Monday, July 13, 2009

The Catch-22 of Depression

Sometimes depression is situational. This means its cause is not internal and physical (e.g., brain chemistry). Instead, the cause is that there is something in the person's life that is not right.

The person can even know this, and know how to make the requisite changes in their life, but find it difficult, perhaps even impossible, because the depression then makes it hard for them to make big changes. This predicament -- life circumstances making a person so depressed they cannot change their life circumstances -- is what I think of as the Catch-22 of Depression.

The person may feel trapped under a boulder so heavy that they cannot get out from under it.

Here is my question: can this really happen? Or is there always a way out?

Can a person always find the strength himself or herself (e.g., if he or she prays enough)? Or is the help (or even intervention) of others sometimes required -- and if it doesn't come through, the person is doomed? Or, sometimes, is even good help from others not enough?

(My question is really a theological one -- it's a question about the exact nature of divine goodness.)

P.S. Apparently I am not the only one to conceptualize depression this way. Jon G. Allen wrote a book on the Catch-22 of Depression, called Coping with Depression, in 2006. Here is a summary. Very helpful!

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