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View Poll Results: Is Depression a Sin?
Depression is a sin and anti-depressant drugs are a cop-out. The only way out of depression is prayer and a better relationship with God. 2 0.86%
Though depression can be a medical illness, and some depressed people may need medication, far too many people use such drugs as a crutch. They should turn to prayer instead. 46 19.83%
Though anti-depressant drugs are possibly over-prescribed, too many people benefit from them for us to condemn their use. Prayer is always good, but sometimes God needs help. 86 37.07%
Depression is a medical illness best treated through medical means. 98 42.24%
Voters: 232. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old Aug 21, '04, 12:15 pm
naprous naprous is offline
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Default Is Depression a Sin?

I was reading another thread that had a fair amount of discussion of depression, but it doesn't seem that anyone ever started the promised thread on the subject. So here goes, poll included. I haven't included counselling in the poll because it seemed too difficult to balance three issues in the poll format. Let's all assume that counselling of some kind is a good idea in any case.

I'll add my thoughts below.
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  #2  
Old Aug 21, '04, 12:20 pm
naprous naprous is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

I was pretty outraged by the comments on the other thread that depression was a "sin against hope." It made me really sad that there are still people who think that way. God knows that I wish I didn't suffer from depression, but I do, and despite years of counselling and tons of prayer, the only thing that has made me feel human is anti-depressants.
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  #3  
Old Aug 21, '04, 2:01 pm
Princess_Abby Princess_Abby is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

i don't think depression is a sin because it usually impedes our free will. depression is usually characterized as CHEMICAL (meaning an imbalance within our brains/bodies) or SITUATIONAL (meaning circumstances we find ourselves in cause us to feel imbalanced). with a chemical imbalance, some people need an ingested substance to help them acheive the appropriate equilibrium. with situational depression, i think counseling and prayer should be our first recourse. but it should definitely be included in treatment for chemical depression as well!

i have read a great deal about the prevalent use of anti-depressants in our culture. while i think there is a necessity for them, i think great caution should be exercised by our medical professionals to not over-prescribe. there are several well-known and widely-used anti-depressants that consistently show, in research, to have adverse effects on the patient. a small percentage of the population has been known to develop severe neurological tics and other such uncomfortable mannerisms that go far beyond their control, but are directly related to the use of anti-depressants.

i think in choosing to appropriately treat depression, it is actually a sign of great hope. the patient is recognizing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel--otherwise, why bother going through the tumult of recovery, enduring the side effects of drugs and/or therapy?
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  #4  
Old Aug 21, '04, 2:03 pm
Riley259 Riley259 is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by naprous
I was pretty outraged by the comments on the other thread that depression was a "sin against hope." It made me really sad that there are still people who think that way. God knows that I wish I didn't suffer from depression, but I do, and despite years of counselling and tons of prayer, the only thing that has made me feel human is anti-depressants.
Of course depression is not a sin. I work in the field of human services and help treat many people with depression. There often is a chemical basis to severe depression and drugs in the SSRI class (ex., Prozac, Paxil, etc.) can help alot. However, drugs are often prescribed in lieu of counseling when in reality people with some chemically-based depression can benefit from both. In regards to the spiritual component, many people are depressed and believe that it's all chemical induced when in fact there is an underlying situational reason for their depression. A good example would be the countless women who have had previous abortions and many years later still haven't come to terms with what they've done. A good confession and trust in the mercy of God would probably resolve most of their underlying depression but for whatever reason (liberal societal and cultural norms) they still can't bring themselves to admit that what they did was wrong and so they go feeling depressed without confronting the issue head-on.

Last edited by Riley259; Aug 21, '04 at 2:16 pm.
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  #5  
Old Aug 21, '04, 2:05 pm
chimakuni chimakuni is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Naprous...I was concerned that my slight depression was a sin, and I confessed it during the sacrament of reconcilation. My priest was quick to point out that it is NOT A SIN and that if I continued to have the depression that I should seek medical advice. My priest is very orthodox and a wonderful counselor.


I believe that the reason that some think, as I did, that depression is a sin is because we have an idea that someone in love with Christ cannot be without hope. As a Christian, we should be happy and content with our lives.

The good news is that because we are Christians, even if we suffer from depression, we do have hope in the Lord. Blessed Theresa of Kolkota suffered greatly without hope for many years. Father Benedict Groeshel has spoken of this fact. He has read some of her letters...talk about depression!

Blessed Theresa of Kolkota was obedient even in her depression...and I believe that is what God calls us to be. Happy? That is a fleeting emotion...eternity...that is forever!

I shall pray for you...please pray for me.
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To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant
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  #6  
Old Aug 21, '04, 2:43 pm
BLB_Oregon BLB_Oregon is offline
 
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

If there is anything I hate, it is a good thread couched in a poll with... oh, bother, I am just a party-pooper on polls, let's face it.

Depression is a mental illness, evidenced by an imbalance in the chemicals of the brain. As such, it is appropriate to treat it, both with medicine and therapy. As with any illness, however, the patient must comply with the realities of their disease if they are going to be expected to heal, which may include submitting themselves to the possibility of their own lifelong vulnerablity to relapse. It is their moral responsibility to cooperate with their healing, to the extent that they are able. Likewise, those without depression are nevertheless responsible to take reasonable steps to keep themselves and others from contracting the illness.

Depression tempers free will, however, by further distorting reality. (I will contend that only Jesus and Mary ever had a real grip on reality, because they were not blinded by a slavery to their own wills.) If you have never considered the possibility of suicide as a reasonable choice, you have no idea what a depressed person is up against. Judge not, your own outlook is more warped than you know.
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  #7  
Old Aug 21, '04, 3:19 pm
Gottle of Geer Gottle of Geer is offline
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Smile Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by naprous
I was pretty outraged by the comments on the other thread that depression was a "sin against hope." It made me really sad that there are still people who think that way. God knows that I wish I didn't suffer from depression, but I do, and despite years of counselling and tons of prayer, the only thing that has made me feel human is anti-depressants.
## Agreed

I would choose the last three options in the poll.

Sin is voluntary - depression is not. It's an affliction. And it is not incompatible with a heroic degree of hope.

The next we'll be told is that only introverts or extroverts can be saved. Or something similar ##
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  #8  
Old Aug 21, '04, 3:59 pm
seeker63 seeker63 is offline
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Thumbs down Re: Is Depression a Sin?

I have suffered from serious depression for over 20 years and only started taking meds for it last fall. Unfortunately, the drugs have only worked so-so. I've not had permanent work (or insurance) since getting laid off three years ago, and my continued lack of success in finding work has only made me feel more worthless.

My relationships with friends and family have deteriorated because no one wants to be around someone as unpleasant as me. And I keep developing more and more medical conditions, which in turn require more meds, which have only made me more erratic and "crazy." Many of these conditions my doctor says are due to anxiety, but anxiety-producing events just keep happening to me, including a major apartment fire this spring, followed by two months of apartment hunting and a big move, quarrels with my mother (who unfortunately has had to support me while I've been hunting), etc., etc.

Now everyone tells me to get on welfare or take a job sacking groceries or flipping burgers, despite the fact that would depress me even worse and make me feel even more worthless.

I am pretty much without hope. I don't see anything good ahead. I feel all of my life up to this point (I'm 40) has been wasted, and that I'm way behind and not at the point career-wise that I should be for a man of my age and education. I've accomplished nothing that means anything to me.

That said, I should add I intellectually have hope that God will deliver me, but this nightmare has gone on for so long I'm full of despair. My religious faith has, over the years, been the only thing that's kept me from doing anything more than musing morbidly over suicide. I've never actually attempted it or come even close.

And yes, I have been praying to St.Jude, St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and others.

The only peace and calmness I seem to experience is when I'm alseep or in Church or at prayer or when I'm engaged in religious pursuits. I just started RCIA, which I'm very thrilled about. I'd been studying the Bible and doing devotions for years and years, but only in the last few months did I start going back to Church and start taking my religious life a lot more seriously.

Interestingly, after that fire, I was in such a state of shock for over a month I couldn't really concentrate on any reading material, except, oddly enough, for religious matter.

For years I'd been in the habit of sleeping late on Sundays. But one Sunday, after the fire, after the apartment hunting, after the big move--after all that had been taken careof, I woke up early and decided I needed to go to Mass. I'd wanted to go to a particular Church for many months, but had just never gotten around to it.

There is some concern I may be overmedicated, and I'm thinking about going to another doctor. The depression meds have helped somewhat, but not nearly enough. Last night a friend started nagging me in a restaurant, telling me to either get on wlefare, start flipping burgers, or stop complaining. I got so angry I stomped out of the restaurant and walked the two miles home.

I'm praying for an 11th hour deliverance. I've been thinking about the principle of "Mary hath chosen the better part," that if maybe I concentrate on my religious life, my career and health might fall into place.

So, yeah, I'd say depression is an affliction. Big time.
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  #9  
Old Aug 21, '04, 4:05 pm
seeker63 seeker63 is offline
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Thumbs down Re: Is Depression a Sin?

I have suffered from serious depression for over 20 years and only started taking meds for it last fall. Unfortunately, the drugs have only worked so-so. I've not had permanent work (or insurance) since getting laid off three years ago, and my continued lack of success in finding work has only made me feel more worthless.

My relationships with friends and family have deteriorated because no one wants to be around someone as unpleasant as me. And I keep developing more and more medical conditions, which in turn require more meds, which have only made me more erratic and "crazy." Many of these conditions my doctor says are due to anxiety, but anxiety-producing events just keep happening to me, including a major apartment fire this spring, followed by two months of apartment hunting and a big move, quarrels with my mother (who unfortunately has had to support me while I've been hunting), etc., etc.

Now everyone tells me to get on welfare or take a job sacking groceries or flipping burgers, despite the fact that would depress me even worse and make me feel even more worthless.

I am pretty much without hope. I don't see anything good ahead. I feel all of my life up to this point (I'm 40) has been wasted, and that I'm way behind and not at the point career-wise that I should be for a man of my age and education. I've accomplished nothing that means anything to me.

That said, I should add I intellectually have hope that God will deliver me, but this nightmare has gone on for so long I'm full of despair. My religious faith has, over the years, been the only thing that's kept me from doing anything more than musing morbidly over suicide. I've never actually attempted it or come even close.

And yes, I have been praying to St.Jude, St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and others.

The only peace and calmness I seem to experience is when I'm alseep or in Church or at prayer or when I'm engaged in religious pursuits. I just started RCIA, which I'm very thrilled about. I'd been studying the Bible and doing devotions for years and years, but only in the last few months did I start going back to Church and start taking my religious life a lot more seriously.

Interestingly, after that fire, I was in such a state of shock for over a month I couldn't really concentrate on any reading material, except, oddly enough, for religious matter.

For years I'd been in the habit of sleeping late on Sundays. But one Sunday, after the fire, after the apartment hunting, after the big move--after all that had been taken careof, I woke up early and decided I needed to go to Mass. I'd wanted to go to a particular Church for many months, but had just never gotten around to it.

There is some concern I may be overmedicated, and I'm thinking about going to another doctor. The depression meds have helped somewhat, but not nearly enough. Last night a friend started nagging me in a restaurant, telling me to either get on wlefare, start flipping burgers, or stop complaining. I got so angry I stomped out of the restaurant and walked the two miles home.

I'm praying for an 11th hour deliverance. I've been thinking about the principle of "Mary hath chosen the better part," that if maybe I concentrate on my religious life, my career and health might fall into place.

So, yeah, I'd say depression is an affliction. Big time.
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  #10  
Old Aug 21, '04, 4:12 pm
WhiteDove WhiteDove is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Dear Seeker,
Wow, I'm sorry about your troubles. It sounds, well, depressing. I'm glad spirituality helps you. That's a very positive sign. God Bless you on your path.
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  #11  
Old Aug 21, '04, 4:22 pm
Fergal Fergal is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Wonderful article here on Depressioin and Anxiety and what Catholics can do to overcome it. Worth a look.
http://chastitysf.guidetopsychology.com/depanx.htm

God Bless,
Fergal
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  #12  
Old Aug 21, '04, 4:47 pm
Minerva Minerva is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

I think the link fergal posted exemplifies exactly the wrong approach to depression. Depression is a medical condition. Telling someone to pray when they feel depressed is not going to do anything if that person has a chemical imbalance. I was particularly displeased to see the reference to St Paul and how he didn't get depressed or PTSD because he had faith in Christ. How do you think this makes someone with PTSD and depression (such as myself) feel? I didn't get this illness because I lacked faith in Christ - I got it because of my genes and a situation I found myself in. Certainly prayer and faith have helped me cope with my problems - but they are no replacement for therapy and drugs.
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  #13  
Old Aug 21, '04, 7:32 pm
Maggie Maggie is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLB_Oregon
Depression tempers free will, however, by further distorting reality. (I will contend that only Jesus and Mary ever had a real grip on reality, because they were not blinded by a slavery to their own wills.) If you have never considered the possibility of suicide as a reasonable choice, you have no idea what a depressed person is up against. Judge not, your own outlook is more warped than you know.
Beautifully said.

I wanted to vote for the second to last option, except that it said that God needed the help of the medications rather than that we needed the assistance that He provides us in the form of the medications. God doesn't need our help, but we surely need His in every form that He renders it. I could not be a fully functional Mass attending praying Catholic if I had never made it onto the medications. Whoever on the thread said that taking the meds was a SIGN of hope, that yes this is treatable, that feeling this way is abnormal and there is more to life than what we are experiencing said it best. We could allow our disease to kill us, as surely eventually it would, by refusing the medications, but that would be no more noble than it would be for a diabetic to refuse their insulin and trust in God's care... especially if God had plans for them the day after their bodies collapsed from disease. We must trust in God and accept His care and love when offered, even when it is offered in a form that society sneers at or others disdain.
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  #14  
Old Aug 21, '04, 7:42 pm
Fitz Fitz is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker63
My relationships with friends and family have deteriorated because no one wants to be around someone as unpleasant as me.
I feel for you in your current state of depression. You have the awareness of what is or could be happening but seem unable to balance the troubles of life, friendships, and the medical aspects of your depression.

I think that you should continue your doctoring to find the right medications and right dosages. However, you did not mention any support group. I think that it would be important for you to have people that really understood what you are going through to talk to on a regular basis. They would be less judgemental and perhaps better able to point you in a constructive way. Perhpas your doctor knows of such a support group.

By all means continue on your spiritual journey because I do believe in the power of prayer. I don't think that prayer alone will be the answer because as another poster mentioned, a chemical imbalance needs the right meds.

I will pray for your peace of mind. Keep up your hope and keep the faith.
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  #15  
Old Aug 21, '04, 7:47 pm
loyola rambler loyola rambler is offline
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Default Re: Is Depression a Sin?

Depression is a terrible thing to endure and it's horrible that anyone would judge the quality of someone's spirituality on the basis on any illness. For those who have forgotten, Jesus Himself addressed this in the first two of the eight Beatitudes:
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
  • Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted
Can a person suffering from depression often find solace in God? Of course, for most people that may be possible. But we have to avoid blanket statements such as this one that someone emailed me:
Sorry you find truth insensitive - look forward to meeting you on the board.

Sins Against the Holy Ghost
1. Presumption of God's mercy
2. Despair
3. Impugning the known truth
4. Envy at another's spiritual good
5. Obstinacy in sin.
6. Final impeitence

I didn't make this up! But I'm giving you lots of headway to set your argument up!

Couple that with this insensitive little humdinger from another thread:
By the time someone reaches the state of mental illness, they have long since given up hope! Society calls this a disease .. God calls it sin!



How can anyone possibly reconcile this position with Christ's own teachings from the first and second Beatitudes? God doesn't seem to believe it's a sin in Matthew 5:3, since He proclaims that those suffering are "blessed". So can we honestly believe that with the advances in medical science that allow the significant treatment of depression, we're supposed to forego treatment in lieu of prayer? Pray? Yes...but not to the exclusion of other treatment. God is bold enough to accept both prayer and medication in the treatment of any human imperfection that can be treated. It would be selfish of us to dismiss the medical care He puts before us out of fear that we're somehow offending Him.
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