Depression, or a bad case of the ‘blues’, is most commonly diagnosed in women. And antidepressant drugs are a growing billion-dollar market in Canada with two-thirds of a variety of such pills consumed by women.
According to a survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one-half of women believe that it’s ‘normal’ to be depressed – that everyone feels the blues (some more severely than others) at one time or another.
Such widespread public opinion might influence us to buy into this thinking about our health.
But, it doesn’t have to.
As antidepressants come with significant side effects, and recent studies have raised questions about their effectiveness, mental health professionals – and millions of women – are seeking effective alternatives.
Research indicates that women are more likely than men to respond to some kind of psychological therapy; that looking to our thinking is a viable remedial alternative. And looking at thought and its effects on the body offers a glimmer of light on the dark path of depression so many feel they are destined to follow.
Though it might not be thought of as the go-to book when it comes to health problems, the Bible challenges us to think outside the realm of human theories and explore the role our thinking plays in every aspect of our lives. It offers us a fresh view (or for some of us, a “re-view”) of God as the source of all good, and health as our normal condition.
The Psalmist gives us a glimpse of how to overcome these feelings of hopelessness when he questions, “Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside?’ And then he counsels and assures, ‘Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God.’ (Psalms 42:11 CEB)
A considerable amount of research has shown that a people who incorporate some form of spirituality in their life typically have fewer symptoms of depression.
For one young woman, finding a connection to that saving presence was a life-transforming resolution for mental health.
In her youth, Nicole was diagnosed with clinical depression by a psychiatrist who also informed her that this disease was degenerative, incurable, and often resulted in suicidal tendencies as one grew older. She began taking prescribed anti-depressants, and suffered relapses whenever she tried to stop.
Nicole did not want to accept this life sentence as her version of normal health.
At the urgings of her best friend, she delved into her Bible to help her find clarity about God and her relationship to Him. She realized that her feeling of sadness and depression stemmed from a lifelong doubt about God’s existence.
Continued study and sincere effort to understand God as divine Love, brought Nicole an assurance of being fully cared for. The upshot of this growing understanding of her relationship to a loving Creator was the realization that good health, including a happy disposition, was her normal status. The feelings of chronic depression gradually dissolved and then permanently disappeared.
The Bible offers divine authority to challenge what seems, at times, the generally accepted belief that good health is not always possible. It gives examples of many who have found that, drawing closer to God, individualizing our connection to our loving Father-Mother, sheds healing light on every dark path. That sounds like a good ‘normal’ to buy into.
You can also read this article on several Metroland news sites such as Niagara This Week.