Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don't think you can "beat" a biological depression!

Denial Runs Deep

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Part of my denial was that, as a born-again believer and a trained theologian, I did not want to entrust myself to a “system” where I would be vulnerable to mistreatment or psychological brainwashing. A deeper reason was that I had been taught that depression was for wimps. Surely if Christians walked with God, they would not get depressed. 

It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard the other side of the issue. One of the professors during my pastoral internship was a psychiatrist who spoke to us about the chemical imbalance that causes depression. I’d listened to part of a radio program devoted to the story of a man who had depressive episodes. I heard only part of the program because I was so afraid of identifying with the symptoms that I changed the station. God was working in subtle ways to prepare me, in spite of my denial.

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Another reason for the denial was that I had a family I desperately wanted to care for. As symptoms grew more acute, I increasingly was a burden on Robyn—in addition to her responsibilities with an infant and two other young children. I knew I was failing to live up to her expectations. She had worked hard and lived with insecurity long enough. But instead of stepping up to the plate, I was making her life miserable. My illness was a burden on everyone who cared for me.
To the extent that I was able, I developed a “smiling depression,” trying to prove the adage, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.” I ignored a more truthful expression in Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Paul’s command benefits the body of Christ when members open their lives to each other. Quite honestly, my temporary charades fooled no one, and I couldn’t keep up the act very long. My condition was starting to haunt me relentlessly.

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Robyn and I were experiencing what the Puritans called dark providences. Actually, the idea of providence is not very popular in our day. Many good definitions of providence have been given, but one I particularly like is from John Murray, the Scottish Presbyterian theologian and educator. Murray said, “Providence is that marvelous working of God by which all the events and happenings in His universe accomplish the purpose He has in mind.”

 The above story came from the book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  It was published by  Kregel Publications in 2005. It was a book that was written with "staying power," and it continues to help people from all over the world. It also has been formatted with a Kindle electronic digital copybook. If you would like to hear the rest of Steve and Robyn's story, along with a biblical and clinical  treatment of mental illness p, 30, please go to:

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