A friend of mine who makes his living as an artist said the following:

"Depression is a fact of life for many creative people. My advice is to embrace it as a part of you. Because without it, instead of painting or writing a book or song, you'd likely be somewhere enjoying life and making lots of money."

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I think he just wanted to make a point. He likes to draw people in and then spring his clever theory on them. Foolish of me to think it was otherwise.

Wow.  You frequently accuse me of being over the top and trying to draw people into arguments, but your frequently found doing the same thing on this board that you accuse me of - many times in many posts, people have called you out for your orneriness towards others who have opinions that vary from you own.  

 

This isn't about people being right or wrong.  None of this is.  This is about sharing ideas. As is the norm, you stand on one side, I stand on another.  You have your reasons, I have mine.  I'm simply expressing my thoughts and opinions, based on my training and experience, just like you are.  Just because we conclude differently doesn't mean that either of us have some hidden agenda or plan.

 

One guy in all the world who suffers from depression found a light - and the only reaction that the Christian community here gives is to piss all over him with their bitterness, hate, and anger.  

 

That is the real tragedy here.

So now you turn the tables? I had hoped you would get it. You can't expect a discussion without disagreement. But when we do, you call it "pissing all over him".  

 

Here is the crux of the problem:

 

One guy in all the world who suffers from depression found a light - and the only reaction that the Christian community here gives is to piss all over him with their bitterness, hate, and anger.

 

One guy? Are you serious? You present "a friend who said" and that's somehow supposed to bring sympathy? Is that what you were after? I don't see him posting on here. But I do see formerly depressed people posting on here. 

 

Do you only see one person who has found a light after reading through the responses on this thread? There are several people on here who have "found a light". They reached out and shared, but you invalidated what they said as if you know better. I recall that you accused someone of reading Barnes and Noble books, but the things you've said sound as if you're listening to the "Dr. Bob" show on the radio! I'm not trying to be mean here - I'm just trying to shed a light on a major blind spot that you have.

 

I'm simply expressing my thoughts and opinions, based on my training and experience, just like you are.

 

Not really, you're acting as if you are some kind of authority - teaching us all about coping and DSM definitions of depression. There is simply no comparison. What training? Do you have clinical training in counseling? I do. Do you have a degree in Psychology? I do (I have too many degrees..). Do you have immediate family members whom you've lived with and treated all your life? (I do: schizophrenia, autism, NPD, depression, bipolar, suicide). It's so obvious to those of us who know about mental illness - you don't know what you're talking about. And that's ok - throw your ideas out there, but let people correct you too.

 

I've lived a portion of my own life in utter horror due to mental illness and it's quite insulting to have you come along and say these things. It would have been so much better if you had merely listened and validated some of our experiences. After all, you shared about "your friend" whom we all now believe to be real. We shared about ourselves.

 

Are you not capable of being corrected? Are you not able to receive instruction? If you would just listen and ask, you would learn so much. It's clear from this OP that you're curious, how about proving that your curiosity can take you beyond your own ideas.

 

Cory,

You have a great opportunity to learn and grow in an area that touches so many.  You have a chance to gain insight and incarnate through others sharing their very painful personal experiences.  It isn’t easy to step outside of ourselves, let go of our pride and preconceived ideas and just listen but if you can, you will be blessed with a depth of understanding for the struggles of your fellow musicians on this board.  That can translate to your congregation, friends, family etc.

 

Personally Cory, I shared one of the most painful times of my life with you in the hopes that you might gain some insight.  My immediate family doesn’t even know the details of what I went through because I hid it.  There was so much more to it.  I didn’t want to live anymore!  I went through the different scenarios regarding the most effective means possible to kill myself.  I’m an ICU nurse and have taken care of my share of attempted and successful suicides.  I had theknowledge and means, I was just waiting for the opportunity.   I’m only alive by the grace of God!

 

I share this not to be dramatic but to assure you I have no desire to “piss all over” (your words) someone’s pain.  Depression can be deadly!!

 

I also shared that when I finally came out of it and realized how fortunate I was to be looking down at the daisies and not up at them, the world came alive.  That’s when I got involved in the worship and started to really deepen my relationship with my heavenly Father.  Yes, good does come out of pain and suffering.  That should be the take away from all this.  We have an amazing and wonderful God who can take hopelessness and despair and turn it into joy and beauty. 

People who stay mentally ill seem to have little to none of it and can't be taught to cope. If you don't have it, we can't teach you the skills and you will need help all of your life in order to live. I've seen this over and over and it brings tears as I speak. If you have a low capacity, you can be taught some skills and hopefully enough to make it through life, but the prognosis is not good

 

Interesting Stevo, I see this all the time but have never really put words to it.  I frequently care for drug addicts and alcoholics.  Addicts for overdoses and alcoholics for detox.  It amazes me how little capacity this patient population has to 1) delay gratification – I think often due to anxiety and 2) to adapt to a given situation.  That would make sense based on what you are saying.  They are a tough group to care for.  My heart aches for them because I have always felt they have difficulty controlling themselves.  As a result, they require a lot of TLC, which can be hard to come by when they are acting out (yelling, punching, spitting) as they often do because the one thing they need to cope (drugs/alcohol) is not available.

 

Jorn,

 

That has to be difficult and emotionally draining, I wish I had a solution for it myself. I hope you see some of them starting to make progress. We know a close family friend's niece who was raised amidst very bohemian parents to say the least and she is just now, at 40, starting to show signs of "growing up". Ironically, her daughter grew up (is now 15) in terrible circumstances and has incredible resiliency and life skills. where did she learn them? By not acting like her mother? 

 

Hang in there! 

I'm listening more than you realize.  Just because I'm not coming to see your point of view doesn't mean i'm not listening.  I am, I am also learning.

 

My own testimony:

 

My mom's side of the family is HUGE.  Mental instability, depression, a wide range of handicaps and physical disabilities.  I entered this world with several uncles.  More than half of them committed suicide.  In my own household, both my mom and my dad suffered from severe bouts of depressoin.  

 

My dad's side of the family is relatively healthy here, but they just beat everybody up.

 

For us kids, suicide wasn't a taboo thing, it was a viable option.  

 

Sexual dysfunction also rules our world.  Rape, incest.  My baby sitter was arrested for child pornography and he wasn't even a member of my family!

 

During my youth I was blessed with the diagnosis of Dyslexia.  So I bounced around between various special education and gifted programs.  They didn't know what to do with me.  I nearly killed myself at least once.  My father was verbally abusive and while he didn't always beat us, there was at least one occasion when my braces ended up on the outside of my cheeks.  

 

I found refuge and security in Denver's Cerebral Palsy center.   I don't have CP, but my most cherished uncle did.  Russ was a unique treasure.  He was under constant seizure.  Heavily medicated all the time, his mangled body whichwas very cramped and had no voluntary  control was always seizing, he could barely communicate.  A simple conversation with him that would take us a few minutes took him hours.  

 

Russ had a profound impact on my life.  His scripture: James 1:2.  He didn't buy into the idea that "Joy" meant some deep and internal thing.  He bought into the very literal interpretation of Joy.  He celebrated his disability and diseases (he had depression too and was never able to treat it medically because of all the other drugs he had to be on).  And he impressed upon me that to do anything less would only do me more harm.  

 

His case in point was to illustrate the people at the CP center who treated their illnesses with God's joy instead of trepidation.  It is true: what separated the people who lived well from the people who didn't wasn't the lack of illness, it was the fact that they accepted the life that God blessed them with and celebrated what God gave them.  They didn't allow their illnesses to hold them back, instead, they worked as hard as they can, through the chronic acute pain and suffering to be workers for the Kingdom testifying about Jesus and doing work that has contributed positively to the life styles of many.  

 

During my teen years I had a serous bout of something that might have been depression.  Suicide being an option was attempted at least once.  Doctors would not diagnose me with depression because of other environmental factors that might have contributed to the same state.  It was then, that I really needed to take Russ' advice and celebrate what I have and use it for the Glory of God.

 

I confessed Jesus as my lord and savior at 10, it was probably 14 or 15 before I really came into obedience of James 1:2ff.

 

I was one of the few that was able to break the cycle that my family and environment imposed on me.  I'm one of two people in my family to pursue college.  I'm in a healthy relationship with my wife.  I have a fantastic multi vocational career and have been blessed with a difficult albeit rewarding ministry. I take every opportunity to invest in the lives of those who suffer with mental illness.  Doing life with some of these people helping them find orientation, letting them know that there is somebody out there who cares.  It has been a wild ride, that is for sure.

 

Not everything is good news, though.  I probably only have 15 years of brain left (my brain is eroding away, a genetic disorder that I picked up from my mom).  While God delivered me from some of my family's illnesses, some of the genetic issues still remain.  It is too early to tell, but the truth is, I have to be ready to fade into insanity over the next decade and a half.  Then from insanity into death.  

 

Still, there is the call in James to celebrate our trials.  I'm obligated to treat the things that happened to me and that will happen to me with joy.

 

Am I an authority?  No.  Absolutely not.  I am however, a student, you could even call me a "survivor" (although, I don't think that is correct) and I always will be.  

 

I'm sorry that people found this offensive.  It isn't my intention to offend, EVER.  I realize that my dry mode of writing, which is appreciated by some and not by others, can come across "mean" or angry sounding.  This isn't what I'm trying to do.  My goal here is to facilitate a discussion, and while it didn't quite work out here, my hope is that somebody will be able to look past the disagreements and arguments and instead, seek to study the other's point of view.

For the record - I don't want to minimize anyone's suffering. My experience with mental illness is all I was trying to illustrate, not suffering in general.  

 

Willing to share your age? Do the 15 years left leave you within the realm of a "normal lifespan"?

Cory -

Your comment illustrates, to me, vividly, that the phrase "count it all joy" (James 1:2) is truth, and more than a mere theological exercise.  People from various backgrounds may describe it differently -- one may call it "victorious living", another "claiming wholeness", another "standing on the Word", another "simply trusting God", another "being aware of Grace", and so on. 

During the course of this discussion we've seen numerous examples of living, real human beings who were severely depressed, yet doggedly hung on to belief in Jesus Christ.  Whether this is from desperation or "simple faith", I do not know.  Their story is not my story.  But in my own experience, I've found many times when simple faith and desperation were very close to the same thing.

Human beings are privileged to have, hold and hear the Word of God.  When our emotions are down, the relentless joy of the word may seem caustic -- a rebuke towards our failure to see or maintain the joy of our Creator and life-giver.  The disciples (naturally and "normally" fearing disaster) rebuked our Lord, who slept in the stern of the boat while waves were towering above them, a hopeless situation with the Master seemingly "absent"; yet He got up, spoke and the storm subsided.  Many times he tells us to "fear not", a seeming absurdity.  But He speaks these absurdities for our peace, that we may take them into our heart, or lacking that ability at the time, speak them ourselves in anticipation of His work, for the good of His name, in our lives.

I think it would be good to close this thread now as it has the potential to go around in circles and end up hurting more people. Thanks to those who have contributed positively and in a Christ like manner.

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