On March 24, 2015, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, locked the senior pilot out of the cockpit and put the plane into a descent, something that can only be done manually and deliberately. His mission was intentional and extreme. He flew the plane into the French Alps with several crew members and 144 passengers on board—tragically, 150 people died in an instant. This unconventional crash left much of the world speechless. Later investigators discovered that Lubitz suffered from a serious psychosomatic illness. Over the years, he had been treated by a variety of neurologists and psychiatrists for bouts of severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Several medicines were found at his home used to treat mental illness. German prosecutors revealed that a medical diagnosis was seemingly concealed from his employer.
Most of us don’t necessarily think about the magnitude of impaired mental health until we’re confronted with these types of tragedies. The Proactive Health Solution reminds us that the mind, emotions, body and spirit are all connected. No matter how devoted we are to the proper diet and lifestyle, our body can’t achieve optimal health if emotional barriers are standing in our way. Depression can touch anyone, anywhere. It’s a complex issue involving an array of unrestrained emotions and intensity levels; ranging from mild and temporary, to acute and long-term. While the reasons for depression are numerous, we can find some common roots. It could be triggered from a biochemical imbalance, a debilitating disease, or any number of physical limitations. It might be seasonal—caused by gloomy weather. It can occur from current situations, or the unexpected death of a loved one. It may fester from unresolved anger/deep-rooted bitterness, traumatic events buried in one’s subconscious, or a preoccupation with negative thought patterns. Perhaps it runs in our family line. Whether we’re readily aware of its origin or not, we do know the impact that depression has on our psyche and spirit—it will discourage and deflate us. It can engulf some individuals into a deep, dark dreariness that makes them feel their life is not worth living.
In my book, I mention that conquering depression is like passing a class. We can consider it an assignment from the devil to test us on many levels—mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. The devil is the mastermind of driving people into hopelessness. His intention is to “depress” you. If he takes away your hope and joy, he can destroy your life. Optimistic people aren’t the ones committing suicide or killing others. This doesn’t imply that positive people will never experience depression. Difficult times and situations can cause anyone to feel grief and sorrow. Those feelings are a natural trait of being human which makes getting depressed an inevitable part of our life journey. To help us better deal with depression, each of us should learn how to process our emotions intelligently. As part of the Healthy Self-Management component, this is an important PHS Principle: Develop Emotional Intelligence. Neglecting the development of emotional intelligence gives our emotions free reign into a matrix of treacherous thoughts which are bound to manipulate our mind. If emotions are dominating our life, then anything goes. The consequences can harm us and have a devastating impact on all of humanity as well.
Many doctors prescribe lots of medications to cope with depression. Although certain meds may be helpful to some extent, others taken in high doses will have mind-altering side effects and dangerous ramifications. Could there be better remedies? When it comes to battling depression, we must summon every resource within our personal power to help us—be it mental, physical, spiritual or emotional. For example, if we’re not restricted physically, then exercise can help us. High intensity exercise releases endorphins which are known to reduce the negative effects of stress, elevate mood and promote a natural sense of well-being. What if exercise is not an option? Is it possible for someone to conquer depression by gaining a greater degree of emotional intelligence? Yes. Let’s look at an example in the Bible.
One day, the devil told God that the only reason Job was blameless and upright was because God had blessed the work of his hands and put a hedge of protection around him, his household, and everything he owned. The devil said that if God took everything away, then Job would curse Him and no longer be righteous. God allowed Job to be put to the devil’s test. He lost his servants, livestock and children. Job fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) Hardly a typical response from a mere mortal! Nonetheless, he passed the first test and then the devil wanted God to test him in another way: physically.
Next, Job was plagued with painful sores from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. His physical body became weak and continued to deteriorate. While Job was filled with anguish and misery over his losses and failing health, his wife and friends turned on him. His wife told him to ‘curse God and die’ and his friends accused him of sinning. He suffered from alienation and received no consolation from anyone. Surely, Job struggled greatly with depression. Nothing was in his favor. However, despite the confusion, grief and discouraging circumstances, Job used emotional intelligence to keep his perspective. His comment to his wife: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). He didn’t know why all this suffering came upon him, but he understood that God was still in control.
Job did not allow his depression to shatter his trust in the sovereignty of God. Instead he developed a great degree of emotional intelligence by staying focused on God. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” (Job 13:15) By staying faithful to God, Job passed the second test. In the end, God doubled his blessings; the latter part of Job’s life was better than the first. It’s easy to stay in high spirits when everything is going our way, but what will happen when we attend the ‘Conquering Depression’ class? Will we be like Job and pass the devil’s tests? Will we conquer depression or let it conquer us?
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Mark 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
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