Monday, March 08, 2010

Therapy for Depression (Part 1)

Hear this young man as depicted by Oscar Wilde in one of his poetical works:

"And when He had passed out of the city
He saw seated by the roadside a young
man who was weeping,
And He went forward and touched the long
locks of his hair and said to him,
'Why are you weeping?'
And the young man looked up and recognized
Him and made answer, 'But I was dead once
and you raised me from the dead.
What else should I do but weep?' "

Depression is a "common cold of the mind." Depression-producing situations can assail us and leave us confused. Perhaps you sympathize with this young man above where death seems like peace and life is not. All he wants to do is weep.

No one is exempt from moments of depression. Each of us can identify sources of disappointment that can knot up our lives in ways that block peace of mind. Events such as family problems, a financial setback, retirement, loss or separation from a loved one, terminal illness etc. can all provoke normal, expected reactions of sadness and grief. And that's fine for a time.

However, when there are uncontrollable and lingering feelings of sadness, helplessness, and despair, depression becomes unhealthy. It turns from "normal" into incapacitating illness. Some obvious symptoms or manifestations of depression as a disease "beyond normal" period of time are:

* Physically: overwhelming lethargy, tiredness, energy-sapping; insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, bodily comforts
* Mentally/Emotionally: lack of interest in usual activities and relationships, negative thoughts, self-blame; paralyzing
inability even to make simple everyday decisions
* Spiritually: burdened by feelings of guilt and sinfulness, cut off from God and experiencing His goodness.

"I am wearied with groaning; all night long my pillow is wet with tears, I soak my bed with weeping. Grief dims my eyes; they are worn out with all my woes" (Psalm 6)

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