Repression leads to depression

Jeremiah 17:9. . .”The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But God searches the heart and examines the mind and gets to the heart of the human, the root of things, and treats them as they really are and not as they pretend to be.” (Message Bible)

The Apostle Paul said he became all things to all people so that he may win a few. I learn more about my faith by relating to non-believers and seeing what it is about my faith that they are really rejecting. The biggest thing that comes to mind is they see Christians as repressing their desires in an attempt to live for God. I learned in 12-Step groups that repressed desires are the leading cause of mental health issues. This could explain the Religious Trauma Syndrome that many people suffer from when they leave the Church.

Repressing our desires is not the freedom that God calls us to in Christ. While our desires are natural, they are not always Godly. When we turn from our own path and seek out the path of righteousness that God laid out for us, He begins to show us a new path to take; aka being born again, or a fresh start in life.

We don’t have to struggle with our desires. Maybe they are something good that God wants us to have. We should go after these as long as the Spirit doesn’t convict us and we put God first. Every desire is basically good at its starting point because it serves a basic need that we have. Our relationship with God meets every need that we have at its core.

We don’t struggle with or repress our desires. We simply rise above them and become fully human and live the life that God calls us to live. This is what Jesus meant when He said our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

The nature of chemical dependency

Chemical dependency goes a lot deeper than just drugs and alcohol. Although if you have a drinking or drug problem you’re guaranteed a free place to stay while you work the program. There are other forms of chemical dependency other than drugs and alcohol; Just not as many damaging effects.

Caffeine is the most widely abused drug in the world. The best part of waking up? I always thought it was interesting that any chemical dependency group I visited always had a big ass coffee pot in the center of the room.

Do you ever really overcome an addiction? It seems when we stop using one drug of choice we merely replace it with something else. For example we become addicted to work, religious activities or even the groups themselves.

Relationships can be an addiction as well. Codependency is when we become too dependent on people to fill some void in our lives.

Pharmaceutical drugs are also a chemical dependency. This is why I never liked taking psychiatric medication. It takes months before it really works. It is almost like they are designed that way so people become dependent on them.

In closing I once heard a pastor say there are no addictions. Addictions are merely strongholds. My dad quit smoking after 35 years when he found out he had spots on his lungs. He even said if you really want to quit then all you need to do is just make the decision to.

Since we tend to replace one addiction with another, maybe the healthiest addiction is life’s most important relationship. Everything addiction outside of that is merely just a form of idolatry.

But then again what do I know? I am not a licensed addictions counselor anyway.


Emotional intelligence and the spiritual life

As I reflect on how I lost my ambition over the last ten years, I can’t help but wonder if is a sign of spiritual growth or mental illness.

It has been a whole decade since I made the decision to abandon all conventional medicine. I replaced it with a wellness kick. For a while my wife was into it as well. It was the closest we had been in a short five year relationship.

You might ask if I consulted my doctor before I made that decision. I consulted the Great Physician. I was seeing a Christian counselor. It took me awhile to find him.

If you knew how the healthcare system worked, you would understand what led to my decision. Doctors will never condone a mentally ill person weaning off their medication due to the safety risk and possible loss of license.

Also once you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you may likely never be diagnosed with any physical illness. Any symptoms could easily be attributed to being depressed or manic.

I pretty much lost most of the friends I had then. We pretty much became unequally yoked since they still believed in modern medicine. I just read a verse in one of the books of Chronicles about how King Asa died because he trusted in physicians rather than seeking God for healing.

To sum up the healing process, I learned to value myself more for one thing. I also practiced meditation and staying present. This isn’t a new age term of you are meditating on the things of God in the Bible.

Over time I became more aware of my emotions. I confess I do still have minor episodes. Maybe they are right in mental illness being a lifelong condition.

However through mindfulness meditation I am able to ride out the episodes within a very short period of time. I just have to avoid people so they won’t freak out and contact the authorities.

The fruit of the spirit is self control. In addition to managing the symptoms of mental illness I became more resilient to the pressures of life. This may make me look poor on paper, but it is called discovering one’s true wealth within.

Some scientists have proved the body can heal itself. These scientists can’t figure out why we even have to die in the first place.

Modern medicine was designed to treat symptoms. Most illnesses are rooted in stress, anxiety, and other emotional problems. Many of these underlying issues may never be treated in a profit based system.

The good news is they don’t have to be treated by the system. True freedom is found in a personal and intimate relationship with the Divine. Even Jesus asked the man at the well if he wanted to be healed.

From Depressed to Manic or Mad

I study this subject way too much. But what I discovered could be very interesting. Over the last year I have been doing a lot of seeking God which has helped me in my process of self-examination (steps 4 & 10 in the 12-steps). I noticed that meds don’t usually work on me. Although when I take an antidepressant I get really happy. I didn’t realize this was mania until the last month. And it’s probably the only real symptom of manic-depression I have. I never really thought that there was a such thing as “excessive happiness.” If there is would you really want to medicate it? We need more of this type of “mania” or madness.

Someone once told me that during the climax of sex (there I said it shoot me) a person’s dopamine goes up. While serotonin is the neurotransmitter that deals with depression & anxiety, dopamine has to do with the body’s way of experiencing pleasure. People with low dopamine have an inability to experience pleasure. People with too much dopamine tend to give in to their “addictions” more because it increases their dopamine receptors (I don’t think I understand a word I just said).

Be careful your dopamine doesn’t get so high that you lose touch with reality. This is where paranoid delusions & hallucinations come in. But to me mild mania/madness doesn’t seem to be a problem as long as you don’t hurt anybody. I’ve noticed that when I get depressed or feel anxious I crack jokes and it pulls me out of my funk which is why I don’t stay down very long. The Book of Proverbs says :”laughter is the best medicine. It brings healing to the bones.”

To sum it up, because we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Creator, our bodies have a tendency to heal themselves if we let them. The only reason you would need medication is if you can’t control yourself. So mental illness is just the body’s inability to control it’s emotions and all medicine does is relieve the symptoms. If you want to get off meds sometime in your life you have to learn how to control your own emotions. This is the wake-up call I got from a couple friends of mine that aided me in my healing process.

Of course I don’t recommend stepping out in faith without talking to your Doctor first unless your Pdoc doesn’t agree and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is calling you to step out in faith. When He does, if you are in tune with Him, you will know. He will make sure you know.

Is life really hard?

You have heard it all your life. Life is hard, and then you die. It’s a dog eat dog world. Suck it up, it only get worse. Life only gets harder as you get older.

With a mentality like this, it is no wonder there are so many cases of mental illness out there. This type of mentality actually serves to make life harder and only produce a life of despair.

Studies show that the life is hard mentality doesn’t bear much fruit in life.

What does the Bible say about a hard life?

The primary verse that jumps to mind is “the way of the transgressor is hard”. You can google the location for yourself. I believe it is in Proverbs or Psalms. There are verses like Psalm 1 that says the way of the righteous is prosperous and brings for much fruit; not necessarily pertaining to material gain.

Since a transgressor’s life is so hard, what exactly is a transgressor?

Paul defined sin as transgression of the law.  Since it is the law that brings for the knowledge of sin, or sin consciousness, and Jesus said that love fulfills the law, then transgressing the law is following it in a way that awakens the sin consciousness which only condemns us.

Sin is missing the mark. We miss the point that it is all about love by abiding in the tree of knowledge of good and evil and keeping each individual commandment. The The result is our life becomes harder because, rather than simply abiding in a state of childlike innocence in the Tree of Life, we are now attempting to build a man-made tower of Babel.

Sounds familiar?

“Who told you that you were naked?”-God to Adam and Eve.

Life was created to be simple.

  • Till the earth
  • Revere (fear) God and keep His commandments (not because you have to or fear of hell)
  • Take care of each other

Through the Tower of Babel, man has tried to build a utopia and the result was chaos, confusion, and a very complicated and hard life.

Maybe life wouldn’t be so hard if it wasn’t for people. (You will figure the joke there soon).

GK Chesterton said in one of his books that socialism may be what saves the world though it is the least desired system. By socialism, I don’t mean the political system. More of an anarchist system where people choose to live communally and love is the currency.

Every time I mention love being a currency, I crack myself up. I can’t help thinking of every time I tried to use love as currency it ended up resulting in criminal charges.

Okay so that was a bad joke. We can’t win them all.

There is very little difference between political systems. They all have their good points and bad points. Whenever you lose focus on the Divine and focus on the political system itself, it becomes corrupt and everyone gets enslaved.

In closing it is also good to note that you will never find freedom within any political system. Freedom is purely spiritual and only flows from being in right relationship with God. Although from the Universalist perspective, everyone already is (spiritual Jew & Gentile). There is no “getting saved”, only the knowledge of salvation.