Guest Author - Kitten Kristine Jackson
Have you ever considered the way your spirituality affects your depression? Regardless of what our religious beliefs are, they do affect our mental health, including depression.
We all have our own belief systems when it comes to God or a “supreme being.” If our actions are not in line with what we believe to be right according to God, we are filled with feelings of guilt, shame and sadness, all of which may cause or contribute to depression.
As humans, we are acutely aware of our lack of control upon the world in which we live. On a daily basis, we read and hear about rape, murder, child abuse, terrorism, unemployment, nuclear weapons, hurricanes, etc. We are bombarded with information about horrible things over which we have no control, but that we could face at any moment.
Most of us believe that there is a God who is ultimately in control of everything. We don’t know why awful things are allowed to happen, but the belief that our God is in control gives us comfort and hope that through prayer, He hears our pleas and responds to our needs.
I can assure you that my faith gives me the strength to get through each day. Without my belief that God is with me and those I love, I would live in constant fear, and I would probably never let my daughter out of my sight!
Those who have fallen away from their faith, and those who haven’t made a decision about their own spiritual beliefs, are the ones who are most likely to feel hopeless, and that there is no purpose in life, predisposing them to depression.
The purpose of this article is not to tell you what to believe. I can’t do that. But if you are not sure whether you believe there is a God, just look at the beauty of life itself. Look at the billions of molecules that make up each of us and how they all work together to create a living being—-one that sees, hears, feels, thinks, and reproduces.
Think about the fact that a heart can beat continuously for a hundred years or more! Think of the very specific orbit of this planet and everything existing on it which allows us to sustain life. It is my belief that that these things could not have happened accidentally.
Probably most of us don’t consider how our own spirituality affects our depression. I know from my own experiences that my depression is drastically affected by my relationship with Jesus.
During the time in my life when I was closest with God, that dark cloud of depression disappeared for the first time since I could remember. I still had issues to handle, but I felt strong and capable of dealing with whatever came my way because I know that He “has my back.”
Spirituality is a personal matter, but it is also a very important one. You may not be aware of its effect on your mental health. You also may not be aware that praying releases more endorphins than making love!
If you suffer from depression and nothing seems to help, maybe it's time to take a spiritual inventory. If that part of your life is in disarray, doing some spiritual house cleaning could help you get on the road to recovery. At the very least, you’ll feel better and in time, your depression could be a thing of the past.
(I would like to emphasize that this is not an attempt to proselytize for any religion. My faith in Jesus is my own, which I chose to share as an example of how my faith affects my depression. Your spirituality is your own, and I wish you well in your spiritual journey.)