Hi readers! You know what makes my day? Comments. I love it when you guys share your experiences and points of view. So in the comments on the last post Zen said this:
Depression needs to be seen more like an unfit neurotransmitter response, much as obesity is unfit muscle response or insulin response. I say this, because right now, it sounds like a mental inherent deficiency, rather than something that can be either weakened or corrected . . .I [think] that being depressed is another issue entirely - and has little to do with success in work, or dating or anything.
I really appreciated his sentiments but I want clarification on some of it. I absolutely agree that depression is an illness like diabetes or heart disease. Our bodies are incredibly complicated--especially those neurotransmitters!--and depression happens when one of those neurotransmitters misfires and throws the system off. Until the neurotransmitters get back on target the depression continues--which is where treatment comes in. Depression is an illness and it does have treatment options.
The part where things get confusing is the second part of the comment: depression has little to do with success in work and dating and anything? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Zen meant, but in my mind environmental factors have a lot to do with depression! If you are in a relationship that is high-stress or dysfunctional, you can end up, well, depressed. If you are in a dead end job, or even a job you love that is extremely demanding, you can end up depressed. Sin can contribute to depression, but so can feeling too burdened by church responsibilities. Of course, whether or not your depression will be a chronic problem or not depends on the individual, just like whether or not a certain job or relationship will trigger depression is an individual issue. But it gets sticky trying to figure out what is the biochemical response and what are the environmental factors. And that doesn't even address any spiritual issues a person may be having.
So here's my question for you all: How do you tell the difference between what is environment and what is chemical? Untreated depression is so overwhelming, how do you begin to deal with it?