G'dayCathy and thanks for your posting. I'm sure that Clare would agree with all that you have shared there, and I don believe she was making a clinical or moraljudgement on the state of play with people with depression. She is simply noting that depression seems ot be on the rise - and as you say, it could wel be because we are more aware of it now and would have called it something else once.
My Mum had a friend, long since passed away, that used to suffer "with nerves" - my guess is that depression was part of her story and her suffering, without ever being named as such. I can think of other folk too, similarly burdened with conditions, that were given names that seem now to have been a bit wide of the mak, or too generic, or even patronising in some way.
Thank you for sharing again some of your own suffering and story. You have great courage and openness in this, and I am sure it becomes a real gift to others many times over.
All good wishes to you.
: I admit I was a bit slow off the mark, but
: I’ve just finally got around to reading Sr
: Clare Condon’s reflection for Ash Wednesday.
: I must say I was disappointed and, in fact,
: quite alarmed that she seems to accept
: without question the (to me) rather
: superficial and moralistic reasons given by
: an American psychologist for the rise of
: depression in western society.
: I have suffered from depression since I was
: a teenager, and so, from my perspective, let
: me give four alternative reasons which may
: help explain why depression is so prevalent
: in our society: - In today’s world there’s a
: lot to be depressed about! (terrorism, the
: environmental crisis, massive injustices,
: national and personal tragedies, etc.) The
: modern media makes us much more aware of all
: this, in a very vivid and immediate way,
: than ever before;
: -Many people, especially those with family
: responsibilities, find it genuinely hard to
: juggle all the demands and expectations
: placed on them. Of course, we are often
: advised to reorganize and simplify our lives
: to lessen the stress, but one way and
: another it is NOT necessarily possible for
: individual people to do this, and the
: expectation that you can solve the dilemma
: on your own, when in fact you can’t, can
: just add to the burden;
: -Likewise, the fast pace of change can leave
: us feeling somewhat bewildered!
: -Perhaps most significantly, I often wonder
: whether depression is really on the rise as
: much as it seems to be, or whether we’re
: just finally giving recognition to something
: that was always there. In the past, it was
: often hidden as people tended to think of it
: as a moral weakness rather than as an
: illness. This brings me back to where I
: started from. In my own case, a few years
: ago my depression was finally diagnosed as
: being caused by a chemical imbalance in the
: brain, and it is now being more-or-less
: successfully treated by medication. Once
: again, medication can sometimes be seen as
: the “weak” way out, but we would not take
: this attitude towards medication for any
: other illness, so why should we with regard
: to depression?
: Of course, Sr Clare makes some good
: suggestions for spiritual disciplines which
: we can all follow during Lent, and in any
: case I realize that she may have been
: thinking more about people who frequently
: feel “down” rather than people who suffer
: from depression as an illness (although
: there can be a very fine line between the
: two). Even so, if the Church is to have any
: credibility in modern society, I think we
: need to take a more sympathetic attitude
: towards people and to dig more deeply for
: the causes of modern malaises.