the only reason I would go off of mine is if Jesus HIMSELF were to walk up to me and say stop. MY world is way to scary to me to be off of them. I know without a doubt they keep me alive, I pray they will continue to as long as God needs for me to be here. Whatever reason that is. I have been saved from death by overdosing, cutting my wrists, and two bouts of truly accidental carbon monoxide poisioning.I need no more evidence that God wants me alive than that, ALTHOUGH when “the darkness” creeps up I have begged for Him to take me. Reading these postings by you help me so much Thank you!

  • Philip

    Jesus created the human mind, he raised Lazurus from the dead after he was dead 3 days. That means every brain cell in Lazurs’ head was dead. You think God cannot cure any physical, spiritual, or psochological problem we may have? The problem lies with us. Can we believe? Can we obey God? Can we commit our lives and very souls to him? I am not catholic. I am a born again christian. No one talked me into becomming a born again christian. When I was a lost sinner headed for hell, I did not say to myself one day oh I thin k I will become spiritual, or I think I will pick a belief to follow. I will not tell you my whole story, but I met Jesus personally on the alter. I was in fact born again like the bible says. Yes I said I met Jesus, it really happened. I neither saw, or heard Jesus.I met him in a much more real and personal way than simply seeing or hearing Jesus.
    Any way, that is my comment. If anyone is intrested

  • charisse

    yes indeed christianty needs a massive over vamping in its stance and opinion of depression and mental illness,Sadly i feel it is slow in the making ,allone can do is to continue to combat the ignorance and pray finds meds , doctors, friends and support to the path for healing and light. keep the faith that one day we too shll over come .

  • Nanette

    Ana
    no you should not have to hide this at all. your brain is just another organ. If you had cancer and had to take medicine no one would fault you. You have a depression, or anxiety disorder, or both. Which require medicine if regular de- stressing techniques dont help. If you have brain fogginess, it could also be due to other factors, all medical (ie read NOT your fault and not curable by god) such as a thyroid problem, YES it can cause anxiety. Reactions to certian foods/allergies/even can do this. Drug interactions can do this. ALSO menopause and perimenopause or PMS can do this for women. So DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let the religous zealots tell you otherwise. I have VERY catholic parrents and an Irish catholic husband who do not have a clue about this . but yet they take all kinds of other medicines, ie for cholesterol, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and even Ritalin..and yet. they are “above” depression. NAY NOT SO. they are just lucky enough so far not to have it , or have deluded themselves that they dont.
    be strong, and explore other forms of stress management as well, YOGA can help , regular EXERCISE can help, better FOOD choices can help. but also, if you need it, anti anxiety or even hormone replacement if its menopausal or pre can help . ABOVE ALL DO NOT BE AFRAID to be a human being, with a medical condition. There is nothing wrong with you as a person, and no matter how much faith you have, god cannot cure all.
    peace
    Nanette

  • kaye,

    I am sorry for your experience with the pastor as you were getting treatment and help for your depression.
    I am a Chaplain trained to be open and respectful of “the living human document”. I am a lay chaplain and
    know that it is my personal faith which led me to serve in hospice, cancer outpatient and trauma centers as well as hospitals. I suffered and struggled without knowing that for a great portion of my life I developed
    crafty if not good coping skills. It wasn’t until the chaplain training was suggested that I learned to accept help…meds, psychotherapy and self introspection. I am clinically depressed and hold strong personal
    aversion to suicide before and after discovering my condition.
    When I hold spiritality groups I quitely reveal the fact that I could not be doing the work that I love if I were not staying on medication and in close contact with my psychiatrist who adjusts the meds to find my optimum operating self. I encourage people to accept themselves and the disease /condition that they never asked for. .
    I learned through an exercise in examining family characteristics that
    my father’s side of the family ( my father, and two first cousins have a history of depression) One cousin
    sought medical help and therapy and is coping well and does not require meds currently. The other is trying “religion” but can’t work or leave his home and self medicates with beer and cigarettes. My 89 y/o father is aware that he has “in the past” suffered depression yet he refuses to take even the lightest dose of medicine A) because he doesn’t need it b) it’s too strong and expensive ( it’s basically free) so he cuts it in half c) if he does take it …he feels fine and doesn’t need it!
    Self care is a spiritual act I encourage anyone who has depression to seek intervention medically and to be “well” on their journey . I so appreciate your voice for all who have depression.
    Thank you,
    Kaye

  • Jen Peterson

    I am sorry to hear of all you have had to endure from the very people who should have been there in helping to build, support & encourage you. Instead, doing the very opposite, by speaking of all your (so called) spiritual weaknesses & wrongs.
    I, myself, have never dealt with mental illness, though, I have experienced severe depression. While, no longer depressed anymore, I am affilcted with a progressive muscular degenerative disease & am presently a quadruplegic with very little or no use of any of my body from the neck down. And, like you, I too, have (and still am) been told by many that if I would just pray for healing, God would heal me, & if He doesn’t, then I don’t believe He can or haven’t prayed hard enough, etc.
    I was even shunned by a church in which I had faithfully attended for a good many years. A place, in which, I had always felt comfortable & accepted. That is, until I was confined to a wheelchair. It was then, when I began to realize, I was no longer seen as a part of the congregation, not even by the pastors. The only time others communicated with me, was to tell me everything I believed, prayed & did was spiritually incorrect. These were some of their reasonings for God not wanting to heal me. I stopped going to that church shortly there after.
    Since then, I have come a long ways in building myself stronger spiritually. Though, people still come up with any number of reasons for why I have not been healed.
    While, I do believe that God can heal me (or any one of us), I also believe that God is the one to decide when to heal a person, & only in his time, (not ours) will the healing take place.
    I have become comfortable knowing, and trusting that God has placed me in this situation for a reason. While, I may not know exactly what that reason is, God does. Just because I (or anyone else) have not been healed, It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe or am praying wrong. In the Bible, the book of Job is a great example of this, & I find it to be very uplifting (especially when others try to tell you that it’s your fault you’ve got an illness.)
    Hang in there, & don’t give up. Be secure in knowing that God will heal you in His own timing, whether it’s down here on earth or up in heaven. God has a purpose for you, for each of us. Don’t let others tell you what that purpose is, let God. Just because you (or I, or anyone else) haven’t been healed, it does not mean that God loves us any less or we don’t believe or haven’t prayed enough or the right words (so on & so forth).
    Personally, I consider myself blessed with my illness. I feel, that I have gained much more strength spiritually, than what I have lost physically. Knowing that God believes me able to handle the illness I’ve been given, gives me the strength to conquer each hurdle, and to continue down the road toward fulfilling the special purpose God has entrusted me to do.
    I don’t mean to make it sound easy or that I haven’t struggled, because I have, and will probably have more struggles. What keeps me going, is trusting in and believing that God will never give me more than what He knows I can handle.
    I hope this gives some help to all out there, & will be praying for you all. Don’t give up. God loves each & every one of us.
    May God Bless you all.
    Jen

  • Jack Davis

    I go to a mental health clinic for bipolar disorder. Many of the clients there are very religious. One particularly strident theist insists daily that God answers prayers. My would-be response, which I have been told not to tell her: “Why keep taking medications? Why not just pray to God and Jesus and get rid of your mental illness the Biblical way?” Could it be–just possibly– that there is no God and we better find a scientific way to cure mental illness? That’s what I believe.

  • Candi

    How do you “fix” an chemical imbalance in your brain?
    That’s because that is what depression is–as are multiple disorders–like Bi-polar.
    A perfectly happy life free of stress (money, relationships, health issues) might keep the old chemicals going right–but sans that?
    I thought I was the toughest person on earth, until one day my world caved in on me and I couldn’t function…so I beat myself up and called myself every foul name in the book for being weak. Until I went to the doc who told me I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and that once the stressors ended, I could probably get off the meds. Unfortunately, I’ve had four years of increasingly serious stressors which have now affected me with the onset of other health issues.
    The seriousness of dealing with everyday issues like gas and food are enough to make sane people crazy. I try to do what I can that makes me “go away” from reality for a while, like working in my garden, or playing with my multiple animals….and that is about all one can do these days.
    My mother tells me I’m weak, make bad choices in male partners, and am basically ugly, fat, etc. I counter with the fact that I am a responsible adult and human being with a very demanding job, work hard at paying my bills, and being a responsible/good citizen.
    But for my mother, it isn’t enough. I need to quit taking those pills. Let’s face it, none of us are perfect and it is killing some of us to try to be perfect for those other people who aren’t perfect and think we should be.
    Snarl. All we can do is tie a knot and hang on. Whatever those knots look like to others? It’s all about them. Keep hanging on. It’s dealing with the folks who have all the answers that make most of us insane anyway.
    C

  • carmella

    I suffer from bi-polar disorder and depression. Today I was feeling suidial and desperate, then I read my e-mail……..I wonder who is speaking to me? God I hear you, I am not alone….THANKS

  • Bonbon

    C oh how I agree so much. I have come a long way since they diagnosed me with Bipolar 2-3 about 3 years ago. A number of life events happened during those years and a few before. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin XL since. I have managed to come thru this with my meds and yes that also includes xanax as needed not many therapists or pych Dr.s. I believe both the meds, therapy and the faith you have will bring you out of it. I too have animals and also love to work with my house plants. I think that is good therapy too. Music is also good therapy. I guess it just depends on each individuals likes and dislikes. I pray, take my meds and vitamins, do something everyday I enjoy and I can actually say I’m on the healing process. May I add Beliefnet has been a great help. Thank You Beliefnet.
    Bonbon

  • Dan

    I lost a father to depression and suicide in my late teens. In many ways he was dead long before he killed himself. My siblings all have melancholy tendencies to varying degrees which to me is indicative that there is something physical and inheritable about it. Out of the brothers, though, I seem to have been given the greatest measure of the enigmatic “dark matter”.
    Yes, I say “given” for I believe there to be a purpose behind it.
    For I also believe there is a spiritual dimension to it that modern, Freudian-based therapies often underestimate or ignore.
    In my mid twenties, I became a Christian. But to my surprise, the depression didn’t really go away. It worsened. The difference, however, was that God showed up in the darkness. He didn’t deliver me from it, but has been there in it.
    I’ve heard a host of well-meaning counsel regarding depression; everything from it’s “my fault”, it’s “my choice” to “get on medication before it kills you”. I will be 40 this year and I’ve yet to take medication for it, but neither have I been cured of it.
    What it’s done for me is forced me to become more acquainted with God; not for healing so much as seeking understanding.
    In seeking understanding, I’ve had many unorthodox conversations with God. In turn, He has demonstrated His mercy, compassion and love toward me. I’ve also compiled a great number of Scriptural passages that have enlightened me regarding my condition. Yet some of that “enlightenment” has included many things remaining beyond my ability to understand.
    For one, I’ve come to see that sometimes God dialogued with chosen saints in the darkness. As David said, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…You are with me.”
    Depression is a valley, a shadow and very much like a living death.
    God’s Word, however, remains a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
    You don’t need lamps and lights if it’s not dark all around.
    Precise knowledge of what causes “depression”, however, still eludes our culture. Sure we know a great deal more about the brain, but there is still much we don’t know.
    Increasingly, we’ve come to view “sadness” as a disease. And with such a belief about sadness, we thus tend to approach it from a purely physiological standpoint. I don’t disparage the efforts we’ve made in attempting to understand it from a physiological perspective, but there is more to understanding it than just knowing the flaws in my genetic makeup or brain chemistry. For centuries, sadness has traditionally been a means through which we seek meaning and purpose. Historically it has been better conveyed and understood through literary rather than scientific means. It has often had a purging and cleansing quality to it. To treat it as a disease, at least for me, is a bit disconcerting, for it seems to be a rather foundational pillar of what it means to be human.
    In saying this, however, I do not wish to minimize the difficulty and tragedy that does often accompany intense sadness or depression. I know those things first hand. Much of what sadness and depression bring in a person cannot be articulated in words. The suffering is intense. I am also not advocating that we simply “leave it be”. No. I firmly believe it is necessary to bear one another’s burdens and comfort those who mourn.
    Unfortunately, I believe many Christians’ response to depression has been shallow. Much evangelical counsel promotes being cured, not crucified. We want sorrow eradicated rather than find meaning and purpose through it with the love and support of others. We want to live without death. But Scripture counsels the Christian that one cannot live without first dying.
    In death we live.
    Sure, Jesus can heal. But sometimes He doesn’t; as is the case with me and was the case with my dad. When Jesus was dying on the cross, for example, people hurled insults at Him; mocking Him for apparently not being able to “save” Himself from death.
    The Christian life as you know has a great deal to say about death and sorrow. Jesus is a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He was sorrowful unto death (Mark 14:32). Abraham suffered “horror and great darkness” (Genesis 15:12-13). And it was in the midst of this darkness that God spoke to him.
    The prophet Jeremiah lamented that God lead him in darkness. Elijah was in great despair and wanted to die. Job cursed the day of his birth, and Jonah bitterly complained about being angry to the point of death. David even had many spells of what appears to be depression.
    Jesus said that those who “mourn” are “blessed” and that they will be comforted. Just a general perusal of Scripture one can find a host of passages which indicate that a Christian will experience sorrow. The Bible doesn’t treat it as a disease as so many evangelicals have made it. It’s not something to be cured, but experienced. Through much tribulation does a believer enter into the kingdom (Acts 14:22).
    In the end, depression remains for me a very difficult enigma that I will never totally comprehend, even in seeking understanding in the Bible. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “we see through a glass darkly”. Our natures are fallen, sinful and exist in a world that is hostile toward embracing meaning and purpose in suffering, after all if the “world” crucified God, how much more so is the world going to misunderstand, mock and murder His followers?
    For me, I understand that as a Christian, I have “died” and my life is “hidden” with Christ in God. Proverbs 20:24 says that my very steps are ordered of the Lord and that it is beyond my ability to fully understand my own way.
    We are not, however, a culture comfortable with enigma and mystery.
    Through caring friends, exercise, diet, prayer (both answered and unanswered) and lots of tears, God has shown me His love. He hasn’t cured me, but has given me a place to stand when all around me is death and dying. Depression for me remains a “horror and great darkness” but to God the darkness and the light are alike to Him (Psalm 139) and He speaks to me in that darkness. He knows me. He knows where I am and where I’m going, even if I may not. He holds my hand through it and in it. I may not be cured this side of eternity, but that’s ok.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-7 is my own hope and purpose about what I’ve suffered. It’s my prayer it can encourage you as well.
    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”

  • Anonymous

    I began reading your column a few years ago. My daughter is bipolar and has been through all the ups and downs of the disease. There were tilmes when I thought she would not make it. I believe that it was through the power of God that she is alive today. It is true those who suffer the most become closer to God. I am surviving breast cancer, my husband of 28 years left for who knows how long, and through it all it has been my daughter who has been at my side. She has been there as my hair has fallen out and my husband (her father) walked out. She is my support. I helped her through a crisis now she is helping me. God’s plans are not to be questioned. He brings us all we need to heal us. I feel sorry for those who do not understand His message to us in the bible. There are good priests and pastors out there. If it were not for them and their prayers I would not be where I am today with God and neither would my daughter. Prayer is our best defense against sickness. We will all be healed in God’s time. Trust in Him. We all have a cross to bear in life but He will provide us with all we need to get through it. God Bless all of us who are suffering for His glory.

  • Sunshine

    As I read through the poignant messages, I wonder if what sends us over the edge is not the stress or the chemical imbalance or the “lack of spirituality” or the excess of this or that.
    What if, what sends us over the edge, is the day in, day out, living a life that we are not meant to live. Living up to someone else’s standards, working at a job that we don’t fit in, trying to function in a society that expects us to be outgoing and organized and “productive”, to study for a “money-making” career. Anyone who doesn’t live up to these standards is not “successful”. So, we turn our backs on our real gifts, our real talents, our real personalities and end up mentally ill.
    Sometimes I wish that I was more spiritual, more meditative, more able to spend time in solitude, but the reality is that if I spend more than two days at home with minimal interactions, I begin a quick descent into the black hole. I spent four days in that place just last week, with the fourth day being one when I only wanted to sleep and any little thing set me into the crying stage.
    So, what do I do? I go to class (because I just have to go in order to complete a college course) not because I want to, and within hours I am being buoyed up. The next day I go exercise and swim and by class time, I was ready to go.
    So, I have to be with other people to stay on an even keel. I NEED to work alongside others. That is who I am. I HAVE to remember this and not work against my nature. Learning who I am and remembering that is the most important thing – to be who I am and not try to fit into anyone else’s box.
    As unique as I am, as everyone is, I still forget this at times.

  • Val Banton

    Thanks for the column. I’ve just found it and it’s so good to know that you have the courage to post these things on the net. I have been suffering depression and anxiety for over 15 years. I too had idiots telling me to think positive and just pray. Fortunately I also have a very sensible husband who dragged me to see a doctor. (why should I want to go if staying in bed all day made me feel better?) Anti depressants finally worked (I appear to be allergic/sensitive to many sorts) It took a while, but I live a relatively normal life now. I still don’t really talk to some of my Christian friends about my mental state though because I know they have the power to send me on another massive guilt trip. With them I just say I’m fine when they ask even if I’m not. I have a boss whose daughter has long term chrnic fatigue, and we swap stories. apparently she too should suck it up and God will give the energy!! Thanks again.

  • Autumn Meadows

    These things are very interesting. What we all forget to do is think outside the box…especially when you are in depression but even people who do not suffer do not think outside the box. They have a certian way that works for them and think it is suppose to work for you and if it does not than you are somehow not trying or unfixable. It is most painful when authority figures do these things to us such as priest, doctors, therapist, fathers, society. What we must learn is that the darkness makes us into something far more awake than those who do not possess it. I am very much for the concept of the ying yang and balance. There is a trade off no matter what it is that you have. Those who do not have depression are more productive but they also can be far more neieve about the truth of life and many times far less fauceted. Wheres at those with depression, think deep, see the terrible truths of things, and truly understand the meaning of pain and suffering. Even pain and suffering can come to enlightenment. there is something we learn that when we come out of it we see the world with new eyes and charish that summer day for a moment without the pain and suffering of the depression we often carry while others who have never carried such burden and missed so many nice days would take it for granted.
    What is most difficult to do is to see what about this pain and suffering do you learn, how does it make you grow and mature, how does it foster your artistic side.
    I am not christian but I do have Jesus in my heart. This has always confused christians. Jesus to me is the symbol of love, compassion, tolerance especially for myself. Jesus is a symbol of good, hope and forgiveness again something I need a great deal of. It is the idea of these words not the man himself that I hold in my heart. It is the concept that man stood for..not the man himself. I am not very religious but have been becoming spirital…and I use to be so annoyed by christian coming to me to “save” my soul because I look in a box. I saw them selling me a man they wrapped up to be a god. I saw the lies of the church, organized religion trying to take my money, and I saw people trying to control my behavior through a book. Stuck in this box I was very hostile towards the christians but now through much torment, pain,suffering and enlightment through it.. I begin to see past the humans who twist his message, abuse his phrases for thier own hidden agendas. What I see now is the message…it is not the man Jesus that is important whether he be a god or human..it is not the church to sells his message and thier hidden agendas… it is the message and the symbol Jesus represents that one must grasp. Jesus(hope) is a very powerful idea. Ideas are the most powerful weopon you can possess and when you are being tormented by your mind, beaten by your own pychie, if you hold on to that image whether it be a cross, Jesus with the circle over his head praying or angels…that hope that idea will pull you through.
    and in essence the christians are correct.. Jesus(hope) will save your soul.. even though thier perspective or box means saving you from the devil or evil, and the soul is an actual entity.
    Shiva(Hindu god), Athena(greek god), Buddha(buddist icon), White Dragon(chineses Icon), Muhammad (may peace be upon him: Islams hope).. Jesus comes in many different forms due to culture perspective…but good is always good and hope is always the same in these figures. To pull you out of the night and into the light.
    It is what you learn out of your dark journey you must find. What purpose does it serve other than the in box thinking of pain and suffering? How can you turn these great burdens into strengths when you recover? HOw can you translate them to others for others to see and understand you when you do sink back to the darkness?
    warmest of wishes,
    Autumn

  • CB

    God does heal but not always the same as he would someone else. I do believe God can heal…I know a lot about this I’ve suffered for almost 10 years I’ve been on many different meds and on 2 different kinds now…I’m no stranger to this…but I’m also a believer in the miracles of God. My point is God may supply you with your answers or answer them himself…the religious leaders were half right. You should go to God first but God works in his own way so directly healing you may hinder you from an important lesson that is part of your purpose. But religious leaders speak as if God works in one way and that isn’t true…millions of people can attest to that!

  • Jenna

    Oh boy, been there, done that! I have had a few people tell me that I didn’t need meds and have met many that NEED psych. meds, but don’t take them.
    Wellllll, I won’t say what I want to say about Tom Cruise and his ilk ( here ) but , having been diagnosed with bipolar 1 over 10 years ago, I know that the medications KEEP me from going crazy, keep me from getting manic or severely depressed.
    And honestly? When I am that depressed or manic? I am the LEAST able to be spiritual, or talk to God. I can’t even think clearly enough.
    If “you” ( royal you there…) can not take the meds, and take care of things, good for you! Sincerely, not being sarcastic at all. But…if you are bouncing off the walls, can’t think, can’t talk straight, can’t get of bed and so on..you may want to rethink that choice.
    Finally, having gotten some grief from individuals who don’t “want” to take meds…and yes, try to tell me I shouldn’t either, ( as if!) I just ask “I’m getting better, are you?”. These are also usually the folks that are against therapy as well, go figured.
    I have a very supportive husband, rector, therapist and psychiatrist, and guess what? They are all Christian!
    I’m not all “better”, but I keep getting better every day!
    Hugs, Jenna :)

  • SilverComet

    I think from my own experience with depression, that a little bit of everything helps. Positive thinking is necessary but not enough. Yoga and meditation and Prayer has been a tremendous help! There are good wisdom in many other religions and wisdom and philospophy. Of course this is not only considered politically correct, but it is also considered not spiritually correct. But then again Jesus was considered not spiritually correct.

  • susan white

    emotional freedom techniques help me with anxiety and sadness and depression

  • Claire

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate you being open and honest about depression. I you describe so well to responses I have gotten over the years to depression. It’s not much fun! I can see God’s redemption working through it. I sometimes say that the when I finally had to admit something was wrong I “joined the human race.” I did. It was good join and know that not all suffering is anyone’s fault. Not all of life’s challenges work on a time table with deadlines that can be met on time and on budget. Thanks for your perspectives and for sharing your experiences. Bravo! Amen!

  • Hattie Miller Perry

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Jennifer

    Amen, sister. I have been struggling with bipolar spectrum disorder for a decade now. And with it misdiagnosed as depression for years previous. I have had to stay married (technically) to my exhusband for an additional 4 yrs beyond our separation because I couldn’t afford the meds that kept me from completely losing it and being hospitalized without his health insurance.
    When I became pregnant, I was able to get Medicaid which covered some of the meds (clearly the fetus’ life was more important than my own). After the pregnancy, that was terminated and I married my now husband so that I could be on his insurance.
    It is not only a tragedy that we can’t get relgious people (they aren’t spiritual, or they’d have a clue!!!) to understand that a neurochemical imbalance is just as medical in origin as diabetes and needs the same constant attention and treatment. It’s also a shame that we can’t get the help we need from the system when we need it. I doubt a diabetic would have been turned away from Medicaid for his life-saving insulin. But my life-saving mood stablilizers and antidepressants are clearly of lesser value. Apparently we who struggle with mental illness should just “think ourselves well” even in the eyes of the government!

  • kelly

    I myself a christian have been bombarded by opinions about my 5 months dealing with depression and anxiety. I have had only a few supporters. We frustrate people either because they think we caused it, or because they think we can “snap out of it”. The doctors try. I have been on 3 different types of antidepressants, each after a few weeks caused adverse effects. I was more depressed, thinking fearful things always and in a state of constant panic. Now they don’t know what to do with me. They have perscribed benzodiazipines in the mean time and I just can’t cope. The hospital does not believe a person when they say they are suicidal. Of course they haven’t felt like they were going out of their minds for 5 months. There is no where to go so trained staff can prescribe meds and then watch you so they know the reactions. I feel hopeless, my family says “stop all that med crap”. (Christians too by the way) I don’t know where to turn or what to do, besides giving up

  • Philip

    The Medical field knows very little about the brain and they have problems finding the correct medications to help plus our system really doesn’t think mental health is a problem but it’s a major problem and Doctor’s over medicate people and are too quick to lable someone with depression, panic disorder etc.We need to reform the system and quite just putting people lkie me on more and more medications so we are no longer productive in life but just go day to day depending on our moods.God does help but it’s something you can’t pray away since sometimes like in my case it’s in your genes.Remember tuff times don’t last but tuff people do with God’s help!
    Take Care and make sure you see the right Doctor and jion a support group since htis will help you cope!

  • Jo

    I have spent at least 5 years with the love of my life and my father telling me the pain and feelings are all my fault…anyone in my family (or his) who have been tagged with mental illness has been blamed for everything in there lives…My father doesn’t want me to seek treatment because he thinks that People will take away my daughter and step children…I don’t want meds, I do want other ways to cope besides wearing a mask that nothing’s wrong…”everything is my fault…so how do you know where your responsibility lies v. your condition?
    Side thought…I do realize people are who they are…mental condition or not…I don’t think I was ever a bad person…I want to be better…

  • clara sharp

    Thank you for this enlightening article. I am not a life long depressed person. In fact I am a very happy person and I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life and there are many.
    The past five years have presented many challenges and hardships, while I was only trying to help others. Some was phenomenal, though difficult.
    One ongoing incident happened when I sincerely tried to help someone I had considered a friend. I was taken advantage of, abused, mistreated, and lied to by this person. She is no longer in my life. Thank God I had the strength to throw her out of my house and out of my life.
    What I am getting to is this, depression is not made up; it is very real, and to be respected and treated tenderly as any other illness. I am glad there are antidepressants, and I am not embarrassed to tell anyone I take two different ones.
    Our society needs desperately to be educated about every aspect of mental illness, whether it is a short-term depression related to a loss of any kind. Or if it s chronic chemical imbalance, or PTSD. It is serious, even critical.
    I pray many have read this article and learned valuable lessons.

  • Loretta

    When people ask me what I have to be depressed about I usually answer “Well for starters you asking that asinine question.” On the outside, i have no reason to feel sad. i have a roof over my head, a wonderful husband who makes enough that I can be a stay at home mom, great in laws and a beautiful daughter with a son on the way Both sets of grandparents are alive and in my daughter’s life. And yet..I have depression. So what do I have to be depressed about? For starters my parents health is not that great especially my mother’s. I was born “sensative” and an outcast among my peers most of my childhood and teens. I was never “enough.” Add to the fact that I do have a biological cause as my thyroid does not work normally. My spirit life is the healthiest part of me and it is where I draw strength to deal with depression and anxiety. God made me with depression. Why He did I do not know, but I am sure he had His reasons. When I get to talk with Him, I will be sure to ask

  • MRSBBG

    I have been manic depressive all my life. I too have been told by family to “snap out of it, it is your own fault”.
    But through therapy and meds, I can look back and see that these same family members have their own ways of coping IE: alcholism,sex,money,gambling,drugs.
    When I turned my life over to Jesus, these same people called me “fanatic”. Praise the Lord that He sent caring and understanding and love, He will not let me go off the deep end!
    He knows the brain and why He gave me this blessing. My favorite scripture: Psalm 139. It says it all.
    God Bless

  • tory

    This article got me attention. I had my oldest brother take his life 4 months ago. He had been on an antidepressant for 5 years after his wife left him. I was the one that convinced him to take the meds. She died tragically 2 years ago and my brother tried to live his life. The month before he took his life, he had let his antidepressant expire, but went to a Dr. the Monday before he took his life on Sunday. He started back on the depressant. But being off of it and not sleeping and then starting back on it must have give him a sense that he could follow thru on his suicide. I don’t believe that he had any idea what he was doing! What a shock to our whole family. During this time I have been on a antidepressant and I feel so much better. People take meds for thyroid disease, chemo for cancer, meds for all kinds of health issues. THE MIND CONTROLS THE WHOLE BODY, SO WHY NOT TAKE MEDS FOR A CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. IT’S NOT THE STIGMA LIKE IT USED TO BE!
    People to self medicate on alchol, tabacoo, and street drugs! I am sure you all know people that should be on therapy or medication for their problems. With the Baby Boomers aging, I believe that the anitidepressants and anxiety meds will go soaring!!

  • Kazan Clark

    You go girl!! I was raised by a devout Pentecostal mother and an violent abusive father. Every night I would hear my mother pray to God and Jesus to “fix” the problems with dad. Dad only got worse and my mother became a real martyr. As a result of all this I suffered clinical depression most of my teenage and young adult life. I went into therapy and psychoanalysis. I am much improved but I can’t say that it was faith in God, just an extreme desire to enjoy life and do whatever it took to make myself whole again.

  • Marsha

    This is a great article. Depression is hereditary as well as caused by stress of this life. Americans can be so cruel. Not all mind you, but the few that claim they never have been drepressed at least once in their life I do not believe them. We are only human. God never promised it was going to be a bed of roses in this life, as a matter of fact if you read the Word closly, it is going to be trials, and tribulation. Especially for those that believe. Satan is real, depression is one area he loves to attack. Keep the faith, I think God everyday for his son Jesus Christ who saved us so we will have a much better life with him and our Heavenly Father. If this is all we have to look forward to what a shame. Anthiest do get on my last nerve. I think they believe, they just are the type of people who want to start things just to be different !!!! I promise if they are dying on their death bed, they would then call on God. Be happy as you can.

  • Edie

    I am depressed, have been. Lost my best friend to cancer, she was 45; moved to a different location, no “real” friends here; just put my loving pet to sleep after 15 years of his unconditional love…I have been told by my family, snap out of it..sometimes it just not that easy. Oh I have faith in God. Faith is something unseen; unfortunetly depression can be read like a book all over someone by changes in habits, hygenie many things. What i am “trying” now is just to put on a happy face even if its fake. Somehow, I and only I have to heal myself, first outside, then inside. ONLY I can do that. I hope it works.

  • denise murter

    i have been depressed since i was a little girl,while being molested
    at a young age having depression run in the family,father who used the belt too much. i hated life .people teased me,strict family,school wasn’t good because i was in my mind in a different world as a kid trying to hide my feelings and trying to figure out how to change the life style i was living or no-living in, and the only way out was getting through it,depressed and all.but now i am 48 years old lost a little brother in high school on top of things,got married young.lost a lot of in laws i was close to.got in car accident with permanent injuries, now were talking i cant get through it with out medication, i tried to take my life a few times.came close on a few.sometime i am glade i am here other days, i am not my mind is tired,and my soul is heavy ,but no one can take prayer from you.i hope i can give someone else hope.and keep praying for god to heal your aching heart/
    denise [pa]

  • ME

    I am primitive baptist preacher. I am on an antidepressant and have been for a few years. I see the medication as a way of my God reaching my needs and providing me a tool into good mental health. I often speak about the personal relationship believers have with God through His Spirit. It seems very simple to me that if my relationaship with God is based on faith (things hoped for, evidence of things not seen) then How can I not believe my healing from Him is being facilitated through His creations (i.e., medicine made by man). I believe that true Faith is energized only by His love which is given by His comforter the Holy Spirit. I didn’t chose him….He chose me….I Love Him only because He first loved me. I know my own purpose is to love Him, but I know not His purpose with me. As a servant to God through His Son Jesus Christ, I trust my master knows what best for me. Right now it’s to stay on the meds and live life as he instructs.
    Do I still have moments of selfishness and want release from my burdens YES!, but I know I can do all things through christ which strengtheneth (sp) :-) me.
    Mark

  • Cheryl

    Bless your heart, Therese, your column always makes me feel better, mostly by your courage to stick up for yourself, and by extension, for the rest of us. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life, and I remember falling hook, line and sinker for all of those “spiritual” approaches you mentioned, all of which build you up just to let you down eventually. The problem is that the mortals offering these solutions are just so darn sure of themselves that it’s tempting to believe they know the way, but it reminds me of Job and his advisors. I think the real touch of God is a lot more tailor-made to your own situation and takes walking closely and humbly with your God to find the way one step at a time — I’m still trying to make sense of it all. Of course, I’m capable of tripping myself up without any help from others.

  • Kaye,

    re: ME
    People often confuse grief with depression because depression is a component of the grief cycle.
    YOu have suffered many changes and resulting losses. (google Kubler Ross grief) Grief may not contain all l the stages or come in a so neatly laid out order : shock, denial, anger bargaining DEPRESSION, testing, acceptance.
    No two people experience the grief process in the same way and there isn’t a time limit.
    Getting stuck in one area of the process may require some talking therapy. Because grief is a process
    one can hopefully move forward to where it is tolerable or the loss is understood (moves job loss etc)
    sometimes when one is ready, planning a “memorial” to honor a pet is a way of bringing about a positive step toward acceptance. i.e. donating items needed or money in the name of a pet to a rescue organization. With loss people there are many was to honor them: contributing time or making a memorial contribution to sustain the work of organizations that the loved one was interested in. And maybe discovering a strength that you apply altruistically. There is an element of “healing” in grief work but it is a personal process and you can’t ” just snap out of it”
    Depression is not a process it is a journey and requires energy just to recognize it, fend off the pressure of segments of society and their opinions and seek proper medical and therapy help. It does, when untreated, it an immobilize a person and robs one of discovering an unclouded sense of self. Even with
    treatment our perceptions about ourselves can be clouded.

  • Christine Wanchick

    I feel as if my only decision after reading this article is whether to
    decide when re-reading it if the author should sing a solo or we should do two-part harmony! It so echoes feelings I have so often had. One down
    side to so much visible, high-profile Catholic, or “plain vanilla” non-
    denominational Christianity is that so few see that despite the use of
    the, I sincerely believe God-given, treatment modalities we with mental health issues take up this “cross” every day and follow the God who guides, forms and saves us.

  • Deidra Addison

    I don’t believe that being depressed is “Spiritually Incorrect”!!!!
    I think that being depressed is a gift because it causes us to take a look at our relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. God never puts more on us than we can handle. He shows me everyday I live that I am thankful to be alive and walking with him. He puts angels in my life like my Methodist preacher who also suffer from Bi-Polor mania as I like to call it. There are days I can’t get out of bed and then he send my angel children down to give me council. I get to work and some idiot says something stupid and my Lord taps me on the shoulder and says they are not worth losing your lousey job. Maybe it is more spiritually correct to be Depressive as long as you are honest about it. My Manic Depression Disorder with skizaphrenic tendancy as gotten me into alot of trouble, but it has taught me some very vaulble lessions I would not have learned other wise. Like when I tried to commit suicide, one of my many sins God knew I would commit against his son he sent to save me. I learned I wasn’t alone nor was I any worse of a person than the other average Joe’s out there. I guess what I am trying to say is that My Depressive Gift has made me a kinder, gentler, more tolerant person, who thinks before speaking, who listen more carefully, who tells the truth, who gives everyone the respect they deserve until they prove themselve unworthy of that respect, who forgives more quickly, who is more compassionate, and more passionate about her life tham if I were not so messed in the Head. I thank GOD for all my trials, because they bring all his victories. PRAISE BE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!!
    GOD BE WITH ALL OF YOU NOW AND FOREVER,
    DEIDRA ADDISON

  • Laura A. Bell or Helton

    I don’t understand all there is to know about depression, all I know is that I have lived it for more than 10 years. I feel like I still have a great heart to help others, but can’t seem to help myself…. despite meds, counseling, and exercise. I eat well, get plenty of sleep, drink 8 glasses of water a day & take my meds regularly. It just seems to me that this too would pass. I am dealing with a young teenage boy and he really gets to me with his lack of appreciation and disrespect. I want peace and harmony and much more strength than I have right now and that is my prayer. God Bless all of you.
    Laura

  • some one who has been there

    I have been there depressed and didnt know where to go and i didnt want to get on pills because they are addicting. I have found out what depression is. It is oppression of the enemy. If he can get your mind he can get you. The word of God is what you need because it tells you how to overcome the enemy. Jesus hung on a cross to set us free. Whom the son(Jesus ) has set free is free indeed. Im proud to say that im set free and living a joyful life and laying hands and praying on people rebuking the devil from there minds. You have to bind him in the name of Jesus and send him back to the pits of hell where he has come from. God gives us authority over the enemy. We have to read the word of God to see this. The bible has the answer to life’s problems . You just have to read it to recieve it. I wasnt set free until I was moved by the Holy Spirit to a Church that is led by the Holy Spirit. A woman in our church that has had suicide thoughts for 30 years has been set free by my pastor taking authority of the enemy in Jesus name . Read psalms 91 everyday. I love Psalms when im feeling down it picks me up. The bible is the living word of God. God speaks to you through it. There were times i was down in the dumps and i started reading my bible and got my answer. God speaks through his words. I have a hunger and thrist to learn more about God and how to overcome the oppression of the enemy. I have to ask you what got you to this point of depression? Sometime trama in our lives bring us down but when you are down in the valley is when God’s hand is extended for you to grab his and he will lift you up. Just trust in God and soon you will be set free. I can promise you this cause i was once in your shoes. I didnt want to live anymore. That is exactly what the enemy wants so we can commit suicide so he can get our souls in hell. Hope this helps you and please trust God. God Bless

  • Saundra

    It’s five o’clock in the morning and I have just finished reading this article. Depressed my entire life, believe me when I say this is the best I’ve felt in years about this strange place I always seem to be in. I just want to say that everything that’s been in the back of my mind about therapy, medication and especially FAITH was in this article, and I thank you so very much~~Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will have a better day today, and I’m keeping this article to reread from time to time~

  • reba

    If only people knew how depression affects us – they wouldn’t be so judgemental. It certainly has helped me in being more compassionate and trying to be more understanding with others and their personal problems. Thank goodness I can be free to say “I’m depressed” – and not have everyone scatter – at least I have a few people who are understanding . . . I’m just grateful for the Bible to turn to, and have a few friends who care and try to understand !!

  • Briana

    I have lived with the feeling that something was wrong with me all my life.I can remember being a small child and being very depressed. I am 37 years old now. For years I didn’t know what was wrong with me and no one not even or especially my familyunderstood I was and still to a lesser extent told I was too emotional,get over it,went to church for help even their no one understood me.It got to the point that I could not even see colors. I knew I was alive but I felt as though I was walking dead. I would pray for GOD to end my life I begged because I was not able .Finally, I got some help was diagnosed as being Bi-Polar everyone had a heyday with that all I knew was I was thankful to finally find out what was wrong with me. Whoever posted that depression is a gift. For me I can’t see it.I have lived in a walking hell almost all my life and gone to church,prayed,done research. I am healing everyday.I know GOD didn’t or doesn’t want us to live in that hell that is imposed I believe by the devil. God provided me with a doctor,medication, and the willingness do learn about him, and myself.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the article. Like so many people who have commented here I to have suffered with depression. It has been for more than 20 years now. I have to say that I am getting better. I dont have the support that I need. My family does not understand. Like someone mentioned earlier, their comments have been, “I am taking things to far and I need to get over it”. I have also been told that “maybe this is how you are suppose to be”. I am not meant to be depressed. God did not make us to be depressed. I am quite sure God did not intend for me to be depressed, feel out of place, and as if I was not meant to be here. I am sure I am put on this earth for a purpose. Otherwise I would not be here. What saddens me more than anything is how the world view depression. People are not informed about depression. They are quick to write you off as “crazy”. That saddens me to the core because depression is an illness that should be taken seriously. I believe many people who commit suicide do it because when they talk to someone about how they are feeling that someone does not understand them.
    On a lighter note, I am getting better slowly but surely. God is delivering me and I see it today. It wasnt until I started studying the Word of God that I began to see changes in my life. It is important to note that studying the Word is much more effective than just reading it. I am glad that I have found him. I believe that LOVE is the answer to many who are depressed. Feeling worthy, important, valued, cherished, understood and as if everything will bE OK is lacking in depressed people. Well, everything will be OK. As one study the bible and depend on God he sends things and people that will help with whatever is troubling. God is the answer. His word is filled with solutions to your problems. Be blessed to all and remember, GOD loves you!!!!!!!!

  • Mary Anne Heyde

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh some of the comments I have just read are EXACTLY what T was talking about. You people insisting that GOD, praying to him, reading the Bible can cure or fix us! This is a bs in MHO. I used to be a member of the largest and most talked about churches in the USA, Lakewood Church in Houston, Tx. Yes, with Joel Osteen as the Pastor. It was when I was getting rides with a cpl who were members and suppossed “stewards” that I was told I was always negative. That I did NOT need my antidepressants all I needed was GOD.
    Like Therese I walked out and never walked back in those doors again. I will not be guilted, should on about something over which I have NO control. Don’t you all realize that depression or a mental illness is just that, an ILLNESS. It is just like being diabetic, or having Cancer and we should be dealt with in the same sympathetic, loving way you would deal with someone with a terminal illness.
    I am LIVID that the first post after T’s article from “someone who has been there” was in direct opposition to everything Therese had just written. T know that I understand where you are coming from. I also will not just read my Bible and think because I have been “born again” with the evidence of speaking in other tongues that I am healed and do not need the assistance of Dr’s and medications.
    Geezzzzzzzzzz
    With that I remain a recovering Christian
    Mary Anne

  • linda

    you know over 200 posts on one topic? who do you think you are, The crunchy con of Mental health and illness? :) love you lots Thesesa!

  • marilyn

    thats the one thing i hear in church so ofted that i lack faith and that if i just beleived more.well i hope them or anyone in there families ever have to experiance depression.

  • Lenny Cacchio

    Excellent, Therese. Jesus, when in the Garden of Gethsemane, said that “I am sorrowful, even unto death.” It was a completely normal and not “unspiritual” response to what he knew he was facing. If depression is a sin, we have no Savior. And I don’t believe that for a minute.

  • brooke

    i appreciate this article – a lot. i appreciate it because what i read you saying is that there are multiple things we need to do to get this illness under control sometimes. for some of us (me) it’s not just about only taking a pill or only praying, it takes some of us (me) multiple methods for getting it under control.
    i also appreciate this article because my pastor did not say i only needed prayer, he said the very opposite. i’d been seeing him for counseling and when my depression took off really badly he first checked in with me about whether i was in touch with my m.d. who prescribes my anti-depressants and then he told me i needed to start seeing a psychologist or some other mental health professional. i haven’t stopped seeing him though, because he recognizes his part in my illness – he recognizes that i need the faith part too (in fact he said he’d be willing to talk to my therapist at anytime). i am incredibly blessed to have such a man as my pastor, i know this and am grateful every day (if not multiple times a day).

  • Terri B

    I am forwarding this article to everyone who said the same things and for those who sat in disgust while I suffered something I did not want to suffer. And even though I knew the God in my heart would not think my inability to cope was a sin, I listened to the earthbound voices and becme more confused about who I was. 20 years later do not want the meds or the faith healing prayers. I let go to my inner core and my impression of what God was doing when he allowed depressin to happen, and I am more comfortable with who I am.
    I found a church and a pastor who admit they do not have all the answers and are there everytime I return with my tail between my legs becaused I had succumbed to old messages. I now lick my own wounds and have support from people who truly care, because they allow whoever I am at any given time to be acceptable. In order to accept me, I also needed others to accept the good the bad and the ugly aspects of my life. Now I can be on a pity pot one day and advocating for some cause such as mental health the next. And that’s who I am for the moment and I can live with it.
    Change happens and I must learn to go with the flow.

  • I Marie Connors

    It seems to me that priests , ministers are quite ignorant when it comes to mental illness . I know too many . So they need to be educated with facts . Thank you Terese .

  • Tracy Queen

    I really enjoyed this issue. My parents are very religious and feel if I just read the Bible and stay in GOd’s word that everything will be alright. My mother takes anti-depressants but she gets them from her medical doctor. She will not go and see a psychiatrist. I feel sorry for her because I know a psychiatrist could help her more than just a regular m.d. I go to a psychiatrist and he has helped me tremendously. He had me admitted to the hospital a couple of weeks ago for ECT and it really helped. I think that somehow it did something to my brain that has kept me from getting really depressed since I got out. Sure I have my down moments but I get through them somehow. Well I just wanted to say thanks for the article. Keep on!!

  • Jamie

    Wow! This is a great article… makes me feel like somebody understands! God has sent me some excellent help, including a pastor who is bipolar. I will use every bit of help available to me. Thanks Therese!

  • Tamika

    I love reading this article!!! It was so inspiring to me. I am a granddaughter of a southern Baptist preacher, therefore, I grew up with a strong religion background. I love the Lord!!! My illness(Bi-Polar Disorder) constantly keeps me at the cross road of my spiritual beliefs. I constantly read and study the Word, and I do sometimes feel that I am “spirtiually incorrect”. Thanks to you and the end of this article about the man “Sam” I understand God is providing me lifelines to help with my disorder. I am a black female and in my culture it is even bigger stigma on mental illness. My culture believes that all you need to do is PRAY and everything will be alright. I thank you so much and I will be forwarded this article on to my family & friends so they can better understand my struggles. Once again thank you & God bless.

  • ashanti fry

    Are you a Christian? I’m curious. I’m new here. I took nothing from this article. I thought you were going to discuss how to remedy depression and how it is “spiritually incorrect.” You failed at both. Just reading this article, I’m actually wondering what God you serve? Just being in God’s presence is enough to elevate me from any funk I may be in. I get joy when I think about all God has done for me! I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for the health of my children. I know that God will never put more on me than I can bear. That’s the God I serve.

  • Maureen Therese

    Therese – This was so divinely written! You’re right on about religious ‘self righteousness’! At times, I have felt like a spiritual failure in God’s eyes because I felt so alienated from God’s light. You’re right, God tries to speak to us in MANY DIFFERENT guises — and we need to pray to be open to our own personal message.
    I also cherish my relationship with ‘The Little Flower’ (thanks for the middle name!) and love getting back to the ‘good bones’ of Catholicism.
    A fellow St. Mary’s girl! Maureen

  • Linda

    I agree with the notion that many clergy people who have never struggled with depression like some do on a daily basis, don’t understand the guilt they are laying on people who do with their solution to the depressive person to “read your Bible, pray, and everything will go away” notion. It doesn’t work quite that way for most depressive people I know. I have struggled for most of my life with depression, anxiety, from a abusive childhood, and other things not in my control to escape from. As many depressive people who wish to just escape from the pain, it’s hard to live each day and not see our days getting any better. I wish all clergy people had more compassion, we are sick. If I had cancer I would get more compassion, and I bet they wouldn’t say, just read, pray, and it will go away!

  • Reverand Ian P

    I am an Earth-Angel on a mission for God and I help many people..I follow the Celtic Christian way which focuses on the soul not the richest looking plates. walls and bank accounts. I have been given tools by the Angels that I communicate with to help the people and souls with no hope…Oh nearly forgot…my tools are Schizophrenia and a terminal illness!..
    Great blog Blueyonder

  • MaryAnn

    Thank you so much for this article. I too suffer from depression, and was so ashamed of it; no one should know !!! Well, only my truly good friends were told, and were supportive of me. My husband, wonderful man that he is, helps in any way that he can. I have also encountered well meaning “christians” who say just pray to God. Believe me; I prayed, sobbed and cried out for God’s help. It came in the form of medication. I at first refused to take it; only got worse. All the while still praying, then just like you’re example; it was all that was left for me to do. It took some time; but it did work. Unfortunately I have a form of depression that returns and I have to switch medications every few years. No one knows what you go through, but you! Unless they have walked in your shoes; they can just give what they think is well-meaning advice. I am a Christian, love God with all my heart and mind. I know He is here for me through this trial each and every time it happens. If you know someone who suffers from deprssion;;you pray for them, but be kind to them and help them through it with your friendship. Don’t try to figure out why, or accuse them of hiding something that could be causing it. It may be genetic, it may be a chemical imbalance. Just do as the Bible tells us and love them as you want to be loved.

  • patrick

    I kind of want to touch on the Ashanti Fry post with what i get out of this too. I have been suffering with sever anxiety and depression for over ten years now. So, obviously I have heard from all sides; meds… therapy… religion… I understand what is being said here, and it all seems so simple that I do not understand why everyone cannot get it. I am veery grateful to God and the help he has given to me in so many situations. For the development of meds that tend to alleviate the pain of this disorder. For the therapist that really knew what he was dealing with and giving me some insight to my problem. For the knowledge he has given many to use to try to help all of us overcome the problems of anxiety and depression. For the nights that it was so bad that I feared I was about to completely lose it, and i would ask Jesus to hold and comfort me, and he did. It is not a one or the other situation. The parable of the man drowning was the perfect way to sum this up. God has provided the knowledge and resources to help us. We have to use them. At this point in my own disorder, I know I am a long way from cured, but I am actually starting to believe that this can be cured… Will give it time and touch more on that next time I post.

  • The Fixer

    Therese, I think you really hit the nail on the head with this one. I am manic-depressive as well. Once while in the hospital I was being counseled by a priest on the pastoral care team. He fell asleep while I was talking. I was quite angry when he awoke and told him so. His remark to me was “well you’re no Bette Midler”. Anyway, thanks for hanging in there.

  • Dennis Smith

    Let’s just stop for a moment and ask one question– where in the bible does it state that we are not an active participant? Yes God does want us to pray. In other words communicate with Him. Tell him what we need, and when he sends the solution, wether it is a person or doctor or medication don’t be stupid and refuse waiting for the lightning bolt!

  • Cindy

    Wow, finally in this 2008 year we are talking about what is real, although about 25 years ago I actually took a class on mental health in the Church. It was taught by a college professor of Psychology. We frankly discussed all aspects, even though, noone was aware that our own cleaning person of 20+ years at that particular church had a problem and eventually ended in a one car accident that caused her death. A very sad ending to a life.
    I too have suffered from what is diagnosed as clinical depression and many times have been misunderstood. I am though more sensitive to the needs of others. I believe this makes me a better lay person and church member.
    Recently someone went through some very out of the ordinary behaviors and was later diagnosed as bi-polar and with the help of medicinne and the love of her husband, she is slowly keeping things together. I have observed that some within our congregation truly do not know how to respond.
    I believe a combination of healthy food, medicinnes when necessary and love along with that prayer and Bible reading have helped me in my journey through depression and spiritual incorrectness.

  • Olen Batchelor

    I believe that my alcoholism is a curse and a blessing given to me to get me turned toward God. It was either him or insanity and death for me, and he’s healed me from that. Depression must have some similar purpose. I can’t believe that God mafe 40% of Americans to need pharmaceutical antidepressants.

  • Jen

    As always you have hit the nail on the head! I don’t “suffer” from depression, I embrace it! I have learned to live with it and love it and learn what triggers the deep blue hues that wash over me and what I can do to pull myself up by the boot straps and keep moving.
    I tried medication, and it didn’t work for me, it made it worse. Therapy helped me more than the medication did. But, I’m also not one who enjoys putting chemicals of any type in my body (I also live with ADHD and am not medicated).
    Depression is a condition that treats one person differently from the next. It is something that God blesses people with, and for those who embrace it, it makes them a stronger person. The problem is, you have to find what works for you and you have to be diligent in watching for the signs of a blue wash. Once that blue wash starts, you HAVE to take however long it takes to take care of yourself so that you can get through it.
    My keys to stay out of the blues involves my children, taking some time to just be alone, and staying busy. If I feel myself slipping, I take out a picture of my kids and say to myself “they need you” and it is usually enough for me to push through at least another day. There is a light at the end of the tunnel… you just have to find what will force you to push through one more hour to fight to see it. Forget one day at a time, go an hour at a time… and if an hour is overwhelming, take it 15 minutes… and if that is overwhelming, take it one minute at a time… or one step.

  • Olen Batchelor

    I believe that many people are feeling poorly about themselves because they don’t fulfill their maximum potential with their work or lives and seek out God’s purpose for them. They are not enjoying fellowship with other seekers. Or are not living lives of service or growth. We are supposed to feel uncomfortable until we are on God’s path for us. Many people today and historically have been unable to fulfill God’s plan for them for lack of food or education or tools. British sailors, for example, drank their rum rations to intoxication each night after a long miserable day of working on the ship. So also has humanity in this culture anethsetized itself with drugs and alcohol against that feeling of unfulfillment from a poorly developed spiritual life. From not seeking to fulfill God’s purpose for us first.
    Of course, there are those whose are clinically depressed. They are just a small percentage of those treating themselves or being treated for these bad feelings with antidepressants and alcohol.

  • Depressed Christian

    What ever happened to the simple phrase from the good book itself. “Judge not lest ye be judged”??? It is very simple from my perspective (Social Anxiety, Panick, Paranoia, Suicidal Tendancy’s, etc…). I simply counteract any conversation leaning toward the “what is wrong with you anyway”……….I simply turn to them and say “Why do you ask, are you planning on helping me in some way or just simply thinking it’s your right to know so you can judge me”. Then relating back to the beginning. “I wouldn’t want to put you in a position of trying to be a Knight in Shining Armor, I have my own Savior, but thanks for your concern”. People, it’s time to understand that we answer to only 1 God, no matter what your belief or religion, we simply don’t have to answer to anyone here on this earth, no one!!!
    One phrase that has helped me (along with all the medications) is to STOP and think when approached by any situation or decision that feels uncomfortable to me…”Does it make a difference in my going to Heaven or Hell”? If not, it’s not important to me now or ever. I hope some of this helps and I hope I didn’t confuse you any further. God’s Blessings have kept me alive, but as the ladder, boat, helicopter…we must be open to see the hand that God sends. Becky

  • Bev

    I too have been “beat up” emotionally by I think well-meaning people telling me to pray harder, try this and that spiritual or psychic technique, trust God, get better self-esteem, etc., etc., etc. At a time in my life when I was praying & meditating regularly every morning, every night, and 30-60 minutes during the day, I went into my now-known-to-be-normal-for-me winter blues, and could not believe the positive thinking BS from people!
    Other people’s criticisms, misunderstandings and advise really harmed me for years. Oh, sure, we can say, that I let it harm me! I’ll take responsibility for that!
    Now I blow them all off. And I do not share about my inner working withs just anyone.
    It took me so many years of trial and error to find that it takes many things to manage my depression. There is not a one-thing-cure for me – at least I’ve not found it and I’ve been working at this for many years. If my relationships are off, I’m more prone to slip into that dark hole. If finances and work are too hard, I’m on the emotional tightrope. If I eat terrible and don’t exercise, I struggle more. If I listen to uneducated, uninformed, non-professional people diagnose and advise me, I’ll probably start to feel bluer and bluer too. And if I blow off my spiritual practices, it’s rougher too.
    I believe that while God could give a total cure at some point, it is my responsibility to do the things that I know are good self-care. What’s that phrase, “do you best and leave the rest to God” – or something like that.
    I have made it a firm boundary now that I do not listen seriously to all the many amateur psychiatrists or spiritual advisors out there, and that includes the author of “The Secret” and Oprah. Oprah is an entertainer, not a doctor or psychiatrist. And the author of “The Secret” did not even practice what she preached in that book or studied it for a lifetime! She read something that sparked her to gather all that information – and then put it in a book that became a fad. Non-experts presenting themselves as experts! Not good.
    They would not dare to give such advise on treating cancer or diabetis or heart disease. Yet mental illness is somehow fair game for all the amateurs!
    And I can opt out of the discussions! And I do! And oddly enough, it’s easier to manage my depression since I don’t listen to the arm-chair “experts”! Too bad it took me so many years to decide to that – and build up the boundaries to do it!
    Thank you so much Theresa for this wonderful blog! It’s been a source of strength for me – and you’re much nicer and more politically correct than I am! God bless.

  • Carol

    Great article. I agree totally with everything that was said. I am a Christian who takes medication for depression and anxiety and sure enough when I am weak “He becomes my strength.” He gave me the wisdome to know when to go for help and I am glad I did. If more of us Christians would learn to lean totally upon Him during our trails, we may hear him say something like, “Get some meds or talk to a counselor.” Again, Awesome article!

  • Darrel

    I am neither Catholic nor on pills but I do suffer from Bipolar. Your words are so positive and you place them out there gently and absorbingly. I would say that you are as close as it gets when you say you think the fact that your alcohol drew you and keeps you near God. I feel the same with my disorder. God is my “Pill” and I turn to him daily for strength and wisdom, perhaps more so than I might if had no issue at all. He is always a huge part of my life and strength. A great read and I thank you for it. God Bless You,…….. Darrel

  • Jacqueline Burton

    Thank You So Much. That just brightened my day. I can get so tired of people giving their unwanted opinions to me about what I should do to feel better. You could not have done a better job of putting into words (which I have a hard time with), of describing the feelings, thoughts and desperation I sometimes feel.
    Thanks again, Jacqueline

  • traciedace

    Thank you Becky!!! I feel exactly the same way. I always sing that song when I go through the rough times before you judge me take a look at yourself and it really helps. When I live my yoga, I know I’m on the right path. I know I can only change me and thats more than enough to handle. Lets face it …..we all judge its part of human nature, however; let us not judge harshly. The only one I need to worry about is God and he is a loving God and will be with me no matter what I am going thru and that makes me feel safe and ok. much love to you for sharing……OM Shanti!!! (peace)
    Namaste~traciedace

  • Linda Roby

    First, let me say, I’m ready to go off on a tanget and define “spiritually incorrect” in a totally different way than Therese intended. (By the way, I truly liked the imagery of Jesus being on the next cross over on really bad days in the life of a depressive)in her blog entry.
    Since I can speak about the Christianity and the Catholic faith (making a steady attempt at being both) I want to say that bottom line, what seems SPIRITUALLY INCORRECT to me is not that we have trials or temptations, good times and bad, but I lay Christian spiritual incorrectnessat at the door of the church–any church–where, the Christian, whether inside worshipping or outside living, has a mandate from Christ to love without judging.
    From a catechetical story connected with preparing young children for First Holy Communion, comes this paragraph in regard to the behavior of the early Christians:
    “These first followers of Jesus amazed all who saw them. “Look! the people said. “See how these Christians love one another!”–based on Acts 2:42-47.
    Do any readers see a qualification there? As in…these Christians loved–except if you…had depression or were bipolar or some other devastating mental illness?
    If in worship, we sing glory to God in the highest (hopefully, loud enough to shake the rafters all you Catholics out there) our actions in daily life need allow God’s glory to shine through as love in our daily lives, not through what we think (I believe that is called personal judgment) but through our behavior as disciples.
    I don’t want to sound glib here. I don’t want to sound like water pouring down a drain like every other glass of water in every other household so as to too quickly be forgotten, slipping from consideration.
    Christians in the world need to be as politically incorrect as Christ was. His weapon: love. Of course, he paid the price, and maybe we don’t want to do that, though, guess what? We already are paying an incredible price by letting people close the sale on mental illness, assuring others that is it is and illness different from other physical illnesses–and one of those prices is a hefty one when the envelop from the insurance coverage arrives (for those who can afford insurance at all). So little help is available for paying bills connected to mental health crises. Has anyone else noticed that? (Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult anyone.)
    Christians…let us love one since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotton by God and knows God…and God is love…this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away…since God has loved us so much we should love one another…as long as we love one another, God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)
    (“Look!” the people said. “See how these Christians love one another!”)
    –based on Acts 2:42-47

  • Linda Roby

    Re-reading the above entry, I should have edited…I didn’t do that…sorry, Therese…
    But, though I wrote it from a Christian standpoint, it is for everyone. I am writing from the place I know best.
    I understand when you do the same.
    Hope you can find something in it that speaks to you through your way of understanding, believing, and having a faith.

  • Cecilia Rivera

    Hi my name I just recently went to the doctor and was diagnosed with depression which is a chemical imbalance. I tried for so many years to tackle the problem on my own I could never understand why I was still having these episodes. Episodes of being cold, of weeks on end why I would be angry and I was even cold with my kids at times. I love the LORD with all my heart and feel that my relationship has gotten stronger but the illness has left my marriage in shambles. My husband says that theres this person that he loves so much and his other one that he hates. This is something that I did not want to accept because I felt that I could handle it, but I would often do these things and didnt understand why I was doing them. Things would kinda fall out my mouth and then in the middle of an argument I would be like oh no and then change my attitude. I have great faith in the LORD and he has placed these doctors in our lives to diagnose us with certain illnesses. I cant even tell you how hard it had been for me to get out of bed sometimes. I didnt feel depressed but I was living in my own world. Now I am getting treatment, If we had cancer or diabetes we would be told to take medication. Isnt this the same thing. The more knowledge that we have about these types of disorders the better we would be able to handle this issue. I was ignorant to taking medication AT FIRST living with a bi-polar mother was hell, believe you me. In not approaching the matter with an open mind you can destroy much more lives. I would be interested in hearing others opinions about the matter at ceceriv@gmail.com.

  • Diane

    For a long time, I felt really bad about my depression because as a believer I thought my depression showed a lack of gratitude or faith. Depression is a mental illness caused by the lack of or imbalnce in the neurotransmitters that control our mood and thought. It is no different than any other illness. Would anyone tell a diabetic to not take their insulin because God can cure them? I think not. Mood disorders are genetic. Many of my family members have attempted suicide and one was successful. I think spiritual leaders have good intentions, but they are not doctors. There role in our lives is to provide for us spiritually. Thay should leave medicine to the doctors.
    One of the greates preachers who ever lived was Charles Spurgen. He was unable to preach for months at a time because of his depression. He said that after the depression eased, he always received a gift from God. God does not make mistakes when he creates us. Sometimes I almost look at depression as a gift because It helps me understand and help others who have the same affliction I have.

  • Pam

    Thank you so much for your article. For years I have been told to “Cheer up” or “get over it”. You would not say these words to someone with cancer or any other illness. Why is it that so many have a hard time believing that depression is just as serious as any other illness? I am relieved to know that I am not the only one out there that feels like I am abnormal for being depressed. I went for many years trying to “get over it”, but to no avail. I now am happily on medication and starting to actually enjoy my life. Thank you for being human enough to put your faults out there for the world to see so that others can realize that they are actually normal too! Thank you again.

  • Leslie Robinson

    Thank you so much for your article. I have had depressive problems since I was sixteen. I am now fifty four. I now belong to a New Thought Church. Internally my own critical thoughts have added to the depths of my depression. I judge myself as unspiritual for having depression. I have been really fortunate to have spiritual friends that encourage and support me without any judgement. I am taking advantage of positive thinking as well as psychotropic medication and therapy. We only deepen our depression when we add religious self judgement to an already difficult and challenging time in our lives.

  • Ellen Williams

    I love your site, Therese! I can relate to what you’re saying. You seem like such a neat person! I wish I could know you personally. My father was a preacher for a fundamentalist church. My diagnosis is Disthymia. I’ve been on anti-depressants for about 20 years. The spititual growth I’ve experienced since getting counseling has been more than I ever imagined. My treatment, I am convinced, was in direct response to my prayers. I was at a place where I tossed all formality in prayer out the window and just told God what I wanted and what I was feeling, even if what I wanted was impossible (like time travel). Around that same time I got a cassette tape of Brian Duncan (A contemorary Christian singer)called “Whistlin’ in the Dark”. The title song was so exactly how it felt when God answered my prayers. It’s the only way I know to describe it. As I learned through my days in counselling, it became more and more clear to me that the priciples I was learning were what God had been saying through His Word all along. I just had to take off the fltered glasses I was wearing to see it. My counselors helped me take off the glasses. Our experiences may seem spiritually incorrect because we all have our own filters through which we view spirituality. Truth and spirituallity are close companions. I appreciate the reader who pointed out the importance of love, also. Love is, of course the most important thing of all.

  • bettiff

    As a believer, I know that God uses many methods and instruments to perform miracles. The story about the man waiting for God to rescue him but turned down any help that came his way, just proves that God uses medication, therapist, docters or any other means to help us. We must not be so closed minded to the point where we do not recognize God’s help when he sends it. People who are ill mentally or physically must seek help. I believe in the Power of prayer so when we pray we must pray for the best direction, for who to seek for help and God will answer. Don’t just set waiting for a lightening bolt to strike and all of a sudden we are healed. God wants us to use common sense.

  • Maria

    Thanks for this article. For years I was under the impression I wasn’t praying hard enough when I felt depressed or I just needed to “look on the bright side”. I work in a mental health facility and realize the praying ain’t gonna help unless I am willing to see a doctor and follow his advice. My health is so much better over all since I have treated this illness and accepted it as an illness.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the article. I find that articles such as yours have some “healing power” , if you will, just knowing that there are others besides myself out there trying to deal with this horrible disease. In your case, you have heard all the recommendations from other Christians. Unless a person has had the experience, there is no way that you will find the understanding. I think people do try, however, unless they feel the darkness, the horrible, horrible days we have to survive, somehow, they won’t understand. They cannot understand that our brains are chemically unbalanced, and in many, many cases, there is nothing we can do but treat ourselves with prescriptive meds. As a pastor’s wife, and as someone who has suffered for over thirty years with clincal depression, I have come to my own explanation of “why”. I believe that we all have our crosses to bear, so to speak, and these crosses may or may not be from God, though he is aware of these problems. I suppose that in view of eternity and in view of the crosses that we might otherwise have to bear, it is best to accept this “cross” as best we can with prayers to God for a medication that will perform much better than the ones we have now.. After all, he has handed us these gifts of medications and I believe it is because of our longer life spans. My explanations may sound “peculiar” however, I am always interested in hearing someone else’s thoughts…When I do think of eternity, I often think of how wonderful it will be there. No more suffering, no more dark days.. Amen??

  • MMDLR

    Thank you so MUCH for this article!! It connects us as people. I hope that articles such as yours help others to realize this and also to open their eyes that everyone needs help. Admitting that we need help is the hardest part. It is also the part of the healing process that relieves the biggest part of the burden that so many of us hold upon our shoulders. Mostly in fear of rejection and/or the feeling of powerlessness.
    THANK YOU AGAIN!!

  • Christy Tucker

    Your article is partly true. The Lord can help you through, but I have been suffering from depression for 15 years. I was 20 when I started having depression. I have depression not because I do not have faith in God, because I do have faith in God. I have depression because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, and it is in my family history. I was born Hydrocephalus which means fluid in the brain. I have 2 shunts that drained into my abdomen. I had 15 shunt revisions. When I was 20 I had a staph infection in the brain and perintonitous and I nearly lost my life. I recovered well physically with exception of fatigue and my stamina, but mentally it effected me.
    I went to college and I sunk into a deep depression and attempted suicide twice. I did started seeing counseling. I also thank God for Therapists and my antidepressants Lexapro and Clonopin. You can’t just snap out of it. Depression is a serious mental illness and should not be taken lightly. It can be bad or worse than cancer or diabetes. God is there for me when I am depressed, but He also gave some people the gift of healing the mentally ill or the gift of counseling.

  • ramona

    i understand your delima,,altho all of that “nonsense” you projected in your story seems to far off..there is a way to help…I too suffer from depression,,not deeply,but it’s there…i rely on the power of the Holy Ghost, and the thought of new age thought of Christ and the healers that come with that thought..i put my trust only in where ever Christ leads me..if it’s to medication,,fine. Altho i don’t like it, it has it’s values for some people…I don’t like to be “Preached to either…so i use a pendulum, in the name of Jesus, to help clear negative energies from me..THAT helps me a great deal to be able to speak to my Guides thru my pendulum…Try that…learn what they are and see the results. I was guided to them, and now i am happy and content..and stable to the point that i quit taking medication.! It’s been 2 months now. I’m not saying that it’s a cure all, but it helps. And read books on Your Guides and more about our angels and the help they can provide us just for the asking…Thanks for reading..See ya

  • RPS

    I truly appreciate your article. As an minister, pastoral counselor, and Christian I was touched. In my community, the African American community, the stigma is further compounded by cultural proscriptions. Minutes before reading your article I intervened with a suicidal woman who had stopped taking her medication. She said “God is her medicine.” Thankfully, I was able to lovingly convince her that God often uses medication in the healing process. We have a long way to go, but we have to fight the stigma of mental illness at all costs.

  • Nakita

    The ignorance expressed by William Jones is part of the battle with depression I face everyday. Depression is a battle and I believe God is with me through his son Jesus Christ every time I have to step up. God provides each of us with the weapons we need to conquer the monster. The arsenal is plentiful and includes medication when warranted.

  • terrie

    Bravo!!!! You’re awesome for writing about this subject and it feels and how the so called spiritual people make you feel. I to was told the same things that I didn’t have God in my life etc. I’m glad that you are open about it and that will maybe teach some of the religious people/preachers that also.

  • Lisa

    I read your article and yes you do sound angry ,but you can not blame people who are uninformed about the illness
    or doctors ,my doctors think a pill solves everything I beg too differ and I know someday I will be normal again
    but with this disease as most people call it or mental illness I see it as a blessing I have some people who truely except me for who I am faults or no faults
    and I have a great job now
    so just let the few people of misimformation or wrong advice go in one ear and out the other
    I do agree though when you are down it is hard too do that ,that is why we have this this called problem solving and DBT skills
    it stands for distressed behavioral tolerance and it has helped me alot ,you chart your moods and it’s a therapy in itself
    I also thing God or whatever faith you are can help ,sometimes just having someone to talk to helps or a hug
    you’d be surprised how strong you are if you give yourself a chance
    thanks for reading this

  • lchill

    i love what you write… i have had horrible bouts of what i call, living in a black hole with no light at either end of the hole. i have been told to, ” pull yourself up by the bootstraps” and “Turn to Jesus” and the ever popular…”it could be worse.” i find my mind wanders to thoughts of ending it all but then i think of my beautiful kids and i know that i cannot harm myself. i know of people who were plagued with guilt due to a parents suicide and i do not want to do that to my kids.
    Society treats people with mental illness as if they somehow asked for it. i am a nurse and we get suicide attempts where i work and i am appalled at the number of educated and supposedly caring people who say such things as , ” she is trying to get attention”, or ” if they really meant it they woulda shot themselves.”

  • Tigger

    I loved the article. Sometimes, God gives you the strength to keep trying, but medication may be God’s way of giving extra support.
    It’s no shame to need both–and I honestly feel that for some, both faith and medication are necessary to help maintain the balance.
    The medication helps to block the “mortal” world’s insensitivity and
    bull when a person who is ill is just trying for O.K.

  • Bill

    Your article is very interesting.
    I am not one to totally believe in the bible.
    This is a book written by several authors ,and reflects 2000 years ago when people had a completely different aspect on life.
    To me most churches are controlling and if you do not believe them you are going to hell.
    I do believe in the creator though.
    As far as depression , yes there are a lot of people that have this.
    Some are semi cured with medicine and some are capable of curing themselves through prayer. This has a lot to do with how much you believe in yourself.

  • Rik

    Ms. Borchard, why do you say admitting to having depression is spiritually incorrect? I admit I have a problem with depression.

  • danielle

    My sister, I am a compulsive melancholic, and have had major depression since a child. I hate the way I am. I have always desired to be the “social butterfly” but alas it has always escaped me. I am learning to love myself for what God made me. I am learning that I have much to offer being the way I am. I am learning that I can and am a blessing. But it is a process. I want you and your readers to know that God is in control. I know that sounds like a cliche but it is so true. He knew what He was doing when He created each and everyone of us. He is a good Father. Yes, we need adjustments along the way, but He is good, He is faithful, He is the author and finisher of our faith, and it is not His will that ANY should perish but all come to the knowledge of His wonderful love. His will is that even our souls be saved. That means our mind, will and emotions. He wouldnt have said that if they didnt need saving and healing. He really knows what He is doing and has provided for everything. God bless you. danielle(God is my judge) even my name was divinely orchestrated!!!

  • danielle

    ps she said “spiritually incorrect” becasue we are a minority and people really would rather judge us than deal with us or even try to help us. It is easier for them to ignore us or just tell us to get over it than it is for them to do what God actually said and to ‘help a brother/sister out who is struggling” Their cold heartedness keeps them from any resposibility or accountability and she was just using that as an example that, to others, this s what it appears.

  • Bob Parks

    “Holistic” means just that–it embraces the entire package! Medical intervention via the medical model and medications is simply a part of the treatment plan. Another term is “complementary medicine” that which completes as in another piece of the whole. I would urge people to use all the tools at their disposal, and if some are not ‘cool’ or ‘spiritual’ or treated as therapy for wimps, then I’ll just recall one of the tv character, Maude’s, favorite lines: “God’ll get you for that!”

  • Bob Parks

    To Danielle, and to those who think it’s simply a matter of belief: What kind of a blessing are you being when the pain becomes so great that you end the suffering by ending your own life? Many, many Christians accept the role of medicine and psychotropics to treat depression and other mental illnesses. Many clergy, such as myself, take them and swear by them, even as we call on God for strength and grace, thanking God for the gift of healing IN ALL FORMS.

  • Anonymous

    I am a christian who also suffers from depression. sometimes God gives me refuge and restores my joy and other times I’ve taken meds and also herbs to help. You know, the lights in the house, etc… I actually think my disability helps me to understand and help others with the same affliction. I guess that’s one of my many purposes. Also, seasonal affected disorder just simply runs in my family and I hate fall because I know winter is just around the corner. The older I get, I simply accept it as one of the many aspects of my life.

  • Joan

    To Lisa: Your spirit is in the right place! I am very proud of you and your views. I absolutely agree. Is a matter of fact, I have been pondering, praying and thinking the same thing. “Money is the root to all evil.” And it is a sad but true thing that this is what the world must come to for all of us brothers and sisters throughout the entire world to UNITE and actually help each other. I also believe that there is no such thing as color when it comes to all of our brothers and sisters since we all were created equal. I admit, years ago I suffered from a very serious depression, and stage 1 Bipolar disorder. And yes, I went to my doctor who put me on a prescription. And yes, it worked wonders! But I never gave up on God our almight king and Father! I knew my faith would get me through. You see, God answers all prayers but we must remember, it is on His time-table. After going through such depression, I also became very ill with 3 very serious medical conditions. I had Edema (your body stores dispalced fluid, I was on water pills for that, none of them helped. I weighed 228 lbs. from the water retention. #2 – Fibromyalgia from my neck down. Talk about a feather touching you and it felt like someone took a nail gun and shot a billion nails through me. And last but not least #3 – My L5 disk in my lower back protruded and pressed into my ciatic nerve rendering me crippled from the waist down. Thank God, no nerve damage. I was home-bound in bed, could not move, in constant pain and on every drug imaginable from 3 different doctors. They gave up and just kept me drugged! Through constant prayer and true devout faith, I awoke one morning, sat up and walked (danced!) across the living room…….GOD HAD HEALED ME WITH A TRUE BLESSED MIRACLE! I then proceeded into the kitchen, looked down at approximately 20 vials of pills, said a prayer to please bless me off of all meds with no side effects. I opened and poured each and every pill down the drain and turned on the disposal. I never took another again, including the anti-depressant and never had any side effects. Another true MIRACLE! I laughed when I saw the look on the doctors’ faces when I strolled by for a visit after losing 56 lbs. in 6 months! And my disk is right back in place where it belongs!!!! I am not saying in the least that medication is not necessary to help disorders and illnesses, if prescribed correctly. What I am saying is that true faith and BELIEVE from your heart and soul while you pray…makes a whole world of difference! Everyday I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet to our Lord Jesus Christ for every single one of my brothers and sisters all over the world. And when I begin to pray I say “Lord Jesus, I do not pray in color! May God Bless and be with all of you who are suffering so greatly. And may the peace of our Lord be with you and comfort you in these terrible times of trouble. Remember, love everyone fervently; for we will all be united one day and may the outcome be what we all are searching for: “Peace on Earth & Good Will to Men/Women.”

  • Joan

    Dear Bob Parks: Being a clergyman as you stated, I do agree with your comments except for one. “What kind of blessing are you when the pain becomes so great that you end the suffering by ending your own life?” I believe the answer to that is a true test of faith. Through my ordeal, no matter how much pain I endured I always remembered that no one human being that walked this earth suffered more pain than Jesus Christ – who died for us ALL! And yes, I stress HUMAN. I believe that those who suffer the most unbelievable pain in all ways need to ponder upon this and maybe even pop in the movie “The Passion of Christ”. It just may ease their suffering and maybe instead of complaining, thank Him with tears in their eyes for what He did for us WILLINGLY! I don’t think there is any other pain greater than that.
    May God Bless & Keep you always!

  • Susan

    The last time I felt suicidal, I had gone to church that morning, taken communion, knelt at the alter and prayed… the rest of the day went well but by the time late night rolled around, I had totally lost it. I didn’t actually do anything to myself…I realized I was in a danger zone and called the police to pick me up and take me to the hospital.
    God gives you plenty to work with…but you have to help yourself as well…and God has provided us with people who are there in a professional capacity to help people like us who suffer from depression and can prescribe medications, talk to us…whatever it takes.
    Thank you for your reference to “looking at Jesus”… that will be something that stays with me.

  • Bob Parks

    Joan, I don’t mean to be flippant when I ask this question: have you ever been suicidal? Good pastoral care comes at the problem of mental illness from many directions, and the person’s understanding of God and of the meaning of life are at the center. But, the good pastoral counselor will do more than pray or recommend someone read the Gospel accounts of the Passion or watch Mel Gibson’s movie. A good pastoral counselor will also REFER TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS SUCH AS M.Ds AND PSYCHIATRISTS (I use caps for emphasis, not to shout at you). The person who takes the narrow view and rejects any BUT the spiritual path, important (ULTIMATELY!) as it may be, is SIMPLY ADDING GUILT AND SHAME to those who don’t find the strength in their faith to survive depression and bipolar disorder. Such a person should be guilty of malpractice for not taking the measures that might have saved the person’s life! Also, consider this: to a person so wracked with pain and suffering from mental illness, suicide may ACTUALLY be perceived by the person as a desperate, if twisted, ACT OF FAITH–an end to suffering enfolded in God’s loving arms. The object is to help the person so troubled with suffering come to understand that there are other ways to end the pain, or at least, bring it within manageable levels that it might be dealt with in talk therapy and pastoral counseling. A fellow pastor and friend (who, like myself, is under a doctor’s care for depression) relates his psychiatrist’s explanation of the role of meds: think of a person who is drowning. Telling them to ‘turn to God’ or, as pastor’s love to ask, ‘How do you feel about that?’ are not going to do nearly as much good as direct intervention–throw the person a life preserver and let them use the life preserver or flotation device until they learn how to swim. In some cases, they may still need it nonetheless. The meds help the person to keep his head above water, preventing drowning, and allows the pastoral counselor to bring them to a deeper hope, a way of moving beyond their pain and suffering, and to live a richer, fuller, life.

  • lara

    I sit here this morning, barely able to muster enough energy to read my email, due to my severe depression. I will “pray” for strengh, direction, healing, etc….. Then I will try my daily meditation along with with my 20 minute AM Yoga. I will try to think positive. I will try to retry to think positive and have some hope that I will not always be in this black hole I have been in for so long. I will take my Prozac, my Omega 3 and my 10 other daily vitamins. I will then anxiously hope, pray, and meditate more…in hopes I can make it to my counselor by 1pm. I will, all the day look forward to nighttime when I have the excuse to go to bed and end yet another day of pain. Today, however, thank you Therese – I do not fell as alone.

  • elle

    Dear Joan,
    Do you really feel that those of us with depression are “complaining”?
    That we should compare ourselves to Christ’t painful journey and feel better? That would require a faith that some of us have lost. That has been stolen by our depression. God bless you that if in your worst time of need you feel comfort in “The Passion of Christ” and your faith. If you have ever been suicidal, you should understand that refuge in religion id not enough. I’ve prayed many nights for many years….and sometimes when I’m on my medication – I see the possibility of sprituallity. I agree with Bob, some of us are just trying to stay above water.

  • Mike

    I’ve heard the story of the man who died in the flood. I keep asking God to tell me how to recognize a rescue when it’s presented to me, so that I won’t suffer the same fate as the man who died in the flood. I don’t hear, see, or read the answers to my requests. I’ve read the bible (cover to cover) 3 time. I’ve read passage thousands of time. I’ve read several Talmud parables published for common people of every faith. I’ve done the radio and televised positive preaching approach. I’ve tried psychiatry, and therapy. I still don’t know where to go or what to do. Will this ever end? I don’t think so. I can’t go on like this any more. I don’t think there is any hope for me.

  • jania

    I could only nod my head in affirmative mode when I read the comments before mine.
    Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a dear aunt who never fully accepted me, and, in fact, was more likely than not, afraid of me.
    AFter the service I spent a few hours in her home with her children (my 1st cousins) and all of their extended family, some close friends, and my 5 siblings. How enlightening it was to learn that there were more of me in the family (and I’m not speaking of my brothers and sisters)! I begged my cousins for an open meeting to discuss our parents and upbringing and family history. I also am planning to ask each of them to submit to a DNA test to determine how, why and what to do about our disturbing issues.
    I am one woman who has never had a goal, has always lived each day as if it were her last, was never able to hold on to relationships, and has an obsession with beauty until this day. I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar as well as one with ADHD. I am angry about so much that it is not only sad but disturbing as well. I have never taken lab-generated drugs and question whether or not they would help or further deteriorate my body and mind. I know that there is a spirit around me that keeps me alive and not suicidal but who is it?

  • sandra

    yep! It all sounds so nicely wrapped in a nice little box, but what happpens when your dealing with depression your mothers dying, your husband in which you love dearly is killing himself by drinking himself to death and on top of that you beleive that there’s a force out there that’s greater then anything are minds could possiblely perceive, Do you say to one’s self it will get better! Well my life not great, but I tell you, I thank my God everyday be it good or bad and I let him know that I LOVE HIM REGARDLESS!!! I’ve come to terms with just being! I know not what’s in store for me but I hold my head and say so be it LORD!

  • Lynne

    All I know is if it were not for the love of God…I would not be here. Whenever I feel the need for the “long dirt nap” something happens. I know we serve God and not the other way around. I know I do not understand the mind of God BUT I trust him. I know he makes life hard because much will be expected of me when the time is right. He makes me strong enough to face it. He does’nt however make me want to! I can’t throw a fleece down daily to know what is expected of me…but there are times I want to ask him one question when we finally have a face to face…”What the hell were you thinking!!!???”

  • lisa g

    Wow. Are you depressed or just plain self indulgent ?? You want to tell everyone else that they are “idiots” when it sounds like you might be one. It is up to you to listen and learn from everyone that crosses your path. Take the good advice and then find what works for you.
    Here’s the deal. It IS up to you to heal yourself. You need to go inside and do ‘the spirit work’. Take care of your physical self through diet and exercise and then take care of soul with whatever means work for you. The fun part of all of this is that you get to discover what YOUR spiritual beliefs are. Today our resources are endless. Go to the bookstore and find authors that speak to you. Look to be inspired !!
    If you are still complaining, then you are not healing. Please relax, take a breath, be still and you WILL start to feel better. If you start to focus on gratitude, you WILL live a happier life !!

  • Michelle

    my pdoc told me he was a medicine cowboy, and bipolar can be a “killer” if you let it. That was enough for me to step up and fight back.
    God bless
    try to have faith in that he who laughs lasts, laughs last.

  • Mary

    I fully agree with this article. I have Bipolar Disorder myself, and I used to work at a peer support center. One day a lady who was schizophrenic came in, a semi-regular member. She said she went off her meds on the advice of her pastor. I told her that he may be an expert on God but he’s not an expert on mental illness. This level of ignorance on the part of spiritual leaders frightens me. At least if I go off my meds and get worse I can choose to take them again. When a schizophrenic backslides they often don’t have the capability to make that choice, often ending up homeless on the streets since there is no forced treatment laws hear in California. Unfortunately I was not able to talk her out of it and I have never seen her again. I pray that she is doing well, but I fear the worst. If only these well-meaning pastors’ knew what suffering they cause!

  • Vicki

    Managing depression is a continuous effort and never simple for me. I have also struggled in the past with the accusations (from others and myself) of being less Christian and not having enough faith to believe God will heal me of this illness. In the past five years I have attended a church with a pastor who understands depression and other mental illnesses. I now keep a close relationship with God because I am not in the cycle of guilt and shame and repentence for not being a good enough Christian – and yes I still have depression that I have to keep in check with some wonderful resources I have available to me and that I am grateful for. There are religious leaders who give dangerous advice and I am appreciative of articles such as this one that brings this to light.
    One posting provided the advice to relax, take a bath, and practice gratitude to feel better. This is great at the end of a stressful work week, but it is insulting to suggest that it will meet the need of someone who is having major depression as described in this article.

  • Margaret Ann

    My thoughts are with you and your struggles. I, too, suffer from depression and I have to take medicine to keep it managed. I am glad that you have the insight to see past the ignorance of otherwise well-meaning people who do not allow you to own your illness.
    Blessed Teresa of Calcutta suffered terrible spiritual emptiness as she struggled to do God’s work in a selfless manner. Some would not allow her her pain. They would say that she was as you say “spiritually incorrect” for allowing anyone to know that. But the last time I checked, we are all sinners, and it’s just a matter of having different sins, so none of us should cast stones at each other.
    God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that so many miniters and laypersons love to use the phrase if you’re on prozac than you don’t have Jesus. Where we should find hope and healing in the church I’ve found I’ve felt the most hurt and pain.
    Are we any different than the person in the wheelchair or on crutches – do they have Jesus more than we do.
    Why is it that because we’re dealing with mental illness be it depression, bipolar, post-traumatic stress syndrome (and since my son was murdered in 2005 it’s only by God’s grace that I’m still here).
    Yetit bothers me that ministers love to use mental illness as the target to stress who does and who doesn’t have the Lord.
    I love Jesus with all my heart and soul but to tell me that I don’t have Jesus when I already question everything else about me – doesn’t help me – it hurts me – it makes stop and wonder maybe I don’t because like they said if I did I wouldn’t need medicine – than I have to tell myself that’s an attack from Satan and don’t believe. I have Jesus just as much as anyone else.
    Has anyone else dealt with this and how did you handle it?
    Thanks – iamonewithhim

  • Anonymous

    Many Pastors want to help , but don’t know how. YOU must solve your temporary setbacks yourself. Depression is caused by unfounded fears( negative thoughts in your head), living in the past, living in the future and avoiding THE PRESENT. Try the following to bring yourSELF back to THE PRESENT. 1) Read books on THE POWER WITHIN, find out who you really are. 2) Try yoga, focus on THE PRESENT. 3)Stay in the company of those who truly love you. 4)Stop junk foods. 5) Stop coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. 6) LOVE yourSELF.

  • Debi

    Our journey’s are each different since Jesus has a personal plan for you on how you will get there and who you will meet along your way. He is the infinite creator and knows you by NAME, only he knows what YOU may need. There is no magic formula, there is only complete submission to his will for you. Trusting him enough is just the first step. Willingness to follow where he leads you, are you willing to do everything he asks of you? The journey never ends, it is lifelong, yet it is in the process we are redeemed and healed a little at a time. There is no RIGHT way or answer, only his perfect love for you, he knows why, you don’t have to. The healing he will bring may never be known fully by you, but your obedience will be pleasing to him. It is our imperfections that he has made perfect through his blood, he makes no mistakes.

  • Your Name

    You have no idea!!! I mistakenly signed up for your newsletter on Beliefnet. I have been tempted half a dozen times to cancel. I get down right ticked at some of the stuff you post oabout your personal battle with depression.( I am discovering that my reaction is something like a homosexual homophobic to gay rights……Angry denial)
    I am not one to respond to such things. I have never blogged. However, in my present state, which is a depressed individual coming out of the closet; wearing my melancholy proudly, so to speak. I could kiss you!!!! You are a strong, brave, woman, who so intelligently articulated the hypocracy that continues to persecute all of us who suffer with this plague, called mental illness. YOU GO Girl. Oh, and I am so very glad that I did not unsubscribe from your colum.

  • SHARY

    where is the ladder, lifeboat, helicoptor for people with no health insurance?

  • CeeVee

    Of course, Therese is right on again. I have heard these same comments from those in the churches I have attended-doesn’t seem to matter what denomination they are. There are some interesting books on this “Why do Christians Shoot Their Wounded” is an interesting one I read a couple of years ago on this very subject. I think most of us know that we would not be here without our strong belief in a Loving Father who is with us always. There are times when that is all that has kept us going…to our therapy appointments, to the drugstore for our psycho-RX and to work another day or wake up for the children. I think God is always there when we bottom out, but He does expect us to use all the other assists that He has given us through science to enable ourselves to live as best we can. In this crazy world everyone needs His love & guidance each & every day. Some of us more than others.

  • Amy

    I personally was on medication for depression for 7 years. Shortly after accepting Jesus I was able to stop all meds and have lived depression free for 5 years!!! He delivered me from this awful illness! There was a time after I lost my first baby that I thought I was going to have to take the medication again but was able to pull through on my faith. But I would not of hesitated to seek treatment if it had came to that.

  • Your Name

    You speak the truth. People with a broken bone, show their pain. Depressives learn how to hide and cover it up. Keep speaking out, sister. I’m right behind you.

  • Your Name

    I had a major depressive episide 7 years ago and the criticism I received from some fellow Christians actually prolonged my suffering -for the better part of a year. I finally agreed to take some medication for a few months (against some of my fellow Christian’s advice) and then my mind was cleared up enough for me to be able to receive the truth.
    This year I had a couple short and deep bouts with depression. The first time required some treatment whereas I was able to work through the second one fairly quickly with virtually no treatment. Trusting in God’s promises does work, but there are many wounded people out there who do not know HOW to trust in their current state. We are called to support and love one another, not tear down.

  • Meghan

    Way to put it out there, Therese. An excellent, well-written, and vibrant piece. Thank you!

  • Margaret M

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I read a quote by Emily Dickenson. I am not sure that I have it completely right. It was: “Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” I am opening every door. I am accepting any and all reasonable help. The religious community would do well to accept people in their struggle. They confuse a physical illness that expresses itself emotionally and mentally with a spiritual crisis. People do have spiritual crises. Mental illness can precipitate a spiritual crisis. It in and of itself is NOT a spiritual crisis any more than a heart attack or diabetes is a spiritual crisis. The attitude that God is the only answer is as absurd as if someone was having a heart attack and told that all they need to do is pray and they would get better. Maybe they would. Then again, maybe they would feel alienated and alone and die in pain.
    Mental illness has facilitated my spiritual growth. It could be seen as a gift that offers awareness via pain. God alone can not cure me. As you said, we need to accept all the tools that he offers. The well intentioned folks that say faith is the answer don’t know what the question is.
    Thanks again for your blogs.
    Margaret

  • debbie

    i have been on one form or other of medications for 10 or more yrs and i cant seem to get the right one and i pray all the time i know god can do all but how do you get the right meds to help to just let me know that because even this is depressing and i need the right meds to get better icant get there without the help so can you please pray that i find the right meds to ease the sadness and crying i do all the time i would greatly appreciate any and all help thank you and may god bless. deb

  • Mho

    Wow! What misguided Christians some of you have had to put up with. Obviously they don’t read or don’t understand their Bible very much! The story of Job basically conveys that if all we had to do to have a great life was to love God, then there would be no free choice. Everybody of all religions or non religions has to carry their cross. Sure God helps us, but essentially we have to do the work, and that means that even though I go to mass on Sunday, I still have to go on the drug merry go round to find one that makes life bearable.

  • Your Name

    You sure have it right. I’ve struggled with depression on and off for years. I can remember one Associate Pastor telling me I would never be happy until I threw myself into Church, going every time it was open and joining home group meetings. Well he was wrong, I’ve had times I’ve been ok and not depressed and it didn’t have anything to do with how much I went to church or was involved in it. All he did was try to give me something else to feel guilty about and make me believe it was my fault and a choice I had made. Lord, save me from your workers, who have never dealth with depression or any mental illness themselves! I can see where having an Archbishop announce taking time off to deal with depression would help other Catholics struggling. Thanks for your site and I really related to the Guilt Backpack. I told my Psychologist about that one. She loved it.

  • Rebecca

    Theresa,
    For the past few years I’ve been writing a book about depression. I am an evangelical Christian, leader in my church and a former hospital chaplain. I’ve never denied my own struggles with depression and I like to think I’ve educated people about depression by tearing down the myths surrounding it. At present I am depression free and have been pill free for four years now.
    I have worked hard at recovery believing that while God has the answers, he expects me to do the work. I’m convinced that the vast majority of people suffer from depression. At present in the U.S. there are 18 million sufferers. In this economy,the numbers will go up but many won’t be able to afford any form of treatment. But depression is treatable, manageable and in some cases, curable, if one is willing to do the hard work.
    I read all these posts and it seems that many of those who’ve posted want to talk about their illness but not necessarily work hard on it. I, too, wanted some quick answers. Don’t we all? But I finally came to a place after years of suffering and pills not working when I realized my recovery was up to me. No one knew me better than me. I had to find out what worked for me. Surprisingly, what I came up with was not very complicated or very unique after all. We like to think we’re somehow unique but we’re really not. We can try and convince ourselves that no one else could feel the way we do but that just isn’t true. The trouble that has prompted our feelings may be specific to us but that’s where it ends. Man has experienced the same emotions since the beginning of time.
    I engage in the spiritual disciplines but I also exercise, eat right, monitor my thought life and and pay attention to my behavior. It wasn’t an overnight miracle and there were some false starts but eventually I started to get it right.
    My concern with some of your readers is that they have judged God and Christianity without ever checking it out for themselves. Yes, there are some very narrow minded and bigoted Christians, just as there are narrow minded and bigoted agnostics and atheists, etc. Why do we always want to single out Christians? They’re just people with faults and weaknesses like the rest of us. Many people give depression sufferers bad advice, not just people who adhere to faith. I challenge your readers to read God’s word for themselves to find out what he really says. God’s word doesn’t have to mention the depression of Elijah, David, Paul and even Jesus, but it does. Why? Because God doesn’t look at depression any different than any other illness he inspired the authors to write about. He addresses all of man’s difficulties since the beginning of time and has the same answer for all of them.
    Anyway, thank your for your honesty and I truly hope that you and all your readers will find relief from this most dreadful illness.
    Rebecca

  • Your Name

    I also have had well meaning christians tell me that praise,confessing the Word, fasting, deliverence etc are the answer to my depression.I work in health care, and health care workers can be just as full of unhelpful advice to.
    I have treatment resistent depression and find things hard going at times.I believe however, that God is with me in the midst of the darkness,and enfolds me with His love. It’s no cure, but it helps.
    Jeffrey

  • Your Name

    Can someone outthere talk about the physical symptoms. The well meaning Christian people that advise me, tell me I have to not pay attention to the diziness, the lighthead, blurry vision, when I get afraid and shake, and that I have to rebuke the devil instead of thinking I am sick, when my heart is palpitating fast I get terrified. Is this physical or Spiritual? I have been told “close all doors to the devil so he has no right to come in your life”. WHICH MAKE ME FEEL SO GUILTY!! LIKE WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I have repented for everything that I can remember.

  • Trina

    I too have suffered with depression and have felt the spiritual guilt. It was actually my mother, very devote in her faith, who pointed out to me that many people in the bible also suffered through depressions and mental illness…namely Job, but there have been others as well. When I hear sermons on how unbiblical it is to be depressed because we are Christians and therefore MUST be happy, I want to stand up and protest. I do believe that God threw us a ladder (medication) and a life boat (therapists) and the helicopter (knowing the Word-so that I know that I am truly loved even when I don’t love myself and feel nobody else does either). People who tell you to pray it away are not realizing that maybe they actually were supposed to be an answer to your prayer by giving you a kind word, a smile, a hug, a kudos for a job well done or a that’s ok, you’ll get’em next time. Jesus did not send people away telling them to go pray for help…He actually helped.

  • Your Name

    to “No Name”: You have done nothing wrong. depression is an illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain, over which you have no control. there are some clergy who are very supportive and understanding. There are more it seems who judge, and try to deny it as a serious illness. god loves you and wants you to be happy. You have not caused your depression. There are people who work for God who specialize in mental & emotional conditions. There is hope for depression. It is not your fault. You have nothing to feel guilty about. you need the right help, which you are not getting.
    Some of the signs of depression are fatigue, sadness, sense of low self esteem, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, feeling that no one cares. a critically serious sign is wanting to harm yourself, especially if you want to end your life. do not ignore these signs.
    there is probably a mental health agency or social service agency in your location. they should be able to suggest the proper help you need.
    Yes prayer is a powerful tool. Sometimes the answer to those prayers is to ignore people who no little about it, and try to get you to “get over it”, and to seek help from professionals who can help.
    I don’t pray away a high fever. I call a doctyor. The doctor is God’s answer to my prayer. The same is tru with mental or emotional conditions. The answers are frequently, or usually, in other people doing God’s work.
    I appreciate the pastor who knows of many people in her care who are depressed, who wants to work with them. You too are one of God’s helpers.

  • Maire

    This is a comment on the priest who said ‘what the world needs is Jesus not Valium.’ It is not altogether clear how genetics and environment interact with mental illness. the U.S. reports high levels of all kinds of mental disorders, including extremely levels psychopathy, which is supposedly 100% genetic. I think there is more than enough evidence to say with confidence that there are things in American culture that exacerbate mental illness. It’s not all genetic, it’s also the fact that we are the most individualistic country in the world (this has actually been measured) and we are encouraged to do what feels good and question everything. I think that what this priest is driving at is that we need to rethink our tendency to focus on the symptoms of mental illness while ignoring the way our culture fuels neuroticism and antisocial behavior. I am doing a Master’s in Cultural Studies and believe me, America is fundamentally different from the way most cultures socialize their people. Just as one example: the idea of living alone is alien to most countries, even in Europe, and when they come over here for school, some of them break down. Btw, I say this as someone who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Depression.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment amy a

    not all spiritual people (or christians) are all just pro bible and no pysch help. Take http://www.newlife.com they promote counseling and medications appropirate to each individual situation. But yes, unfortuantely some people are jugdemental….. and thats wrong

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Maureen A

    Thanks for this supportive blog Therese – I’ve lurked and read your posts on and off for a few years. Yes, sadly, depression can be seen as “unbecoming a true Chrisitan” to many believers. Keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me remember what matters.

    I loved the response about prescription glasses!

    Intrigued by the search of Robert Goeckler JR for a healing prayer. Didn’t find the prayer, but did find a hymn:

    Oh, blest was the day when our footsteps first found. The place where the treasures of mercy abound! Where Jesus appears in the light of His Word! And welcomes poor children to call Him their Lord.
    (Chorus) Let scholars, and teachers, and patrons, proclaim, their joyful hosannas to Jesus’ name.
    What goodness, O Lord, in thy bosom did dwell, to move thee to rescue thy rebels from hell: Nor was thy compassion to nobles confined, and leave us poor children to perish behind.
    (Chorus again)
    Lord, pity our folly, and shed on each heart, The wisdom thy Spirit alone can impart; thine image of love, then our lives shall express; Our tongues thy salvation more worthily bless.
    (Chorus again)
    As plants of the Lord in thy house may we bloom, Our dwellings with youthful devotion perfume, Instead of the brambles, let roses come forth, And Eden again spread its beauties on earth.
    (Final chorus)
    “Hymns, dialogues, and addresses: for Sunday school anniversaries”
    By Thomas Hirst

  • http://livingpassionatelycoach.wordpress.com Crystal Dunn

    I am bipolar and go through the same thing when it comes to pastors. They do not understand the fight mental illness puts on your life. I am getting better. I have good days and bad days with it. I am determined to be a depressive “happy” life coach. I want to support those with depression and fibromyalgia so they can live full lives in spite of life’s pains. : )
    Crystal Dunn

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