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