Monday, November 22, 2010

Really, You Don't Know. Now Shut Up.

For some reason, fundamentalists feel qualified to give advice in every situation- like if your meddling relative suddenly decided they had every degree on the planet because they read Chicken Soup for the Soul.

This is especially dangerous when such a person decides to give medical advice, and they all do eventually, at least when it comes to depression. Well, they all do, who have not actually experienced depression. People have a bad day and say, "I'm so depressed." Then they get actual, real depression and realize that, in comparison, a bad day is a vacation in Venice, all expenses paid, compared to depression.

I had one bout of depression at 16. That was plenty for me. That was 18 years ago, and I still remember, and fear, the absolute, soul-sucking, self-destroying utter bleakness of depression. It's like someone ripped out your soul, your joy, your capacity for happiness or creation or getting out of bed, and you're left stumbling around with this big, sucking wound that nobody else can see.

Now, imagine feeling that way, imagine feeling like breathing is such an effort, imagine feeling like that will never, ever end and the world will never have color or spring or puppies in it ever again, and someone tells you this:

Recently, I was asked this question: "What are some of God's cure for depression?" Here's my reply:

He allows or removes the following:

-Remove unnecessary luxuries
-Remove idols (Nahum 1:14)
-Allow trials and tribulations to enter for testing and purifying (James 1:2-6)
-Remove His favor/blessing (Deut. 28)
-Strip you of secrets; exposing them to the world (Romans 2:16, 1 Corinthians 14:25)
-Covers your mouth from complaining (Numbers 12)
-Disobedient children bringing you to your knees (Malachi 4:5-6)

As the Lord strips us of uselessness and vanity, we draw closer to a God who desires our obedience and devotion. As we draw nearer to God, depression and sadness fades. It is what our Lord longs for - a revival of hearts dedicated and committed to Him in whole-hearted worship.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

In other words, this gaping wound where your capacity for joy used to be? That's God's doing, because you're not being humble enough. If you were a little more obedient, a little more devoted, this wouldn't be happening. Oh, and he's probably going to make things worse for you. Because God is love.

Or how about this suggestion:

I'm curious how they define mental illness. People have always had emotions, but now if you have a few bad days or bad weeks, you can remember the TV ads you've seen with people who go from watching life from the sidelines to joining in - transformed by anti-depressants. You can go to the doctor, who will accept your self-diagnosis and put you on drugs. You become even less resourceful at pulling yourself out of a slump.

When I'm depressed, I resist the downward spiral by trying to do something physically productive - like cleaning out the refrigerator or closets. It does take some self-discipline to pull oneself out, but it can be done. And believers definitely have an advantage as they have prayer in their medicine chest.

Yes, if you were just a little neater, you wouldn't be depressed. Oh, and pray more.

This is not useful advice for the depressed. This is, in fact, dangerous advice for the depressed. This is, perhaps, useful advice for someone having a bad day. Tai chi has become my personal Xanax*. I find cleaning soothing, as well. Neither one of those things would have worked while I was depressed. You can't cure that kind of thing on your own (though it might lift on its own eventually, I wouldn't suggest trying to wait it out), and it's dangerous to suggest people ought to.

Bad days suck. Depression kills.

Every 100 minutes another teenager will commit suicide.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 14 and 25 in the United States.

The following statistics were taken from a recent survey of college and high school students by the CDC:

Twenty-seven percent of high school students said they had "thought seriously" about killing themselves during the past year. Eight percent said they had actually tried to kill themselves.

Ten percent of U.S. college students admitted serious thoughts about suicide. Seven percent had a suicide plan.

More than 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year, and 5,000 of these people are teenagers.

If you are depressed, get help. Call the Suicide Hotline, 1-800-784-2433, call 911, call a doctor. As hard as it is to believe, it can get better, and it will- if you get help. I got help, took the meds for a year, and now I'm just left with a memory. If you know someone who is depressed, or someone tells you they are depressed, encourage them to call a doctor. Do not tell them about the last time you had a bad day and how much better ice cream and half naked Russell Crowe made you feel.

*While I can see immediately what I need to do, trying to get my body to do it requires a great deal of concentration, leaving me unable to think about anything else. It's like a 20 minute vacation from my brain.


  1. This is horribly dangerous and ignorant, the information these people are putting out there. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them believe that schizophrenia is actually demonic possession, and something like borderline personality disorder is just someone being "slutty and annoying*," or something else equally ignorant and insulting.

    *Have actually heard someone sum up borderline that way. Almost spit on them.

  2. Ariadne: well, then this won't surprise you.

    Ray Comfort exorcises a schitsophrenic teenage girl.

    But I've got to admit, Ice Cream and Half-Naked Russell Crowe has never failed for me.

  3. .............

    heh - remember the Horror Tale of the people at my mom's church trying to FORCE me to convert?
    what finally made my MOM quit the church was how the treated both her and me [she and i? both of us, i guess is the best grammer there...] when we were diagnosed with PTSD.

    first, it was "you ain't been in a war, girl, what's wrong with you? why are you doing X thing, God hates that".

    THAT pissed my mom off, because A)she KNOWS one doesn't have to be in a war to get PTSD and B)because they were acting as if i was "faking" it to do "bad things" [like getting a tattoo. a tattoo that has real, important meaning about ME, that i got so i couldn't forget the lessons i had learned the HARD way...]

    when my mom started meds for her PTSD, the church gave her HELL. told her it was "unfaithful to the Lord" to take meds for "the Cross the Lord gave [her] to Bear".

    and it went downhill from there. NOTHING my mom said mattered - she pointed out that God gave Man a brain, and the ability to treat these things, therefor it only makes sense that God wants these things to be treated. she pointed out that she couldn't SLEEP without those meds.

    didn't matter. apparantly, God wanted us to have PTSD - presuming we REALLY *had* PTSD, and they weren't sure about that, and if we didn't then we were liers and needed to PRAY EVEN MORE - so because wanted us to have it, WE WERE SUPPOSED TO SUFFER.

    assholes. they drove her away [not that i'm not GLAD she's away, but they put her through HELL. fuckers]

  4. There is definitely a difference between clinical depression and situational depression, the latter of which doesn't really deserve to be called depression. I ponder the end of my life with some degree of hopeful anxiousness when I think about how useless a person is to society without money. No contribution is valued except for a monetary one, except by businesses that thrive on slave labor, the only way to generate this money, and even then you won't get anything of real value unless the company is forced to provide it. The problem isn't just simple greed. It's a specific world order that uses money as shackles to enslave the masses. Death seems to be the only way out sometimes.


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