Depression vs. Major Depressive Disorder
I have days where depression settles on me like a black cloud. I have been counseled to be aware of sad or overwhelming thoughts that can quickly spiral out of control and lead to debilitating depression. And to step back and analyze my thoughts. Label them for what they are. Determine what courses of action are applicable to take. Take a break. Ask for help. Or focus on something positive. Counteract each negative thought with positive ones or scripture.
This is effective when your depression stems from painful thoughts.
But there is also another kind of depression that has nothing to do with your circumstances or environment. Not to put a bad light on the Jewish religion, but it’s like a black Yamaka attaches itself to your head with deep penetrating roots of sadness, overwhelm, and hopelessness that are not related to a specific reason. You don’t know why you feel this way. Your whole body feels dark and heavy. You are exhausted. You can’t reasonably think about anything. And it turns everything that you are responsible for doing into a heavy burden. You just curl up into a ball and cry and want to be left alone.
Serving Others vs. I Can’t Be Around People
As a Christian, I have often pondered the scripture in Luke 21:26 which says, “Men’s hearts shall fail them.” When I am experiencing chronic major depressive disorder, I can’t do the things that are required of me in my religion. I can’t go visiting teaching, I don’t want visiting teachers to visit me, I can’t go to church, I can’t fulfill my callings, I don’t want people to visit me or ask questions. I just want to be left alone.
And yet I understand the platform of a Christian religion where people serve each other and become a better people for sacrificing their time, talents, and all they have for the building up of the kingdom of God.
But what if I can’t do that? What if I’m part of the problem and not part of the solution? What if I can’t be counted on to reliably help others or fulfill my calling? Am I heartless? Has my heart failed?
I watched this video by President Russell M. Nelson and found answers to my question.
“To the individual who is weak in the heart, be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don’t demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.
I’m so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that allows me that kind of strength in these tumultuous times. ” — Russell M. Nelson