How to Cure Depression: Is it Really Possible?
Most of us know someone who has chronic depression. They have “tried everything” and concluded it is not possible to “cure” in the sense of a disease that you take a pill for. Commonly folks will consign themselves to going on permanent medication.
Types of DepressionDepression is not a disease like the flu, depression is a life condition. In saying that I am excluding purely metabolic causes of depression. For that type, the answer may indeed be medication or some other medical intervention.
I see two other general types of depression. A second type would be that which is caused by trauma. The cure for that type is, of course, trauma therapy. Trauma can evince a variety of symptoms including depression. You may have, somewhere in your life, a traumatic event that you have emotionally covered over.
An event which, because it was emotionally extreme, you did not have the wherewithal to process at the time. This is especially true of you as a child when there is less cognitive development to understand and reason about events.
You still haven’t processed it and it remains “a ball in the air” emotionally just as when it happened. There seems to be no answer as you only deal with it with the cognition you allow. You don’t want to think about it, and there is no closure.
Not only is the constant emotional drain taxing but all your efforts are misdirected, and it becomes your hamster wheel. This too is emotionally exhausting, and together they make you depressed.
The cure for this brand of depression is trauma therapy. Lifespan Integration and EMDR are two highly effective therapies. Especially for the Christian believer, there is the potential to capitalize on your past, even, perhaps especially, the difficult things of your past.
If your life belongs to the Lord to be glorified in your life, that suggests being glorified in your whole life, including that which is devastating, even a nightmare to you.
A third type of depression has to do with hope.
Life Purpose and Meaning
We are all endeavoring all the time. We are pressing forward on something. That is part of what makes us human and not mere animals. In all our pursuing there is an anticipation of a meaningful outcome, that is, we have hope. Continual failure makes one hopeless. Hopelessness is almost a pseudonym for depression.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
The overarching project we are working on is life itself. We are aware that life ought to have meaning, that is, a forward direction, a potentially good outcome that we anticipate. If we have no prime directive, no overall goal of life we may become hopeless and depressed.I say “may” because we spend a good deal of our lives avoiding the question by establishing temporary goals. We finish high school and then ask, “Now what?” We finish college, “Whew! Now what?”
We work our dream job for several years, we pay off our house, and/or our kids are raised and gone and at the end of every temporary answer we are again faced with the ultimate question of what our purpose is, “What is it we are shooting for anyway?”
I know what you are thinking, and you’re right. In the scenarios above you are hearing the inevitable midlife crisis in the offing. Better late than never, but it’s time to find your ultimate purpose. That is the cure for this depression because that is the source of hope.
On top of the natural impetus we humans have for meaning, there is the wafting of the Spirit of God toward the glory He calls us to. If you are settling for simply good earthly outcomes and thereby concluding you are blessed, then listen to the Spirit of God urging you to focus on what is immutable, permanent, lasting, i.e. of heaven.
If you are not responding to this, I would guess that you are experiencing some frustration. It’s exhausting to resist Him for a long time. Consider that you would eventually get depressed from this as well.
I would like to give a one-liner here to encompass your ultimate purpose, but what God calls you to is multi-faceted. You are called to glory, that is, to have the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8: 29-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:14). You are called to Sonship of the Living God (Ephesians 1:5).
You are called to be a functioning participant and partaker of the life of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:14). You are invited to have rivers of living water flow from your innermost being (John 7: 37-38).
“You are come to Mt. Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God” – Hebrews 12:22-24
Most relevant to our current discussion – you are called to be fruitful in this life (John 15:7-8), and to have lots of answers to prayer; to have His joy and that it be full (John 15:11).
I suggest that you pursue these things avidly, to the exclusion of all else, vigorously, like you are running in a race that you must win. That will be your prime directive, your purpose, your meaning, and therefore hope, A.K.A. the “cure” for depression.
Christian Counseling for How to Cure Depression
These things are true whether you get counseling or not. But to get to them, a Christian therapist may be helpful to shake off distractions and false messages and to challenge you to overcome any natural inertia you may have. Call our office to set up an initial session.
“Along the Beam”, Courtesy of Victorien, Ameline, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Running the Dunes”, Courtesy of Jeremy Lapak, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Watching the Falls”, Courtesy of Elias Maurer, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Drowning”, Courtesy of Kristopher Roller, Unsplash.com, CC0 License