Depression

On the Other Side of the Ash Heap

There is not going to be a return to things as they were. Or are. Think of it as the notion that to step into a river at the same place, does not mean you are stepping into the same water. The water in which you stepped in downstream.

It is not hard to become captive, enslaved, to things as they were. Marriage counselors often hear, “We would like to get back to the way we were.” While the sentiment is appreciated, it is not possible. The way you were is what led to where you are. But, what about mental illness? Is there a better on the other side. After all, we are not in absolute control of our brian chemistry.

Trust the Process

On this episode of Patheological my friend Scott Curry, who self-describes as a *lifer* when it comes to depression, encourages us that even with the chemistry we cannot control there is a process that may lead to something better on the other side of the ash heap.

We continue mapping onto the experience of depression the story of Job. Scott fell in love with Hebrew Wisdom Literature and in turn the book of Job. While wrestling with his own experience with depression, he noticed some helpful if not future altering connections that led him to exhort those who might be battling depression to trust the process. There are similarities to what we might suggest to those battling addiction.

Courage?

Scott does not offer a self-help remedy. He does insist the move to life after the ash heap, after working with mental health care professionals in light of one’s self-awareness there is an issue with ongoing depression, calls for courage. One teaser. Often we read the end of Job and are not sure what to do with the description Job receiving double what he had before. Given the poetic nature of the literature, Scott prods us to think of the way we feel after such a low time – the pain and suffering with depression – as life is twice as good.

Give the episode a listen. This is really a culmination of three podcasts that stretch from last year to these past two episodes. The most recent may be found here.

If you find the podcast helpful, share it with your friends. Share it with your pastor friends as well as folks you know involved in leadership that touches on the pastoral. Also, consider heading over to iTunes, login, search for patheological and give us a five-star rating and a kind review.

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A Depression From Which You Cannot Run

No matter what you have been told, there are things you may not pray away. The Apostle Paul noted that he had prayed three times for a thorn in the flesh to be removed. It wasn’t. Three times may be a euphemism for over and over and over again.

“I’m a lifer,” Scott Curry. Pastor

New Year’s Day for many is a time to reset, restart. It provides the occasion to think about what could be better, different in the coming year. Disappointments and difficulties give way to possibilities, to potential. For many, though, New Year’s Day is none of that. According to research out of the U.K., New Year’s Day is the opposite for many.

My friend Scott Curry joins me for another conversation on Job. We had this discussion in September. I thought the episode was forever lost. After editing the podcast I am inclined to think it more timely today than then. You be the judge.

Scott has been pastor at the First Baptist Church, Gruver, Texas, for 23 years. His interest in Hebrew Wisdom Literature began long ago and has led him to his work on Job. Scott also suffers from depression. He noted that there is a depression away from which you cannot run. He talks about his own experience with depression through the lens of Job.

You Are Not Alone

Too often the Church has not known what to do with mental illness, mental health. Depression, for many observers, seems counter-intuitive to the claims of faith. Many have been wounded by the words of friends. “If you would just,” may begin many a well-intended word of encouragement. Empathy does not begin with what the sufferer needs to hear from the encourager. Most often that is simply protecting the encourager from facing his or her own internal questions.

If the Church has not known what to do with depression and the depressed, it surely is flummoxed when the pastor suffers depression. Fear and anger often result and no one is helped.

Pastor, or pastoral care provider, you are not alone. Listen, you are not alone. Should you need someone to talk with and are not sure where to turn, email me: doc.todd@gmail.com.

If you find the podcast helpful, share it with your friends. Share it with your pastor friends as well as folks you know involved in leadership that touches on the pastoral. Also, consider heading over to iTunes, login, search for patheological and give us a five-star rating and a kind review.

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