This book has been staring at me every time I walked into the library for several months now. It is new to our library, so they have it up front as you walk in. I kept seeing it and thinking I should, but then not wanting to have to do something extra, like you know pray or anything, so I have been avoiding it. But a week or so ago I visited my doctor, got some medication, and finally felt that I was able to read this book.
I don't know what I was afraid of, it is a wonderful book, not nearly as prescriptive as many similar things I have seen. It is also a bit of a comfort to know that I have never been as bad as the author was and hopefully, never will be. Once I could get over the fact that, yes, I still might need some of this advice, it was a refreshing way to look at a persistent problem.
This book is written by three different people, a middle-aged woman, her twenty-something son, and her husband. The first two have suffered from extreme depression for years, the husband suffered too, because of loving the other two. In a short, clear way they all explained their experience, and how they got through, as well as the gospel insights they learned from their struggle.
One thing that really struck me was the idea of "the Divine Void." It is the lack we all feel because on this earth we are separated from our Heavenly Father. There were several pages of explaining this idea, but the important one was this:
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can fill that void. We are born with a longing for home, for Him. We are shown the way home in the Lord's house, where we are blesses with the ultimate ordinances in our journey. As we make and keep sacred covenants and receive these ordinances in His house, we are made whole, and the at-one-ment that Adam and Eve sought can be obtained.
This is not to say that all of our emotional problems can be cured if we attend the temple regularly. The author suffered devastating depression for 25 years until she finally found a medicine that helped her. Her son suffered for years as well, until he was ready to take his medicine and change some habits that held him back.
In my own life I see the inability to feel the spirit that comes as a result of depression is crippling, in an emotional sense. When I am determined to get back up and move forward, I need to get medication, but I also need to get my spiritual house in order. Last week I was able to spend a day going to the temple, and then driving in the beautiful mountains to clear my head. Both the temple and the meds helped in the healing that I am experiencing. But I am not 100% better; able to leap out of bed with a cry of delight and go full tilt all day. If I did that my husband would probably take me right back to the doctor. I know that I have been helped in the past, and I know where to go for my help in the future. This book is a good reminder that in our trials and suffering, the Lord is there, even when we cannot feel him. Everyone suffers in one way or another and we all need the succor that the Lord provides. Turning away from him in pain and anger just prolongs the hurt.
For a simple little book (it only took me 45 minutes to read it) there were some profound truths and things to remember that I appreciated.
Deliverance From Depression: Finding Hope and Healing Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. G.G. Vandagriff, Greg Vandagriff, David P. Vandagriff. Covenant. 2008