I’ve been thinking quite a lot recently about depression. I haven’t had any real depression in the last 10 years, but I know quite a few friends who have. I also suffered from mild depression when I was a teenager.
While some depression does have a connection to chemical imbalances, most is strictly emotional and mental. I wonder what the psychological root is behind depression and how to cure it; not to simply put a Band-Aid on it by giving someone Prozac, a bunch of Friends’ episodes, and praying that it will all be better in a few weeks.
I look back on the my quarter century lived so far and think about the times when I was the happiest and the times that I was the saddest.
-Hanging out with friends in college, diving in the Prayer Garden fountains, chillin’ at Kafe Bona, etc.
-Putting on a carnival for kids at an orphanage in Juarez, Mexico.
-Traveling all over the Philippines, making friends who were all about a foot shorter than me.
-Being a kid and feeling like I didn’t have any real friends.
-Being very self-centered in junior high and early high school, trying to be popular, and not succeeding.
-Break ups with boyfriends.
-Times I’ve sinned and run from God instead of just telling Him “sorry.”
Overall, the moments I’ve been happiest were the times that I wasn’t so concerned about myself. They were the times that I was close to God — or if I wasn’t, the times I was trying to be closer to Him. As a result, I wasn’t so conceited, and I was sharing my life with others — kids on missions trips, outreaches, or friends, family, etc. The times when I’ve been unhappy have been when I’m worried about relationships, money or my own popularity.
I’m obviously not a counselor or psychologist, but I think the cure to depression is a lot simpler than we make it. Yes, it is a matter of day to day positive thinking; thank you, Joel Osteen. But it’s also a matter of being focused on how we can make other people’s lives better.
Just this past weekend I was getting pretty upset about some financial issues that have come up in my life. I woke up feeling down about it on Sunday morning, but when I went to church, everything changed. The pastor wanted anyone who had a dire financial need to stand up and tell the entire church what the need was. (This is a very “freestyle” church).
About 10 people shared their difficulties. One car salesman has 3 kids that he has to pay child support, and since he hadn’t sold any cars over the past week, he didn’t know where the money would come from. Another lady desperately needed $200 for her husband’s medication. The stories went on and on. The church took up an offering for each of the individuals, and every need was met by the end of the service.
I started realizing how petty my difficulties were. Heck, I even have a few extra bucks to help these people who are in great need!
Like I said, I don’t know all the answers to depression. These are just musings!