They say confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation. Well, I suspect that one of those two things will result from this post – and perhaps other opinions.
Over the past many years, I have been afflicted with depression. At times, more severe than others. Nevertheless, it has been a condition that has plagued my steps for quite some time. I have seen multiple counselors, been on and off various medications and found myself at times paralyzed by the affliction. Yes, I know that many may think being a believer and having depression are not compatible. So I’ll simply leave those kind of thinkers to draw their own conclusions.
Recently, I have decided to go back for some counseling. As a result, some things became clear to me. Things not so much revealed in the counseling, but thought processes stimulated by the type of therapy the counselor was suggesting –EMDR– Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.
Know I don’t pretend to know much about EMDR – in fact, I know only what I read on a couple web sites. But what it implies generated some thinking. If the primary function of EMDR is “rethinking” events in the past that stimulate negative emotions, then perhaps I could re-evaluate some of those events myself and see what credence they have as contributors to my depression. After all, not every event in the past – distant or otherwisese – has credibility when it comes to contributing to depression. Or at least, that’s what I’m thinking.
Here is an example. When I was in my early teens, I made the decision to try out for our High School basketball team. My motive was not so much that I liked basketball, but that my step-dad enjoyed sports and perhaps this could be a way to bridging a relationship to him. What I did not consider – although I was over 6′, thin and a good build for basketball – was that I had no interest in the game and could not dribble a basketball to save my life! Uhm….seems like there may be a developing problem! Consequently, as I am thinking now – I set myself up for failure. It was nothing that my step-dad did. He was NOT a contributor per se. I simply made the decision that perhaps this would make him happy – without giving thought to the fact that I had no business on the High School basketball court. I think my try out lasted all of 3 minutes.
Of course, I was devastatedby not even making a practice session. But for what reason? Was it because my mom spent money on a new pair of basketball shoes that now would never see a hard court again? Was it because this was a new failure in my relationship with the man who lived in our house? Or was it simply the product of an un-thinking kid who was certainly not thinking?
Another example was High School baseball. I was good at baseball. In did well in Little League and lettered in Middle School (we called it Junior High back then). But….I chose not to try out for High School baseball because I knew I was not good enough to make the team – or so I thought. Since kids from other middle schools and current High School players were trying out – my mind said there was no way I could make the team. Now, I could say that was because my folks fed me a steady diet of “you’re not good enough,” or “you’ll never amount to anything” – which they did. But the truth is, I knew I was not willing to put in the time it required to excel at that sport on the High School level. Some how I figured my so-called natural ability should get me through – and I pretty much knew my natural ability was not good enough at that level.
Yes, if my parents were positive thinkers and encouraging role models, perhaps I would have tried out and perhaps I could have at least made the team. But they were not and I did not. So should I continue to carry that memory around and let it impact my thoughts, feelings and actions today? I suspect not. After all, the bottom line was my lack of effort, not their poor parenting skills.
So, what all of this means, is that perhaps being honest about some things is a good start to healthy and productive therapy. Not so much the mode of therapy.
Yes, I suspect I have more deep seated issues that should be or could be dealt with, and we’ll see how that goes. But for the next few weeks or so, I believe I’ll examine things a little more closely and see just how I may have sabotaged my own development, not someone or something else.
And yes, I’m going to write about it here. Whether there is a fundamental conflict between being a Christian and having depression, I’m not sure. What I do know is that I am a man who happens to be a believer, not a believer who happens to be a man. There is a significant difference between the two. And….being “in Christ” does not mean I am immune to anything except perhaps hell.