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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Possible Physical and Spiritual Symptoms in Depression

When you understand the range of symptoms a depressed person experiences, the totality of it all, best described by one word, pain, compassion screams out. No one can sit still and not feel for a person who is in so much pain.

The pain of depression usually expresses itself in physical symptoms but the pain itself usually originates from conditions of the heart (aka spiritual problems.) The physical problems are so obvious though, and sometimes so intense, they are seen as the problem.

I have found a list like the following to be helpful, seeing in black and white, what a person suffering from depression could be experiencing all at once:

Physical

Spiritual

Insomnia or hypersomnia

Significant weight changes

Feelings of being restless or slowed down

Fatigue, loss of energy

Problems concentrating

Sense of alienation from things once deemed beautiful and pleasant

Feelings of sadness, being blue, down in the dumps

Shame

Guilt

Fear

Thanklessness

Unforgiving Spirit

Hopelessness

Unbelief

Anger


Notice that feelings (i.e. emotions) are categorized as physical symptoms rather than spiritual. This I think is a stumbling block for those people living with depression and those treating depression. Feelings aren't right or wrong, there is no morality to feelings, they just are. But a lot of life is experienced through feelings. What a person does with, how they respond to, their feelings or the feelings or others is where moral action takes place. I personally believe that the blurring of other symptoms of depression with feelings is very confusing and leads to more depression - this is one of the reasons why it is so helpful to separate physical problems with spiritual problems.

4 comments:

Mr.Blogger said...

Dear one-

As long as the self is centred around itself what ever amount of treatment is given for depression it will have little impact. May be superficially it can give healing.

But when that self is exposed to wards a higher Self and the exposure is permanent it will really have a positive effect on the person.

Be what may, if the effort put in by that person is sincere he can come out of that provide he is co-operative with the nature understanding that nature is supreme one and in the vastness of time he the creature is nothing but a pebble at the shore of a great ocean !

PS said...

Thanks for dropping a comment mr. blogger.

For me, your written words overflow with abstract meanings.

Can you clarify what you mean by:
1. Self
2. Co-operative
3. nature
4. Supreme One
5. Great ocean

Again, thanks for stopping by.

Timotheos said...

Pat,
You wrote:
"Feelings aren't right or wrong, there is no morality to feelings, they just are. But a lot of life is experienced through feelings. What a person does with, how they respond to, their feelings or the feelings or others is where moral action takes place."

I'm not sure if I buy this totally. For example, I think it's not just how you respond to emotions, but what elicits the emotions as well. For example, if I am angry at another, how I use that anger is under the reign of Christ. I must do as Paul says in Eph 4 and be angry yet not sin. But when I am angry I must also consider why I am angry. The anger may be a result of idolatry, etc. So, in this case the anger is showing that I am in sin, and is a result of it. Maybe you already covered that part and I am jumping in too late.

Porter

PS said...

I understand what you are saying Tim.

Would you agree though the specific emotion itself can not be morally categorized as sinful or not sinful? Emotions/feelings are symptoms of something going on elsewhere in the human experience, whether in the physical body or in the heart. Emotions are symptoms.

In mental health it seems that, most often, just the outward response to an emotion is dealt with (treated) and not the underlying cause. Mental health treatment focuses on symptoms is what I am trying to say, and not the root problem of a sinful heart.

Consider this diagnosis and treatment scenario:

If I have problems in relationships it is probably because I am angry, based on the way I've described life. If I am angry and I can't pinpoint a specific reason why, then it is most likely because I am depressed. Studies show that depressed people always have some deep seated anger going on. Unqualified anger, as a rule, means a person is depressed.

I am probably depressed, and can't beat it, because I have some sort of chemical imbalance in my brain and I can't necessarily help that but medication will help. After on medication for depression because I am angry all the time, I find that I am not as outwardly angry. I am able to control my outbursts but I still feel down. Now my anger shows itself in withdrawal and isolation. I am better to be around and my relationships aren't so destructive but I don't engage any longer, the anger has turned inward.

I still must be depressed because of the anger. Something must be wrong with the dosage of my medication, it needs to be tweaked, or even balanced out with another supplemental medication. I start to take another medication to treat the medical condition that causes my depression and anger.

Huh?

The heart has not been dealt with. The truth is if the sinful heart is dealt with then the anger and depression might actually increase for a while. Why? Because the depression and anger are symptoms only of a sinful heart.