(Editor’s Note: I recently received a very helpful, very substantive note from Adrienne Kiesel, following my interview of Dan Davis on the subject of anxiety and depression. If you or anyone you know suffers from these debilitating mood states, you will benefit greatly from Adrienne’s insights. BTW, I left the compliment in on purpose. :) –geno)
I want to first say thank you…thank you for talking about this topic, anxiety and depression. I’ve found that most of my life the people around me, including the church, has had an attitude of “get over it” or “just be happy.” I know you already know this, but I just wanted to add to the conversation and say, I really appreciate it, and it feels authentic and genuine. I’m really glad to be hearing about it from our leaders as well. We all know it happens, but we forget. So, thank you.
Also, I would love to say that I wish there would have been more resources mentioned from the front other than prayer and medication. I know psychologists and counselors were mentioned, and you were mostly going off of Dan’s life experience, which is powerful, but I really want the people of our church to understand how many more options there are out there. Maybe they already do know of these options?
I’ve been working on my personal life for many years now, and have found so much healing and freedom in the last 6 or 7 years, and more recently too. I don’t know if there is a way to still get this information out, or if it even needs to get out, but I wanted to at least write you a little. And like I said, I know you probably know or have experience, or know of someone who has experienced these things, but I still feel compelled to share.
I also want to add that I was on medication previously, and sometimes it seemed to help, and sometimes it really didn’t help. I basically believe that there’s always something going on at a deeper level for people if they are feeling depressed and that it just takes time for all of that “information” to come out. It wasn’t until I was older and in a safer place in life that the main issues causing my depression could come up and out and then I could start to deal with them through traditional counseling and the services I mentioned below.
So here is my list of things that have significantly improved my depression…
- A trusted friend: I know this is always talked about, but it really is true. Someone that can listen, be trusted, and has good intentions for my life. This is priceless.
- Theophostic Prayer: Since this is actually offered at Hope Chapel, by trusted people like John Bibee and Kareen Kido, I would love for others to know about them. The Lord has set me free in ways I never could have imagined in my times with Kareen. Really, unbelievable healing Geno.
- Al-anon and AA: People should not walk into these rooms, they should run. The 12 steps are very powerful and spiritual. I believe almost anyone could benefit from the 12 steps.
- Vitamins/Supplements: I found out about functional medicine about 2 years ago. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a child and since seeing a doctor who specializes in functional medicine I found out that I was dangerously low on certain amino acids that were required for healthy brain functioning and mood. Since adding in supplements, changing my diet, adding in certain vitamins and essential amino acids, I feel like a different person. There have been periods where it felt almost painful to get out of my bed and felt so depressed I didn’t even want to. Vitamins, diet change, and supplements really do help.
- Physical Exercise: This feels almost pointless when you are depressed, but man can it help.
- Healing from the Lord: I think that the Lord has really intervened through many of these methods and in people in my life. I guess I am adding this to say, I think it can happen, but I was also glad to hear Dan say that healing takes time; that feels like the reality.
- Life Coach: I can say from personal experience that a life coach has really helped. It’s not like traditional therapy where you are there to just verbally process your pain. I would highly recommend Sarah Sherwood, a previous Hopeite and Nicole McCharen has recently been certified and I would recommend her so much as well.
- Somatic Experiencing: This works at helping to find where trauma or pain is basically being “stored” in the body. It’s hard for me to understand but I’ve found healing from it as well.
I have not done this work perfectly, and still struggle with depression off and on. But it’s about progress, not perfection.
I think that’s all I want to say about it for now. I was trying not to write too much about each one, but just to say, “here are some other ways.”
Thanks for listening Geno. You’re doing a good job as our pastor, really.