Unfortunately, it’s very hard! If I were young again, I think I would become a psychiatrist. There will be more and more people suffering of depression, because we don’t follow God’s commandments anymore. But God is merciful and He will be with us to the end of times, as He promised to us. Seeing that man prefers the hell of pride and self-will, God teaches us through St. Siluan: “Keep your mind in hell and despair not!”. This is a difficult saying that I am not capable of understanding or talking about, but God gave me the strength to simply do what it says. When I feel despair, I say: “God, you see that I do not want to despair!” I really say these words. And I stay in the pain that pushed me to despair, and I live this pain until it’s over. Sometimes it’s so hard that it feels like death. Many times, unfortunately, I express it in ways that hurt those around me, but I do not despair. This is the only way I know to not fall into despair when you are afflicted by a pain that you think you cannot bear, or that it’s not fair to bear: to live that pain. Does it hurt? Then cry out, but live in a way which says: “Be angry, but do not sin!” Cry, write it down, shout to God, punch a pillow or a boxing bag, if you are the punching kind. You don’t know how much it helps. But don’t imagine that you are punching the person who has hurt you, but instead eliminate your excess of energy. Cry your pain in front of God, in God’s house, in God’s language! Make use of the Psalter. The Psalter gives name to all your pain and fear, it soothes you, it ‘argues’ for you with God, it makes peace with God for you. The Psalter will help you not choose depression as a solution. Because depression is our choice. Sometimes it is a very good choice, made by that deep part of us which doesn’t want to let us live a frivolous, fake life, far from our true self and from the yearning in our heart.
But there are also depressions inherited from our parents or from the world we grew up in. Nowadays we are much more fragile. Today’s children, today’s youth, today’s people are much more fragile: they get tired easily, they get depressed easily. Why? The burden carried by these children is much heavier than our own. I was born in a village where people went to confession. Even once a year for Easter, or maybe four times a year, they confessed and they took Communion. Today’s children are born of parents who were not allowed to go to Church, and who did not desire to go to Church. And as a consequence, they do not believe in God. I know many children who come back into the Church, and their parents stop them or make their lives hard. And those sins, which were not lifted by God through confession, weigh down on these children. They weigh down on them like an inherited illness, like a curse, but not like a punishment, because God doesn’t punish you for the sins of your parents. But if one of your parents had tuberculosis, what do you think you’ll inherit? Blue eyes? Even so, that illness is not your fault. It is you fault if you do not seek treatment. It is your fault if you do not rise against the illness to seek healing. If, instead of revolting against your parents and judging them, you run to God, you’ll see how quickly you’ll find healing!
Many people are depressed because of their passions. Sloth or laziness leads to depression. A smart lazy person will get depressed. When he gets depressed, he goes to the hospital, and his Mom comes running there with good food and pampers him. Yes? I got depressed when I was young because of laziness. I was too “lazy” to become a member of the party. They had forced me to be a member…it was horrible. So, I thought maybe it’s better to pretend I’m crazy. And I stayed in a psychiatric hospital for around three months, but then I got bored, because it was Spring, and I told the doctor: “Doctor, you know, I only pretended to be sick.” And he said: “I know, Miss, that’s why I’ve kept you in the hospital and treated you, because healthy persons don’t pretend they are sick.” So we are a bit crazy when we pretend we are crazy or depressed. But these psychological illnesses belong to our family. Today, families are sick, and because of that, more and more people have psychological sicknesses. Have the courage to accept your sickness, to face it in your life and in your home. The sickness cannot be treated and healed unless it is accepted by the family and by the sick person. At first, the specific treatment recommended by the doctors is absolutely necessary. I talked to Christian doctors and they told me that when the brain is sick, or when there was a physical or emotional trauma affecting the brain, this affects or destroys those chemicals that censor our perceptions and our emotions, those chemicals whose task it is to allow into our conscience only what we can bear. This mechanism censors the thoughts that are bad for us, and in this way it also stops the evil spirits from entering our mind. The brain doesn’t know if it’s a devil or not. It doesn’t know, it is just composed of cells that say “this will hurt my master, I won’t let it come in.” This, said a French doctor, is part of the “garment of skin” which protects man after it got cast out from Heaven. God, when He made this “garment of skin”, this biological body of ours, also made this barrier, because man did not have the strength anymore to fight with the Devil, because he didn’t have the Holy Spirit, he didn’t have the grace. Then God put this barrier in man’s body, in his being, in his chemistry. In moments of shock, this barrier is destroyed and evil thoughts, evil voices, which are the devils that we cannot defend against, enter into our minds. They don’t have power over us, but we don’t know this and we become afraid and we hurt ourselves by believing them. Then this medication that the human brain invented, with God’s grace, to deal with this suffering, replaces the chemicals which the body usually produces itself, and man is freed from his nightmare. Then we need to go to Church, to Holy Unction – anybody needs to go who believes, who has a bit of honesty towards their own person and believes that Holy Unction is a healing Mystery which heals all the diseases of those who believe. Even if a person is diagnosed with schizophrenia, for example, and to everybody else that person looks a bit strange, that person is still healthy and can still enjoy life and even become a saint. People say that if you are not a bit strange then you are not a Christian, right? So, courage! And trust in doctors too, especially if they belong to the Church. But let’s not forget that only God heals in his Holy Church.
(By Mother Siluana Vlad)