The Cure for Depression

Notice that I did not entitle this article “A Cure for Depression” or “Some Cures for Depression” but “The Cure for Depression.” This is because in my opinion what I am going to discuss here is not just one of the cures for depression, but the definitive cure for it.

Notice also that I did not qualify the word “depression”. I did not qualify it with an adjective like “physical”, “psychosomatic”, “psychological”, or “spiritual”. This is because this cure addresses all forms of depression, whether physical, mental, spiritual or a combination of these forms.

There are many drugs, food supplements and techniques which are described as cures for depression.

There are drugs called anti-depressants which medical doctors prescribe for their patients with depression problems.

There are food supplements which are advertised as natural cures for depression. The advertisements say these are better than antidepressants.

There are also several techniques offered as cures for depression. One that I read of is a combination of simultaneously eating chocolate, listening to music and reading the Bible. Another technique which many have found effective is self-talk. This is talking to oneself using positive, encouraging words, rationalizing over the feeling of depression and its perceived cause.

All the cures I have just referred to do help in the management and control of depression. But they do not get rid of the depression because they do not touch the root cause of all depression: the dislocation of our spiritual equilibrium. What I am saying is that the root cause of all forms of depression, even physical such as extreme physical tiredness, is spiritual. If the root cause is spiritual, then the cure can only be spiritual. Only a spiritual cure can get rid of depression once and for all.

Surprisingly, in my readings on the cures of depression I notice that a spiritual cure for depression is not even mentioned. Reading the Bible is not necessarily a spiritual cure. It can be physical, just giving some exercise to the eyes and lips. It can be mental, just thinking of the ideas therein.

Before I name this spiritual cure for depression I want you to know that although it is spiritual, it does not necessarily involve going to church, saying some prayers, practicing meditation, doing good to one’s neighbor, not even following certain commandments of God.

There has been the idea since the 1960s that the cause of depression is sin and therefore to get rid of this you just have to confess your sin and get reconciled with God and with your fellow human beings. The cure that I will discuss here is not along that line. As I have already shown sometimes depression is a result of our effort to get rid of sin, not of committing a sin.

Before I state this cure let us imagine that we are in heaven. Many people believe that when they die they go to heaven if they have done good on earth. I say “many” because not all people believe this. Some Christians think that when we die we just sleep, waiting for our resurrection; we don’t go anywhere after death, either to heaven or to hell. And other Christians think that doing good on earth is not a requirement for getting into heaven.

People of other religions think that after death we exist again in another form of life: as another human being, an animal or a plant.

That is why I say “many”, not “all” believe that when we die we go to heaven.

But for the sake of an illustration let us just imagine we are in heaven. With the definition of heaven as a state or place of complete and lasting happiness it would be impossible for us to see there a depressed person. All would be happy there. Christian theologians say that their happiness there would be according to their capacity to receive happiness. But each one’s happiness would be full. No one would be there only half happy. All would be fully happy.

And what would make them happy? Again Christian theologians say that what makes them happy is not having enough good food, functional clothing, sturdy shelter and freedom from diseases. What makes them happy, according to these theologians, is the beatific vision.

It is called vision because they see God face to face. It is beatific because it is a vision, a seeing, which makes us happy. The word “beatific” comes from two Latin words, “beatus” which means “happy”, and “facere” which means “to make”.

The ultimate cure for depression, then, is the vision of God. In my opinion and according to my experience the cure for depression of whatever form is the vision of God, our seeing God. Because it is a seeing which makes us happy, fully happy.

What most theologians teach us is that this beatific vision can only be enjoyed by us when we are already in heaven, that is, after we die. And that is where I differ.

I say together with a few teachers of spirituality that this vision of God, this seeing of God face to face can be attained or achieved even while we are still on this earth. And it is this seeing God face to face which can get rid of depression forever from our life.

Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange was a Catholic theologian who taught at the Angelicum (the popular name for the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas), Rome, from 1909 to 1960. He said “Fundamentally, the same divine life exists as a germ or a seed in the Christian on earth and as a fully developed life in the saints in heaven.” In other words what he is saying is that the life in heaven is begun on earth now. Now what makes us happy in heaven is seeing God. Therefore what makes us also happy on earth if we have this divine life is the seeing of God, not as clearly as in heaven, but still a real seeing of God.

Nicholas of Cusa who lived in the 15th century also affirmed that even on earth we can already see God and enjoy this vision of God. He wrote a book with this title, About the Vision of God.

This seeing of God while on earth is the ultimate cure for depression.

But you may ask, How do I get to see God when he is invisible? What must I do to see God?

The answer to the first question is: Yes, God is invisible because he is spirit. But because we also are spirits our spirit can see God, not with the eyes of the body but with the eyes of the spirit.

The answer to the second question is: There is nothing to do in order to see God. You just ask God for this and he gives this to you, but you obey what he tells you. Each one will have a different way of receiving this vision of God. I received mine by having a vibrant, lively relationship with Jesus through the Bible and the sacrament of Communion. Yours may be different. A Buddhist attains it in a different way. A person of another religion attains it in his or her own way.

Still depressed? Ask God to reveal to you his face. When you see him you will no longer be depressed. You can then follow the command to rejoice always in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 and Philippians 4:4, a command which we can never follow unless we see God face to face now, through a glass darkly, but as really as we would see him in heaven.

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