Dealing with Depression – Part 3

I cry to the Lord; I call and call to him. Oh, that he would listen. I am in deep trouble and I need his help so much. All night long I pray, lifting my hands to heaven, pleading. There can be no joy for me until he acts. I think of God and moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. I cannot sleep until you act. I am too distressed even to pray!

 I keep thinking of the good old days of the past, long since ended. Then my nights were filled with joyous songs. I search my soul and meditate upon the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be favorable? Is his loving-kindness gone forever? Has his promise failed? Has he forgotten to be kind to one so undeserving? Has he slammed the door in anger on his love? And I said: This is my fate, that the blessings of God have changed to hate. I recall the many miracles he did for me so long ago. Those wonderful deeds are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.

 O God, your ways are holy. Where is there any other as mighty as you? You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate your awesome power.

 You have redeemed us who are the sons of Jacob and of Joseph by your might. When the Red Sea saw you, how it feared! It trembled to its depths! The clouds poured down their rain, the thunder rolled and crackled in the sky. Your lightning flashed. There was thunder in the whirlwind; the lightning lighted up the world! The earth trembled and shook.

 Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.                                        Psalm 77(Living Bible)

We have come to part three of dealing with depression, the spiritual dimension. Really, one cannot arbitrarily separate the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the human existence. Each realm affects the other.

The spiritual dimension is related to our soul- the eternal part of us. This has to do with our very experience of the meaning of life and that is why it is so important. When we are depressed, we can wonder if life is really worth living. Suicide rates in depression can be disturbingly high, especially in certain vulnerable demographic categories.

Without a spiritual approach, we can become hopeless, and then search for quick substitutes to try to feel better and relieve the pain quickly. As I had mentioned in a blog about addictions, anything that makes us feel better right away is addictive. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, etc. are all quick “make me feel good right now” remedies which can addict us. Many people become addicted to a substance or a practice because they are self-medicating to relieve depression.

Spiritual tools include prayer, music, reading uplifting books, fellowship with other strong spiritual mentors and friends, and any other practice that brings us into the presence of God. Indeed, walks in nature, trips to the mountains, the beach, etc. can be spiritual experiences if we dedicate them to getting closer to God and knowing his plan and love for us.

David, in Psalm 77 described his lonely journey in depression, and found solace only when he contemplated and remembered how God had been active in his life for so many years before.

God knows our frailty, and even David had his very dark nights of the soul. We need to take the deep breath and realize that God did not leave us, he is right there when we call on him.

Prayer: Father, we are prone to difficulties and suffering, yet you give comfort as we recall your goodness to us, Amen.

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