Don't be down and out

It is claimed that depression affects an estimated 33 to 35 million U.S. adults at some point during their lifetime. The symptoms are numerous: trouble focusing, sadness, irritability, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, weariness, feeling worthless or guilty, major weight change and/or disinterest in favored activities.

This list was adapted from a website of one of those drugs you see advertised every night during your favorite TV show. You know, the one with the sad looking people with bags under their eyes standing with their arms folded gazing off into nowhere. Then and announcer comes on and tells them there’s hope if they just talk to their doctor about AbiliProzCymbilify, or something like that.

My question is: Who here hasn’t suffered episodes of one or more of those symptoms in their lifetime? I don’t see any raised hands.

So I’m thinking that the number of people who really need medication to get out from their depression is much smaller than the number of people actually gulping down those expensive pills for six months or even for a lifetime.

Now, I’m not saying people with serious depression don’t need pharmaceuticals to help them cope; many do. I’m saying that too many people turn to drugs when they should turn to themselves and decide to do something about their own malaise.

Albert Ellis, the American psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, said, “You largely constructed your depression, it wasn’t given to you. Therefor you can deconstruct it.” I agree with Dr. Ellis.

Someone else said, “Depression is prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.” If that’s the case, then there are a good many people just allowing that cruel jailer to have his or her way.

Several years ago I had a guy working for me whose wife suffered from depression. She went to a therapist and he told her the answer to her problem was to take a walk every day. She did, and soon she was out of her depression. His prescription for her was much more effective than drugs, and the only side effect from her daily walks was a healthier body.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Depression is inertia.” Rollo May said, “Depression is the inability to construct a future.” I say we have tens of millions of people popping Prozac when they should be taking a walk.

There is another possible cure for depression you might consider: forgiveness. Forgive those who have wronged you, no matter how bad the hurt. You know who they are, you know how they hurt you and you know how bad it feels. Until you forgive them, you will live under their control, even if they are dead.

After that, seek forgiveness from others. Go to those you have wronged and ask to be forgiven. It’s easier to do than you think and very satisfying. You will find God Himself to be especially merciful when you humbly seek His forgiveness.

And last, forgive yourself for the stupid things you’ve done, even the really, really stupid things. You are human and humans make mistakes, they even commit unspeakable sins against their God, their mate, their parents, or their children.  Self-condemnation will place you in a prison faster than the gavel of a hanging judge.

What could possibly go right if you decide to no longer live down and out and suffer in depression? You’ll be up and in.