Saturday, March 08, 2008

Love and depression

Did I ever have a flu! One like I haven't had in years! I was too sick to sit at the computer, but had plenty of time to think. One thought I had repeatedly was, "At least I'm not depressed." Very few things are as bad as depression, don't you think? At least I knew the flu would be over soon. Depression takes away hope and you wonder if you'll ever come out of it. Today I'm still weak and my stomach is still queasy, but I'm strong enough to blog. So glad about that!

I want to continue the thoughts I posed in my last post: What makes some people choose life over death when they're severely depressed? Had lots of time to analyze that - mostly drawing from my own experience.

In New Light on Depression, Harold Koenig writes how we need a supportive ally who will say, "I love you, and there's nothing you could do or say that would change that. I am with you now, and I'll be with you as long as you need me. I believe in you. I know that your depression has placed a great chasm between the person you really are and the person you feel you are. But I will try to help you bridge that gap with love - mine and God's - for he loves you and believes in you too. We three are in this together - you, me, and God. And when this is over, together we'll find a way to use the pain to help others."

One thing Koenig said that has always resonated with me is that "Love - unconditional love - is the ultimate long-term antidote for depression, for at its core love is connected with faith and hope."

I always read this unconditional love to mean the love we receive from God and others. However, I'm seeing more and more how it's even more important to give love to others. A friend from Living Room, as well as Merelyme in her comment on the last post, have told me how the love they have for their family and friends keeps them from taking drastic action when they're severely depressed.

And when we're giving of ourselves in love to others, we tend not to become depressed as easily. We tend to overcome the threat of depression and work our way out of it more effectively. When we concern ourselves with the needs of others, our own needs are not as great. As we think about others we don't think as much about ourselves. We know we're needed and it feels good to be needed. How could we possibly end our lives knowing that?

I truly believe that sharing God's unconditional love with others is the very best long-term antidote to depression.


Dream Writer said...

Great post. And I am glad you are feeling better. This so-called flu is everywhere I Think. So many people where I am from was sick, too.

There are things that can seem to be worse than depression...I guess you had dealt with the "Physical" part of the flu, but depression is much more of "Emotional" symptoms.

Dealing with ALL the chronic pain I dealt with and still deal with and then dealing with Bipolar and its emotions, to be honest, for me, I rather take the physical pain. Honestly.

I hate the feeling of paranoia - that is the worse. I don't like the thoughts of death or the emotional crutch I have on others.

At least when I am in Physical pain, I am not paranoid or a complete emotional wreck.

Every one is different though. Helping others is a wonderful way for us not to think about ourselves and our emotions. Keeping busy is key no matter what it is you do :)

Merelyme said...

dear sweet marja...i am so sorry you were sick. it seems this season is just awful for people coming down with the flu.

love your post as always. i wholeheartedly agree. having connections, friends, family...all help us get through our times of despair.

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Sorry, to hear that you are sick. Thankful to God that you are not depressed.

During my 11 or so episodes of severe depression in the last 20 years, during very painful and confusing time, only the thought of God and my mother prevented me from ending my own life. I have suicidal thoughts in almost every severe depression episodes that the temptations get harder and harder to fight through every relapse.

The one and only suicide attempt I ever committed was in Dec 2006 when I was undergoing severe depression. I was experiencing so much pain and confusion at that time and there seemed no way out of it. In a moment of foolishness I tried a method that by God's mercies didn't work. I think sometimes people choose suicide out of extreme pain and confusion, and utter hopeless. Most likely it is attempted in a moment of irrational thoughts or feelings, and a lack of awareness that there is help and hope. Thank God that in Him we can have hope for this life and thereafter in eternity. Take care. Hope you get well soon.

Dancer said...

Good Morning Marja,

First, I am glad to hear your are on the mend from the has been a very nasty one this year!

Second, I could not agree more. I have often thought about the emotional illness vs. physical illness thing.

Yesterday I was talking with a girlfriend about all of it...she wanted to understand it (she was friends with me before i went bipolar)....

I just could not explain the despair of depression...i mean, that black depression that is not able to be shaken off.


Also, i agree w/ dream writer...i hate the paranoia part. for me, that can be very real, and it does impact the people who love me...

very good post...


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Sorry to hear you've had the flu, but I sure know what you mean when you say, "Thank goodness, it's just the flu, not a depression."

I love your quotes and totally agree about unconditional love. I'm going to buy that book today! You've quoted him enough to make me feel that it's a truly worthwhile read!

Feel better!


Syd said...


Sorry to hear that you were sick but I'm glad that you're feeling better. I couldn't agree with you more about unconditional love being a two-way street and how loving others is one of the best long-term antidotes for depression.