Does This Sound Like Depression?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Mark Osgatharp, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Some, in order to avoid the plain teaching of Philippians chapter 4, have tried to argue that depression and peace can co-exist in the same heart. As one who has experienced depression of the most horrid kind, as well as having tasted of the peace of God, I can testify that the two are not the same.

    But I understand that my testimony proves nothing to anyone but myself. However, I also know what the word of God has to say on this subject. Can anyone read the following passages and still contend that the peace and depression are not anti-thetical:

    "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." - Isaiah

    "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." - Isaiah

    "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." - Jeremiah

    "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." - Jesus

    "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." - Jesus

    "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." - Paul

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. Helen

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    Mark, first of all, Jesus' invitation to come to Him and He would give rest is primarily regarding the idea of 'works salvation' which the Pharisees taught (and most people still seem to believe). Jesus would do all the work and we couldn't save ourselves, but could rest in Him.

    That aside, the rest of your verses are on topic. But I disagree with you regarding peace not being able to co-exist with depression, actually. My husband of 20 years left me without warning for another woman in 1991. I was left with six children, ages 6-17, five of whom are special case adoptions. I cried for a year, literally. I was looking up at worms' bellies. My life as I knew it had been betrayed and destroyed. Finances were between nil and in shambles. I was paralized with emotional pain and deeply depressed.

    And yet,...and yet, I KNEW everything would finally be all right. I knew I could trust God and I knew that He was in control. There was a sense of peace underneath all the turmoil going on. I still cried until my eyes had no more tears at night. I still had a hard time eating. I still would sit and stare at nothing or lie down and not feel like getting up....ever. But inside I knew I could still trust God. I knew all I had to do was somehow get through this time. I had a sort of internal assurance that yes, there was deep grief and pain and I had to walk through this valley. Yes, I was depressed, but I COULD walk through this valley. Yes, I felt paralyzed, but this would not be forever.

    There were special moments of deep-down reassurance. I can't explain them, but I can only tell you they happened.

    I did find my pain and depression were worse when I focused on what had happened rather than keeping my eyes and faith on God, but they were, nevertheless, part of a path I had to walk, with or without Him. With Him just made it so much more doable.

    But there was a very deep reassurance and peace during that year, despite the pain, the anguish, the grief, the depression, the emotional roller coaster.

    But, like you, I can only speak for myself.
     
  3. OCC

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    "Mark, first of all, Jesus' invitation to come to Him and He would give rest is primarily regarding the idea of 'works salvation' which the Pharisees taught (and most people still seem to believe). Jesus would do all the work and we couldn't save ourselves, but could rest in Him."

    Helen, you are exactly right.

    Mark...doesn't focusing only on depression make you depressed? Should we start a post or three against fat people...of which I am, kind of?
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    Mark, I'm almost at a loss for words. So one more thought:

    Worry is the opposite of peace, not depression. You can be very sad about an issue and still be at peace. But if you are worrying about something constantly, you will not have peace.

    Through my depression, I wasn't worried. I wasn't even sad, just numb and almost paralyzed when it came to day to day activities. Worry didn't contribute because at the time I had very little to worry about. Financially it was the best time of our lives, we had or would have three beautiful children. We drove nice cars, we weren't fighting(although we weren't entirely free from marital problems). Everyone was healthy(can't say that now!) except for me(I'm healthy now). I had peace and still couldn't deal because my body had a problem producing enough of a certain chemical that my brain needed to function correctly.

    My heart WASN'T troubled nor was I afraid, I just couldn't function. I have a feeling that you simply have a block about this and have yet to come to a point where you can see the difference between physical depression and guilt over sin. That's fine, eventually our Lord will reveal what He needs for you to know.

    This a case where we'll have to agree to disagree. Be warned though, everytime you try to paint all depression as a sin I will be there to provide the other side to the coin.
     
  5. TexasSky

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    Helen,

    What a wonderful testimony.
     
  6. StraightAndNarrow

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    How did pre-twentieth theories of the aetiology of depression develop?

    Depression has always existed. King Saul is described as experiencing depression and committing suicide because of it in the Old Testament. Even before this, theories on mental illness and depression existed. However, it has not always been seen as separate from other types of mental illness.

    It is thought that ancient man saw mental illness as possession by supernatural forces. Ancient human skulls have been found with large holes in them, a process that has become known as trepanning.1 The accepted theory is that it was an attempt to let evil spirits out. We cannot be certain of this, but we do know that again and again human kind has returned to the idea of mental illness being caused by “evil forces”.

    The great cultures of old, such as those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, fluctuated between naturalistic and supernatural explanations of diseases.2 In the classical Greek era attempts were made to explain physical and psychological phenomenon with more scientific approaches. Empedocles (490-430 BC) developed the humoral theory, based on what he regarded as the four basic elements, each was characterised by a quality and a corresponding body humor:

    Element Quality Humor
    Fire Heat Blood (in the heart)
    Earth Dryness Phlegm (in the brain)
    Water Moisture Yellow bile (in the liver)
    Air Cold Black bile (in the spleen)

    Disease was said to be caused by imbalance among these humors and the cure was to administer a drug with an opposite quality to the one out of balance.3

    Hippocrates (460-377 BC) lived at the time of Hellenic enlightenment, when great advances were made in all areas of knowledge. He applied Empedocles’ theory to mental illness and was insistent that all illness or mental disorder must be explained on the basis of natural causes. Unpleasant dreams and anxiety were seen as being caused by a sudden flow of bile to the brain, melancholia was thought to be brought on by an excess of black bile4, and exaltation by a predominance of warmth and dampness in the brain. Temperament was thought to be choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine or melancholic depending on the dominating humor.

    Plato (427-347 BC) had a retrograde influence on psychology in that he reintroduced a mystical element.5 He believed in two types of madness, the first was divinely inspired and gave the recipient prophetic powers, the second was caused by disease.2 He conceived of two souls:

    Soul Mortality Location
    Rational Immortal In the brain
    Irrational Mortal Emotions located
    in various parts of the
    body e.g. anger and
    audacity in the heart.

    The second type of mental disorder resulted when the irrational soul severed its connection with the rational, resulting in an excess of happiness, sadness, pleasure seeking or pain avoidance. The reason for the abandonment of reason was due to the imbalances explained in Hippocrates’ humoral theory.

    Aristotle (384-322 BC), Plato’s pupil, believed in the two parts of man’s soul. However, he said because reason was immortal it must be immune to illness, so all illness, mental or otherwise, must be rooted in man’s physical structure.1

    Asclepiades (dates unknown) was one such physician. He regarded mental disorders as stemming from emotional disturbances, in his terms “passions of sensations”.5

    Cicero (106-43 BC) was a philosopher, not a healer. He went further than Asclepiades and rejected Hippocrates’ bile theory, stating that emotional factors could cause physical illness, “What we call furor they call melancholia, as if the reason were affected by only a black bile, and not disturbed often by a violent rage, or fear, or grief”. The difference between physical and mental disorders was that the former might be caused by purely extraneous factors, but “perburtations of the mind may proceed from a neglect of reason”. Man could help with his own cure through “philosophy”, which would nowadays be known as psychotherapy.5

    Arateus (ca AD 30-90) was the first to suggest that the origin of mental disorder might not be specifically localised. It could originate from the head or abdomen and the other could be affected as a secondary consequence. He had begun to see that an individual functions as a unitary system. He also worked on ideas about premorbid personalities and discovered that individuals who became manic were characteristically labile in nature, easily irritable, angry or happy. Those who developed melancholia tended to depression in their premorbid state.1 Emotional disorders were merely an extension or exaggeration of existing character traits, a very original idea for the time. He also observed that mania and depression could occur in the same individual, thereby anticipating Kraeplins’ work on mania and melancholia being part of one disorder by many centuries.

    Galen (AD 30-90) did not so much develop highly original ideas as sum up the thinking of the Greco-Roman era. He again divided the soul into two areas:

    Souls Location Function
    Rational Brain Controls internal and external functions. Internal = imagination, judgement, memory, apperception, movement.
    External = the five senses.

    Irrational Heart and liver Control all emotions

    He suggested again that infection of one area could be secondary to something else. He stated that food passed from the stomach to the liver where it was transformed into chlye and permeated by natural spirits (which exist in every living substance). The veins carried the material to the heart. Air, which held the vital principle, combined with the natural spirits, thereby producing the vital spirits. These rose into the brain and were converted into the animal spirits. Mental disease/disturbance of animal spirits arose because either because the brain was directly afflicted (mania and melancholia) or because it was affected by disorder in another organ.

    Christianity had grown from a persecuted minority into the official religion by the fourth century AD With the fall of the Roman empire there was much insecurity amongst people and the Christian Church played an important role in bringing consolation to the masses. People were again more willing to trust in supernatural explanations of phenomena that could not be explained at the time with rational thought. Some believe that Christianity ensured the continuation of civilisation and prevented a further retrogression. The price paid was probably the loss of the scientific thinking of the Greco-Roman era.

    The Church of the early middle ages was concerned very much with life in the hereafter and not on earth. It also stressed greatly the healing powers of religious symbols. This probably explains the decline in the healing arts in particular.
    Much superstition and belief in the supernatural abounded amongst lay people. The Church did not deny the existence of the supernatural, but saw magic as evidence of communion with devils.5 The early rationalism abated. The learning of the Greco-Roman era were only accessible in places such as monasteries where learned men read and compiled them, but added little that was new.
    The nunneries were more creative places of learning, centered around the arts and nature. They probably used many herb and plant remedies to heal the sick, as did the lay people of that time. Nature was again seen as a healer. This is reminiscent of pagan beliefs. However, unlike the Pagan’s who worshipped the femininity and healing powers of women and held them in esteem, the Christian authorities begun to see women as inferior and dirty. Even so, the Abbesses held much power for women at that time.

    The phenomenon of mental disturbance troubled the early Christian authorities. The Devil could not always be blamed because the content of the madness seemed to have religious significance, it was undecided as to whether the mad were communicating with the devil or were saints. However, in the early seventh century the Devil was accepted as a culprit for all types of deviant behaviour and Demonology became the “psychiatry” of the day. Symptoms looked for were marks on the skin that the Devil might have left and cures involved placing holy relics on the afflicted.

    ***********************************************

    During the period of the writing of the New Testament Galen's theories about two souls and the natural and animal spirits would have been the prevailing belief of the civilized world. Well, I for one think that's better than the practice of the ancients to drill holes in the skull to let out the evil spirits.
     
  7. Mark Osgatharp

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    Helen,

    I have looked up the worm's bellies myself. I, too, knew all along that God would bring my feet up out of the miry clay. If I hand't known that, there is no telling what I might have done.

    All of that notwithstanding, there is no way in the world that I can equate what I experienced in depression as "the peace of God that passes all understanding" keeping my "heart and mind through Christ Jesus."

    For the record, the "rest" that Jesus promised is not simply the rest of knowing that you are going to heaven. It is the rest that we find when we learn of Him and take His yoke on us. As Hebrews says,

    "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest."

    Yes, that starts with the new birth; but it doesn't end there. And there are many people who are born again - who have eternal life - who are not experiencing peace in a practical way because they are not fully trusting in God.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  8. Johnv

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    Were you generally depressed, or were you suffering from a clinical depression? Big difference. Your other posts elsewhere have appeared to dismiss clinical depressions of chemical imbalances via citation of Phil4.

    Are you indeed saying that a person with clinical depression or bipolar disorder shouldn't seek medical treatment?
     
  9. Mark Osgatharp

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    JohnV,

    What I suffered would have been diagnosed as a "clinical depression" if I had gone to shrink with it. All the symptoms that are associated with the term.

    I have said already, more than once - despite all the lies that have been thrown at me - that I do not think it is wrong for people to use medicine as a relief from the pain of depression.

    What I do believe is that the root cause of depression is lack of trust in and obedience to God and, therefore, if a man does not address these issues he has not addressed the real problem, he has only treated the symptoms.

    Having said that, let me also say that I reject in it's totality the practice of "psychology".

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  10. Johnv

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    You simply aren't qualified to make that diagnosis. Not by any stretch. The poerson who treats himself has a fool for a patient.

    I'm glad to hear it. But the topic was not the pain of depression, it was treatment for depression itself. You appear to deny the undeniable fact that clinical depression is a severe medical condition that must be treated by a medical professional.

    I think that's an absolute crock. There's no scriptural support for this. None. If the implication is that Phil4 supports this, it's a perversion of scripture.
    Psycology is as valid as any other field of medical practice, and that's a fact. Psychological medical conditions are real physical conditions that require treatment. You're welcome to dismiss it all you like, but that doesn't make it so. All you end up doing is spit in the face of all who suffer from clinical depression, bipolar disorders, DID, etc. That's nothing short of parasaical self-rightousness.
     
  11. donnA

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    So now we have 3 threads on depression? Is this necessary?
    It takes some people a long time to say nothing.
     
  12. Scarlett O.

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    Mark,

    I, too, have looked at the worms' bellies.

    I have epilepsy. It's 99.5% completely controlled by tegretol.

    The only problems I have when I take my medicine is an occassional difficulty in speaking. But it is so slight that someone who didn't know me would just think that I was mildly stuttering.

    It hasn't stopped me from being a Sunday School teacher, a public school teacher, a guest instructor at universities nor a speaker at women's conferences.

    If I did NOT take tegretol, I would have severe grand mal seizures. In fact, I would probably be dead.

    So, I am grateful to God for the medication.

    However, one of the side effects of tegretol is clinical depression. A person taking tegretol doesn't suffer from it all of the time. Generally just for a few months in the initial phase of taking the drug.

    Then the body acclimates itself to the drug.

    When I first switched from another drug to tegretol, it was under an emergency room doctor's care because my neurologist had moved his practice to another state and I had not found a replacement.

    He didn't tell me about the depression.

    Well, I cried all of the time. If I wasn't moaning and groaning, I snapped people's head off. I didn't want to do anything but sleep. I wanted to die and I actually planned my suicide.

    It was on my 28th birthday. I was so sick and tired of being a crazy person in my head and hating myself and hating the world.

    I planned it all out in my mind as I tried to sleep that night. I planned exactly how to not make a mess, I wrote the notes out in my mind to my folks, and I wrote notes in my mind to the EMTs who would find me after I place a 911 call to come to my house and find me dead. I wanted them to keep my two cats locked in the back bedroom until my folks got there. I won't go into specific details, but it was the perfect plan. I spent all night lying in bed orchestrating it all. No one could have planned it any better.

    It was the perfect way out for me. I was so depressed and miserable and I felt this was the only way to solve it.

    What stopped me?

    What stopped me is what you said in your original post is impossible.

    You said that depression and the peace of Christ cannot abide together.

    You are wrong.

    What stopped me was the fact that I was a Christian and I knew that "this too shall pass" and that God was ulimately in charge and the suicide was not His will for my life.

    The Peace of Jesus Christ that dwelt in me as a saved person stopped me.

    I made an appointment the following week with a new neurologist. I should have done so when my other one moved away.

    I told him what was wrong with me and he cried with me the whole time. I was crying with racking sobs and he was crying soft sympathetic tears.

    He took hold of my shoulders and said, "The emergency room doctor didn't tell you that tegretol causes depression in its initial use?"

    I looked at him, stunned, and said, "No!"

    He counseled with me a long time and gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant.

    It saved my life. It took about 4-6 weeks, but it saved my life.

    My body has long since been acclimated to tegretol and I no longer suffer from depression and I am perfectly fine.

    Life is good. God is good. His miracles of healing through medications is a blessing.

    And I cannot thank Him enough that the Peace of Jesus Christ that abided in me even during the drug induced depression overrode any wrong decisions about my life that I could have made.

    The Peace of Jesus Christ indwells in our lives no matter WHAT else may be occurring.

    That's why we can prevail over horrors in our lives.

    When the horrors of life invade us and make us overcome with worry, fear, guilt, and depression, those same horrors of life do NOT negate, override, or dismiss the Peace of Jesus Christ that already grasps the Christian man or woman.

    Peace-
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  13. Mark Osgatharp

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    In other words, it doesn't matter how severely depressed I was for how long a time with whatever symptoms, it wasn't clinical depression because I got over it without a clinic, a shrink or medication.

    Well, I won't confuse you with the facts any further.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  14. El_Guero

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    Mark,

    I think what caught people off guard was what seems to be a disregard for Psychology as a Science combined with a statement diagnosing oneself with a psychological illness.

    On the emotional side, you have a distaste for Psychology. Yet in your experiential life you have given into a trust in Psychology.

    For me, it is a little difficult trying to rationalize your beliefs with your practice ...

    It is not unlike a Christian saying that I believe that I must stop all of my sinning, but I want to spend the next couple of years having fun.

    I pray that my post made some sence ...

    In Christ
     
  15. Johnv

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    You provided no facts, you merely opined about yoru own situation. The fact is that you simply aren't qualified in any manner whatsoever to make a self-diagnosis to whether or not your depression was legitimate clinical depression. Could you diagnose your own cancer? Of course not. Likewise, you can't diagnose your own clinical depression.
     
  16. StraightAndNarrow

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    In other words, it doesn't matter how severely depressed I was for how long a time with whatever symptoms, it wasn't clinical depression because I got over it without a clinic, a shrink or medication.

    Well, I won't confuse you with the facts any further.

    Mark Osgatharp
    </font>[/QUOTE]Some clinical depression is chronic and some goes away after a period of time. You had the kind that goes away. Medication is given to patients that suffer from short term depression to reduce the symptoms and to shorten the period of time that the disease lasts. Sure, you can choose to not take the medication and suffer through the depression for a longer period of time if you want to do so.

    Do you take cough syrup or pills for a cold or the flu? Why do you do that? We can't cure either of these two maladies. We can only reduce the symptoms. Next time, cough, sneeze and struggle to breathe to your heart's content.
     
  17. Mark Osgatharp

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    El Guero,

    You said,

    I did not diagnose myself with a "psychological illness." I simply said that what I experienced would have been classed as such by a psychologist.

    I do not believe that depression is an illness, in the same sense as cancer, polio, diabetes, etc. It certainly has effects on the body, but it's root cause, and therefore it's remedy, is spiritual.

    That is my whole contention. That is what I have always belived about, both before it happened so to me as well as after.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  18. Johnv

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    You're not in any way qualified to make that determination.

    Whether you believe that or not does not change the fact that it is indeed a legitimate medical condition as legitimate as any physical medical condition.

    That's very presumptuous on yoru part. Your presumption is not based on scripture or medical facts.
     
  19. TexasSky

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    Mark,

    How can you deny the affect of blood sugar levels or serotonin or other hormones on mood when there is so very much scientific evidence proving these things affect mood?

    How can you deny that when these body chemicals are imbalanced the person suffers mood swings, that often result in dangerous depression?
     
  20. TexasSky

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    Also,

    Regarding the original post. No. Just having some depression like symptoms does not necessarily mean you fit the clinical diagnosis for depression. Symptoms, can be present without meeting diagnositc criteria.

    Diagnostic criteria requires ruling out other possible causes, and requires things like frequency of occurances, degree of affect, meeting a certain number of symptoms.
     

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