September 01, 2016
Depression: A Spiritual Crisis
It is a gloominess that descends upon you like a thick, water soaked blanket. Colors fade to shades of gray, joy becomes completely inaccessible while sadness overtakes your body. While this is experienced briefly by many wading through loss or grief, to others depression takes up permanent residence in their psyches. The outside person sees their relentless sadness as unwarranted, as physically they look quite capable. While they may be on many levels, the depressed person is caught within a quicksand of hopelessness inside that pulls from them their very will to survive.
In science, animal models are used to study depression. In one model a dog is restrained by a cage on a platform where it receives a mild shock regularly. Once the animal realizes it cannot escape this shocking it withdraws, expecting it will never end. Eventually the dog is put on the platform without the cage, but it doesn’t leave, even when it can. It stands there and continues to be shocked. This is called “learned helplessness.”