Welcome to the Weekly Encouraging Letter # 18 (5. 5. 2007). Read it at http://ctouch.org/encl.htm
Living through Depression
Depression...It can happen to anybody, and it always gets better. I have gone through it. You might have tasted too!
* Depression...It May be Diagnosed.
In the valley of depression, the Psalmist David learned to talk to himself: " Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquited within me?" (Ps.42:5). This was very positive! A famous person made the point that much of our unhappiness in life is because we are listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves. Those uninvited thoughts that crowd in upon us- we do not have to let them dictate to us. Like David, we can say to ourselves:"Why am I cast down?" And in doing so, we begin to know ourselves.
We can get depressed for many different reasons.
- The Physical factor: sometimes ill health, plain and simple, brings us down emotionally.
- The Circumstantial factor: Our environment and background may contribute to our outlook on life. Financial insecurity, middle age, an uncertain future- any of these may affect us.
- The Intellectual factor: "Who am I?"...What is the meaning of life?- what are we here for? These are the questions that many of us ask. The Word of God offers real and solid answers to these questions- but our period of investigation may sometimes be painful and slow.
- The Moral and Spiritual factor: We may be out of touch with God, or deeply regret things that we have done in our past- it will not be surprising if depression then takes hold of us. We feel isolated and alone, and we long to discover our true roots. Even to pose these questions is a help. Sometimes we need other friends to help us diagnose ourselves. When this happens, it is a great step forward.
* Depression...It can be helped.
Depression is anger turned inwards- did you know that? Because it's turned inwards, it hurts very much. What is needed is for one or two friends to be around - little and often- to help ventilate the problem and let it out- sometimes just by being there. We do not want to be deluged with books, or worn out by the advice of others, however spiritual or well-meaning. This was the problem with Job's three so-called 'comforters'. Over-talkative and self-righteous, they were useless to him. What we need, when we are stuck at a particular stage of sorrow or depression, is for someone to be alongside, to move us helpfully on to the next stage of recovery. Depression can be shared.
* Depression...The Way Back is Steady and Slow.
To be depressed is to be heavy; and what is needed is for someone to lighten the load. Not by sensational remedies, but simply by practical help. Sometimes expert help is required- but as often as not what we are looking for are the little human reminders of God's care when the world seems to have caved in. We should never despise the medical profession in this matter. If tablets have been prescribed, let them be taken and accepted as God's gift.
Bereavement...sorrow...heaviness...recovering from them is like getting better slowly after an illness. Imperceptably, the darkness turns to grey, and the grey turns to the pink of the new dawn. We've made it. No one comes out of these waiting tunnels just the same as when they went in. Job (in the Bible) knew infinitely more of himself- and of God- at the end of his experience than he did at the beginning. In this way, he helps us, and, who knows, maybe we are going to be able to help others when our own tunnel of waiting is over?
* Note: I am planning to tour USA in Sept'07 for meeting friends and conference.
If you are interested to meet me or arrange meetings for me, pl. contact me at aocc85@...
* 3rd All India Youth Festival in Mumbai. See details at http://ctouch.org/youthfest3.htm
* Read my full story newly written at http://ctouch.org/mystory.htm