Clerical Articles

The healing of depression

  • September 5, 2016

Depression (from the Latin word depressio – constriction, pressure) is the downcast frame of mind, followed by drowsiness, asthenia, a pessimistic assessment of the events. This suffering is known by mankind from ancient times, since the fall from heaven of the first man.

According to a study made in 1983, it was estimated that there are over 100 millions people afftected by depression in the world. Actually their number has significantly increased.

Most often the depressive disorders are found at the alcohol and the drug addicts but beside these there are many other negative aspects like divorces, quarrels, conflicts, etc.

Many argue that their despondency and gloominess are caused by the life requirements of nowadays, which exceed the powers of man. The conflict between claims and reality leaves grief, bitterness and sorrow in the soul and that is why nowadays we see an increasing number of people suffering of this disease.

Almost every day we hear about cases of suicide, not only among adults, but also among teens.Adolescence is a very vulnerable period when the difficult situations are perceived as insurmountable problems.

The failures at school, the absence of the parents, the death of a dear person may cause unmanageable emotional dispositions to the teenagers. Some of them don’t find any meaning in their life and then resort to gestures that are abstruse for their beloved ones.

Science has a complex knowledge about the emergence of the depressive disorders, but the scientists ignore the spiritual cause which generates the emergence of depression, namely the defilement of the soul – the sin. The holy fathers and the whole Orthodoxy speak about the destructive effect of sin upon the soul.

In the fundamentals relating at the social conception of the Russian Orthodox Church and adopted at the Jubilee Synod of Bishops (Moscow, 13th-16th of August 2000) is stated: “The Church regards the mental diseases as one of the general harmful manifestations of sin towards human nature.”

For this reason there must be made a clear difference between a natural disease and the diseases caused by evil work.

Depression affects mainly those who cast aside the heavenly things and cleft strongly to the earthly ones, according to the Holy Fathers, due to the fact that sadness appears when the passion has not been satisfied. For instance when the man didn’t receive the money he expected, when he suffered a failure in love, when his career gets stuck, without any perspective of promotion, etc. In such moments the man, becomes mad and rejects any good advice, avoids people, considering them guilty for his condition and getting to the core of his problem, is unable to see that his suffering lies inside himself.

Most often these people don’t seek their shelter in the Church, in the sacraments given by the triune God, but in various practices that are foreign to the Orthodox spirit: meditation, massage, yoga, shopping, psychotherapy sessions (in the past the role of the psychologist was held only by the priest).

The true remedy for all diseases is Christ and the faith in Him, but these days the people confide in various TV programmes, listen to the advice of  celebrities, search in the media, in the newspapers, brochures, blogs, follow desperately the tips of the nutritionists, psychologists, but forget or maybe they don’t even know, that all these are hollow and blind, because of the mute and deaf spirits that inspire them. The only right path to the healing of depression, idleness and sadness is the true Orthodox faith, the straightening of the human life in accordance with the commandments of God.

The most important thing for the man is to understand that the cause of his sickness is his sin, to hate the devilish sins of pride, vanity, anger, fornication, lie and to return to God.

Parents, pay great heed to your life and to the life of your children.

Forget about the pretenses that are not fulfilled in this life, but spend time with your children.

The child learns from a small age from his parents and today, very often the children see their parents are not available at all for them and start feeling they are not protected and they cannot trust them.

In fact what matters is not the number of hours, but the quality of the time spent together.

What counts the most for the child who is in school and becomes aggressive or on the contrary, very secluded, is to talk with him and also to listen to him. During the teenage years the main issue of concern is the anxiety of performance: the fear of bad school results that can lead to depression.

For each Christian is necessary to participate (not to attend passively) at the holy services of the Church, to read from a small age the Gospel and the patristic literature. Even by a single word of prayer or by the sign of the cross the soul can be saved by the power of God.

Let’s always remember Apostle Paul’s words: Rejoice always. Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5, 16-18).

The only right path to the healing of depression is the straightening of your life in accordance with the commandments of God.

Protodeacon Valeriu Balan