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Faith and Depression




Don't worry, I'm not going to get in the pulpit but I will 
challenge you to take an objective look at what faith may 
be able to do for your depression. In doing so, we'll be 
looking at many people who use faith in different ways.

Did you know that someone who practices healing touch, such as Reiki, which is simply prayer by channeling God's love and healing energy, can help a hospital patient's wound heal up to 5 times faster?

Were you aware that the great majority of happily married 
couples, couples married 50 years and longer report in 
public polls a long and strong faith background? Measure 
that up against today's divorce rates!

Did you know that devout Christians have fewer health 
problems and live an average of 7 years longer than non-
believers?

Most helping professionals, including psychotherapists, 
never touch this area of faith in recovery from depression. 
Why? Well, I could talk long and hard about this single 
issue, but I want to keep the focus on your recovery, so 
I'll just tease this out a little bit. We currently live 
in an ultra-independent society (United States). 

Most things only have value if they can stand on their own. Yes, this particularly applies to us Americans. But, we've also separated church and state, medicine and spirituality, healing and faith, and on and on. I say enough of this immature, black-and-white approach to life. It's hurting us to live this way and it's time to reclaim interdependence and begin living holistically again.

Christians are disrespected and often under attack. Most 
never talk about their Christian beliefs in public for fear 
of reprisal. Others are too embarrassed to admit that they 
question the existence of God or are extremely disappointed in God for one reason or another. Of course, then there are Christian hypocrites who greatly embarrass Christians of good integrity and give Christianity a bad rap. Being fair though, I've met many wonderful Christians, but I've never met a non-hypocrite. We're all human after all. 
  ;-)

What is the status of your belief in God or a Higher Power? Remember, you're only answering to yourself as you read this so p-l-e-a-s-e be honest with yourself. Who or what is God to you? What kind of a God or Higher Power do you believe in?  Are you in need of a God-belief makeover?

Have you ever wondered if God would help little ol' you and your depression? Have you tried this angle? Have you given God the opportunity to BE WITH you as you struggle?  Or have you already put your own judgment above God's and sunk yourself into the quicksand of self-disgust and despair?

You see, I know. In my deepest depression days I judged myself unworthy of God's healing embrace. I didn't deserve it. I felt humiliated to even consider it. There may even be evil in chronic depression, insofar as it loved the awful things I thought of myself -- it kept me from a relationship with God, it kept me from healing and it kept depression growing stronger and stronger.

I'm not preaching God or a Higher Power as the ONE and ONLY answer. That would be joining those I've criticized above.  Of course there are Christians who become depressed, and some depressed Christians already pray ardently to God for relief from their suffering. I am simply hoping to get your attention for a moment.

Belief in something bigger than you is one powerful resource that you can tap into this very moment. When added to the many other available depression support resources I have offered and will continue to write about...Wow, you'll become unstoppable in your recovery.

Here are five suggestions for you to begin your new journey.

  1. The 3rd Step Prayer from page 63 of Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the best kept secrets around.


"I offer myself to you, to build with me and to do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better serve you. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would have of your power, your love and your way of life.  May I do your will always. Amen."

  1. This is thanks to my good friend Jill: Visual Prayer Cards - a wonderfully creative way in which to connect and develop an ongoing relationship with God. You can find more information here: Visual Prayer Cards

  2. And thanks to my good friend Nancy for this next resource -- the Encouragement Bible was developed by Dave & Jan Dravecky and Joni Eareckson. Find more about how to order it here: Outreach of Hope

  3. Sit and imagine the most peaceful scene you can in the theatre of your mind. Now imagine God joining you in this scene and the two of you spending some time together, perhaps just holding you in His arms for 5 minutes per day. Do this on a regular basis and watch the results.

  4. Begin a Prayer Journal. Here's a sample outline for your entries. Begin with 5 gratitudes. Then list one item having to do with your depression recovery and request God's help in this area. End with a "Caught Ya!" section, where you document any time you caught God in action during your day, whether in your life or in  life around you. Look for the "God shot!" It can be simple or profound. For example, you realized you were daydreaming while driving, but only noticed this after you "safely" and unconsciously ran through a red light at a busy intersection and no one got hurt. 

 


May God's love surround you like a cleansing white light.


 

 

 

Sincerely,


Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

CounselingPros.com
Overcoming-Depression.com

Help Me Build Hope For The Depressed!  Yes, You!

This week I heard from Marty.  A powerful, painful and hope-filled story.  Visit the blog and read her story.  Now it's time to step forward and add yours.

Take a moment and email me a success moment in your fight against depression so I can add it to the blog (online journal) next.  Let's create a resource for the suffering!

Email Me

Visit the Blog

Great Quotes

 

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, then all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable."


 - Anne Morrow Lindbergh



Ask Dave!

READERS QUESTION:

 

"My depression, although not severe, is hampering getting on with my life.  I had no problems at all until my wife suffered mental problems.   We divorced due to this and our four children live with me.  My ex-wife obviously did not like this and has done many terrible things over a four year period.  How do I get these terrible things out of my mind or at least to stop ruminating over them?   Many thanks for your help.

 - John

DAVE'S RESPONSE:

Divorce is such an ugly thing!  It brings out the worst in us all.  There are, however, those brave few who really work together through a painful divorce.  I see this occur mainly when adults have the ability to put their children's needs ahead of their own.  Unfortunately, this is a great challenge and only happens infrequently.  It should happen every time!

Here's some good but tough feedback.  No one permeates your  mind without your consent.  This means that you have allowed your ex-wife to rent out space inside your head.  If my statement makes you a bit angry, it should.  The realization that you have a choice and that you are allowing it to happen, SHOULD make you mad; mad enough to decide what you are going to do about it.

I know what you will say.  People have said similar messages to me  many times over... "But she uses the kids, plays them, manipulates them, turns them against me..."

There are three things in life you are responsible for.  Listen closely.  They are so simple, yet so powerful most folks miss it the first time through.

I am responsible for:

  1. What I think.

  2. How I feel and

  3. What I do.

Someone in your family has to remain an adult and do the "right thing."  Your kids are counting on it.  And right now that person is you!  Here's what you cannot control.  These will sound oddly familiar.

  1. What your ex thinks

  2. How she feels and 

  3. What she does.

The sooner you accept the above two pieces the sooner you'll regain your sanity.  It doesn't mean it will no longer impact you, make you hurt... for her, for the kids and for you but you'll know exactly what you can and cannot do.  You can take responsibility for clearing out your own head and living with a pure heart.  What an example that would be for your four children.

I know what I am telling you is not easy.  If it were, you wouldn't have written to begin with.  There are many things you could do to begin reclaiming your own mind and heart, but the biggest might be to forgive her, again and again.  "For her!" You say.  I say, "No...forgive her  for you."

 

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