The exercise of actually listing the reasons I was sad/depressed only intensified my resentment.
LaHaye explains it this way... "Resentment plus self-pity equals depression."
For those who respond to their hurts in acting out their anger, the formula would read - Resentment plus anger equals uncontrollable rage.
Since I am basically an introvert - my unresolved resentments and hurts resulted in depression.
Here I am tempted just to start quoting from the book but I won't. This blogging isn't a study of depression, this is about my journey through it.
As I said by this time, I was delighted that it had a good chapter on cures for depression.
The list of cures included all kinds of therapy.
Drug therapy. I wasn't going to do that!
Electrotherapy! That was worse.
Shock Therapy! Never!
Psychotherapy - couldn't afford it. Besides to go to a psychologist in a small town would be like announcing it to the world and I would be stigmatized forever.
And then Spiritual Therapy. When I first looked at this with great hope, I found it to be very similar to the evangelical four-spiritual laws of becoming a christian. Apparently, I just needed to convert, submit, confess everything to "God.
I remember wondering if it was possible to love God and still be depressed?? - a depressed christian? It seemed like an oxymoron.
But every time, I questioned my faith, I concluded that my faith wasn't the problem. I was begging God. I was on my emotional knees constantly. There was something else here...
I dug deeper into the book...
Then I came to the chapter - close to the end of the book, Ten Steps to Victory. There were only five that applied to me.
- Accept Jesus Christ as Savior - done
- Walk in the Spirit - done
- Forgive those who sin against you - STUCK
"If you would sincerely rid yourself of depression, ask yourself. "Is there anyone in live I have never forgiven?" wrote LaHaye.
Suddenly all the hurts of the past fingered two men in my life - my father and my husband. I forgave my husband - that was kind of easy. But my father -- lingered. How do you forgive a father - who wanted a son with every inch of his fiber - and who let me know that every second of my growing years?
I decided I would write my father every week. Under great duress - I actually did that. Every week I wrote a letter. I really did - for some time. But I think they were "passive-aggressive" crazy letters, because the next time my parents came to visit us in North Battleford, he looked at me with a quizzical, half smile, "What are those letters about?" he asked, a tiny shake of his head.
And I just stared at him. I couldn't give him an answer. And I realized that I was hurting him - destroying our relationship with those letters - not helping either one of us.
This is where I realized that "forgiveness" doesn't always include a person. And this realization is important to the rest of my story.
The other culprit seems to be "anger" itself. LaHaye convincingly makes a case that we need to go through a forgiveness process of "letting go" of anger.
I tried this as well. But because I am "depression prone" - the actual anger doesn't have a face. Resentment - a low grade anger - is usually justifiable.
As a depressed person - what do I forgive?
I wasn't angry and I truly loved my father.
I knew I had to forgive something - but what, and how?
“It's not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.” ― Stephen Fry, Moab Is My Washpot