Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Musings from a New World Shepherd
by Marianne Stokes:
St. Elizabeth Spinning for the Poor
I have come to believe that what you eat, who you associate with, how much you exercise and your faith or lack there of affect your over all mind set enormously. I have fibromyalgia and the pain and side effects from medications I took for the pain in past years caused me to be very depressed. One day about 7 years ago I just made up my mind to reconnect with my old life and try to fight my way back because I knew that at the rate I was going I was heading for an early grave. Prayer and meditation have been very helpful in my life.
Brain chemistry is a fascinating thing and recent scientific studies have revealed how little we understand the human brain or how its function or dysfunction affects our bodies. I find it just fascinating that having a pet dog or a cat can lower blood pressure and also find it fascinating people who are married and people who have faith have been shown to live longer on average.
Faith and fellowship are very helpful in changing one's outlook but it's effects go deeper to our very brain chemistry. Depression can be treated with exercise and as we know that changes our body functions and allows the brain to work better. Depression is not a disease, depression is a mental health disorder. If one has struggled with depression once in one's life one almost always will have it again. Often something triggers depression like a loss or an illness.
Faith is not a panacea but it is something that has healing properties perhaps because it helps us to look at the world differently. Prayer and meditation are very helpful in gaining perspective and in starting the healing process. Faith does not blot out pain it gives you the strength to work through the pain and often it changes one so much one can resolve depression.
My problem with meds is they are numbing. You don't really resolve your depression you just mask it with meds. They can help you when you are in such a bad way you see no hope and they can give you rest so you can regain your normal life but they need to be taken with supervision and caution. Antidepressants can be useful to end depression but being on them too long usually is not a good thing from my experience. I happen to have faith in God but belief in mankind's enduring spirit or in a concept that guides one's life can also be the reason some people thrive and live long happy lives while others seem to give up and die young.
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