Blue on Blue, Part 1 – Depression

Feeding time in the fish tank, KLCC Aquaria, Malaysia, Author SAM Cheong, Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/41234325@N06/5174061688 (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Feeding time in the fish tank, KLCC Aquaria, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Author SAM Cheong, Source flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

“Blue on blue, heartache on heartache
Blue on blue now that we are through…
Now the trees are bare
There’s sadness in the air
And I’m as blue as I can be”

– “Blue on Blue”, Bobby Vinton

Neglect to change the water in a fish tank, and it will soon cloud over.  Depression clouds the judgment of abuse victims, in much the same way.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a serious illness characterized by changes in brain chemistry.  Genetics, stress, major traumas such as war and child abuse, and medical conditions including AIDS, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and lupus can all play a role.

Grief at the loss of a loved one is generally distinguished from depression.  The first can, however, lead to the second [1].

Shift Toward Blue

With depression, we see the world through “blue colored” glasses, no longer capable of assessing ourselves or our situation accurately.

All our failings – failings we have in common with the rest of humanity – are magnified.  Our defeats are remembered; our good qualities and genuine accomplishments, diminished in our eyes or forgotten entirely.

Because depression is a mood disorder, we are unaware of this shift toward blue.  The world looks bleak.  Our situation – whatever it may be – appears hopeless to us.  Our lives feel meaningless.  In effect, the water in our fish tank is cloudy, and we cannot see past the glass.

Mindfulness

Only if we take a step back, and become mindful of our dark and sorrowful mood, are we likely to recognize that our judgment has been skewed.

Our actions are reflections of an inner reality.  Psychiatrists and psychologists attempt to gauge the state of that inner reality by asking such questions as how frequently we have cried, and whether we have contemplated harming ourselves or others.

We, too, can make a conscious effort to monitor our mood.  This is not a substitute for psychotherapy or psychiatric medication.  It is rather akin to a diabetic patient monitoring his/her blood glucose.

Not Sinful

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock…” (Ps. 40: 1-2).

For some, depression is temporary.  For others, it is a lifelong challenge.  Depression is not, however,  sinful.  Nor is it a sign of insufficient faith.  God does not abandon those of His children suffering from depression, any more than He abandons those suffering from cancer.

[1]  As an illustration, a woman tenderly cares for her terminally ill husband.  On his death, she grieves the loss.  Her grief does not, however, lift.  Gradually, she becomes more and more despondent – imagining that she should have done more.

ANYONE WITH THOUGHTS OF VIOLENCE OR SELF-HARM SHOULD SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION

The spiritual counter-part of depression will be addressed next week in Part 2

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

 

 

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36 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

36 responses to “Blue on Blue, Part 1 – Depression

  1. “For some, depression is temporary. For others, it is a lifelong challenge. Depression is not, however, sinful. Nor is it a sign of insufficient faith. God does not abandon those of His children suffering from depression, any more than He abandons those suffering from cancer.”

    For me depression has been a “friend”. Depression has been a faithful friend in times of sadness and times of joy, sticking closer than a brother. You know the way you have different types of friends: the ones who you go shopping with, those you go to the movies with, and those you call up for long chats on the phone? And then, there are those who you are friends with but you don’t quite know why they are in your life, but you don’t have the heart to abandon them? They don’t uplift or support you, instead they want to drag you down?

    That’s what depression has been like for me, that friend who always hangs around, full of doom and gloom, mocking/downplaying your achievements, turning up inconveniently, overstaying their welcome. Making you feel bad about yourself even when there is nothing to feel bad about. And as any good friend would advise, you don’t need “friends” like that.

    Thankfully as the author points out God does not abandon you when depression steals your joy – He comes in your time of need to help you see that He is the true friend and will be there for you always and will give you peace of mind, if you let Him.

    • A moving statement of the impact this devastating illness can have on our lives, Marie. Depression occurs from no fault of our own. It is not the sign of a “weak” mind, any more than it is a sign of insufficient faith. In fact, holding on despite depression can take enormous strength. ❤

    • Oh, Marie, you describe what I feel, too.
      It’s hard to kick it to the street sometimes, though!
      Thanks for sharing.
      God’s Blessings.
      Robbie

      • RobbyeFaye, thank you for sharing how depression has affected you. I sincerely hope that you have managed to cut the ties of that ‘friendship’ by the grace of God. I hope that you are blessed with continued healing and may God bless you richly.
        Marie

      • Marie, it’s an ongoing battle. There are some good days, weeks and sometimes months, but then it rears up it’s ugly head again.
        I have claimed the word trust for my word this year. I am praying that I can learn to trust more in the Lord.
        God’s Blessings!

      • I ‘liked’ this a few days ago RobbyeFaye, but in the meantime you have been on my mind, and I just wanted to tell you that was my story too. Re your second para: you can trust the Lord to replace that ‘battle’ with overflowing joy. Be ready for it when it comes. It happened for me. God is faithful, and it can happen for you. Bless you in your newfound joy!

      • Oh, thank you, Marie for your kind words.
        I know it will come. Sometimes the wait is excruciating and slow to us in our feeble human minds!
        God’s Blessings to you!

  2. Really good, Anna. Some great and helpful information here.
    I totally agree that depression itself is not sinful. But some sinful actions can lead to depression.

  3. There are a number of lonely people in the world, who do not know God’s power to bring us out of the pit of despair.
    I pray many will find your helpful post. God Bless 🙂

  4. I find I have to stay ever on the alert for my mood issues–try to determine if it’s fatigue that has colored my lenses indigo, or whether I may have set myself up for a disappointment; or maybe stresses have piled up, causing me to spiral down; and there are anniversary times, as well as seasons… I’m grateful God always helps me sort it out…even if it takes awhile, sometimes (and it’s hard to be patient when we’re depressed or “out of sorts”). God bless you abundantly, Anna ❤

  5. “Only if we take a step back, and become mindful of our dark and sorrowful mood, are we likely to recognize that our judgment has been skewed.”

    #1 biggest aspect of the state of our soul, I am convinced: We are taking our thoughts to the Cross. (2 Cor 10:5+)[“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”]

    Thanks, Anna. I shall commit to practicing this discipline more!

    • You give me too much credit, David. But I do believe along w/ you that the Lord can heal our scars. Even recognizing that He is there to lend us support, and lift us up when we have fallen can be an enormous help.

      So often the Lord values the very things about us we would dismiss and discard. That is something abuse victims often overlook. Our suffering is not pointless, in His eyes. The nuns had it right when they told us in grammar school we could offer suffering up for any worthwhile purpose. That makes our suffering — the very thing we despise — a powerful weapon for good.

      Blessings,

      A.

      • Amen to that. Nothing is spilled to the ground the moment we open our heart and mind to allow His Spirit to become part of our testimony.

        It is the “remember this” part that we need spurning to recall and.. press into.

      • We should make two points clear to readers:

        – first, that depression cannot be overcome by an act of will (if it could there would be no one suffering from depression, since no one voluntarily seeks the illness out); and

        – second, that faith cannot and must not be forced on abuse victims. Many victims take years to reconcile what they view as abandonment by God w/ the loving God you and I know. That decision has to be made by individual victims, in their good time.

        When and if abuse victims do choose to confront their past, this should be done w/ necessary medical and emotional support. The damage stemming from abuse can be severe, including even dissociative disorders which disrupt the memory, awareness, and/or identity of victims. While God is fully capable of miracles, it is not likely such serious disorders will be healed overnight.

        As for “taking our pain to the cross”, the concept requires some explanation for the benefit of non-Christian readers. Christians believe that Jesus was crucified for mankind’s sins — an innocent victim, but a willing sacrifice. By dying and rising from the dead, He once and for all time conquered sin and death, restoring the relationship between God and man.

        We can take our pain, our grief, and our shame to the cross in prayer. By this is meant that we can lay them before Christ, leaving our chains at the cross. We may be brought to our knees by brokenness, but arise free as only those whom the Lord has freed can be (John 8: 36). Where deep wounds exist, this may have to be done again and again.

        The spiritual experience discussed here should not be mistaken for a cure-all. Christians like non-Christians may continue to struggle w/ anxiety, depression, and a host of other ills. Frequently, however, the Lord changes our perspective in such a way that our suffering becomes more bearable. We come to see that His love is real, and that we are more than victims.

      • Yes and excellent clarification, Anna as usual. Thank you for more accurately explaining that for the sake of those who might think one is suggesting it is self-imposed or the fault of the victim. It is not!

        Thank you, again Anna.

        David

  6. Time, nurturing, unconditional love and support and the dispelling of silly trite “faith” cliches would be a humble start in the journey of helping others who have so violently suffered.

    In Love
    David

  7. This a very good Godly understanding Anna…..”Depression is not, however, sinful. Nor is it a sign of insufficient faith. God does not abandon those of His children suffering from depression, any more than He abandons those suffering from cancer.”

    Having suffered depression when I was younger and seeking to hide it so not to be considered less than a person of worth, you know what I mean, being Happy Clappy when I was crying and frightened inside, I appreciate very much your Message Anna and also others who have shared here too.

    Mine started in my Childhood, to save detail here below is a link to a Poem that shares how the Lord felt about part of what I suffered and I’m sure He would agree with you 100% in regards to depression too.

    Comforted- https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/in-my-arms/

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Anne. I, too, suffer from depression. ❤

      • I realized Anna you understood the problem of depression from the heart and not just the head and that you care deeply for others who suffer depression having experienced it too.

        I give Thanks often that I don’t suffer it’s barbs today and that I can express my True feelings good and bad instead of suppressing them or covering over how I really feel. Of course I’m sure others would prefer me to be Happy Annie all the time but my close Christian friends support me as God asks us to ( see below) they care when I need to express how I feel when I’m hurting and they don’t expect me to bury my emotions like I use to and knowing Jesus Comforts and Helps us and even carries us when needed relieves my fears.

        Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep.

        Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

        2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort who Comforteth us in all our tribulation that we may be able to Comfort them which are in any trouble by the Comfort wherewith we ourselves are Comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

        Matthew 11:28 – 30 Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your Souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

        Blessings – Anne.

      • Beautiful passages, Anne. Like you, I find much comfort in the Lord. Unfortunately, not all Christians are equally mature in their faith. What is said with the best intentions — even by clergy — can sometimes do much harm. Blessings, A. ❤

  8. Anna,
    Thank you for posting this.
    Even though I know these truths, sometimes it’s easy to forget. It’s good to get the reminder.
    God’s Blessings.
    Robbie

  9. Anna, it’s wonderful to have another voice to help shake off the stigma of blame and shame. Thank you for your honesty, love and encouragement.

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