Let’s look at the numbering system, number by number. A 5 is normal, the high-end of stability. It’s where you want to stay; but if you’ve been depressed before, it’s likely
you will be depressed again, and the more often you have slipped into depression, the more likely. What you want to do at this stage is to expand your capacity to deal with depression so you can stay at a 5, which includes the suggestions I’ve made and will be making. The spiritual component is important at this stage.
A 4 is mild to moderate depression. It’s what Mitch in my novel calls “half a bubble off level.” At this stage you are at the low-end of stable and should be using all the tools in your toolbox and adding new and effective tools (I will be showing you many more tools)) to move up to a 5 or increase your capacity to function normally at a 4. A 4 can be a beautiful place of creativity, love, and grand spiritual discoveries – if you accept where you are and place yourself in the hands of One higher than you. The spiritual component can be very powerful at this stage.
A 3 is severe depression, a place you don’t want to stay in, a place of hopelessness and significant difficulty functioning. It is a miserable place, and your escape route is one of two options or both. One is seeing a psychiatrist or knowledgeable general practitioner. Some family doctors are quite good with depression; many don’t have the knowledge or experience, especially if there is a mixture of anxiety and depression and the number of medications prescribed may be two, three, or four. Ask your doctor what his/her expertise is with depression and anxiety, and don’t give up until you find the right person. I went to two general practitioners and two psychiatrists before I found the person right for me. The second option is to see a psychologist, psychotherapist, or counselor, Again, ask what their expertise is with anxiety and depression, and don’t give up until you find the right person. In my case, it took two tries before I found the person right for me. My own experience at this stage was to use both options. The spiritual component can be difficult to engage at this stage.
A 2 is major depression that calls for quick and aggressive treatment. At this stage, each day seems like a week, and thoughts of death to end the misery start pervading the mind. I have had more than one person at this stage tell me they didn’t think they could go on one more day. That’s the way I felt too. It is only by grim determination that one survives as a 2. Action is needed. Divine healing is always a possibility, but that is God’s call. The prudent man or woman will also seek medical help. Here I would suggest seeing a medical doctor first – as described in the previous paragraph – to start the road to recovery. Also get a full physical to see if there is a medical reason for your depression – such as a thyroid condition or an abnormal testosterone level, to name two. Pray for hope, because you will get better if you don’t give up, but most people arent’ able to make it on their own here. When you become more stable, you can add a psychologist, psychotherapist, or counselor as described in the previous paragraph. Remember, medication alone is not enough; you need to deal with the causes of your depression, not just mask them, unless your condition totally stems from some other medical cause or from the onset of a chemical imbalance in your brain, but that cannot be proven by any tests that I know of. The spiritual component is mostly muted at this stage.
A 1 is a stage so horrible that suicide presents itself as the only option. If one stays at this stage for even a day, it’s time for emergency help, such as checking into an emergency room at a hospital or seeing your family doctor on an emergency basis (not a few days or weeks down the line). You may need to be hospitalized for a week or so to protect yourself and start the road to stabilization.
My last thought for a person depressed. I’ve been in all stages at one time or another, including a 1, and I am now at a 5 most days because I have integrated all three components of healing – body, soul, and spirit. You can make it too. Have hope. The sky is always darkest just before the dawn.