Friday, 16 November 2012

Assorted Things I said on Facebook About Depression

  A key to me dealing with depression was to have music which expressed how I felt. And I didn't feel like things were solved, so music that presented problems as solved didn't work. I needed music that expressed how I was feeling. Made me feel less alone, and was emotionally cathartic. Music that was hopeful or cheery made me want to kill myself.
  "Should" messages in religious songs were the worst. "We should feel happy." "We should feel grateful." It is truly staggering how many hymns used to be about how we should feel and be. Now they just claim those feelings, or try to evoke them.
[in response to a report of a perky Christian self help book worsening someone's depression:]
this is very typical. I go through life with low grade minor depression. It's natural. Books of that kind do not work, but I do have my life worked out to minimize the effects of it. People actually get very upset when the sorts of pep talk books, songs, t-shirts, axioms and tissue paper thin philosophies that can redirect the mood of a more shallow-mooded person completely fail to have that effect on the rest of us.
One view is that a certain amount of depression is a sensitive, logical reaction to the actual world. Jesus himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
[in response to someone basically saying "If you don't need meds, then it's not depression, but is just a bit of the blues"] that almost sounds contradictory. I see the line you're drawing, but I don't think it's so simple as saying that, if you can cope with your depression without pharmaceuticals, then it's not really depression, but merely a bit of melancholy, only the blues.
   I believe I have/am something worthy of the name depression. It might not on a monthly basis be anything like as debilitating and dangerous as severe depression, but it's the real deal. There is, of course, the depression that makes it quite impossible to work, or deal with others, or even live life.    Then there is the kind which just makes that difficult, and makes it important to make wise choices and set up a lifestyle which is healthy, all things considered. It's like diabetics who need insulin shots, and ones who simply need to avoid eating much sugar.
  I am the latter. Songs, people, activities and worship services with way too much "sugar?" With kind of an uncomprehending enforced chipperness? With an unconscious censoring out of anything complicated or problematic or dark? Really bad for me. (And that to a degree I have to take quite seriously.) I'm not interested in heavy drinking, but I suspect that if that appealed to me, it would be the worst of choices.
  The nuts and bolts (to wave guardedly at the OP) are that I need to make sure of certain things, like that there are people in my week. (I have to make sure I don't spend all of my time alone, or all of my time working.) I have to connect to individual people who aren't all going to judge and reject me roughly. I have to eat food. And I have to avoid crowd situations which make one feel "alone in the crowd" every bit as much as I have to avoid too much solitude. Going to Montreal conference? Very tough. Dangerous, actually. Especially on the one year anniversary of a girl I knew hanging herself/on my birthday weekend. Because holidays and other occasions which mandate successfully being joyful are tough. The suicide rate at Christmas is high. That's because people feel like, if they fail to be happy at Christmas, when you have to be happy, and "should" be able to be happy, then they might as well give up entirely.
  So it's a tossup whether it's more unhealthy to throw yourself into a setting where you can expect that some rejection could conceivably be tossed in one's face, or to spend a depressing weekend alone.    But throwing myself into the Montreal conference, where I expected to feel a bit cut out of the Brethren reproductive pool from my youth upward, and "beating it" unmedicated, and connecting to those many amazing people, who were accepting and who effortlessly negated the Death People, was just about what the doctor ordered, though it sure did take it out of me. (I call them Death People because they prefer me to go away and be dead to them, and in the past this wholesale rejection of me as a life form tempted me to want to go there literally, as I hadn't learned how to live outside my cultural system, yet retain some sense of who I was, and what I was doing.  Remove a person roughly from their context, like yanking a flower from its pot, and that person needs a new context or s/he will wither up and die.)
   I can say unequivocally that my homelife and meeting life growing up were extremely unhealthy for someone like me. And meds weren't going to fix that all by themselves. I was perhaps foolhardy never to try any. Suicide was a thing and I have known too many people, even ones experimenting with new meds, who took their own lives. Religion was very, very often an extremely unhelpful part of their lives leading up to those decisions. A grinning face saying "Jesus is the Answer!" didn't seem to be the answer. Something made them think suicide was, anyway.  And I can't support that view at all.
  Of course I was expected to take the blame in my youth for finding our spiritual setting depressing, and was expected to accept that if my culture made me want to be dead, and gave me no place or way to live, given who God made me to be, that the resultant depression was further proof that I was sick, and that the system wasn't. It would always have been me, and not the system, that needed to change on a fundamental(ist) level.  Nor was my case taken as evidence that the system had no tools for dealing with dissatisfied customers who still really needed help. I have come to accept that the system, as manifested locally, as experienced by many of us, simply isn't at all healthy for everyone, especially to particularly spiritual open and aware people, especially to people who "mean" it and have no skills in faking it, especially to people who are sensitive and reactive to what's going on around them spiritually.  Some people walk into a crowded room and all the desperate and unhappy people remain invisible to them, hidden in that crowd. Others can't ignore the various pockets of misery that are always in a room of that kind, and need to address or deal with or talk about them in some way, to be able to handle the situation.  I am that last one.
  Having almost 390 people view the resultant blog about my Montreal conference experience, with only a few poking me where it hurts, was very vulnerable also. Tough in the sense that it put a huge strain on my ability to "see straight" and live out my week afterward. My sleep was hugely disrupted.  But ultimately it is something I am proud of. An ordeal. Facing the dragon.
  Humour has always helped me. Dark humour. Satire. And that hasn't been cool with quite a few. We aren't to see anything darkly funny in, for example, the divisions. By that I mean we aren't to use humour to deal with our feelings regarding them.  That's a tool we are to put away and never use.
  An environment permeated with hypocrisy, duplicitousness, divisiveness and mean-spirited competitive piety in an church can depression, for sure.  We know in high schools that kids getting bullied, harassed and ostracized/alienated can cause profound, even fatal depression. Obviously that kind of treatment in church circles (often from people with "titles") can have the same result.

1 comment:

Gandolf said...

Howdy Mike.

I continue to read your blog all the time. Even though i don't comment so often. I feel it only right, i try to keep out of the discussion and debate about church matters and that. But still read what you write,and the comments too. And mostly i enjoy best, the bits where you and your Christian friends shake hands again, after working through matters. I find that so heart warming.

I read one comment on one of your posts which mentioned how victims endured unspeakable horrors in concentration camps. Yet moved beyond the horror and found joy again.

Not wanting to make anything less of what this person was saying. Because i have big respect of those people whom went through the extreme horror of concentration camps and things like that.

But just to say ,i personally feel there is quite a big difference between being mistreated by strangers whom are almost "expected" to hate/hurt you . And hurt and harm that come about via breakdown within family relationships , when family are supposed to be those people you can rely on the most, to still show their loved ones some love and care, no matter what.

Medical science seems to be finding out more and more information all the time, that seems to suggest , the hurt and harm that can arise via family breakdown is huge. All the time study keeps suggesting it is far worse , than they had previously thought it was.

We all know how many of our parent's did honestly mean well "at heart" , with some things that came about within our lives , due to faith situations and suchlike. So we understand that such things didn't really happen through lack of love for us as such. But more often due to faith ,and wanting to try doing what they had thought was only right. So thus we can forgive them for this.

But yet these things can still leave us dealing with what surely is still a form of trauma.

And depending on our genetic predisposition as well ,it may also have an extra effect it seems , on whether some people become effected even more than others are. See here

You take good care friend. We enjoy reading your thoughts. And even if we may not always agree with everything you think and say . You thoughts still make our lives more interesting and enjoyable ,because we have this food for thought.

Cheers for that !