What is the relevance of spiritual faith to a depressed person?
My short answer would be that it absolutely necessary for recovery, but that it is also a two- edged sword.
The purpose of this chapter I will be primarily talking about Christianity. I will also talk about the role of twelve step groups a little later in the chapter.
I must point out that I am a Christian and have been so for the greater part of my adult life. I was not brought up in a church going Christian family, although I think that my father believed in God. In some sense, I might have been a Christian as a young boy, although I didn’t verbalize the prayer of salvation because I had never heard it and wouldn’t have known what it meant. As kids growing up the nineteen fifties and early sixties, we were blessed that the public school system was favourable towards prayer and the daily reading of Bible stories. As all my elementary school teachers included these two routines following the playing of Oh Canada, the Canadian national anthem, I assumed that it was mandatory for my elementary grade teachers to lead us in the Lord’s prayer and to read to us from a book containing Bible stories.
I now think that because of these two spiritual exercises practised by the public school system I came to believe in God. In reality, I cannot remember a time where I doubted God’s existence. I was probably not a saved, born again Christian, but could definitely be considered to be a believer. This does not mean that I always tried to walk out the Christian lifestyle. There were many times in my life when I didn’t.
I didn’t officially get ‘saved’ as it is termed in Christianity until I was twenty-seven years old. This occurred only because an ardent local minister came to my mobile home to witness to me. Ironically, this was not the first occasion would someone tried to lead me to the Lord.
Around two years earlier, a young Christian couple came to my apartment to share the Good News of the Gospel with me. During this occasion I was not receptive at all to hearing about Jesus. I only recall that the man who tried to witness to be me was called Hugh and for years after I felt sorry for the way I treated these young evangelists.
Hugh, if by some miracle, you have been reading this blog post or listen to my podcast show, I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior that evening. I just want you to know that you planted a seed and that I became a born-again Christian two years after you witnessed to me.
This has entirely nothing to do with today’s topic, but I just looked up at the calendar on my desktop computer to see that I am writing my first draft of this blog on July 14, 2017. On this day or date, I should say, that in 1966, I was at the Winnipeg Arena watching the Rolling Stones in concert. I can recall that my ticket cost fourteen dollars, the Rolling Stones only played for twenty-five minutes, with sound transmission coming through their woefully inadequate Vox amplifiers and that the girls screaming from the audience almost drowned out The Rolling Stones’s music.
Now back to my original topic, depression and spirituality. My whole thesis is that the depressed person has to one degree or another lost hope. The answer, of course, is to regain the lost hope or possibly experience hope for the first time. That’s where Christianity comes in. The Gospel message offers the guarantee that if we have truly given our life to the Lord, when we get to heaven we will enjoy an eternal and wonderful life.
There are certain theological streams that seem to contend that this is about the only promise that Christians can count upon and that this only occurs after physical death and the end of our earthly life.
Although this hope can be very comforting, I was also looking for hope during my earthly lifetime. I was never quite satisfied with a Christian theology that implies that our life on earth was just to be tolerated as we attempted to live a holy life, but that for the real reward, we would have to wait for heaven.
“I really appreciate your offer, Peyton. Sounds like your plan might work, but I have some concerns. What if some of the other players on Rick’s team blame Rick for the incident?” Misty asked nervously. brushing some snowflakes from her hair.
“Got that one covered too, Misty. Godzilla will let Miles Meyers know in no uncertain terms that if he tells anyone about their little conversation that they had behind 7-11, he will pay Miles another visit. During this meeting Miles Meyers can expect enough of a beating to keep him out of action for the rest of the season,” Peyton explained.
“You would actually do that for us? Peyton?” Misty asked
“Absolutely, you and Rick are two of our best friends. I’d do anything I can to help,” Peyton answered.
After their conversation on the park bench, both Peyton and Sabrina walked Misty home.
Reading,Writing, Aging and Depression
After Roger finished his devotion time, he returned to his writing by checking out his recent chapter of Winter Dreams. He would look for anywhere that editing was needed and started to think where he would take the story’s plot from here. Roger had also made up a separate Word document where he would list his ideas for potential future scenes.
While Roger had just started his next chapter, He heard a lot of noise emanating from outside his house. He got up from his black office chair and looked out his living room window.
There was still snow on the ground and Roger could see a man pushing a young female out of white Ford 250 truck. The next thing to be tossed out of the truck was a large blue hockey duffle bag. It landed on the snow and ice covered ground with a loud thump.
Roger opened his front door when he heard the driver yelling obscenities at the girl. As the white truck pulled away Roger put on his Kodiak snow boots and stepped outside his house. He needed to see if the young woman needed any assistance. Roger helped the girl to her feet. She looked up at Roger, thanked him and began to cry. The young lady was wearing only a grey hoodie sweatshirt and a well worn pair of blue jeans. Her was black and scraggly and the tears pouring out of her eyes caused her mascara to run. She was shivering from the cold.
“Would you like to come inside to warm up and join me for coffee or hot chocolate?”
“Oh, thank you. That would be awesome sir,” the young lady.
“You don’t have to call me sir,” Roger said as he helped the girl through the door. The young lady was feeling sore from being pushed out of the truck and landing on the hard ice and snow covered street. She was still shivering as it was unusually cold today and the girl didn’t have a winter coat to put on. Roger brought her duffle bag in. The bag was quite heavy but despite being sixty-five years old Roger was still very strong. He noticed a slight hint of body odor emanating from the girl. What really struck was the thinness of the young lady’s face and her general emaciated presentation.
Episode 5 of Chaos:
Roger had a regular morning routine. On weekdays he would turn on his phone and wait for a call from the school division giving him a substitute teaching assignment for the day. Roger did not really want to accept an assignment today. He had just finished a three day assignment teaching English at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate. Roger had a good time teaching there as the class was reading and discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Although Roger had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Murdoch MacKay, he was getting older and felt like he needed a day off.
He also felt guilty when he spent too many days away from his writing. Roger wrote fiction novels and found that the writing process was very therapeutic for him. He decided that he would decline any teaching assignments for today and would spend the day working on his current writing project, a novel titled Winter Dreams.
Roger’s morning routine seldom varied. He would get up and boil some water for his Valentus coffee. Roger would then fill up a large glass with water. The glass that he used to wash down his medications was actually a large holder for flowers that he had purchased at Dollarama.
As he got older Roger appeared to be taking more and more medications. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was in his late teens. His psychiatrist prescribed a cocktail of antidepressants. While drinking his coffee and taking his meds Roger would listen to one of his many Holy Bible audiobooks.
Roger had been a Christian since his late twenties. When he first got saved he was really just buying fire insurance. Roger simply did not want to go to hell. For almost three decades he really didn’t have an intimate relationship with the Lord. When Roger was in his early fifties he was introduced to Charismatic and Pentecostal theology through a co-worker. Since then he had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and received some of the spiritual gifts notably prophetic visions and words of knowledge.
Episode 4 of Chaos
Although he was officially retired Roger had not stopped working completely. He continued to work three to four days per week as a substitute teacher. Roger enjoyed substitute teaching much more than full time teaching as he now didn’t have extra work to take home in the evenings. Substitute teaching also got him out of the house several times per week. This helped alleviate Roger’s loneliness as it gave him something of a social life as he had an opportunity to visit with other teachers.
Fortunately, Roger was rarely bored. He had developed several hobbies during his teaching career and he now had more time to devote to them. Roger also picked up a couple of new hobbies after he retired. He had always enjoyed learning new things and developing new skills whenever possible.
He had truly loved his late wife Beatrice and believed that he could never again love a woman as much as he had loved her. Even so, he missed having female companionship. During one of his church’s weekly bible studies Roger had an attractive lady in her mid forties named Roxanne. They both felt a mutual attraction to each other and were soon going out for coffee after the Bible study had ended.
Episode 3 of Chaos:
To Roger’s delight and with the help of drinking Valentus coffee, going for daily bike rides and going for regular workouts at Shapes gym, he was able to get his weight down to two-hundred thirty-five pounds. About a year ago Roger went to his doctor for a complete physical and weighed in at three hundred ten pounds. This was a turning point for Roger. He had been avoiding looking at himself in the mirror for quite some time now. Roger felt too much shame to see his reflection in the mirror. Although his present weight was still above his ideal weight according to the body mass index chart that his doctor showed him, Roger felt much better about himself. He could now look at himself in the mirror without fear of embarrassment. In fact, Roger thought that he now looked good. Not only had he lost a great deal of body fat he had regained a significant amount of muscle mass. Roger was now very proud of himself. With hard work he had achieved a major life goal. He now felt a lot more confident when he went out in public.