News about a new blood test identifying depression has been in the news the last few weeks. The test measures the blood levels of RNA – a chemical used to process our DNA, and may even help doctors to identify those who would benefit the most from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – “Talk therapy” – “as a man thinks in his heart, so he believes.” (Newsweek.com 9/14)
I am pretty excited about this new discovery – maybe, just maybe, this will help Christ followers and non-Christ followers to treat other Christians suffering from a mental health challenge, or mental “illness” with the same kindness of those who have a physical ailment.
I am still amazed at how many people can discuss a mental health issue like depression or anxiety with statements like, “They need to focus on the Lawd!” Or, “The joy of the Lawd is my strength!” Or, “They have a spirit of fear.” Or, “They need to trust God for peace.” “They need to hand it to God.” (That is one of my husbands personal favorites – as if we don’t all try to do that?)
You get the picture. You have probably heard them all before.
The same people go on in the next breath to say, “The doctors just switched my diabetes medication to___.” “…my high blood pressure medication to…” “I’m on an antibiotic for my cold.”
As if we as a beautiful human creation can be compartmentalized into – BODY. SOUL. SPIRIT.
I’m gonna throw it out there – it’s OK to be obese, but it’s not OK to be depressed? Wait, don’t they very often go hand in hand? Impulse eating, comfort food?
Addictions?Why do many of us north country folks put on weight in the long, cold, dark, depressing winters of the Northeast?
I know why I do – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Such an appropriate name. “SAD”
As the weather is turning and the leaves are changing I feel my head beginning to – – I can’t even put it into words. I can only identify what God has taught me about myself and my own mental health – that this is when I beef up my supplements, boundaries, and self-care. I spend time with people who want to take the time to get to know me – to get to know us- and us them. No masks, pretenses, religiosity, Christianeze. Dave hates it. He is who he is. I think who he is, is pretty awesome. God has done a tremendous work in keeping us in His grasp. We are pretty easy to get to know…
For me, the weather is combined with the multitude of losses that we as a family have experienced – all from the fall of 2002 through Easter Sunday of 2007 (when my infant grandson was on life support), topped off by the years of repressed grief over the traumatic loss of our son on December 10, 1990 and the spiritual abuse that surrounded, and followed it.
I could spend my time convincing myself I need to have more “Joy of the Lawd,” (been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt with the writing on the front “Hyper faith” or “Faith Message”) or I can take Vitamin D, St. Johns Wort, Omega 3’s and do light therapy in the mornings, WHILE I am spending time in the presence of the Light of the World.
I choose the latter.
I also take extra Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea and Elderberry Syrup (my daughter Kristen makes it) for my physical health. I use more natural Lysol type products and hand sanitizer too. There is stress associated with the changing seasons to colder months.
O ye of little faith!
“Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.” (http://www.thekimfoundation.org/html/about_mental_ill/statistics.html)
OK, those are the diagnosable ones. The longer term. How about the days we all get “blue” and just need a little extra TLC? Or experience loss. That’s a big one.
There are an awful lot people who just need to know it’s OK when their joy of the Lord has a head cold. We all just need a little more TLC, a little empathy, a little trying to understand from someone else’s perspective. Or at least acknowledging we don’t have a clue how they feel.
A little more Jesus.
I’ll go with that.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13