"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: More on Depression

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More on Depression

I'm here in Astoria enjoying ocean breezes, sunny skies, and sporadic internet access. As I type this, I'm sitting on a stack of logs at our campsite, pointing my laptop in the direction of a wifi antenna and squinting to read the screen. FinnFest is in full swing, and I snuck away from my family for a couple of hours this morning to hear Ruthann Cecil. Her lecture provided an overview of Saami culture and included an intriguing idea about the appeal of Laestadius, about which I'll post later, when I'm not sitting on a stack of firewood.

Ironically, it relates to depression. Her idea, I mean, not the firewood.

Following are some posts that were buried in another topic, so I'll repost them here.

sisu said...
Dear Stylux and MTH,
I would like us to have more discussion about depression. I believe all my siblings and I suffered from it at one time or another, and I have attributed it to genes. I'd like to follow up on this possible OALC connection. I hadn't thought of that before.

Stylux said...

I have suffered from depression all my life and officially have been diagnosed with dysthymia. This is a fancy word for a constant low grade "sort of all the time" form of the disorder. I researched my family and its patterns and found a number of varieties existing in various members from "manic" to "bi-polar" and others. To the extent that I could I included deceased members as well. In addition there exist examples of attempted suicides, hospitalization and such. So it is an ongoing and large problem and one that is not often discussed for various reasons. This has changed in the past 20 years in a positive direction so things are easier today. One of the perplexing things about depression is that it is often accompanied by anxiety in all of its forms as well as ADD and ADHD. The PET scan literature on these conditions is interesting. I am not sure if there is any proven connection but it is anecdotally connected in my family both immediate and extended. So what to do... I can tell you what I have done. I have taken various med's such as the SSRI's etc., amphetamine derivatives and other combinations (not all for depression but most for depression and anxiety combined). I have been to a host of counseling sessions etc. and been involved in various types of therapies specifically for depression. I have become a firm believer in the field of "cognitive therapy" as espoused in the famous book "Feeling Well" by Burns. Basically the approach involves reprogramming irrational thoughts because they (University of Pennsylvania) feel that depression is a result of irrational thinking. In my case I agree with this assessment. Now to the OALC. I have come to the conclusion that in my case my depression is mixed both psychogenic and physiological or genetically acquired and learned. The doctrinal approach tends in my case to exacerbate the condition. Growing up in a critical family has an impact as well. I have to be careful here... Folks, I am not making the case that the OALC causes depression. I am speaking very specifically and these things are hard to tease out and isolate. I have been helped enormously by using cognitive therapy and no longer take meds. The basic research from Burns demonstrates that the therapy combined with meds is far more efficacious than meds alone. The secret to the Burns approach is writing, writing and more writing. The book is available in any bookstore in paperback and is a considerable step above the pop psychology level. I live with the problem and do better some days than others but feel grateful for the progress that I have made and encourage anybody who suspects that they suffer this way to start asking and doing. As I have often written… Depression hurts.


  1. Dear Stylux,
    I'm glad Free reposted your long entry on depression. I've read it several times now, and I'm still pondering it...Thank you for all you've written.

  2. Depression and the Sami line...
    Now that is interesting. I have been away again and now am catching up.

    I was told by a relative that we should talk about "it" more-meaning depression-then it would hurt less. Yes..this relative is still in "the Church."

    Maybe perhaps in a church where being different is so frown upon, depression can take hold and do more damage. Why..because you are so worried about being different. If you are having these irrational thoughts and you can not control them, you feel different.

    Depression is not just feeling sad.

    I noticed in previous posts that people frown upon meds.Like someone said, would you take meds for any other type of illness. Your brain is an organ. It is not producing the correct neurotransmitters.

    I am going to read Feeling Well..


  3. Dear Free,
    It's Sunday evening and I'm sitting here thinking about your days in Astoria. I wish I could have attended with you. Please let us know who you met and what new Finn facts you picked up.

  4. LLLreader: I was watching a program on PBS about the Aztec. The believed human sacrifice was necessary to appease the Sun God, or the sun wouldn't come up in the morning. They did wholesale slaughter and thousands upon thousands were sacrificed. While some of these folks were captured in war for the specific purpose of sacrifice, others were volunteers. The interesting part, to me, was the discussion two researchers were having regarding the willingness of people to be sacrificed. What they said was that the more a society, or group, focuses on death, the stronger their commitment is to their own group, or society, and the more they dislike other societies, and the more they mistrust other groups. I thought that was an interesting idea.

  5. Depression is not something that can be treated by trite spiritual phrases and dismissed.
    People from a spiritual abuse and shame-based background need therapy, because the original wound attacked their intrinsic value as a human created in the image of God.
    If they need medication, God bless them. I used an anti-depressant for a short jaunt but found I was flat-lining; no deep sorrow but also no joy. Through counseling and personal work I have had to learn to feel the pain and also had the privilege of experiencing greater joy than ever.
    Our background has so condemned psychology and then robbed us of the tools and knowledge we could have. I have an incredible Christian therapist who has walked by my side through the tough stuff.
    Don't judge someone until you walk a mile in their mocassins.

  6. Thanks floater for the long post. I agree with you.

  7. exoalc:
    I also experienced 'flatlining' only I did it without medication. A coping mechanism to deal with pain, not from spiritual abuse but from sexual abuse. It works to get you through a hard spot but it is definitely not a healthy or happy way to live. And probably not the nicest to live with either. I still feel overwhelmed sometimes by the abundance of emotion I can feel at once. And the extremes you can feel in a matter of days/hours or at the same time, because of what life is handing you! Sometimes it almost seems like it would be easier to go back to not feeling, but then you think of joy and decide it's not.

    MTH: I answered your last post on the other depression thread.

  8. Oh, fooey. This blog has drifted to the archives, so if I post anything about grief:love::depression:hatred then nobody will read it. Boo hoo.

    Oh, well, I don't have any thoughts on it yet anyway.


  9. What? Depression is a product of Hatred? Where did that come from? I'm depressed and do not feel hatred, so what is up with that?

  10. I think it's more self -hatred than hatred of others.
    I've also heard it described as anger turned inward.