God, drugs, and depression

Depressed © Chrisharvey | Dreamstime.comI strongly encourage you to read At Depression’s End, a post Gregory did on depression over at Rated G Romance. Aside from being well done and full of great advice, this post shows that anti-depressants can be a temporary tool used to learn to deal with depression. While some people may need long-term or lifelong medication, many do not.

I bring this up because depression is too often treated as a lack of faith by well meaning Christians who do not have a good understanding of the issue. It seems that we think things of the mind are easily controlled; we just have to choose to change, or have enough faith. Most people who think this would never tell a person with cancer they will be fine if they just have faith, and would not chastise someone for using chemo-therapy to beat their cancer.

Depression is not “all in the mind.” Depression is a chemical state that results from certain brain chemicals being off. It is no more or less “in your head” than feeling hungry or horny – all of these things are a result of chemicals in our bodies changing both our bodies and our minds. Ignoring depression is not an option, and no one can “just snap out of it.” You could be made depressed by administering certain drugs, and nothing you thought or did would change how those drugs made you feel. When chemicals originating from the body cause depression, rather than chemicals from outside, it’s just as real and just as impossible to beat by force of will.

Anti-depressants are a mixed blessing, but in some cases they can literally be life savers. In other cases, the drugs can help break the cycle of depression so the person can learn to cope without the drugs. Anti-depressants tend to flatten out both the highs and the lows, but when life is all or almost all lows, it’s not like there are highs to lose. Anti-depressants can also mess with sex drive and sexual function, but then so does being depressed, so some folks actually have a better sex on meds than without. Additionally, it is often possible to modify dose or drug(s) to reduce or eliminate sexual side effects.

If you, your bride, or a family member is dealing with depression, please don’t see it as a failing or a lack of faith. Please don’t think it will go away if you ignore it, and don’t think that shame or silence will help. Be proactive about getting good help so you, and your loved one, can have a better life.

In the interest of full disclosure:

  • I am not a doctor, and I am not giving medical advice here.
  • I’ve never suffered with depression, nor has any close family member suffered any significant depression other than post-partum depression.
  • I have had a number of friends who have dealt with depression, and I have seen several overcome depression with the help of a season of anti-depressants.
  • Yes, I believe God can heal both the body and the mind. I’ve seen some of both. I also know that He does not do this nearly as often as I would like, and I don’t have a good explanation for that. I’m sure it will all make sense in eternity.

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Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:


New Blog this week: Hot, Holy and Humorous I’ve been following “J” for a long time now, and retweeting her stuff – it’s a serious oversight that I have not been sharing her blog here!


A Grown Up Marriage

Change…: I agree with the colonel – it might be you who needs to change!

Battle for a Great Marriage

Does Your Wife Feel Cared For?: Love the focus on HER feelings here.

Couple Things Blog

The Best Thing for You: Sounds crazy, but it does work.
Be the Genius: Change a habit.

Dirty Girls

What I Wish I’d Known Before Watching Porn: While this is written by a woman, it speaks a lot of truth for all of us.

Hot, Holy and Humorous

Movies to Inspire Romance: This is NOT a chick-flick list!
Safety & Vulnerability in the Bedroom: Ask yourself how reading this article would make your bride feel.

Marriage Life

More of that Life Together stuff… : Clint explains why you should be aware of more than her “amazing boobs”.
Does your hear lead you, or do you lead it?: http://bit.ly/t4hXdf

One Flesh Marriage

Retreat Alone ~ Advance Together: Stress should not be dealt with alone!

The Romantic Vineyard

Sharing Musts For A Healthy Marriage 5: Another great post in this ongoing series. Don’t be afraid to read it!
Do You Wanna?: Tom shares “Top Ten Hand Holding Techniques”.
What’s Eating You Anyway? : Find out, before it’s too late.
A Fragrant Aroma – Our Naked Date: Yes they did – and I think you should too!

Safe at home

Serving Together Can Help Keep You Together : Absolutely!
Great Habits Help Make Great Marriages: With some great habits develop.

Simple Marriage

Emergency! Is Your Money (and Your Marriage) Ready?: An article you and your bride should read together.

Stupendous Marriage

3 ways: Cultivate Honor in Your Home: 4 great thoughts (Stu must be math challenged)
39 Things My Wife is Lovelier than… : Great idea for a wife’s birthday – steal it!

Your Christian Marriage Restoration Station

My Ex Left Me Because She No Longer Had Any Feelings: If you fear your bride could do the same, READ THIS!

4 Comments on “God, drugs, and depression

  1. Going through this right now with my youngest daughter. She is on her 2nd day of meds and we are all waiting to see how this goes.

    Please keep her, her mother, my wife, my family and me all in your prayers.

  2. Early on in our marriage, I didn’t realize that my husband had bipolar, but I knew something was wrong with the sudden outbursts that were killing our marriage. I realized I was depressed, and my husband had the very mentality that Christians can’t get depression. I went for help, and eventually got out of the pit. It took a breakdown involving jail time and hospitalization to realize he had depression too. That was 9 years ago, and we are better than ever, thank God. Counseling helped me loads, and even though I’m not too hep on the idea, he is on meds for bipolar. I prefer that to self medicating and doing dumb things, ha!

  3. Thanks, Paul! Of course, I follow you too. So much great stuff here!

    I’m glad you touched on antidepressants. Oftentimes, such medication can lift a person enough to take on other treatments with long-lasting positive effects – like exercise, therapy, etc. They are also prescribed at times for people going through difficult medical treatments (e.g., cancer chemotherapy) so that their mood can remain up and their immune system be stronger for it. Antidepressants are indeed a helpful tool when used properly.

  4. I never understood depression until it happened to me. No amount of “rationalizing” could pull me out of the pit I had fallen into. I knew in my head that I had so much to be grateful for & that I “shouldn’t” be depressed. That realization brings on a lot of guilt when you feel that you have no good reason to be depressed, but you are powerless to pull yourself out of it.

    Because of the stigma of anti-depressants (and the horror stories I had read about on the internet) I was very afraid to take them. Thankfully, I listened to my doctor, and within a few weeks I responded favorably to the medication. I was lucky in that the first medication I tried worked well for me. My dear husband was a trooper and supported me through those most difficult days.

    Words can not express the utter hopeless state that I was in. It was a dark, dark place – a place that I hope to never visit again. I try to share my story when I can in the hopes of helping others to seek help when they need it and to help others realize that depression is as real a medical condition as diabetes. The good news is that treatment options are usually very effective. I will add that, in my experience, the medication I was taking did not keep me from feeling highs and lows. On the contrary, it just helped me feel “normal” again. I felt like “me” again. I could laugh. I could cry. I could “feel” real emotions again. Although I’m sure different medications result in different experiences.

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