I am happily married, a mother of two healthy little people and I suffer depression.
In hindsight, I realize I have always had more ups and downs than most people. When my second child was three weeks old, I became extremely anxious and depressed. There was one moment when, because of its sudden severity, I am aware that it started. It was two years before I had a day free of it.
A black and white view across La Perouse Bay on a gloomy evening, the sea vast and incomprehensible, the shoreline harsh. The old photo on Professor Philip Mitchell’s wall in his office at the School of Psychiatry, Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney, reflects something of the experience of being depressed. The future seems bleak, dark, vast and unreachable; the situation seems hopeless; loneliness presses in.
In September 1992, I scribbled on a piece of paper, “It’s so difficult to hang in there. I’ve lost control of my life. It’s impossible to think positively. Will things ever change for the better? I’m not sure I’m able to continue, to keep going. I’m lonely, unhappy, scared, guilt-ridden, a failure. What can I do to change the situation? It’s hard to see where God is involved. What else do I have to lose? I’m sure I’m gradually giving up. It has been such a long time.”
Derek Hopgood was a lovely, humble Christian man. He was a good husband to his wife in every way and a caring father to his two teenaged girls. He was also an excellent deacon of our congregation. One of his hobbies was photography and often we have used his photographs in the pages of Evangelicals Now.
There is a large number of self-help books for people coping with depression. These books use approaches ranging from psychoanalysis and dream therapy to diet-based programs of rehabilitation. Beating the Blues is one of the better books, using a well-regarded approach which aims to give sufferers more control over their thoughts and feelings (it’s known as cognitive-behavioural therapy). (more…)