by Heather Bock
“I don’t ever want to go through anything that painful again. Honestly, I wouldn’t voluntarily choose to endure such pain, nor would I wish it on anyone. But now that I’m on the other side, I can see how even in the midst of such pain God was there. And truly, he used even pain for my good. For that I am thankful.”
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Dr. Michelle Bengtson has been a neuropsychologist for more than twenty years. She had many patients over the years who were struggling with depression, and she always had a plan of action for them, a list of what they could do to feel better. Then she fell into depression herself, and although she tried everything she had always prescribed to her patients, nothing could pull her out of it. She realized something was missing.
The something that was missing wasthe spiritual side of the issue. I was surprised to read that medication, although it can definitely have a role to play in helping someone suffering with depression, doesn’t actually cure it. Medication only helps with the symptoms and doesn’t get at the root cause.
If the real reason for the depression is something more than chemical, or if the chemicals are out of balance because of the real root cause, the problem will come back as soon as the patient goes off the medication. Of course, depression medication can cause some other major side effects so that the person taking it might have to switch to another kind. During the process of finding a better one or if an optimal one can’t be found, the depression will remain. Dr. Michelle Bengtson, in her book, discusses ways to find healing for the root cause of the depression in each person’s life, healing that can lead to joy.
Thankfully, I’ve never struggled with depression myself, but if I did, I would use this book to help me through it. At the end of each chapter, Bengtson gives a recommended playlist of songs related to the topic of the chapter that helped her cope with the pain of her depression. She also gives “Your Rx”: directives for people to follow in order to take steps toward healing. Finally, she writes a comforting prayer that she has prayed for the reader.
After introducing the problem of depression, her story, and the underlying causes of depression, she starts dealing with the spiritual side of depression that many overlook. She focuses on spiritual warfare, how to recover the spiritual fruit of joy and peace, your spiritual identity and worth and love in Christ, and your secure destiny with God. She talks about coming out on the other side of it and how God used her pain for her and other’s good.
In her last chapter, she does discuss physical ways to deal with depression, mentioning therapy, exercise, positive talk, medication, rest, and nutrition, but she delves into spiritual ways, too, like spending time with God, reading the Bible, praying, obeying God, praising Him, and trusting Him.
What I appreciate about Bengtson’s words in this book is her recognition that we are not simply physical beings, but spiritual beings as well. If we want complete healing from something as pervasive and emotional as depression, we need to address all aspects of who we are.
If you are struggling with depression, especially if you are struggling silently, trying to put on a happy face and make it through, I recommend you get help from a trained Christian mental health professional, but I also recommend this book.
If you’re interested in buying it, you can find it at Amazon here, but also see below for a chance to win it for free.
If you are struggling with this, or if you know someone who is, I do have a new copy I would like to send to you. I also have the copy I read that is still in good condition that I would be happy to send, as well. Since I only have these two copies, please email me at heather.bock[at]glimpsesofjesus.com, and I will enter you in a drawing to win one of the books.