(March 8, 2008)

Did I ever have a flu! One like I haven’t had in years! I was too sick to sit at the computer, but had plenty of time to think. One thought I had repeatedly was, “At least I’m not depressed.” Very few things are as bad as depression. At least I knew the flu would be over soon. Depression takes away hope and you wonder if you’ll ever come out of it. Today I’m still weak and my stomach is still queasy, but I’m strong enough to blog. So glad about that!

I want to continue the thoughts I posed in my last post: What makes some people choose life over death when they’re severely depressed? Had lots of time to analyze that – mostly drawing from my own experience.

In New Light on Depression, Harold Koenig writes how we need a supportive ally who will say, “I love you, and there’s nothing you could do or say that would change that. I am with you now, and I’ll be with you as long as you need me. I believe in you. I know that your depression has placed a great chasm between the person you really are and the person you feel you are. But I will try to help you bridge that gap with love – mine and God’s – for he loves you and believes in you too. We three are in this together – you, me, and God. And when this is over, together we’ll find a way to use the pain to help others.”

One thing Koenig said that has always resonated with me is that “Love – unconditional love – is the ultimate long-term antidote for depression, for at its core love is connected with faith and hope.”

I always read this unconditional love to mean the love we receive from God and others. However, I’m seeing more and more how it’s even more important to give love to others. A couple of friends have told me how the love they have for their family and friends keeps them from taking drastic action when they’re severely depressed.

And when we’re giving of ourselves in love to others, we tend not to become depressed as easily. We tend to overcome the threat of depression and work our way out of it more effectively. When we concern ourselves with the needs of others, our own needs are not as great. As we think about others we don’t think as much about ourselves. We know we’re needed and it feels good to be needed. How could we possibly end our lives knowing that?

I truly believe that sharing God’s unconditional love with others is the very best long-term antidote to depression.