"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Depression: Let's Talk

Monday, July 24, 2006

Depression: Let's Talk

Some of you interested in talking about depression and it deserves its own heading. I'm on my way to Astoria, so I don't have time to talk about my own struggles, but suffice to say that I know the beast.


  1. Is it the Finnish/Scandinavian genes? Depression was no stranger in my life and childhood community.

  2. I was depressed too in my childhood, and I think partly due to the fact that I felt different than all the other kids at school. My parents didnt let me make my own friends when I was growing up and insisted that my friends had to be from the church. As a teenager, it only got worse...many of the girls around my age wanted to get married and have children as soon as possible. I was different, I wanted a career, partly because I was so tired of everyone looking the same, acting the same, and living a life seemingly laid out just like everyone elses in the group. What I didnt realize was that variation in lifes choices is not accepted there. They dont love people for their differences & hardships, and it was hard for me to find people to relate. Feeling like an outcast in church is horrible, because its the one place where everyone should feel loved. If I could change one thing, I wish I could have felt the love from them like Christ had for his church

  3. In Finland there has been only one depression during my lifetime. It lasted about 3 years and started in about 1990. Many are still paying for it. But it was not like 1920's depression in United States. I dont know about scandinavian genes.

    H. Finn

  4. Oh, sorry... You sure mean that feeling sad for some reason thing, not the economy.

    We also sometimes feel sad in Finland. But the next day is often better.

    H. Finn

  5. Let me tell You a story...

    Once upon a time there was a daddy. He was a brave man but that day he was totally miserable. A doctor of medicine had that day told him that his only and beloved son has got a ”encopresis”. The daddy did not exactly know what it ment, but it sounded very serious. The daddy did not know how he would be able to live on and tell the horifying thing to his wife, the beloving mother of the son.

    Luckily he met a friend at the street near his home. He told to the friend what the doc had said. The friend said the horrifyig word means that the son sometimes gets sh*t in his pants. Daddy was reliefed and happy; ”With that can we easily live, thats not a broblem, we can fix it, I know how to do it.” he said.

    (this was not a joke)

    I think its a bit same with feeling sometimes sad, You might also name and call it in some other word. ”With that can we easily live, thats not a broblem, we can fix it, I know how to do it.”

    Yes, I know what the doctor of medicine is going to say about this. ”If You feel sad a longer time its depression and here´s some pils to You, One in the morning, one in the evening.” (The broblem is that you wont anymore notice You still have sh*t in your pants)

    Yours, H. Finn

  6. I disagree H. Finn. I strongly believe that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Every person in this world suffers the sad day depression; it's the ones that need help physically and emotionally that are considered 'depressed'.
    Anon 6:24 ~ I'm sorry you had to go through such a rough time in your childhood. I've yet to meet the ones that don't love me for going to college, who don't accept me for living alone for years, and make me feel like an outcast. What a horrible way to live. I hope you found medication and peace for your depression.

  7. I agree with both of you; depression is sometimes caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain (but not always)and the pills do usually just cover it up. (as H Finn says "The broblem is that you wont anymore notice You still have sh*t in your pants") In fact most of the pills have side affects that are worse than the original problem.
    There are better ways to deal with depression than popping pills:(and, yes, I have dealt with it)
    Improving your diet -more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.
    A whole food source vitamin/ mineral supplement and/or herbs (scullcap, St. John's wort) or essential oils(lavender, orange).
    Get a pet :)
    Exercise -especially outdoors with sunshine and fresh air, grass, trees, and flowers!
    Find someone to help -to do things for.
    Count your blessings! -make a list so you can read it when you are feeling down.
    Write about the things that are making you depressed, if you're afraid of someone reading it, burn it after you're done.
    Talk to someone about it.
    Shift your focus from yourself to those around you -be a blessing.
    Sometimes it takes a conscious decision each day to focus on the positives."This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
    Smiling even when you don't feel like it. (I heard about a study that showed that if you smiled when you're depressed the brain would follow the muscle pattern and you would become happy.)
    Be thankful.
    Read the Psalms; David dealt with depression too.
    Just a few suggestions, I hope may be helpful to someone.

  8. According to various studies, depression statistics in the U.S. range from 7% to 15% of adults, women twice as likely as men. I've often wondered if depression in the OALC is higher than in the general public. Seems it is.

  9. Many Trails Home7/25/2006 12:49:00 PM

    H. Finn, you're hilarious.
    To Anon 5:47: Do you think that feeling bad all the time could CAUSE a "chemical imbalance in the brain?" I swear, if "chemical imbalance" is the primary cause of depression, then it must be a nearly universal "imbalance" since it seems like depression is epidemic, at least in this highly evolved, technologically advanced, nobody-has-any-time, everyone-feels-disconnected, best-of-all-possible-worlds society. How many people are content? How many grateful? How many feel secure? How many enjoy a simple life with meaningful work and abundant love in their lives - given and received? To me it is NO WONDER people are depressed and anxious in hordes: we are OFF THE TRACK re what is meaningful and important to human beings, and this endemic "disease" is simply telling us that.
    Sorry if this is turning into a rant, but how many of us feel that we even have the OPTION to live a low-stress life, free of deadlines, arbitrary demands, financial worries - taxes, insurance, mortgages, etc, etc? God did not decree all this; we created it, and at a huge cost to our collective mental health. End of rant.
    Joy, great suggestions, but sometimes someone like me can do all these things and still feel bad. What do you say to that? (I have a few thoughts myself). MTH

  10. Depression... what a topic and certainly one we are all familiar with. Some things are certain... it usually is a mixture of biological and psychological, it can be treated in most cases either pharmacologically or psychologically or both. As MTH so strongly put it our lives do create it to some degree and there is evidence that chemical imbalance is induced by lifestyle. (Particularly filling out tax forms.) I agree that diet is important. The old saw of going back and living simple lives and everything will be fine is for the most part an illusion. I often think that to leave on a six month driving trip (burning irreplaceable fossil fuels) will cure any depression that I have. I guess it is a natural human tendency to want to escape. AAAH... six months on Pleasure Island will do just fine. Maybe the psychological component is partly a matter of perception... either feeling at effect or feeling effective. Another thing is certain as well... going back to the old way of thinking that it is all in your head and will go away is just so much Dr. Seuss.

    Incidentally MTH... I have purchase two books on your recommended reading list and queued them up. I am already feeling more effective.

  11. LLLreader: Hoo boy! Depression--it lives large in my family. My Mom suffered from it for years, and I attributed it to living a narrow observed life in the OALC. Too much pressure, not enough support. After many years she started seeing a psychiatrist and combining that with some good medication, she worked her way out of it. We were visiting a OALC women and Mom told her what she was doing--the gal said, "The preachers have said that a Christian doesn't need psychiatrists". I wish I could remember how the rest of the conversation went. No doubt Mom felt bad.

  12. That may be true in some communities, but my sister has been going to weekly sessions with a therapist for over two years now, and I'm assuming it was with the blessing of the local preachers because I don't think she'd do anything without approval first.

    It's too bad that some people give the OALC such a bad reputation with their toxic remarks (as if there is anything Christian about THAT). I think we should get help where it's best useful, and that ain't always with a preacher-session, not by a LONG shot!

  13. Sisu..

    I agree with you entirely. My experience has been that most large groups spanning all age groups be they churches or buying clubs exhibit similar tendencies. Should one be a member and find that it is not to their liking moving on is a good idea. Placing blame etc. and castigating the group after leaving is rarely useful for either party. The fact exists that for most members of the OALC it works for the most part and adds something very valuable to their lives. And the proof of that is that they stay. If you want to know what people ultimately want regardless of what they say simply watch what they do.

    Regarding depression... it would not be surprising if the incidence of depression were higher in OALC given their strong connection to a region of the world where it is higher. This may be simply a medical fact and it may not be. It may also be true that the church is not optimally helpful with this condition. I leave it up to the individual to decide. So be it. All sorts of organizations are not helpful for all sorts of conditions. They do the best that they can and usually they do it sincerely. Perfect... no but after all.. who is?

  14. I've read quite a few articles and books about this condition, having tussled with a mild case myself years ago. The evidence that I've seen is that it often is due to a chemical imbalance. Whether that is due to our self induced stressful lives I don't know, but it sounds reasonable.

    If it is due to an imbalance of this type, I doubt that all of the feel good, think positive thoughts schemes are going to solve the problem. While they might help, I suspect that the right combination of drugs will help alleviate the imbalance. None of us like to pop pills, but sometimes they are necessary. Try getting rid of high blood pressure or diabetes without a little chemical help and all too soon your friends are walking slow and singing sad songs.

    I suppose it could be theorized that an environment such as the OALC might be conducive to depression, if it is true that external influences cause this kind of condition. I do not know that these kinds of conditions lead to depression, and I do not know that an OALC environment is capable of doing that.

    MTH, I got a kick out of your rant! I sort of read between the lines and wondered whether you were thinking what I think -- that far too often something like "depression" becomes the buzzword of the day, and suddenly everyone has it. As an aside, I kinda think the same phenomenon is going on now with sleep apnea. It's very popular, and amazingly virtually everyone that goes for a study comes back with a positive diagnosis and a whole pile of expensive equipment. Hmmm...

  15. I agree with MTH - something is missing in our society despite that we enjoy few economic hardships and many conveniences that our ancestors didn't have. How many times have you contacted a friend or acquaintance for a cup of coffee only to learn that he/she is too busy? The vast majority have filled their lives with so much busyness that there is little time left for human connection that we all need and want. It's more popular today to tell people that you're busy, after all, it makes us feel good that we are so important, so busy, and heavens, if we're not, then we're worthless and vulnerable.

    Depression was always a hot topic in the church and I presume still is. I knew of more people that were on anti-depressants. The whole scene became tiresome for me. I yearned to be around more happier people!

  16. Dear Anonymous,
    Your comments about busyness could have been written by me! I wonder how many times I've said those words in the last few years. I miss the Drop-By-For-A-Cup-of-Coffee Times terribly, yearn for it, actually. I'm probably not the only one who feels this way even though I've thought so for a long time.
    When my daughter was single and living in a large city, her single acquaintances and friends formed their own Tribes and called it that, in fact. I envied those groups but haven't figured out a way to make it happen for us older folks. This website has served that role for me, become my community and friends where I can stop by for a chat.

  17. Many Trails Home7/26/2006 12:24:00 PM

    Boy, aren't we hitting some nails on the head! What I wouldn't give for more Drop-by-for-a-cup-of-coffee friends. In fact, I think I only have one.
    A snoopy Q for Stylux (ignore if you prefer): Are the initials for your city S.C. and do you have a brother in the midwest who is a D.O. with a Finnish wife and a house in Lapland? If so, my brothers considered him their "brother" and he learned his first trade from my father. (Can't help it, it's the sleuth in me, but I have even sleuthier contacts. Free, I hope this is "against the rules.") MTH

  18. MTH, I'm so proud of you -- "sleuthier", huh? You've obviously been reading too many of my posts -- or are you secretly listening to "W" as he inventigates words...Put that down, MTH -- do not throw it!

    Yes, the old drop by for coffee thing... I remember Sunday afternoons after church and dinner, climbing into the car and driving around looking for someone at home where we'd stop for a short visit -- that is, if someone hadn't dropped in at our house before we left! Living in a small community had such benefits -- and this one was definitely not restricted to the OALC! Before leaving ND, we had a good sized circle of friends with whom we had that spur of the moment, come on over for a cup of a coffe or a game of bridge (remember I said it wasn't restricted to the OALC -- with them it would have had to be a game of UNO or some cards without pictures at any rate...)

    As we've moved around, we have experienced both ends of the social spectrum. In Seattle, we've had the good fortune to live in two neighborhoods where the people actually came out of their houses and talked to each other. We didn't visit in each others' homes much, but there was a lot of socialization. In another neighborhood, we knew our neighbors' names on both sides and that was it. Of course, the fact I was working 60 hour weeks may have had something to do with that. In England -- true to Brit form -- we had a very close relationship with one other couple in our neighborhood and were polite with everyone else! Even with our close friends there, you would never have just dropped in, because that simply isn't done.

    There is an evolution as families grow that we've also noticed. BK (before kids) you have a great time getting together with friends. Young families tend to continue as they all try to figure out how to raise these small people with no manual. Then comes the moving apart, as the kids get involved in all sorts of things and the parents are madly racing around with them and have no time for other adults. When they finally do move out however, then things calm down again and the opportunity is there to associate with adults again. What I have found to be really neat is now that our young'uns are 25, 28, and 30, they have become our friends, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

    The trick is how to get yourself back into the social groove now that you've almost forgotten how. It ain't easy, and you have to be willing to work at it! I can attest that it can be regained, although perhaps our society today is less likely to accept the very easy familiarity of the unannounced drop in visitor. We do have a few of those, but the list is short. I do miss that as well.

  19. I just re-read my post and chuckled when I realized I had used "after church and dinner". In ND, we had breakfast, dinner, and supper. Only citified folks had that lunch thing at noon.

  20. Cvow, when did you eat 'dinner' then? I always thought 'dinner' and 'supper' were the same thing but different people just called it different names.

  21. Dinner is the big meal of the day whether you serve it at noon or the evening. If it's at noon, then the evening meal is supper, if in the evening, then the noon meal is lunch.

  22. On the ranch, lunch was what we called that break for coffee and maybe a half sandwich at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Of course, our timing was somewhat skewed, as depending on the time of year, our eating was done when it could be. I remember many times during harvest when my mother or my wife would be preparing a meal at midnight because we'd roll the combines until 3 or 4 in the morning when it was dry. Then we'd hit it at 7 AM again. Harvest was a llooonnngggg month. Union folks need not apply! Oddly enough, harvest a calving (the other intense time of year) are what I miss most. ...but this is way off the depression topic, as now I'm remembering the good times!

  23. Hey, cvow that's part of the cure! :)
    -remembering the good times,
    doesn't it make you smile?

  24. MTH, I must admit that was a hastily written post and by no means the complete answer to depression. Addressing a serious case of depression takes more than that. If I were still struggling with it I would probably visit an alternative healthcare provider, such as a naturopath.(to address it from the physiological angle) I agree with your 'rant' :) I also think that feeling bad all the time COULD CAUSE a "chemical imbalance in the brain?"
    "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he"
    cvow, I know people who have gotten rid of things like diabetes, hypertension and depression without the help of chemicals. (The chemicals may sometimes help, but I would never choose them myself.)

    I left out the most important answer to depression: go to the Great Physician, after all He died to make us whole and there is no other who can fill the voids in our lives or heal the wounds that cause us the most grief. "He is aquainted with all our sorrows." His love is healing.

    So, what were your thoughts MTH?

  25. Many Trails Home7/28/2006 01:00:00 PM

    OK Joy, we have 2 depression threads going here but will answer on this one. Since I may have triggered this whole depression discussion with Stylux, I feel "justified" in presenting my thoughts more fully. First, I have never considered myself suffering from a "serious" case of depression, except perhaps briefly in school. Second, even tho I am a "mainstream" healthcare provider, I "don't believe in" drugs and virtually never take them myself, except perhaps for an obvious bladder infection. But I don't take alternative stuff like herbs either and I have a major aversion to anything encapsulated.

    RE depression, and I am only speaking from my personal perspective: If we are raised from infancy with "original sin," the belief that we are inherently evil creatures, sinners, prone naturally to bad and not good, bad at our core through our own fault, how are we to feel good? And I reduce the depression issue to whether we feel bad or feel good. What else matters? That's the bottom line. If we are told we are bad and we buy it, we will feel bad. For you Bible-quoters, OALC and other, I know your answer is a reliance on Jesus as Savior. And I know that works for some, it is a good thing, and you can stop reading right now and go check some other post.
    But guess what, it didn't work for me, I couldn't force myself to make it work for me (already by the end of my teens), I knew God could "read my heart" and I had to look for some other answers. I think it doesn't work for a lot of people, in all branches of Christianity, and they are taught to believe that it's their fault. I would suggest that that may be one reason that people (women) in the OALC are on antidepressants in droves. And I would also suggest that as long as they believe that - their inherent badness - they will never feel good, truly good, for long.

    So back to me: for decades, I tried everything I could think of, all kinds of fringy stuff even, and nothing really made a dent. And then I had my epiphany while working out on the elliptical cross trainer a few years ago. I realized that I felt bad all the time because I had some really bad belief right in the core of me. And I was sick of it. And so (utilizing some of the stuff I had learned), I decided to make up a new "mantra" for myself and see if I could replace that bad belief with something better, and I thought, truer. This turned out to be so simple and effective as to be almost magical, considering how many years I "suffered." I based my mantra on what I fully believed to be the truth of myself, and this is what it was (imagine me muttering this to myself while pedaling away on the cross-trainer): "I am a child of God, I am a child of God, I come from the Father, his energy flows through me, it brings to me all good things." In no time flat (weeks to months at most), the dark cloud in my innards dissipated and it has never returned. And for that I am immensely grateful.
    I am by no means suggesting that this should work for anyone else, but it is a demonstration that if you / we DEMAND help and answers, knock, knock, knock on the door unceasingly and demandingly (NOT meekly and humbly and wimpishly) we WILL GET HELP AND ANSWERS. It is a promise of the Bible, and I believe, a "universal law." And the answers may be only for us; doesn't make them any less valuable or valid. Here's to an end to feeling bad - none of us deserve that; it is not our "natural state." God's peace and blessings to us all.

  26. MTH...

    Now here is something that we both agree on...

    The basic philosophy of the Burns approach in "Feeling Well" is that "thoughts create emotions" followed by... Depression occurs where "thoughts are dominated by negativity" and here is the key conclusion... "Negative thoughts always contain gross distortions." The rest involves identifying irrational thought patterns such as "All or Nothing","Disqualifying the Positive", "Personalization" and others. Here is the biggie... one of the most prevalent types of irrational thinking patterns is the broad category of "Should Statements". These types of statments such as "I should do this.", "I must do that." cause one to feel pressured and resentful and consequently apathetic and unmotivated and ultimately result in self loathing, shame and guilt... mostly of the inappropriate type. It sounds to me that your technique has worked because your affirmations served a useful purpose in changing some of the mental hardwiring of youth.

    As you can imagine all this logic flies in the face of OALC doctrinal issues and is usually beaten back by the notion that "we are supposed to feel bad".

    Right on MTH.

  27. LLLreader: I have always thought there is a sort of melancholy in the Finnish psyche. Check out the artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela's illustrations of the epic poem Kalevala. Talk about gloomy! The Kalevala isn't exactly light hearted either. Just an observation.

  28. MTH: I appreciate you sharing from your own experiences. And actually I agree with you. We may look at it from different angles, but you actually expressed part of what I was trying to say better than I did. I'm sorry if my Bible-quoting annoys you; I just find it the most concise way to express my thoughts sometimes. I guess it doesn't always convey the same thoughts to the readers though.
    While I do believe reliance on Jesus as Savior is basically the main answer to a depression, giving that phrase to someone as an answer to their struggle is rather vague and unhelpful. People usually do need some kind of specific methods.(like you offered)

    "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he", our self-talk, including our choice of words definitely has an effect on our emotional (and physical) health. Words are powerful: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
    There is a Japanese scientist who dicovered something that I think illustrates this quite well. He found that water exposed to different words or music creates remarkably difference crystals. Take a look at them: http://www.hado.net/gallery.html
    Check out the difference between the negative and positive words on this one:

  29. Joy, I only drink water exposed to 6GHz sine wave frequencies, passed through bandstop filters to attenuate frequencies at 1, 3, and 5GHz, because even numbered frequencies promote my body's natural balance.

    Be careful of drinking crystalline water: done improperly, it can cut or choke your throat. ;)