Monday, January 08, 2018

Depression: Why and What to Do About It

Fascinating article:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-know-about-depression-wrong-johann-hari-lost-connections?CMP=fb_gu

Please read the link with an open mind.  It is one perspective, but a well-researched one.  My thoughts:

I agree that the set up of current Western society/culture/communities (or lack thereof) is a big part of this problem. 

I also don't think that chronically depressed persons should be guilted about a medication.  It is a systemic problem, fostered by BIG PHARMA, not necessarily an individual problem.  However, people should stop being willing victims of their own bad brain chemistry (or purportedly bad brain chemistry--we take it for granted the doc is right about the serotonin levels).

For a long time the church guilted people by saying that depression was a sin and "curable" by repentance and prayer and correct belief.  No.  And Yes.  As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. Both statements are true:  Non-repentance, lack of faith, and sin lead to depression.  All depression is not caused by non-repentance, sin, and lack of faith.

The value of this article is that it is a call for community and a call for addressing the root problem of depression, most of which is not caused (perhaps only exacerbated) by faulty brain chemistry.  But those are both much, much harder than taking a pill, so only choice to radically approach one's wrong thinking, life habits, or lack of connection with others can work.  Given the likelihood that the depression will return even under medication, altering the environment and one's own thinking (and I would say, aligning it with good doctrine) are crucial. 

True confessions:  I take a mild anti-anxiety med, but I knew my anxiety was coming from the challenges of age to drive.  If I had a chauffeur, I would stop taking it. 

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