Fred spent over seven years on dialysis. One of the common side effects is depression. Cancer patients often experience “chemo brain.” Dialysis produces a similar fuzziness and susceptibility to blue days. Never one to deny reality, Fred acknowledged these down periods, but fought hard to discipline his thinking and manage his situation.
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Down, but not Out
Research shows a young man today is ten times more likely to be depressed than his father, and twenty times more than his grandfather. The artificial measures we put on our lives contribute greatly to this condition. Our faulty, “have it all” definition of success creates an atmosphere ripe for depression.
Our generation of materialism leads to degeneration.
The greatest defense against depression is gratitude – or so I have found. I once spoke to an audience with a severely disabled young man sitting on the front row. His attentiveness and response drew me to him. Afterwards he stayed to speak. When I asked about his physical condition he said, “Mr. Smith, I have a handicap; the handicap doesn’t have me.”
In the years of physical deterioration, I have been tempted to fall prey to the black cloud. I daily make decisions about my attitude. I constantly work to focus on the things I have, not on the things I don’t. Guideposts magazine quoted me when I said, “I am not disabled – I am delightfully dependent.”
Recently, a friend told me he stayed home rather than fight the inclement weather. This meant he didn’t get his gym time. So, he stretched out on the floor to exercise. Only then did he realize how beautiful the ceilings were in their house. He could have been out of sorts for missing his scheduled workout, but he let gratitude work in his heart.
There are certainly clinical reasons for depression that require medical attention. I am not minimizing those.
A therapist told me one of the cures for non-clinical depression is getting outside ourselves and giving to others. “Grateful people are usually generous.” This leads us to see gratitude as a shield against the fiery darts of despair.
This week think about: 1) What am I grateful for right now? 2) How can I generate a generous heart? 3) When do I feel most vulnerable emotionally?
Words of Wisdom: “I am not disabled – I am delightfully dependent.”
Wisdom from the Word: “in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NET Bible)
News Line: ••• 7/22/14; “Danger, Danger Will Robinson!” is the title of Brenda A. Smith’s new blog. You won’t want to miss it. Click here to read her blog.
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