Author Topic: Depression  (Read 420 times)

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Offline Eruvande

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Depression
« on: April 02, 2016, 06:24:23 PM »
I wondered if there was anything in Orthodoxy that speaks to depression. I struggle with mental health issues myself and my faith has been a great comfort to me over the years, but there have been elements of Christian thought that have been decidedly unhelpful - Christians should never be depressed and so forth. I am feeling familiar doldrums these past few days and wondered if Orthodox thought would tell me to pull myself together or if there was more to say on the matter.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Depression
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 07:36:59 PM »

We are taught not to get despondent....to always have faith in God.

However, the Church realizes that people will be depressed.  We often have good reason to be so.

Either life hardships or tragedies, health issues, or imbalances.

The Church would not say "just shake it off".  That is why we are instructed to be sorrowful when our friends sorrow...to share in their "mood"...and help them get through it....and rejoice when others rejoice...and share in their joy.

I'm sorry you are going through a difficult time.  Will pray for you.
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Offline Theophania

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Re: Depression
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2016, 08:18:40 PM »
My church offers anointing with oil (not Unction) after Divine Liturgy to anyone who needs healing, physical or spititual. Maybe that's something you can do? Non-Orthodox are allowed, at least at my parish.
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Offline wgw

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Re: Depression
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 09:13:05 PM »
I wondered if there was anything in Orthodoxy that speaks to depression. I struggle with mental health issues myself and my faith has been a great comfort to me over the years, but there have been elements of Christian thought that have been decidedly unhelpful - Christians should never be depressed and so forth. I am feeling familiar doldrums these past few days and wondered if Orthodox thought would tell me to pull myself together or if there was more to say on the matter.

I will pray for you.  I myself frequently get scared and depressed.  I suggest:

1. Do not feel ashamed.  Much of the Bible was written with you in mind.  All of it actually, when you think of it (Metrolitan Kallistos Ware, who is an auxillary bishop in your Green and Pleasant Land, and famous English convert to Orthodoxy, perhaps the most famous), wrote in The Orthodox Study Bible that the Scriptures can be read as a letter from Jesus Christ to us.  And frequently, as the Psalms attest, we are depressed.

2. Talk to your priest.  Both your Anglican priest and if you have an Orthodox parish you are inquiring into, your Orthodox priest also.

3. Talk to your doctor.  The NHS is making a major push to help all people with depression, and there is no stigma or incovenience; if you actually have any kind of clinical depression there are a vast array of treatment options available at no cost on the NHS.  And Orthodoxy embraces mental health; there are many famous Orthodox psychiatrists.

4. With the guidance of your priest, take up the Jesus Prayer.  You don't have to go all put with a prayer rope or other accessories; I myself have these but primarily say the prayer mentally without their aid.   It does help.

5. I mentioned the Psalms.  You might enjoy reading them.  Are you participating in the joint reading of the Psalms with Liza?  If you don't want to commit to reading the whole Psalter, which you  ight not want to do as it is formidable and you don't want to risk burdening yourself with any unwarranted feelings of regret, just read some Psalms recreationally and enjoy reading and praying the Psalter as long as you want. 

6. There are a number of other enjoyable Orthodox spiritual texts and Biblical passages.  The epistle to the Ephesians and the Gospel of John, the Hymns of St. Ephrem on Paradise, the Liturgy of the Hours, and so on.  I particularly like the collection of wisdom in the Amusing Stories collected by Mar Dionysius Bar Salibi of my Church; he calls these "amusing" and some are funny, but others are taken from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, from Greek philosophers, from Iranian wisemen, Jewish sages and so on.  It is quite a fun book.  Two books in the Old Testament inspire me greatly: Ezekiel, who has a vision at a time when all hope is lost of a figure who to the Christian reader is clearly our Lord leading worship in a mystical Third Temple, reminiscent in shape of a Christian cathedral, and a vision of a field of dead bones being reassembled into living bodies in the Resurrection.   I also really very much enjoy Nehemiah, with its account of the restoration of Judaic Orthodoxy by St. Nehemiah the Prophet and St. Ezra the Priest, who along with St. Zadok and St. Aaron is one of several high priests od the Old Testament who remind me of our blessed Orthodox bishops who have been glorified as saints over the years.   These are just some works that appeal to me, find something that appeals to you.

7. Tomorrow is Sunday: pick up a copy of the Sunday Telegraph. even if you aren't a Tory, and look at the Animal Pictures of the Week.  Or view them at telegraph.co.uk.  Nothing like some cute animals to cheer you up and remind you of the beauty of God's creation.  :)

For that matter, actively pursuing other recreational interests of yours can also help and is recommended.  In the UK. there are a lot pf fun things to do even if one is down in the country, so do them.  Lent is a joyous fast of purification and happiness in the Spring as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection, so enjoy it, and enjoy the magnificent weather the UK is being blessed with at the moment.  :)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 09:15:53 PM by wgw »

Offline wgw

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Re: Depression
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 09:15:06 PM »
My church offers anointing with oil (not Unction) after Divine Liturgy to anyone who needs healing, physical or spititual. Maybe that's something you can do? Non-Orthodox are allowed, at least at my parish.

Indeed; most parishes will also annoint the non-Orthodox, if not with the Oil of Gladness mixed with chrism, with another oil that is analogous to antidoron, on Holy Wednesday, and a great many will provide artoklasia.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Depression
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2016, 09:31:32 PM »
I've been helped through fairly severe depression by podcasts from Ancient Faith Radio.  I found neither a "shake it off" mentality nor a "can't be helped (so go ahead and wallow)" mentality, but a balanced understanding of our human weakness and God's awesome mercy, grace, and healing.  I'm not sure how individuals might respond in person; I kept all of that to myself when dealing with "the outside world."  May God bring you peace and healing in the ways you need and understand. 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 09:32:01 PM by Ainnir »

Offline eddybear

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Re: Depression
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2016, 10:40:18 AM »
I wondered if there was anything in Orthodoxy that speaks to depression. I struggle with mental health issues myself and my faith has been a great comfort to me over the years, but there have been elements of Christian thought that have been decidedly unhelpful - Christians should never be depressed and so forth. I am feeling familiar doldrums these past few days and wondered if Orthodox thought would tell me to pull myself together or if there was more to say on the matter.
I've been in churches where that has been the attitude, and it's toxic. Thankfully it's not true, and for me a big step forward was realising that I'm "allowed" to be depressed, and to get medical help. I don't have to pretend that everything is fine (though I sometimes still do).

One thing I have found in Orthodoxy that has helped me is the Liturgy's focus on God. Too often in past churches the focus has been on our response to God, and how much our hearts love him, which is really unhelpful when in a low patch. But the Liturgy focuses on God, and makes me take my eyes off myself. I also find Orthodox music can be very soothing, often more so than upbeat music.

Offline WPM

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Re: Depression
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 01:23:23 PM »
Could be people who've gone off the deep end about religion.

Offline IXOYE

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Re: Depression
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2016, 08:06:37 PM »
Lord, have mercy!

Offline William T

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Re: Depression
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2016, 02:11:14 PM »
I wondered if there was anything in Orthodoxy that speaks to depression. I struggle with mental health issues myself and my faith has been a great comfort to me over the years, but there have been elements of Christian thought that have been decidedly unhelpful - Christians should never be depressed and so forth. I am feeling familiar doldrums these past few days and wondered if Orthodox thought would tell me to pull myself together or if there was more to say on the matter.

I don't think "not getting depressed" is a very Christian thought.  Despair is bad, real bad...we are supposed to mourn.  Moreover it's understood that depression is not fully "spiritual" but is also a psychical, medical, and psychological problem as well.  Overall if you have great doctors and psychologists and are comfortable in your faith and family community that's a great support system.  If someone in your Parish is telling you "Christians shouldn't grieve or be depressed" they are very wrong...as would be psychologists who try to undermine faith by telling you it is incompatible with a healthy mindset.

Orthodox, and more especially the Catholics have a strong tradition within modern psychology and therapy.  I'm not to sure if you want resources on that.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 02:11:41 PM by William T »
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Offline Eruvande

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Re: Depression
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2016, 02:41:02 PM »
Thanks to everyone for your input and prayers. It is greatly appreciated.
Clumsily walking a narrow path and getting most of it wrong, but I'm still walking...

Offline Indocern

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Re: Depression
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2016, 02:51:38 PM »
I wondered if there was anything in Orthodoxy that speaks to depression. I struggle with mental health issues myself and my faith has been a great comfort to me over the years, but there have been elements of Christian thought that have been decidedly unhelpful - Christians should never be depressed and so forth. I am feeling familiar doldrums these past few days and wondered if Orthodox thought would tell me to pull myself together or if there was more to say on the matter.

Now is fasting period, if you can to fasting you will feel better.

Online Alkis

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Re: Depression
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2016, 11:46:03 AM »
My dear as the other members said you can pray and read some books of the Bible. When I feel really sad I read the Psalms of David and especially Psalms 33, 35, 36, 50, 102 and 145 (all of them from the Septuagint version). And also you must always remember these verses from Revelation 21:3-4 "Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” I also read the Gospel of John and his first epistle. May our Lord has mercy on you!
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments. (Psalm 118:176)

Offline ahmad seraphim

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Re: Depression
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2016, 11:52:09 AM »
Lord, have mercy.
If you under depression just try the "Jesus prayer" as much as you can repeatedly.
It works for me.

Offline orthodoxindonesia

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Re: Depression
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2016, 12:06:59 PM »
Lord, have mercy
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Online Svartzorn

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Re: Depression
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2016, 12:43:46 PM »
wgw summed up a good deal of councils I would give.
Besides that, I would say: get busy, get distracted. Read books, practice sports and/or physical activities, work.
Worked nicely for me in some tough times. If you just remain at home thinking about how miserable you feel, it will pretty much swallow you up, trust me on this one.

Edit: just figured someone said fasting. Fasting is always great. These days it's really important even to break this cycle of garbage we eat, which messes our chemical balance up, one of the roots of depression.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 12:45:15 PM by Svartzorn »
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