• Regarding Grief, Sickness, and Depression: Hold Your Tongue and Offer Your Heart Instead by Heather Plett

Regarding Grief, Sickness and Depression: Hold Your Tongue and Offer Your Heart Instead by Heather Plett

This is a topic I’d like to see addressed more often on some of the other spiritual abuse blogs out there. The link to the Plett-authored essay is much farther below. I wanted to say a few words first.

Many Christians are either too lazy, too selfish, or too inept at assisting someone who is walking through grief.

After my own mother died a few years ago, no Christians were there for me, and it still shocks and saddens me to this day.

When I did muster the courage to phone or to open up to Christians (some church people, some were relatives, all of whom were ages 45 and on up), I was not met with compassion and empathy.

Rather, I was met with cliches,  sunny-sounding platitudes, criticism, judgmentalism, people who downplayed my grief (by comparing it to someone else’s pain in life and saying my grief was nothing).

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• Dear Ray Comfort and David Barton: Depression is Not a Culture War Battle by Warren Throckmorton

Dear Ray Comfort and David Barton: Depression is Not a Culture War Battle by Warren Throckmorton

I myself just wrote a Part 1 and Part 2 about the very same subject – Christian apologist Ray Comfort’s movie about suicide, called “No Exit.”

The “Exit” movie has its own website. There is a trailer available for the Exit movie on You Tube.

What I appreciate about Throckmorton’s take on this is that he plainly puts it out there that Comfort (while perhaps well-intentioned) is making depression and suicide evangelization tools. That was something I noticed too in Comfort’s presentation of the topic on TBN’s “Praise” program but didn’t think to mention it.

Comfort seems to be using depression and suicide as apologetic tools by which to convince Non-Christians, including atheists, to accept Jesus as Savior.

One problem of this, as I noted in Part 1 and Part 2, is that as someone who was a Christian for many years, and who used to have clinical depression for over two decades (along with suicidal ideation and anxiety) is that being a Christian did not deliver me from the depression (or anxiety or thoughts of suicide).

Depression is Not a Culture War Battle

by Warren Throckmorton

Excerpts:

During his April 21 Wallbuilders Live broadcast, David Barton had Ray Comfort on to discuss his new movie about suicide, Exit.  I intend to watch and review the movie but for now I want to advise readers to be wary.

For the most part, the advice given during this episode about depression and suicide is not helpful and in fact for some could be counterproductive.

….Suicide is Not a Cultural War Issue

Good intentions or not, there is a troubling thread here which continues throughout the program. The hosts and the guest treats suicide like it is a culture war battle — Christians on one side and non-Christians on the other.

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• For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)

For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)

I recognize for many Christians, the title of my post may seem shocking.

Please bear in mind I did add a qualifier; I said “for most.” I concede there may be a tiny percentage of  people out there who claim that Bible reading, or accepting Christ as Savior, or some other Christian-spiritually-related means, lifted their mental health problem.

What I say in this post can apply to any (to maybe all) mental health problems, but I mainly would like discuss these subjects with depression and suicidal ideation in mind.

I was undecided about writing a post about Christianity vis a vis mental health issues for this blog, until I saw Christian apologist Ray Comfort interviewed by Matt and Lori Crouch for a new movie about suicide he’s releasing (called “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide”) for a television program called “Praise” on TBN last night (July 24, 2017). Snippets from the film were shown during the “Praise” program.

The “Exit” movie has its own website. There is a trailer available for the Exit movie on You Tube.

Not only did Comfort discuss depression and suicide in this program in and of themselves, but he sort of veered off into the issue of how, supposedly, lacking faith in God and God’s promises, or holding on to disappointment or bitterness can eventually, several steps down the chain, lead to one dwelling on suicide as an option.

I find that to be a somewhat separate issue from depression or suicide proper, so I may return to that later on in this post – if at all.

In the majority of the interview I watched on TBN, the fact that many Christians suffer from depression was barely acknowledged, other than Matt Crouch mentioning that his mother, Jann Crouch (if one assumes she was a “true” Christian), struggled with depression for many years.

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN AND DO ALSO STRIKE DEVOUT CHRISTIANS NOT ONLY NON-CHRISTIANS OR BACK-SLIDDEN CHRISTIANS

Other than that, I don’t recall any acknowledgement being made in this show that Christians can and do suffer from depression, as well as anxiety and other mental health disorders.

For most of the program, Comfort seemed to be assuming that only Non-Christians can be depressed or mull over suicide.

Comfort seemed to assume that the main reason, or only reason, why depression and suicide has increased in American culture (or world wide) is that many cultures have stripped God away from the public discourse, and secularism has made headway in most cultures.

Comfort may have briefly mentioned evolution as playing a role as well, in that he said something about how kids today in schools are taught they are nothing but clumps of dirt who are here by random chance (I forget the exact wording he used), and that teaching people this sort of thing leads them to believe they are worthless.

I won’t really dispute that removing God from public life or promoting evolution may or can cause some people to lose a sense of meaning or purpose, or play into a feeling of hopelessness. Comfort may be right in assuming or arguing all that.

What troubled me was the emphasis of Christian spirituality as a “cure” for suicide or depression, which was put forth by both Comfort and the host, Matt Crouch. Crouch, for one, kept saying on this television program, that Jesus was “the answer” for suicide.

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• Non-Church, Non-Spiritual, or Secular Remedies and Treatments Don’t Always Work

Non-Church, Non-Spiritual, or Secular Remedies and Treatments Don’t Always Work

This is not the post I had planned on writing.

I was briefly discussing in an older post that most American Christians and most churches are utterly terrible at assisting most people who have mental health problems (and I’d also add addiction problems, domestic violence problems, and many other types of problems).

In order to appreciate my position on things, I feel a reader might want to read about my experience with depression and anxiety.

From the age of 11 to the time I was approximately 32 or 33 years old, I saw around four or five different psychiatrists, one psychologist, and one therapist, all for clinical depression and anxiety. (I also saw the therapist to receive grief counseling.)

I know at least one of those several doctors was a Christian, though we never talked about Jesus or faith matters in our sessions.

I have no idea what the religious beliefs were of the other MHPs (Mental Health Professionals) I visited.

From around the age of 15 or 16, up until I was about 33 years old, I was prescribed various anti-depressant medications and about two different anti-anxiety medications.

The medication dosages were modified by the doctors when they didn’t seem to be working for me at their initial dosages.

At some point during my 20s (I do not recall the exact age or for how long, but at least one year), I stopped seeing doctors and stopped taking the pills, because the doctors and the pills were not working.

I also halted medical treatment of my depression and anxiety because I assumed God was refusing to heal me and help me because I was using non-faith means (i.e. medical science) for a solution.

A small part of this view of mine was due to Christian teaching I saw or heard that cast the use of doctors and medications for psychological problems as being sinful or as showing a lack of faith.

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• Why Keeping a Diary Helps You Move On And Even Improves Your Heart Health – Daily Mail

This article focuses on divorce, but I think its advice is applicable to other life problems.

I discussed healing and moving past painful ordeals in a previous post or two. I had depression for many years, and after my mother died a few years ago, I had to find healthy ways to cope with the grief.

One method I used was writing. I used to write by pen in an old notebook. These days, I might blog about something, or write posts on someone else’s blog. I’ve found writing does help.

Why Keeping a Diary Helps You Move On And Even Improves Your Heart Health – Daily Mail by Alexandra Thompson

Here are some snippets from that page:

Struggling to cope with a divorce? Keeping a diary helps you move on and even improves your heart health

  • Expressing feelings by telling a story of your relationship has notable benefits
  • Writing lowers the heart’s rate and increases its beat variability, boosting health
  • Telling a story has advantages over expressing feelings or recording activities

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• Topics and Concerns Under-Reported by Christians or Abuse and Survivor Sites

Depending on my level of interest and schedule, I may, in the future, write separate blog posts discussing some of the topics I am listing below.

Some of the survivor or abuse recovery sites, forums, groups, and blogs I visit (whether ones owned by conservative Christians, liberal Christians, or ex Christians) do a wonderful job of exposing the problems of things such as authoritarianism and child-abuse (and wife-abuse) cover-ups by churches.

Those are certainly important topics that are deserving of coverage.

Some abuse or survivor blogs will cover some of the issues I have mentioned below, but only by way a “token” post or two.

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