The Lake

My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run with longing are in me dried up.” Pilgrim’s Regress C. S. Lewis[1]

More than a few times, I have mentioned my desire to take a canoe trip on one of the local lakes. We did once years ago but never again. It was one of those nostalgic memories you wanted to create with a family, like an old country time lemonade commercial, but just never had the time. However, things recently were coming together to make it materialize.

I had the day off, and my daughter had recalled this planned but unrealized trip; urging me to go. But, that morning, my desire was gone, and the idea felt like drudgery.

Why?

I suggested other things to her, cited the humidity, said I had no cash to get in the park (but the cash was found shredding that excuse), I flat out asked her to pick something else. But, moments later, we were in the car lake bound.

This is the odd feeling depression can produce. The conflict of desire. I want to, but I do not want to. It’s reminiscent of Paul’s declaration about indwelling sin, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”[2] Application different; but the outworking of desire is identical.

Depression affects our emotions…some may become animated, like grief, fear, anger, or shame. Others like love, caring, joy, happiness become deadened. But emotions are reactive to the environment we live in. We react to what is…with an emotion. Desire, however, identifies a reality that does not exist and works to create it.

Desire vs. Emotions

Understanding this sets up an active process to deal with depression. Now we know, desire has a strong connection with sin. And this is destructive: “we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.[3]

But it also has a constructive side: “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end…”[4]

I saw this work out in my life through my young daughter and a canoe. The feeling was absent, but the desire was known. So, without feeling, we worked to create a reality that would be the desire. In the end, the feelings followed, and I am glad we did.

As a new creation in Christ, your innermost desires have been transformed. But the challenge we all face is the disappoint of those desires not being realized. Depression feeds into this, leading to despair. It’s easier to act with the support of feelings. They act as a wind to the sail. But a boat doesn’t need wind to move; rowing works just as well.

Our heart may be empty, and the fountains may be dried up, but we are to pursue Christ, not feelings. He is our hope and desire.

– Blair Radney

[1] Lewis, C. S., and Michael Hague. The Pilgrims Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014. Pg 184.

[2] Romans 17:9

[3] Ephesians 2:3

[4] Hebrews 6:11

THE WELL….

 

The deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine

So goes, a Puritan prayer.

But in the dark world of depression, the well is just deep and dark without a focal point to fix your eyes.

It is a world best described by Solomon…

All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; – Eccl 1:8 ESV

Unable to fully describe the feeling, depression takes on a mental and physical manifestation.

Past loves and hobbies now become hard joyless work. The strain to push through creates compounding stress.

The mental battle increases with submission the path of least resistance.

Stress turns to the physical, causing pressure headaches, panic attacks, ulcers, and short tempers.

Family, friends, and coworkers may have no idea the struggle as you become good at hiding the darkness.

Life becomes a striving after wind and passes by like a shadow.

This is not an abstract description. Rather it is what life has been for me at times since I deal with reoccurring depression.

And how many Christians who suffer from the same condition may feel when they are down the well of despair.

On the outside looking in, the causes and solutions to this condition can be confusing and full of urban myths. From the inside looking out, it can be equally difficult to solve.

Why is this happening?

The disciples confronted Jesus with this same question. While walking through the street of Jerusalem, they passed a blind man.

They asked him, “Rabbi, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parent’s sins?”

Why is this depression consuming me? Is it my sins?

Is it something else? Why is God allowing this to happen to one of his own?

Sin?

Have these questions passed through your mind or reflected in your actions? They ran through the disciples’ mind.

And Jesus emphatically broke down the persistent myth that this suffering, blindness, was the result of God personally punishing one for committed sins.

“It was not because of his sins, or his parents’ sins.”

We suffer in this life…

We suffer as a result of sins entry into the world at the fall of mankind in Adam.

This does not constrain itself to unbelievers. Sins affect on the world, disease, disasters, death, they trouble everyone.

Your suffering is no more a result of God’s anger with you than your health is evidence of God’s favor towards you.

Yes, God can use suffering as punishment.

Yes, God can heal the suffering of his saints. But that is not the norm.

The gospel does not promise a special blessing of health for his people. If it did, then God would suspend the law of gravity every time a Christian would trip and fall. And the wicked would be continuously inflicted with pain, suffering, and poverty.

What would that world look like?

Or opportunity?

No, instead Jesus gives us the explanation; opportunity.

“This suffering exists, that there may be displayed in it the works of God.”
Your suffering in depression is an opportunity. An opportunity, not a disaster. Christ uses the plural form of works to emphasize that there is an ongoing opportunity for God to be glorified in the suffering this man has in his blindness.

This is something I have just recently begun fixing my eyes on in my personal life. Seeing the opportunity where I find myself to make much of Christ.

The fact is, the well of depression is deep, and you may never fully extract yourself.

But, as the Puritan’s prayer indicated, there is a light, the light of Christ to fix your eyes on. And if you allow your eyes to take in this light, and adjust to the darkness, you will see the outlined shadows of others sharing the same space. Others who want to help or need help.

You’re not alone.

Blessings

Blair Radney

Our Thoughts…

From much of the reading I’ve done lately on the subject of depression and anxiety, it seems there’s a direct correlation between our thoughts and symptoms.

But, I think when you struggle with anxiety, thoughts seem to come upon you as an uninvited guest.

I also know, if you have too much time on your hands, you can obsess and ruminate on your problems and health.

A godly friend of mine and counselor told me to stay busy and don’t ruminate on your health.

Distract yourself in a good way.

I love to study and read. So I try to use my time, either to read, write or listen to sermons. This greatly helps!

Or, I will tackle my wives “Honey do” list! Remember, thoughts can induce anxiety. This is why it’s important to meditate on godly and pure things.

Whenever you start feeling that tug and tingling feeling in your gut, just change your thinking to those pleasing things of the Lord.

Philippines 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Blessings

Jeff

Here is my daily SUPPLEMENT PLAN to hammer Anxiety and Depression…(It works!)

Supplements and Herbs for anxiety and depression:

My daily routine:

Morning: ON EMPTY STOMACH

* 1000 mgs Beta Glucan Elite
* 800 mgs L-THEANINE w/passion flower (Bronson’s Brand)
* 500 mgs Magnesium GNC
* 1200 mgs Ashwaganda (KSM-66)
* 5000 mcgs B12 drops
*500 mgs Taurine (Now brand)
* 1 vile dropper Nano glutathione

Breakfast:

Garden of life organic meal replacement shake.

*Mixed in one cup of organic frozen blueberries

*One scoop of organic green powder.

*One teaspoon of organic beet powder

* One banana

* Handful of organic spinach

* Scoop of ice

* Teaspoon of inositol powder (Now Brand)

Mix together and make smoothie

Take these supplements after you drink shake

* I dropper of Lemon balm
* 2 caps of probiotics for stomach
* 4000 iu of vitamin D
* 500mgs potassium
* Organic multivitamin
* 500 mgs holy basil ( New Chapter brand for Anxiety) amazing stuff.
* 1200 mgs fish oil Omega 3,6,9

After lunch:

Take..

800 mgs L Theanine
500 mgs magnesium
500 mgs Taurine

After dinner

500 mgs holy basil
1200 mgs of Omega 3,6,9 (Metrx brand)

I hour Before bedtime

800 mgs of L Theanine.

Purpose in our Suffering…

“I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.’”

“Personally I know that there is nothing on earth that the human frame can suffer to be compared with despondency and prostration of mind.”

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The one thing that separates us from the world when we go into the grips and depths of depression, is Hope.

The Bible is clear on that subject, that God himself has ordained our ordeals and uses those moments to transform us more into the image of His Son.

This means that our suffering has a purpose.

Without a purpose attached to our pain, everything is meaningless and hopeless.

This is why the world is in so much despair, because they cannot put an anchor on their pain, on the darkness, on their hopelessness, on their sin.

When trying times come, or we find ourselves in those moments of despair, we have Christ the anchor of our soul.

I know for myself, the experience is real. When I was in the throes of agonizing depression and anxiety, it was Christ in whom I looked to, it was Christ in Whom I rested in, it was Christ where I drew my strength, it was Christ who brought me through it all.

Those moments when we feel forgotten, hopeless, strangled by fear, we must realize that in it all of this Christ has ordained it for our good and for His glory.

There were times when the darkness was a darkness you could almost feel, it almost became claustrophobic and unrelenting.

But it was here, that I looked to the Rock of my salvation, and in the chaos, and in the confusion, in the disappointment, my Lord was there.

He was with me, He carried me through it all.

But in all of this, we must have the right perspective if we are going to grow in our adversity and in our troubling experiences.

You must be willing to submit to Christ, to submit to his word, to live in the scriptures, to seek him in prayer, to seek the fellowship of the saints, to trust in his providence and His sovereignty.

There is a purpose to your suffering.

Use the moments of your suffering as an opportunity to serve others, to look at the bigger picture and utilize these moments for the glory of God.

No two situations are identical, everybody’s experiences are different, but Christ is the same yesterday today and forever!

Go to Christ. He is always there, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Anxiousbench.com

Antidepressants vs Herbal Remedies…

For most of my life I rarely ever went to the doctor. I am now 48 years old and have never really been on any medication. I have worked out pretty much my whole life, I eat right and take lots of vitamins. But three months ago when I got blindsided with a terrible bout of depression and with overwhelming anxiety, I needed help. Anyone who has not experienced this phenomenon, does not understand. Seriously, if they understood, they would not say the the things they say. When I was convulsing in my bed, and my legs would not quit shaking, day in and day out, and nothing was working, I knew I needed to rethink some other alternatives.

I talked to my doctor, and homeopathic doctor, and they both agreed that I should take something short term until I could regain my strength and mind and work things out. So, I went on a drug called Lexapro, a small amount until I could get my body out of 4th gear. And stop the anxiety long enough to understand what else I needed to do.

I believe there are good herbal solutions out there. I use natural means as well. But I do glorify God for the common grace and blessing of modern medicine.

Anyway, just some thoughts..

Books that I have read on Depression…

I wanted to share some books that I have read on the subject of depression. Some of these books were excellent, some were not so good, and others were just terrible.

1.) Spurgeons Sorrows by Jack Eswine (Excellent!)

2.) Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon ( very in depth, but very disturbing)

3.) Walking on water when you feel like your drowning Steve Leavitt ( EXCELLENT)

4.) Nervous breakdown by John Smith

( Okay) not great.

5.) The Depression Cure by Stephen Ilardi (Good) some strange philosophy, but practically good.

6.) Darkness Visible by William Styron ( EXCELLENT, does a great job defining the symptoms and his experience)

7.) The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton ( Spurgeon recommended)

8.) Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy by Timothy Rogers

(Puritan) These are just a few, if you have any suggestions please share!

Thank you

Jeff

Understanding Depression, Anxiety and Panic Disorder…

I’m reaching out to all those who are experiencing, or may have
experienced depression, anxiety disorder, or panic attacks.

These issues are very real, but rarely talked about, at least in public anyway. The world will openly discuss these issues, but rarely will the Christian Church do the same.

Apparently there are over 30 million Americans who suffer from some version of depression.

Even the prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon suffered from depression, he once said ” “I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.’

He also said this, *”This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy.

Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison.

“I too have been laid low with this troubling darkness and painful fits that dare I say, can prove a man’s faith whether it be real or false.

I hear one story after another about Christians who are suffering in silence because the issue at hand has been deemed taboo amongst the sheep.

This is a crisis.

This in not a new phenomenon, depression and anguish are painted all throughout the Psalms, and many other areas in scripture.

History has a long line of records from many of those who wrestled with some sort of mental illness. We should not fear talking about this, and dealing with it.

I’m writing a new blog that hopefully will open up many opportunities to talk and discuss these issues. Whether they be remedies, ideas, prayers, or just a place to unload.

I would love the opportunity to reach out to those outside of the faith and offer Christ to their burdened lives.

For the believer, I would like to open up an opportunity to fellowship and bare one another’s burdens.

Please share this blog, and join me as we dive into troubling waters of the “Dark Night of the Soul.”

BlessingsJeff Rose

Anxiousbench.com

The Dark Hole of Depression…

How do we continue the battle of life when we are in the dark hole of depression? I know for me, it was all I could do to even get out of bed. The paranoia and morning anxiety was almost too much to bare. I would just put my feet on the floor and force myself to the kitchen. I had no appetite but I knew I needed to eat something. I would gag down a piece of bread and drink a cup of water.

Then crawl back to my bed and sleep all the rest of the day. I have a big family, so it was a hard to make contact and be involved in their lives.

This made me feel guilty, and even more depressed. Just seeing my children and wife busy in the house while I laid there incapacitated was deeply disturbing.

But everyday I forced myself to get up and keep looking up. I started to go for walks and change my diet as well.

Overtime I began to crawl out of that nasty hole and begin to feel normal again. I would read my Bible at night, and pray. My church would pray for me as well. My wife would help me as much as she could. This was how I managed to live again.

Have you ever tried Holy Basil or L-Theanine for depression and ANXIETY?

The other day I woke up with some pretty bad anxiety. I searched online for some possible solutions to relieve my discomfort. I typed in ” best supplements for anxiety.” The first one that came up was L-Theanine.

So I went to the store and bought some. I also read that the herb Holy Basil was good too. So I bought them both. When I got to work my anxiety was very bad. Then to my dismay, the control panel on the wall kept setting off the alarm. Every minute the alarm would go off sending me into a deeper anxious feeling. I thought to myself, if this continues I’m quitting this job today. I reached over and took a holy basil capsule and waited.

Twenty minutes later I started feeling this calming sensation. Then about forty minutes I felt almost normal.

I was amazed. This stuff actually worked! So I experimented with stacking it together with l Theanine.

I take 600 mgs of Holy Basil by New Chapter.

600 mgs of L Theanine by Bronson that has passion flower mixed in.

Rhodiola 300 mgs by New Chapter

500 mgs of Taurine

500 mgs of magnesium

(I take all these together.)

Wait about an hour and a half and you will start to feel better. It really does work.

Do you have any remedies?

Please comment below.