Thursday, July 4, 2013

Can Depression Kill


O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness. (King David, Ps 88:1-18 KJV)

Depression can take the light out of person's eye and rob a person of the pleasure involved in relationship but can it actually kill a person. King David, the great King of all Israel suffered from deep depression and his words certainly depict a man trapped in depression. Depression is real and it does kill. Is there a viable solution?

First, let me give you just a few facts on depression. It is a fact Clinical depression affects 15% of the population, and a third of all women. One of the reasons twice as many women as men suffer depression and anxiety, according to researchers at University College, London, is that women's traditional roles (taking care of the household, family finances and children) are under-valued. Men are also under pressure in an effort to balance family life with an increasingly competitive workplace, and are particularly vulnerable to depressive episodes after redundancy and retirement. The burden on the, often isolated, nuclear family is enormous, with little time left for the kids or relationships with friends and even extended family.

It is no secret, depression is the second biggest killer behind heart disease (itself a contributory factor in depression), and is increasing a staggering 23% per year in children, according to one Harvard University study.

The real catastrophe is the lack of effective available treatments, with many people led to believe that pills, or herbs or diet will do the trick. The truth is that antidepressants work for less than 50% of depressed people, and are about as effective as sugar pills. The FDA only recommends taking them for short periods. (This does not mean you should stop taking them abruptly, certainly not without medical supervision.) Even natural remedies, such as St. John's Wort, while they may not have nasty side effects, don't offer a long-term cure.

Psychiatrics suggest therapy along with medication, but the primary form of psychotherapy for depression, cognitive behavioral therapy, has a relapse rate of up to 80%, according to University of Washington researchers.

What is the solution to depression?

Is there a solution? Does an individual have to suffer this deadly disorder for the rest of their life? I firmly do not believe the "complete" answer to depression exists neither in a bottle of pills nor in cognitive therapy. I believe these treatments help and I am not saying stop taking pills with out your doctor's advice. God forbid that I usurp the authority of a medical doctor. In addition, I believe rational thinking helps if a person has the capacity to practice the principles of the therapy. Yet, these approaches are only slightly affective. How can we rid ourselves of these horrible feelings of worthlessness created by depressive episodes? How can we get out of the proverbial, "Dark Hole"?

I wish there was an easy answer to the above questions. It would be nice if taking a doze of Prozac, Zoloft, or other anti-depressants would work all the time every time but the sad truth is they don't. There is no easy answer, nor simply solution to depression. Many of the bible characters suffered from deep and lasting depression. David, Solomon, Jonah, and many others prayed to God to deliver them out of the darkness of depression and God did but God did it in His time not theirs.
Romans 15: 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

I have suffered from deep, major depression and today I am free from depression. I do have my bad days but nothing like those "dark days" of deep feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and pain. I believe medicine can help but it is a temporary fix and I believe truth therapy (not rational therapy) is essential but I think the biggest factor that helped me was faith.

During the days of deep depression, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation, I developed a faith in God. In fact, I came to trust in Him during the hardest days of my life. Looking back, I realize it was during the dark days, when I could not care for myself, He was actually carrying me through it all. Remember the poem, "foot prints in the sand." He was there all the time. If I had never had the problem with depression I would have never learned how I needed a relationship with my Creator. After many years of depression, I finally came out of the dark. However, it was in the pain that I discover my real need for a power, God, who could raise me out of the deep deadly pit of depression. I don't care to return to the dark hole so I do my best to turn my life over to His power and control on a daily basis. This has worked for a few years now and as long as this plan works and I will work the plan.

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