The Cross and the Shadow Dwellers

depression I do not contradict the concepts of modern medicine that depressive illness is a condition requiring treatment. But looking into the pathological basis of this illness or condition, it can be concluded that a person who has the ability to accept situations in life is at a better prognostic outlook, writes Dr. Parvathy V Das.


As a student in the medical school, I came across many people who were depressed routinely. Many of them were taking psychiatric treatments. But many others were not. As a beginner in faith it intrigued me if any of them were Christians. A search made me shocked as I found many Christians who otherwise did works of faith with zeal, were having either a depressive inclination or were out rightly pressed down.

They would be fervent and eloquent in a group about the magnanimity of Christ, but in their personal thoughts and speech they proved to be unsatisfied and dejected. It could be because of situations in their life or because a tendency for negativism. As I learnt more about this ‘disease’, it pained me to realize that over a time habituation resulted in a loss of insight.

Depression is classified as a psychiatric illness by medical profession. But this condition is a disposition of the mind which can very much be alleviated by a change in the thinking pattern and motives. A psychiatrist would say that depression is not something that can be willed or wished away. It is true to a certain degree. But when emotions and thoughts are under individual control, a depressive illness is no more a burden.

If you are depressed it prevents you from performing your normal activities. Your potential is reduced. Much of the suffering is unnecessary and often proves painful both to the individual as well as the near ones.

Chronically depressed develop the habit of negativism and thereby willfully give a foothold to the devil.What a Christian must realize is that in such a situation he is not helplessly at the mercy of the evil one. A child of God partakes in the victory of resurrection that gives him the inner strength to over come such a situation. When God says that it is the time to rejoice, if there is dullness in the mind then there is something wrong. What one thought and accepted has gone wrong. It would call for a revival of faith and renewal in the knowledge of Christ.

Such rejuvenation does not happen in an external show of faith as is done by some eloquent speakers conducting mass conventions. But rather it is a very much deeper happening occurring within the person – a realization of the futility of self righteousness and a submission to The One who works in us the power of God that transforms death into life. Only a person who has truly trusted Christ can overcome depression by the power of resurrection though it would be like the cross.

I do not contradict the concepts of modern medicine that depressive illness is a condition requiring treatment. But looking into the pathological basis of this illness or condition, it can be concluded that a person who has the ability to accept situations in life is at a better prognostic outlook. A Christian places his hope in Christ and the full efficacy of his faith is pronounced in sorrows, when he learns to depend entirely on God.

Factually it is seen that mental illnesses and in particular depressive behavior is more common in children of broken families. But the hope in Christ is of having a soul mate who has known us even before our formation in the mother’s womb. Humans cannot provide the comfort and company He offers, because He alone is perfect. But sadly many Christians do not realize that this contentment is absolutely not a feeling. A feeling is generated by our mindset.

Our experiences and knowledge provides the priming for it. Being content in Christ requires a realization of His immenseness. When the heart realizes that He is the ultimate and only solution, the conscience fills with reverent awe of the divinity. The knowledge required here is of satisfying assurance in Christ and the experience will be to count the blessings.Interpersonal relations are another important aspect when dealing with depression.

The message of the cross agrees with it. Christ said; Love the lord your God with all your heart… And again he says; Love your neighbor as yourselves… As you relate to God remember that no devotion is complete if you forget the ones who love you and whom you should love. Man was created to be a social being. In major cases it would be the ones around you who would prove helpful. A depressed person may require medical treatment but without a positive outlook and a desire for betterment even medicines cannot help.

Ultimately it would be in the control of the individual himself whether he would decide to look ahead of the situation and enjoy the other numerous and beautiful things life has to offer. The backbone to this would be a submission to God and invoking the strength that Christ has given to us by Him becoming absolutely powerless on the cross.In case of depression running in the family, it’s not exactly genes alone that determine this.

Genetic inheritance is truer in case of serious mental sicknesses like schizophrenia, where the affected takes a downward course. But it is more of environmental influences that determine the incidence of Depression. A child born into a family is subject to the influence of the approach of his or her parents. It is the duty of a parent to bring up his child in a positive atmosphere. Right from childhood a child can be taught to forget sad incidents and to be content in life.

Kids of parents with depressive illness are more likely to end up requiring emergency care management and de-addiction therapies. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord…. There is a necessity of patience and persevere from the part of the parent to make these words effective. Very often the anxiety of the parents intimidates a child’s approach to a difficult situation. In short let your blues remain yours alone.

When a kid is in trouble it is necessary that one be cautious, but it shouldn’t mean that your desperation prevails. Rather a combined effort must ensue so that the parent and child together sort out any difficult situation. This would bring forth healthy outcomes and a stronger parent child bonding.< /font>If one of your dear ones is affected, giving up on them would not prove beneficial. A sympathetic approach is required to restore normalcy. In severe cases medical treatment would prove useless if the person’s condition leads to his isolation.

Some points I enlist below may help in improvement. But the effectiveness of any amount of lecture would only be helpful if the individual helps himself. 

  1. Be realistic in everything. Set your goals but assume a reasonable amount of responsibility.
  2. Set priorities, and do what you can in step wise manner.
  3. Break large tasks into smaller ones.
  4. Socialize with people. Withdrawal and secretiveness are negative attitudes that worsen the mood.
  5. Confide in people nearest to you.
  6. Engaging in work and being preoccupied keeps away negativism.
  7. Mild exercise, going to a movie or participating in religious, social, or other activities may help. Try out things out from the ordinary.
  8. Keep away from drugs, alcoholism and other forms of intoxicants. These only worsen the situation and the one would end up in a situation were no one can help.
  9. Be faithful to your life partner. Perversion would only lead to remorse which would further add up tension that could have been avoided.
  10. Forgetting incidents are helpful when they are past ones. After all its not incidents but the course of life and your relationships that would be more important.
  11. Allow time to take its course. Feeling better may take time.
  12. Do not take decisions in haste. When in a depressed state, postpone important decisions or take help of others who know you.
  13. It’s a day by day routine and improvement will take its own time.
  14. Let your family and friends help you.

 The following site gives some valuable guidance on how one can help oneself.http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm  

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