It is thought depression is purely a psychological thing that can only be cured by medication. I’m a believer in medication offering alleviation to depression, but it’s not a cure.
Just as there are no cures to a lot of things such as common colds and viruses in which only medication helps you get through the pain, so there is none for the feeling of melancholy. The origin of depression is purely spiritual. The desert fathers called it the ”noon day demon” as back then there was no label of depression given to such a spiritual illness so other names were given it.
This painful sorrow of the world is something I’ve suffered from since my teenage years. Having left school at an early age, becoming involved in the local music scene I had resolved to have sex, smoke, play music and drink my way to an early grave. With no direction and being nothing but a blank page from a poor disadvantaged background, I had no ambitions other than that of music so what did anyone expect of me?
I suppose you’re waiting on the uplifting conversion story in which I no longer have depression, have many ambitions and I’m now a successful entrepreneur with a fine collection of sports cars? Well you’d be wrong. I had a conversion in which changed my character both on the intellectual and spiritual spectrum forever, but I’m still depressed and still have no ambitions to be anything career wise even now.
Before I was a Christian I was depressed and after I became a Christian I continued to be depressed. What changed? Only my attitude and understanding of what depression is changed and so my depression lifts from time to time but like clouds that disperse and form alliances again, it comes back for a time.
In fact, truth be told for many years I was depressed and didn’t know it until it was brought to my attention most recently. Some people wonder how has Stephen managed to traverse the rocky mountains of depression all these years without medication? I think it was because I didn’t know I was suffering a depression. I thought that was just my character and personal psyhological disposition in life. What is strange is that sometimes what you don’t know can’t hurt you. When we attach labels to things and talk about certain behaviours as relating to depression is it any wonder people actually become depressed for real? When something isn’t understood as a problem, but considered a personal trait, then the power it has over you is greatly reduced.
Everyone would often approach me and say “If you don’t change your ways you’re going to end up hanging yourself as your cousin did”. Or they would say ”Stephen are you sure you’re not suffering depression?” But I ignored all this and thought nothing of it still refusing medication and the advice of all to seek help. I stumbled through the darkness alone until one day I began suddenly to pray the rosary and read awareness by Anthony de mello and then True Life In God.
Suddenly after months of repeating this process and pursuing religion, my character slowly began to change. Like old leaves fall from an Autumn tree, the branches no longer having any use for them, my depression began to lift and I felt a certain clarity of soul. It was as if the breath of God himself had blown the old brown leaves off himself. I began to look at myself and the world in an entirely new way. I began also to look at the Lord Himself in a new way. How? Before I saw Him as a picture on a wall or a story in a book. Now I look at Him as something very supernatural far beyond all the simple conceptual images we currently have of Him. I suppose the closest I could get is a sort of Fatherly ”Morpheus” from the movie ”Matrix”.
He came along and gave me the all the materials I needed in order to examine myself and the world around me. How come, then, I’m not this hot shot who went out and developed a career and became successful in the eyes of the world? Isn’t that part of the Christian conversion? I think it’s because the Lord does not have regard for this nor does he care. His main priority is that we Love Him. The Lord does not see the world inside of us only the spiritual and it’s this He examines.
I often look at Him and say, I’m here but I’m still a nobody or a nothing. I can hear Him say back to me, ”That’s ok, be a nobody and let me be your somebody. Be nothing and let me be your everything.”
The cure for depression doesn’t exist on the physical level but the more we grow to understand its devilish origins via the Grace of God then the more we elminate it’s control over us. Right now we are slaves to illusory ideas about depression but when we break free from such a ball and chain, then and only then, can we begin to see a light somehwere and that light is Christ.
If medication is helping you get through it fine, but in my opinion only prayers of deliverance and a complete change of how we view and relate to this illness can really offer any kind of coping mechanism and cure. This is, of course something you can try alongside your medicine so give it a try. Ask God to open doors.