To the Editor:
I enjoyed Russ Stephens’ article “Whipping Depression” in the Sept. 25 issue of The Wilson Post and the willingness to speak about such life concerns. It is beneficial to everyone in a society when subjects such as depression which carries stigma, stereotype and misunderstanding are discussed. With this in mind, my comments, as you will read are passionate and not meant to be chiding.
My name is Glen D. Roseman II, and along with my wife Joyce, we are co-founders of Concerts of Hope Inc, a foundation which seeks to restore dignity to persons with mental illness. We would be pleased to have you peruse our web site www.concertsofhope.org. Here you will find a consistent message directed toward advocacy, education and encouragement. I have dealt with a mood disorder for more than 30 years, yet remain married to my first wife of 20 years and a father to three well-adjusted teenagers.
A mood disorder can be defined as slight depression, bipolar disorder (synonymous with manic depressive illness) up to severe schizophrenia. Psychiatry has confirmed quite confidently that low and high levels of Serotonin and Norepinephrine (chemicals in the brain) can affect individuals’ emotional states.
My particular mood disorder is not as acute as some whose relational and vocational life is interrupted. In a recent life coaching, long distance phone conversation with a severely depressive bipolar individual, I was made aware that this person will never whip their depressive disorder outside of a complete healing which I will address later. I must caution you in the use of the title to your article. This can send guilt-ridden messages to people who suffer from multiple symptoms in a given day. In the case of this previously mentioned person, they may be facing E.S.T. (electro shock therapy) as medicine is not improving the disorder. At a support group meeting in Franklin through the Williamson County Hospital System, we heard a psychiatrist speak candidly and honestly that some (and they are in a low percentage) must resort to E.S.T. These persons never whip depression.
On the other note of David in the Bible and depression, I agree with you, while some in Christendom would like to deny that David the man after God’s own heart, suffered from depression. If he was living in our day, I believe he would be diagnosed with a mood disorder.
Being a man who was raised in church and has served in multiple church music positions (large and smaller), scripture and prayer is not the end-all to our dealings with mood disorders. It is not, as some might with an attitude of ignorance and sometimes arrogance, a religious pill one takes and all of a sudden there is no more depression ie: whipped.
I have my opinion on this which finds it convenient, couched in a legalistic mentality to pray for someone and share some scripture sending them on their way. I am not cynical toward spiritual matters in relationship to these issues. I am and continue to endeavor to be a spiritual man, not a religious one. Jesus spoke vehemently and firmly about religious men he called the Pharisees. He reminded them that they were out of balance and legalists. There is balance in all areas of life including how we deal with mental illness. I believe in and have witnessed divine healing. However, I believe along with great authors and men such as C.S. Lewis, that pain is a friend and can achieve great things in our lives. Perhaps God my Creator can do more in me, through me in an unhealed state, and for others which otherwise would not happen.
I am reminded of the lyrics in the song “You Raise Me Up.” The verse speaks in part “until you come and sit awhile with me.” I am quite agitated by a pious religiosity which is not willing to sit with individuals and endure the journey with them. It has been a thorn in my flesh to have pastors and churchgoers give me their solutions which they hoped would solve my challenges in a selfish effort to remove them from its uncomfortableness and proclaim they helped. See, whipped can imply it has disappeared and then those who already are in denial can comfortably remain there.
I sincerely wish depression could be whipped in every person’s life. This is not reality and must be dealt with carefully including words we choose as vehicles of communication.
For your information, there is not, at present, any mental health systems in Wilson County as other counties in Middle Tennessee. I am referring to satellite or networking organizations such as N.A.M.I. etc. I am aware of a bipolar seminar for children and families held recently in Watertown.
Glen D. Roseman II, President,Concerts of Hope Inc.,Lebanon
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