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37 Responses

  1. thebutler says:

    That fine line between the blessings of science and healthcare; God working through people in those areas, and exchanging dependancy on God for man-made remedies that aren’t what we really need…

  2. Lynn says:

    I was taught Jesus himself was the answer to everything. And I truly believed it. I was taught we were supposed to be full of joy. I think that’s one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit-can’t remember them all now.

    This teaching set me up to try to figure out what was wrong with me for the next umpteen years. I finally figured out what was wrong with me-nothing. But there WAS something wrong with what I was taught.

  3. Heather C. says:

    The church has a history of being particularly unkind to the clinically depressed. Illness of a more physical nature isn’t regarded in the same judgemental light and gets its due with regards to prayer and concern. Get depressed though, and it’s often “what’s wrong with your Christianity?”
    The irony is, many physical maladies are preventable by healthier living choices. Better food choices, a less sedentary lifestyle, never smoking, monogamy perhaps, could give each of us a healthier middle age and old age….
    Climbing off my soapbox now.

  4. nakedpastor says:

    I’ve known many people dramatically helped by medications for depression. I used to frown on them. Not anymore.

  5. Mrs. McPea says:

    I have Evangelical friends that used to tell me that my depression was caused from not knowing Jesus enough, not loving Jesus enough, not praying enough, not believing enough, and on and on and on.

    I’ve been on Effexor now for five years and I’m very thankful to Jesus for the lack of suicidal thoughts and crying fits and manic episodes that I used to have.

    My faith has never changed.

  6. Lynn says:

    What do you think we really need?

  7. Lynn says:

    And when you are clinically depressed, the last thing you need is harsh judgement, as if you are purposely refusing to just snap out of it.

    So, as a depressed person, you get to feel guilt for being depressed, along with being depressed.

  8. Lynn says:

    It makes me angry just hearing your report of the dumb things that were said to you. People know what’s in their mind and personality, and they can’t fathom that someone’s else mind and personality does not work or feel the same as theirs.

    I’m certainly not saying all Christians would be that ignorant, but many certainly seem to think that a right relationship with Jesus cures all ills.

  9. Darko Flores says:

    LOL! The image is really funny!

    Well, seriously, I think God can cure anything… but it doesn’t mean that God never give the KNOWLEDGE to the human being to treat sickness by himself. People think that God always have to do EVERYTHING for us, but they don’t realize he do it… he died.

  10. Lynn says:

    Why wouldn’t they think that God has to do everything for them? The Bible says that whatever we ask for, we will receive. It says “you have not, because you ask not.” People get these ideas from the Bible.

  11. Ann B says:

    Depression is a very real disorder. Like most mental health disorders it can effect all areas of your life…relationships, work, family. Often only those closest to you know about it.

    I have suffered from depression at different times in my life and was on antidepressents for a number of years. I was telling someone at work the other day. This person said to me..you’d never know. You don’t seem to be the type.

    I do think that Christians are of the opinion that there must be something wrong with your faith if you admit to suffering from depression! So you end up being judged over something that you have absolutely no control over. Yet someone who has type 2 diabetes from being overweight would certainly not have their faith questioned!!

    I have a son who was diagnosed as being ADD, when he was 9 years old. As a parent I came under a lot of judgement both inside and outside the church. His father and I were often considered as not being ‘good parents’. We often said to each other that people should walk in our shoes for a week and then they would know how hard it was. We often felt very isolated and alone in trying to parent him…most often within the church…as Christians ‘we should have been able to do better’. Often I would be so embarressed and ashamed. The thing was that I knew we were not bad parents as we had 2 other children that were great. I also knew the wonderful side of my son…how much he loved and cared about others. How much he struggled (and still does) to live with his ADD. How he cried and wished he didn’t have ADD (and still does) and wondered why God wouldn’t heal him of it.

    I feel that, in the church, mental health issues are certainly not handled with the care and the compassion they should be. It is rarely, if ever, discussed.

    Thank you David for raising this issue.

  12. fishon says:

    Just like anything else, you have to read the whole story in context to get the full, real meaning.
    fishon

  13. Lynn says:

    fishon,

    Would you tell me the context of the verses I quoted? They seem pretty straightforward, but I know that context can change the meaning sometimes.

  14. fishon says:

    No Lynn, I won’t. You are a bright person, so it would be best if you figured it out for yourself.

    I will,however, give you a clue to all those
    “you have not, because you ask not,” and other ‘ask for anything’ scriptures.

    Read John 14:12-14.
    fishon

  15. Lynn says:

    fishon,

    I did a little studying. What I’ve learned is that in John 14, Jesus is talking to his disciples right there in front of him. I think it’s at the last supper, not sure. He says they will do greater things that he did (not sure what that means) and then says they should ask things in his name and for the father’s glory. So maybe the ask part is just for his immediate disciples or just for Christians who ask for things that would promote the glory of God.

    Maybe, in quoting the Bible, I did what I accuse others of doing: applying something to today’s life that was actually meant for those Jesus was talking to at that moment. And if so, I still don’t know what the “greater things” were gonna be.

    Could it be that THEY were gonna do miracles and they were to ask in Jesus’ name before doing them?

    Maybe a lot of the trouble starts when we apply something Jesus said to his disciples, and we think it applies to today’s Christian. Any thoughts on all this?

  16. fishon says:

    Lynn,
    Good thoughts. You are on to something. It is tricky to figure out when Jesus is talking to the apostles about things, are they just for them and/or for us as well.

    Another clue: Verse 12: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.”

    What has Jesus been doing? Why did
    Jesus come to Earth? Luke 19:10.

    Hopefully, I am not boring you with these questions.
    You asked me a question, and I am answering the best way I know. That is, I’ll just show you scripture, you decide.
    fishon

  17. Ann B says:

    Lynn,
    I have always understood that if we ask for anything that is in His will then it will be done. There are some things that we know are definitely in his will eg. it is in His will that all people come to know Him. So if I were to pray for someone’s salvation I know that that will happen because it is in His will.
    In nearly all situations, we have to seek God to find out what is His Will is. I understand that sometimes it requires fasting with prayer.
    Many, many things have happened in my life that I would not wanted to happen or have not happened that I wanted. When my prayers have not been answered the way I wanted I have to assume that it was not God’s will for me.
    I know that sounds a bit ‘pat’ and I do struggle all the time with it, and most of the time I don’t practise it.
    I love reading your thoughts as I have been there and still am some of the time!

  18. shellie says:

    i’m actually going through a major depression right now. i’m taking an anti-depressant and seeing a therapist. and spending a lot of time listening to God; trying to. and get to the “root” of this.
    i love that people are recognizing that it is like diabetes as far as a medical condition. what’s tricky, is that, unlike diabetes, it’s in our thinking too. and for me, i’ve realized that the anti-depressants help to a point, but that i also need to change my thinking. and that i can do some things to change that, but only after knowing what is the “problem” with my thinking that is cycling me into depression. i’ve tried the meds without good therapy, and i was a tad better, but not really. therapy that can help dig through to the truth plus medication, and just being willing to trust this process of change can help get through to the other side. again, i’m in the thick of it now. i’m not on the other “side” of this. but i already see small shifts toward the truth which i’ve been running from. after all the pain i’ve been through, i might as well seek the truth, even if it is painful or scarey. at least i have hope that the truth will set me free, and all this darkness has made me the person in this cartoon! i’m asking jesus for the drugs, whatever they are…..i want to be healed. and he is healing me, bit by bit. ooo…i rambled a lot. might as well cancel my therapy session this week….haha. i owe you readers instead! thank you for posting this, david. i love it.

  19. fishon says:

    Ann B,
    Wow! You see this praying for…clearly. I am teaching the principle you already see to my congregation.

    “Oh Lord, you said ask for anything and you will give it. So I ask for my 56 Chevy back. It will blow these little want to be hot cars off the road. So, Father, I am claiming my Chevy back. I am waiting.”

    “No, Jerry.” “Wait, you said ask for anything.” “Come on, read the whole thing, Jerry. Besides, if I gave you back the hot Chevy, you would kill yourself trying to our run one of those little want-to-be’s. So, you asked, I say NO. It is not my will for you to come home yet—things for you to do.”
    fishon [jerry]

  20. Ann B says:

    Shellie
    My heart aches for you. Depression is so debilitating. Therapy is such hard work and can sometimes be very painful. Sometimes the change is so incidious that you don’t see or realise that it is happening. I agree with you, meds without the therapy is only half of the treatment. Your willingness to go through the whole process is half the battle.
    You are one very brave person and thank you for talking about this with such honesty..it has really helped me!

  21. Ann B says:

    Fishon,

    Lol! Exactly.

    I also read a book years ago by, I think, Tozier. He was talking about prayer and said we need to be careful not to keep pleading and pleading with God for something that is not His will for us. He gave the example of the Isrealites in the desert being fed with manna. They complained and pleaded with God for someting else…so he sent them quail until they were utterly and completely sick of and on them!

    His point being that God gave in to their pleading with awful results for them!

  22. Lynn says:

    Thank you, Ann. And I appreciate you and shellie sharing some of your life on here. I’ve dealt with depression all my life. It runs in the family. Never extreme or suicidal. I just always felt my “normal” was way below most people’s “normal.” I was always quite jealous of cheerful people. It amazed me that other women could get up day after day and do their housework, etc. consistently and be cheerful.

    Then somewhere in my 30’s, I realized that that over-all type depression had left me. I’m glad it did. My problem now tends more toward anxiety.

    Anyway, one of my daughters has been on anti-depressants for years. It has helped her a lot. There is a down-side to taking those drugs, but if they are really needed, I’m glad we have them.

    A lot of people don’t take depression seriously and think you can always just “cheer up.” Those people remind me of people who casually say they’ve got the flu, when they have some kind of cold. If you’ve ever had the flu, you know that you basically think you’re gonna die-it’s not just a cold.

    Anyway, my opinion is to avoid the drugs if at all possible, but take them if you truly need them.

    As far as prayer, I’ll just throw this out there and hope you aren’t too offended. Prayer is one of those things that can’t be shown to be effective, in my opinion. No matter what happens after the prayer, the Christian can say A)God answered it cause what was prayed for actually happened B) it hasn’t happened yet, but God will answer in the future C) it didn’t happen because it wasn’t his will.

    Do you see what I mean? An atheist could say “Whatever happens, you are saying God had something to do with it, and you can’t know that. You are just associating things in your mind.”

    Do you see what I’m saying, and what do you think?

  23. Lynn says:

    Thanks, Ann. I just typed out this whole reply and it disappeared. I was basically telling about my daughter being on anti-depressants for years, and they have helped her a lot. Ofcourse it’s better to avoid the drugs if you can, but I’m glad there is that option when they are truly needed.

    I’ve dealt with depression also, but sort of spontaneously got out of it during my 30’s somehow. Before that, it was a constant thing with me. And I think it’s a complicated problem. Now I deal more with anxiety than depression.

    Then I responded to what you were saying about prayer. I was thinking of the atheist view of prayer. An atheist would say that no matter what happens after you pray, you can consider it “answered.” You can say-this happened, so that means God answered it. Or you can say he hasn’t answered yet, but he will in the future. Or you can say-it didn’t happen because it wasn’t his will or I asked for wrong reasons or whatever. In other words, all bases are covered. That makes the whole thing suspicious.

    An atheist could say that whatever happens, you are associating the outcome with God, when you do not actually know that they are connected. Do you see my point? What do you think?

  24. Lynn says:

    Sorry about the duplicaton. The first post showed up after all. Sorry.

  25. Lynn says:

    fishon,

    You are not boring me. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll check into the Luke passage, etc. and get back with you.

  26. Ann B says:

    Lynn,

    Do I see your point…only too welland I do not have an answer.

    I work with many R.C.s who believe in the praying to different Saints for different things. They pray to St. Anthony when something is lost. Now I have had occasion when I lost something and someone told me they would pray to St. Anthony for me. I went back through where I remember last having the lost item and retraced my steps and found the item. Did St. Anthony answer their prayer to him or was that just me focusing my mind!!

    All I know is that when I am in a difficult place and I pray and talk with God about it, that I end up feeling far more peaceful and at rest in myself..like I have unloaded it onto Him. There have been times years ago that I would fast and pray and I did get resolution about very difficult situations.

    I did say years ago there, as I have been through some very hard times and only recently have come through them. If you ever wanted to email me, I would be happy for David to give you my email address. We seem to have a lot in common and I do enjoy exchanging thoughts with you.

  27. Tiggy says:

    Is Efexor spelt with two ‘fs’ in the US? Things certainly got better after I started on it, but I’m thinking the effects have worn off or my body has got used to it. I’ve been on it a long time now.

    I was born with a form of depression and have always had it. It’s definitely part neurological. My extended birth family have all had mental illness and depression so it’s probably partly genetic. Also my mother was on medical drugs when I was conceived and born that could have affected me. Then as a baby I was in an orphanage and badly treated, not looked after properly and nearly died of bronchitus. Remember the brain is very much developing at this time. None of those things were within my control. Do people really think that it never occurred to me to pray to God to help me? When you’re going through Hell, you pray.

  28. preacherlady says:

    This hits close to home at the moment. A close friend has been in the hospital for the past month with depression. He’s been on every drug conceivable for the past several years and has just been diagnosed as bi-polar…it was hard to do because his manic state is different…its marked by sharp wit and then anger…nothing serious, just a tantrum or two…stomping out of a room etc. Now, I’ve seen people greatly helped by medication, but this time…he’s grossly over medicated and they have given him electro shock therapy…the depression is gone but…a totally brilliant man will spend the rest of his life on disability…he can’t put sentences together coherently…his memory is shot. I have a hard time believing that Jesus would condone this. I’ve done extensive work with the mentally ill…the ministry I started in was one of the few places that would deal with them…we were lovingly called the “last chance cafe”…the step before suicide that many people took. Now, I’ve seen mental illness completely healed…I need look no further than my own household. My adopted daughter was healed of paranoid schizophrenia, yet I’ve found that healings such as hers to be the exception rather than the rule. Learning to live sane is the hardest part and in the case of depression, people in and out of church are absolutely cruel. All I can think of is Job’s friends…”well, if you were REALLY a Christian, you wouldn’t be depressed”…”the JOY of the Lord is your strength. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, so if you don’t have joy you must have grave sin in your life.” AGHHHH!!! Churches are, for the most part, uninformed as to how to deal with mental illness. They want to cast out the demons, pray a short prayer and have the person become whole in an instant. In my daughter’s case it took years. The disease was healed years ago..its documented. It took years of therapy, prayer, and spiritual counsel for the healing to totally manifest.26 years after she began her journey, she was able to take a huge leap forward and on her 50th birthday she enrolled in college to study software engineering….and it hasn’t been easy. The return to school hit on a lot of the issues that had exacerbated her former disease. But we got through it without either of us going looney or killing each other. Back to the original topic…without medication, particularly in cases of depression, hundreds of people wouldn’t be able to respond to therapy or to God. The mind shuts down the pathway to the spirit and prayer doesn’t seem to penetrate. The right medication clears the path. If it were only as simple as the Gaderene demoniac!!!

  29. nomad says:

    It is a vicious cycle. No lie.

  30. Lynn says:

    Ann B,

    Thanks for the email offer. I’ll think about that, and I have enjoyed talking with you too.

    I know prayer can make you feel better. If there is a God and if he is loving and does care, he certainly would have the ability to help us. And it’s quite scary to think that he might actually not be there to hear and care about our prayers. I have my ideas about it, but I could be wrong.

    I think it’s nice that we are here for each other, just by looking at this site and posting comments. It’s sort of like a church where you get to be more honest. I would be way too timid to say things in an actual church that I can freely say here.

  31. Lynn says:

    fishon,

    Jesus came to seek and save the lost. So that’s what Christians are to be about also. So Christians will be empowered by getting whatever they ask in order to accomplish that goal-saving the lost.

    How’s that?

  32. Richard Mullin says:

    I have been listening to an old Bruce Cockburn song called “Dweller by a Dark Stream”. One of my favourite lines from this song (which is referring to Jesus) is something like “He wanted us to be like him as choosers not clones.” I think that applies to this discussion. The solution to someone’s depression / mental issues is certainly not “one-size-fits-all.”

    Richard

  33. fishon says:

    Lynn,
    That is it. You got it. It ain’t about cars, furs, mansions, and that yellow hummer. Execellent work.
    fishon

  34. nomad says:

    I’ve seen a couple of posts on the web recently beginning “I am angry.” I could add another. I started out with one debilitating problem. Depression. Someone offered religion as a solution. Suddenly I had two. When is the cure worse than the disease?

  35. Lynn says:

    nomad,

    I sympathize with you. I guess religion can be helpful for some people some of the time. I guess medication can be helpful for some people some of the time. Or talk therapy, or exercise, or whatever. Or a combination of some or all, who knows?

    I get angry also when I think of how I was taught that religion is THE answer. That it works with EVERYBODY in ANY situation. That is simply not true. And I know for a FACT that it is detrimental to some people who are depressed, tend to have low self-esteem, tend to overthink, over-analyze, etc.

    I think we have to listen to others some, but also, we know ourselves best and we can sometimes come up with good solutions for ourselves.

    Just my two cents. I think what’s helped me most is opening my mind up to see that there are MANY possibly helpful things, and I need to find some that work AND aren’t creating a new problem. (I know, it’s tricky.)

  36. david says:

    I rememher when I was fairly early in my depression and began to get relief from some meds. I told a friend of mine that I was take anti-depressants. His response: Are you sure that is what Jesus would be wanting you to do?

    Yes! Bottom line–people do not know what to do with depression. Christians can be the worst. Cashwell wrote about “the danger of spiritual bypass” as thinking that we only need spiritual solutions to emotional/psychological problems–can make things worse as so many have said in comment section. Thanks brother

  37. Laura says:

    Did Jesus shave while he was at the medicine cabinet getting the meds? I almost didn’t recognize him when he came back 😉