I am not credentialed as a medical doctor or psychotherapist; but I am credentialed by a five-year degree in experiential depression, in which I experienced depression head on, spent countless hours learning about the condition I had, learned from psychiatrists I worked with and psychotherapists/counselors, developed a healing regimen of body, soul, and spirit, received encouragement and help from friends, sought spiritual guides, and have come out on the other side. I am now a member of NAMI, have taken a 20 CEU series of courses on mastering bipolar and depression conditions, and continue to be a student of both myself and the ins and outs of depression. There are two major categories of depression – situational and clinical. Situational can be best defined by an example. You lose a job and go into deep depression; you get another job and the depression is gone. However, if the situational depression lasts long enough and is deep enough, the stress on your body can push you into clinical depression, and this excerpt from my book, Too Late in the Afternoon: One Man’s Triumph Over Depression, gives a picture of clinical depression. It may not be what you’d find in a textbook, but it is the truth as I have discovered it. Let’s listen to what Mitch Jasper has to say.
Once again, seeing my depression from two years out is like a clear picture in color compared to the hazy black and white portrait I saw in the hospital. Clinical depression, the biochemical imbalance in your brain, can grab you at any time for no reason, such as in the elevator. If your only defense is taking medication, then more medication seems the only answer to relieve on-going mental anguish.
I see now in living color that a three-pronged approach is the best way to escape living in depression the rest of your life. The first prong is the medication so you can think and function again. But you can’t stop there. You need to engage the soul to discover the causes behind the symptoms and treat them with inner healing. Many people will find some success with these two approaches. The third prong, healing of the spirit, will bring you to a higher level of recovery than the first two approaches alone.
To complete the picture, I must color in two more images.
There are some people for whom a biochemical imbalance in the brain is a chronic condition, without being precipitated by hidden causes. The two approaches beyond medication will help alleviate the depression, but total healing may never happen. However, you’ll never know if you are that person unless you at least try the other two approaches.
The second image is people with mild or moderate depression who can be healed without medication, sometimes by just seeing a doctor to discuss symptoms and learn about depression. Seeing a psychologist or counselor will accelerate inner healing, as will having a spiritual director. Dave was my spiritual director. I have talked to people for whom the Holy Spirit was directly their spiritual director.
Do I sound like an expert on depression? I am, in a way. Those of you who have had a critical illness, like diabetes, have become experts by living through it, as well as by talking to doctors, talking to other people with diabetes, searching the Internet, and reading everything about diabetes you can get your hands on. That’s what I did. I’m not an expert on depression through credentialing. I am the depository of information gathered from my own experience; from Dave, Zeke, Wally, and Daniel; from depressed people I talk to (we seem to find each other by instinct); and from much research.