Ever since my physical breakdown in 1978, I have read widely on the subject of the body-mind connection, and have experimented with various forms of treatment. Here is a summary of what I have learned (more can be found in my book The Lord’s Healing Words, AuthorHouse).These comments, written to a friend late at night, are not organized in particular logical sequence. Nor will they always be expressed in full sentences.
Most Important: Faith, hope, and love.
Faith comes by hearing God’s word. Memorization and meditation upon certain passages bring mental uplift. I like Psalm 23 and Philippians 4:6-8, but there is no substitute for daily reading and study of the whole Bible (Psalm 1; John 15:7) Faith expresses itself in prayer. My wife and I experienced incredible improvement when we re-discovered justification by grace through faith. Thanksgiving works wonders. I often have to compel myself to think of things – big and small – for which to be thankful, and thank God for them. It always creates joy. Faith sees the meaning and purpose of life as bearing witness to Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). That includes following in the footsteps of His suffering (1 Peter 2:21). Hope sets our expectation for happiness entirely upon the grace to be brought to us when Jesus returns, and helps us overcome disappointment and despair. Weekly worship reminds us of this hope. - It’s hard to be depressed when we worship God with His people. Love focuses our attention on others, thus freeing us from self-pre-occupation. I find that even when I am tired or ill, praying for others - especially Christians suffering in China – lightens my mood. Love also finds ways to express anger and extend forgiveness. Resentment creates more fatigue and depression than anything else. Remember how God has dealt mercifully with you, and treat others in the same way. Love seeks to listen and communicate better. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus changed my way of relating to my wife. A Christian approach can be found in His Needs, Her Needs. Love can be found, and shared, in close Christian fellowship. Having at least one person of the same sex with whom one can discuss problems and pray about them can mean the difference between depression and joy. - Counseling can be helpful if the counselor has a sound Christian perspective and does not encourage you to focus on other peoples’ offenses against you, but yours against God, and then to lay hold of His mercy in Christ.
I somewhere read about a physician who once ran a clinic for depressed people, the main component of which was daily aerobic exercise. Apparently, such exercise releases chemicals which block depression. Light – especially sunlight – seems to make a difference. The Finns, who get little of it, suffer from endemic depression. Thus, walking outside on a sunny day usually cures all but the worst of my low moods. Most people require seven or eight hours of sleep a night? Furthermore, research has shown that the more hours you sleep before midnight, the better rest you get. Persistent loss of sleep will produce both fatigue and depression – just ask American soldiers taken prisoner by the Koreans in the early 1950’s. Proper nutrition promotes physical and mental health. Some essential ingredients: Vitamins: A (10,000 units per day); E (400 units daily): C (500 mg.); B complex (you have to get the right one; Shaklee seems to be the best). ` A good multi-vitamin (write me at firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information). Herbs: St. John’s Wort has proven effective for mild depression. The kind I use comes from Shaklee. Visit Shaklee for more information on how to get this. Avoid sugar and caffeine. A physician who once ran a clinic treating immune deficiency, and was later associated with the University of Virginia Medical Center, not only recommended to me the above vitamins, but also explained why sugar and caffeine directly attack the immune system. I forgot his explanation (it was technical) but remember his conclusion. Reduce the intake of meat and of dairy products, which cause all sorts of diseases (for proof, see The China Study, by Colin Campbell). Eat all sorts of vegetables, including soy products, instead. Eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Together with vegetables, they contain all the protein you need. Drink a lot of pure water. And do continue to pray, with faith! I hope these few suggestions will help you. G. Wright Doyle Revised September, 2007