Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hope and Prayers (Are They Antidotes to Depression and Despair?)

This post is dedicated to Amateur Dancer, Marie Coppla, Venice of Unsound Slumber and to all those who are suffering from Bipolar disorders. THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE DARK TUNNEL.

Yes, we are depressed. Yes, we are desperate. Are there any remedies to these conditions? I wrote this post to tackle the problems of depression and despair among sufferers of bipolar disorders. I do not claim any iota of expertise on this subject matter. In fact, before I came across the term bipolar as I surfed the net, I was blissfully ignorant of it.

Whether depression is a state of the mind or a result of a chemical imbalance of the brain is not the issue here. I leave that to the experts. What I'm after is, how we can alleviate the pain and misery that depression brings to its untold number of victims.

The effects of prolonged depression is catastrophic to the psyche of its victims. It leaves behind a lingering sense of hopelessness and despair that may even trigger a violent tendency towards self destruction. It's like entering a dark tunnel without any hope of ever coming out of darkness into the light. People loses their sense of right or wrong. They are bewildered, totally disoriented and seemingly helpless.

Can hope and prayers overcome depression and despair? With due respect to the medical experts, I say yes. Hope is like seeing a flicker of light in the all pervading darkness of a tunnel.
It gives us a sense of anticipation that finally, as we reach the end of the tunnel, we shall finally see the light of day.

And who gives us this hope? Only God can and will. And we can fan the flames of hope through prayers. "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

How do you think those early Christians were able to face death with calm and equanimity as they were crucified, mauled by lions and bears, or defenselessly butchered by battle scarred gladiators? They sang songs of praise and worship and even uttered prayers of forgiveness for their tormentors. They were clinging to that glorious hope of a blissful afterlife. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1Corinthians 2:9) Surely depression, outright insanity and total helplessness would have set in to those who have no hope whatsoever if faced with the same situations.

Today, situations may vary but the results will still be the same. Those who have hope and diligently nurtures it with regular and intense prayers are those who will be able to overcome any obstacles and trials in life, whether they be depression or despair. Unflinching hope and
intense prayers usher us to the very presence of God, where we can pour out all the pains and sorrows welling in our hearts. Did not the Lord admonished us to, "Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you." (1Peter 5:7)

When depression sets in, we must never give it a foothold by lingering on it. We can counteract its effects by claiming the promises of the Lord and through His triumphant Spirit. "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." (Zechariah 4:6b) If we persist in prayers, our hopes will be rekindled like a blazing torch that will illuminate the total darkness surrounding us. In God's time, we will receive our most cherished healing and deliverance. PRAY! IT WORKS!


Dr. Deb said...

Very true. Though smeimtes, it is hard to see the light, find the light or believe it is there. But it is!

Photos of your family are so precious. You are blessed!

Amateur Dancer said...

Hi Mel,
Thank you for your post.
Sorry it took me a while to read..I was actually struggling myself.

Your post is a great reminder and I love the scriptures.

One thing that I have learned, through the Bipolar that has been really hard. Something that I think is really important for other Christians to understand is that when the Mania (the "high") or the Depression (the "low") or the Suicidal Depression (the destructive low) is SO severe that rational thought just escapes us.

It is wierd. I think it is different in Bipolar than with other types of Depression (or at least with less severe Depression).

I am a really committed Christian and I have such faith in Jesus. But, when my emotions swing into mania or depression, I am just GONE in my ability to think or hear or see life clearly. Specifically, religion.

It is like, everything will get twisted, and confused for me.

I have had so many other people (Christians and non) with Bipolar explain it the same way.

So, that is why it is SO important to me to have Christians in my Support Group. I feel like when I am going through an episode, I NEED those people to PRAY for me, because I honestly can't seem to think my way out of anything...

So, when you read our blogs and you see that we are going through mania or depression, please pray those scriptures over us, because it is nearly impossible for us to think it at that moment.

Thank you so much for your ministry.

Your family is adorable.

God Bless You and your Family!!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear dr. deb,
Thanks dr. deb. You always make my day. Comments such as yours are so precious to me too. They keep me going to write articles to try to alleviate the sufferings of a particular segment of society- the bipolar sufferers. I don't know why the Lord directed me to that particular group, but who am I to question His will?

I have avidly followed the kind of services you and the other doctors have been doing in your own particular blogs. God bless you all for your sincere efforts to reach out.

My personal prayers for God's shower of blessings for you, your family and your career. More power.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Amateur Dancer,
What can I say to ease the pain in your heart, or the severe depression in your mind? I'm at a loss for words. When you were describing the extent of suffering that you go through in those spells (whether manic, depressive or suicidal), I could almost see and feel those sufferings myself, and my soul cringe in terrible agony. I just realize how totally inutile I am to physically help you with your sufferings.

But I don't lose hope. I know that there is a God who watches over you, and who love you so much that He gave His own life for you. And I know that He is a gracious God, abounding in love and tender mercies. And I pray every night that He heals and deliver you, Marie, Venice and all the other sufferers of bipolar disorders.

God has been so good to me, blessed me in ways I could not even imagine. And I know He will graciously grant our prayers. Let us linked together in prayers for your healing and deliverance. Remember, "all things are possible with God."

God bless you and your family with all the wonderful things in life.

Paris said...

Yes, I rely on prayer when I'm in despair. It's like you have no one to turn to but there's still God. A God whom you can talk about anything, never judges you and always forgives you.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Paris,

Thanks for the wonderful comments. Coming from someone as young as you are, I'm quite amazed by the depth of your philosophical approach to life.
Keep up with the exuberance of youth.
They will keep you in good stead as you grow older and wiser in life.

God bless you and your loved ones with the very best in life.

Ian Lidster said...

Thank you, Mel, for visiting my blog, and thank you for your kind comments.

Your observations on depression are interesting, and I think there is a huge connection between hope and faith.

My personal mantra is: "Where there is fear, there is no faith, but where there is faith, there is no fear."


Marie said...

Mel, thank you for caring it means so much! Read the latest blog post and comment when you can.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Ian,
Thanks for honoring me with your visit on my blog. I have the highest respect for you, both as a writer and an individual. I find your articles very enlightening and informative. And thank you very much for your very generous comment. I really appreciate that.

God bless you with all the wonderful things in life.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Marie,
Thanks for your very kind comments. I have just read your latest post and I was saddened by it. I know that you are undergoing a painful transition in life. What with all the changes, your somewhat strained relationship with your parents and the debilitating effects of your latest attack of depression. I can only pray for God's amazing grace and tender mercies to strengthen you and keep you going.

In God's time, you will overcome all these and you will burst out of the dark tunnel into the light of complete healing and deliverance.

God bless you and your family with all the good and wonderful things that God has stored for all of you.

JLee said...

I think anything is possible. Bless you, Mel! :)

Lady Bea Morgan said...

Hi Mel, I'm Lady Bea, Author of The Pastor's Wife Does Cry. In response to the "there's light at the end of the tunnel" statement, I have a greater revelation. There is light in the tunnel. Jesus is the light! Darkness and light are both alike unto Him. So, no matter our trouble, trial, or tribulation, we must remember that Jesus is with us and He promised to never leave us.

Lady Bea Morgan

HeiressChild said...

hi mel, thank you for visiting my blog earlier this week. i love meeting new bloggers, and i expecially love meeting other christians. it's so nice to be able to openly share our faith.

i have a brother who has been diagnosed as being bipolar. i also have a friend who's been diagnosed as being bipolar and schizophrenic. they both do well as long as they take their meds. sometimes they get discouraged taking the meds, then stop taking them, and that's when more serious problems arise.

it's a terrible disorder, but like you said, there's always That Hope at the end of the tunnel."

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Jlee,
Thanks for your very kind comments and thank you too, for taking time to visit my blog. It is always an honor for me to see you on the comment section of my blog. Thanks too for the very interesting posts of your blog. I will always visit and browse it.

God bless you with all the pleasant
things in life.

HeiressChild said...

wow, i hadn't listened to youtube before i read your post and left my comments, but i had to come back and say excellent song choices for me today. i try to really stay focused on God; that way i won't be focused on any problems i have, or focused on what i don't have that i think i need. "all things are possible" is one of my favorite songs, and darlene (don't know the correct spelling of her last name) is one of my favorite artists. thanks for just brightening up my day.

now, how do i put youtube videos on my blog? i'd like to do that sometimes too. would you give me the instructions please? thanx in advance.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Lady Bea Morgan,
You honor me with your visit at my blog. Thanks for doing so and many thanks for the revelation. Thanks for reminding me that Jesus Christ is the true light of the world. In my post, I was referring to the light as the healing and deliverance that bipolar sufferers will find at the end of their dark tunnels (their trials) if they will hold on to their hope and they will pray unceasingly.

Thanks for finding time to browse my blog. I had the most enlightening experience reading the posts at your own blog.

God bless you with all the wisdom, grace and success that the Lord has ordained for you.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Heiresschild,
Thanks for visiting my blog too and for the very enlightening comments you left behind. I treasure Christians like you who visits my blog. To God be the glory. I'm sorry that your brother and his/your friend are both suffering from bipolar disorders too. It seems that this particular malady is a very soul sapping sickness that our bipolar friends are at the mercy of its symptoms. That is why I make it my personal crusade to help them by praying for them and raising society's awareness of this dreaded sickness. It's just disheartening to see other well meaning Christians subjecting them to harsh judgments and self righteous ridicules. May God have mercy on these Christians.

Regarding the video from you tube, it was my son who inserted it in my blog and I'm not sure if I can give you an accurate direction on how to do it. Here goes... Customize your blog. Edit the page element, go to java edit, get the embed code from you-tube, place it back to java, then save.

I hope and pray to the Lord that it works. That's the best that I could do, given the explanation from my son.

Thanks again and I will include your blog in my linked blogs. God bless you with the very best that life can offer.

HeiressChild said...

hi mel, thanx for adding my brother and friend to your prayer list. it's good to know there's another person who cares and will pray for ther healing and deliverance.

you've given good instructions for youtube, and i'll give it a try later tonite or this week. i'm sure it'll work just fine. tell your son i said thank you, and thank you to you too.

you have such a beautiful family, and i enjoyed looking at their pics. have a blessed week!

Venice. said...

hi mel! sorry it took me a while to read your post. thanks so much for caring and understanding what we are going through. it really is tough. i believe everything that you said although sometimes like what dr. deb said, its hard to see the light. nonetheless, i shall cast all my anxiety on Him and pray that I may see the light at the end of the tunnel.

God Bless you and your family.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Heiresschild,
My, you are a regular customer. I thank you more for the time you spend with my blog and for your heartwarming comments. But who's your brother and who's your friend? I want to know who they are so I can easily link all of you in my prayers. Don't worry. It will cost you nothing. I charge it all to the Lord who has steered me to this ministry.

I will convey your thanks to my son. He is a whiz too at pc's and video games. He's taking up computer science here in the Phil.
Thank you too for thanking me. I hope you will be able to put your own video post in your blog. I will
listen to it too as often as I could.

Thank you heiresschild for being such a nice person. You are like a spiritual daughter to me.

God bless you with all the amazing things that God has in store for you in His great storehouse of blessings.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Dear Venice,
You don't have to apologize. Naiintindihan kita. You already have so much load on your shoulders, what with your bipolar problems and with the trauma you have in your last training at the company you were applying for. What happened to your work at the call center? Did you resign there?

As I have said in your blog, that company's loss is another, more prestigious company's gain in you.
Don't worry, you have such a bright future ahead of you. And you will be very successful in your career, even in your lovelife. Imbitahan mo lang ako sa kasal mo. Pagiipunan ko ang regalo ko sa iyo.

I admire your guts kid. Not only in the way you showed up that corrupt trainor in the company you were applying for, but more so with the dignity and poise you carry on with your bipolar sickness. Shows your strength and character. I know you were made of sterner stuff. Lahing Pinoy yata yan.

God bless you child with all the wonderful and amazing things that God has in store for you in His great storehouse of blessings.

"Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7b)


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