Ireland has become the only country in Europe to enter a second national lockdown. For those of us who suffer with depression and anxiety this can be a very bad time. On approach to one of the most stressful times of the year, the prospect of spending Christmas without work and on social welfare only adds to that pressure. My whole life I’ve had depression and while I had a few close calls, not once did I ever take counselling or medication. I’m not advocating you do the same; but with the restrictions of accessing counselling because of Covid being prevalent, I thought you might learn something from this article.
Rather than turn to medication I’ve often looked at depression as something I experience as opposed to something that is a part of me. I like to describe depression as the Irish weather; a dark cloud approaches but soon it will dissipate and the sun will come out shining again shortly after. It is therefore treated by me as a state of being that will change with time.
This psychological social distancing from the virus that is depression helps us understand that it only has power if we view it as something powerful. You wouldn’t say a dark cloud passing in the sky is the reason for you not winning the lottery today because that would be superstition. Knowing the dark cloud has no power over your good or bad luck, why should it be any different with depression? Depression has this power because you’ve been conditioned by the culture you live in to give it that power. Have you ever stood out in the rain on a dark cloudy day and felt depressed and sad? In Ireland we say, “It’s an awful day out today isn’t it? I wish the rain would be over.”
The reason for this is because you were conditioned by your culture to look at the rainy day in a negative way. You’re expected by your peers to feel negative on a day like this. But I could show you a person who is happy when the sun is shining, and even happier when it rains. He has now surpassed the silly brainwashing of his culture. His entire being has done a 360 degree turn in the direction of common sense. His happiness is not going to be affected by any seasonal change or day of the week.
This is what awakening tastes like. It doesn’t mean you’re no longer depressed, but that you look at it differently and for this reason it can’t affect you in the manner of which it did before. I don’t know if your Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Jewish. Whatever your religion may be all religions have one similar goal and that is to become, not a new person, but the person you were created by God to be. All religions are aiming for that original state they were created for.
Take a listen to St.Paul the apostle from the Bible,
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philipians:4:11-13
St.Paul is proof of what an awakened person looks like. His declaration of happiness and contentment here is only but a small glimpse into what Christian awakening can taste like. Whether the sun is shining or not, whether or not depression raises its ugly head above the parapet, he has learned how to be content in all these situations.
Here is an even better translation from the Greek in the KJV with my emphasis in bold
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.Philipians:4:11
Happiness is a state of being, depression is a state of being and yet no matter what physical or mental state he happens to be experiencing, he’s still content and happy. But how is it possible to be happy when experiencing depression? St.Paul gives us the secret when he says that only through the power of God can he do this. You see, self reliance is the mother of all failure. Without prayer you can be surrounded by all the wealth one can possibly have. You can have all the security you need. You can be living by the blue Ocean and getting all that Vitamin D you need, but without the power of God behind it, it comes to nothing and you’ll always be depressed.
People say to me, “I take the medication but I’m still depressed.” That is because while medication is helpful and recommended, you have not dealt with the root of the problem. If I chop a weed off at the tip it grows back again. We need to reach down and pull it up at its source. The source of depression is a spiritual one not physical. Physical depression that requires medication first stems from the root that is the spiritual. Our mind is so powerful it can have an affect on how our bodies behave. I was amazed when I saw Buddhist monks throw a wet towel on them, and through the power of the mind when the towel was taken from them it was bone dry.
The mind is a powerful tool in that regard. I once heard of a mexican boy who believed a local superstition that cutting his foot on a stone would mean impending death. The priest was called who laughed it off and warned everyone if they keep it up it would become a self fulfilling prophesy. But the boy believed in it so much that he actually died.
If we really believe depression can have an effect upon our happiness, why be surprised if it comes true? With the power of God, we can become like St.Paul, who believed in Christ, and nothing nor nobody else did he place his trust in not even himself. Through his belief and trust in Gods power to settle the matter, his soul could breath. The best medication therefore is Christ.
Yes, take your long walks, go to the gym or do a few star jumps at home. Go to counselling and continue to medicate yourself if you find that helps. As for me, I prefer to look to Christ and with him, pull that ugly weed up by it’s root and let depression come and go as it pleases. Instead of changing the depression, I change myself through reliance on Gods power to see depression in a new light rather than live in the blinding darkness of worldly ignorance.