Conversations with a psychiatrist and a priest

Owing to my stubbornness as well as circumstances beyond my control, I didn’t get to speak with a psychiatrist till yesterday. We a had a long conversation about what I’ve been struggling with this year, and also the previous year. She was alarmed that each of these cycles seems to last approximately eight months, and concluded that my “major depressive disorder” seems to be “recurrent” and “severe”. Having heard the same thing from various sources (general physicians, psychotherapists, priests, etc.), and also being in a much clearer state of mind, I can safely say I accept the diagnosis. We both agreed that though I’ve been feeling remarkably better lately, it would be a good idea to stay on my medication, as well as start talking to a therapist regularly. I know I could definitely use extra help processing everything that’s happened internally, as well as learn how to cope better the next time round.

Today, I got to talk to a priest whom I very much trust and respect. He has seen me in various seasons — fresh in the throes of depression, in post-recovery ecstasy, in a jaded resignation to the seeming futility of life — and he remarked that this was the “best” he’s ever seen me! We talked about how this might be a cross I’ll have to carry for the rest of this lifetime. How do I feel about that? Frankly, I’m quite okay with it. Though I know it’s easy to say this when I’m no longer in the depths of depression (just a few weeks ago, I was wailing about how I did not choose this life and that it was unfair of God to create me when I didn’t want to be created). My prayer is that at some point, I’ll be able to carry this cross not kicking and screaming, but with the hope, humility, and love with which our Lord Jesus carried His. Lord, grant me the grace to keep walking with You.

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20 thoughts on “Conversations with a psychiatrist and a priest”

  1. Karen,

    Having dealt with how to carry my own cross, I will share with you two things that helped me.

    First, trust that the Lord has matched you with a cross you are able to bear, even if it will take some time and work. We know that He will not give us trials beyond our ability to bear them. You could not carry my cross and I could not carry yours.

    The second follows from the first. Do not compare yourself to other dear Christians and the stories you have read or heard about what they have endured. I used to fret about not measuring up to one of my heroes in the faith, Joni Eareckson Tada. I used to think about not being able to handle the persecution that our brothers and sisters deal with in places like Sudan or the man I met who came within an inch of his life in Indonesia for the sake of Christ. I used to feel inferior and unworthy compared to them. Then I applied the first principle above to their situations and was able to recognize that they probably would not be able to handle what I have gone through.

    The rest I need not share with you, for you already are in Christ and you are already making it a matter of prayer. I know that our Abba Father will give you that mustard seed of faith to carry you through the valley periods of life.

    Lois

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  2. So many people need to know they’re not alone. If only for that, your life is so beautiful because through His power, Jesus is both bearing your cross with you and overcoming it. I know you’ve touched me as well, as I also battle depression. Thank you for being selfless in sharing your struggles. Be blessed in Jesus’ name. πŸ™‚

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  3. Are you religious or spiritual? I find that when I am going through something, I can light a sage bundle and chant or walk around with my sage bundle and as the smoke goes out and up into the air i say ” I release fear, negativity, and self-doubt” and it really does help. I don’t know you but i want you to know you are not alone and if you need a ear I am here to listen=)

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  4. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
    Romans 5:3-5

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  5. Dear Karen,
    I came across your blog and I am so glad I stumbled upon you. I am a Christian, and I used to struggle with severe clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. It was horrible, and the darkest years of my life. I was suicidal, and under heavy heavy medication. It’s a lengthy story, but God has since healed me, and the freedom I feel every day is amazing.

    It is refreshing to find another believer who understands depression. I admire your courage to talk about depression so openly, it was not like that for me back then. I was so ashamed of having depression, and I hid away from the world. Being a Christian AND depressed is stigmatized very much, but it should not be so. Depression is real and the Church needs to talk about it more.

    I just want you to know that God is a good Papa and it is His desire to heal you. He healed me when I thought it would be my cross to carry for the rest of my life. Don’t ever embrace depression as something you “just have to live with”. I don’t know how or when, but I want to firmly believe that if He healed me when I thought all hope was lost, He will heal you too.

    Much love,
    Isabel.

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  6. I find it difficult to believe that Christ carried his cross with hope love and humility. I think He carried it with acceptance. In the Garden of Gestheneme
    My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.Matthew 26:36-46. And he begs God to take away the need for Him to be crucified. I thinks He was really upset and quite depressed but in the end accepting. I find this to make Him more real to me than otherwise. Your last few comments say that you don’t like it but you accept it. Well done! You are on your way.

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  7. Hi Karen!

    I believe it is by God’s Grace that our blogs meet halfway across the globe. πŸ™‚

    I can almost relate with you in every experience you have shared and it was also faith that saved me out of this dark pit 2 years back. I wrote some of my experiences in my blog re depression altho here in the Philippines, it is regarded as something taboo.

    I hope like you I will also have the courage to shed light on this and enlighten more people about it. It is indeed a cross that we have to carry and yet we have nothing to worry for what matters is we got to know God first. That is all that matters.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we are not alone in this battle. πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Christine! So wonderful to connect with you. I’m actually based in Singapore for now, so we’re not too far away geographically after all! I’m so encouraged to hear that you can identify with many of the things I wrote — it affirms my belief that God always supplies the grace we need to both survive depression but also emerge stronger in the Lord than before. 😊 I look forward to following your journey as well, sister!

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      1. I am planning to work there in SG when I finish my degree in Special Education. No coincidence in God. *wink*

        I’d like to ask permission though if I can share your blog articles in some of my sites. The last time I shared mine, I got reprimanded by an aunt saying it is too embarassing for our family. Her daughter, my cousin, is having her medications as well. This might help her a lot.

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        1. Oh my goodness, I’m teaching Special Ed in Singapore right now! I hope we cross paths someday. πŸ™‚ And I’ve just added you as a friend on FB if you don’t mind just so we can stay connected. And yes, of course you may share them (just link back!), no problem at all.

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          1. Yes, I was actually crying and laughing, mixed emotions actually when I read all your other posts and saw the Special Education. *smiles* Been finishing it tho for 5 yrs now and I prayed to God to give me an answer if I still should pursue it – here was the answer. *smiles again*

            Your life stories has been such a blessing to me so I really am grateful to you and to God for this opportunity.

            I’ll see you soon in God’s time and by God’s will. *wink* Much love to you my dear sis. ❀

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