I wrote an article a few weeks ago as part of a six part fiction series ‘A Collection of Scars’, one of the monologues revolved around Zainab, a young woman who was unhappy in life, marriage and motherhood. Zainab was suffering from low mood, lack of motivation and low self-esteem; she diagnosed herself as depressed. When I read through the comment section on TNC where it was initially published, one thing was clear based on my interpretation of the words left below, many people interpreted suffering in different ways.
God and mental health have a long standing history. Mental illness is probably just as old as religion, and the devil has probably been blamed for more cases of ill health that he can count.
I acknowledge that for Christians who have faith, they can recognise thoughts contrary to the will of God and bind and cast the devil. They can run to God for comfort, support and reassurance. For people who have faith, anything is possible, and they can resist the devil and his attempt to win their mind; this is infact a very powerful tool for Bible believing Christians. For many such people, the idea of depression should not be medicalised but spiritualised. It should be fought on the mountain top, not with pills. However, what about those who do not have God, those who do not believe? Those who do not accept that they can control their mind; shouldn’t there be hope for them?
According to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, making it the number one cause of disability in today’s world. That statistic includes numbers from both developed and developing countries. It impacts productivity and, in turn, becomes a life-limiting illness. If you never leave your bed because you feel life is not worth living, you will not be able to create anything, let alone the wealth that is needed to survive in today’s commercial world. The WHO does not blame the devil for depression, scientists blame Serotonin (a chemical found in the brain that regulates or feelings and moods) and psychology. A person’s ability to think things through and respond to a variety of situations appropriately can help them deal with depression. That is the role of counsellors and psychologists, they help with behaviour and thought modification. This way each patient treated, can understand the reason behind their thinking and come to rational conclusions instead of over generalisation and fatalism.
When I was a teenager, I hated chemistry and more importantly, organic chemistry. But then I learnt about chemicals and neurotransmitters and then it all clicked. Our bodies are just a mixture of water and weird and wonderful chemicals that create cells and all our other incredible features. Those chemicals also produce feelings of lust, anger, hunger, thirst, happiness and depression. Any imbalance in these chemicals and our bodies react in a given way. If a person did not have any of the above psychological or spiritual coping strategies, and we took out enough serotonin, they are likely going to become depressed. It is chemistry. Because it is chemistry, some very responsible pharmaceutical company created tablets that help mimic a balance of serotonin, to lift the mood. If these tablets fail, there is always Electroconvulsive therapy, just don’t watch the movie ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’
When it comes to issues of the mind, I try not to dictate to people which of the above actions will work best for them. Some individuals in the name of faith have attempted to bind and cast the devil and all his legions. Some have been taken for repeated deliverance sessions instead of being referred to a counsellor. Some instead of focusing on their psychology have chosen addictions that hold no answers. While many still suffer silently with this disease and join the 800,000 that commit ‘known’ suicide on a yearly basis.be kind, you may need kindness returned one day. Click To Tweet
Whichever one of the above therapies you choose; binding the devil, a counsellor, or a tablet; do not condemn those who are suffering. I have heard people say to others; “You have nothing to be depressed about”, yet until you live within their brain, you cannot know what is going on.
So remember to be kind, you may need kindness returned one day.
Over to you, what do you think about depression and how it affects our daily lives?
Hate it or love it, let me know what you think, leave a and comment below and answer the poll, I really do appreciate interactions.
Until next time. You know Dami loves to chat.
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image credit: Thomassaliot -Dark brown tears