Jump to content
IGNORED

Questions about Fundies and Depression


muffynbear

Recommended Posts

I was wondering... are fundies allowed to use Anti-Depressants? What if a fundie is depressed or has a serious mental/mood disorder? Do they pray this away? Or is medical intervention allowed? "Keeping Sweet" all the time would literally drive me insane. I have no idea how Michelle or her children (especially the J'Slaves) manage to be so peppy all the time. This culture (emphasis on 'cult') seems to be big into repressing one's true feelings and thoughts which can't be healthy. Does anyone have any insight into this? I'm truly curious because I take anti-depressants which have been a tremendous help in my life. Is seeking medical intervention for depression considered "weakness" in this type of culture?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some fundies may allow anti-depressants, but I suspect that a good many of them do not. As for the Duggars, they're big supporters of IBLP. Bill Gothard, its founder, believes that most mental illnesses are caused by personal irresponsibility. That said, I can't help but think that if a Duggar child were to suffer from a mental illness, he or she would be encouraged to pray it away. I hate to say this, but unless it was really, really extreme, it'd probably be chalked up to sin and/or a character flaw.

Here's a clip of Bill Gothard talking about mental illness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4gieCr-YRk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think alot of the more extreme ones don't. Remember the lady who drown her 5 kids in the bathtub? She had serious diagnosed mental illness (I don't remember whether it was bipolar or mild schitzophrenia or what it was), the husband had the whole family in an old schoolbus converted into an RV, and they had gone back into a house because she was getting worse and needed help, which she didn't get. Its early and I can't remember many of the details sorry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UH, being formerly fundie lite *with* depression.. the first go to would be prayer, God, and all of that. If it didn't work, then a visit to the family doctor would be in order. No psychologist, no meds, just a visit to the doctor to say that you are all right. There is no psychologist/meds or any kind of intervention like that until there are no alternatives short of a 48 hour hold in the hospital for a mental evaluation or go to a psychologist.

NOW, things have changed after that. A *christian* counselor/psychologist is sought first instead of a doctor, and meds will be accepted as a temporary fix with therapy. Progress is progress, even if blazing the path was quite unpleasant for me. It avoided forcing my sibling to make the choice I had to do (hospital vs psychologist). There is STILL a stigma, but less of one as time and experience progresses. Maybe soon, they will understand that depression isn't just a bad case of "the blues".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I talked about this a little on the old board. It really depends... I'm sure some of them would just chock it up to a character flaw, as someone said, and our more extreme groups may even consider things like demonic possession. I have a friend who grew up fundie and when she was a child she had night terrors and she was told that demons were trying to attack her (:roll eyes: yeah, THAT'LL help) and she should pray them away.

The Maxwells talk about Teri's depression sometimes (I don't know if they only portray this as a past issue, or if they admit it is still a struggle), and I'm pretty sure they did not treat it with therapy and meds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Maxwells talk about Teri's depression sometimes (I don't know if they only portray this as a past issue, or if they admit it is still a struggle), and I'm pretty sure they did not treat it with therapy and meds.

That's right. If she did take medication, they do not talk about it in that "Depression Corner" they leave up.

The only "therapy" they mention is Teri meeting with a Pastor's wife once or twice. And she made some lifestyle changes, which is good, but not sure if it was enough.

I often wonder if any women with these issues read that corner, and assume that's all they need to do. "If it's good enough for Teri Maxwell, it's good enough for me.", and all that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience, mental health meds for depression were not really considered to be an option for fundie women. Prayer was the "treatment" of choice, along with visits to quack doctors who would diagnose them with whack-a-doodle food allergies (say, to cottage cheese - not all dairy products).

In thinking back over my fundie experience, it seems to me that *most* of the women I knew were depressed. Some of it was situational - say the woman married to the alcoholic, the woman married to the verbally abusive man, etc etc. But medicine, real counseling (not pastor meetings), things like that were not encouraged. Nor was doing anything to change the situation - such as separating from an abusive spouse, putting kids in public shool, anything that varied from what we were told was the "norm."

My mom spent many years fighting her own depression, and she would "treat" it by making herself giant to do lists and trying to force herself to get through them. Which worked perfectly, as I'm sure you can imagine. :roll:

That said, part of me hopes that at least some of the women were taking the meds and just not talking about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depression (and all mental illness) is really not taken seriously enough by society in general, and especially not among fundie groups and even less extreme religious groups.

My mom used to be Catholic. The way they dealt with her depression was to tell her that suicide is a sin. Yes, a woman is considering killing herself because of overwhelming guilt, and they decided to lay on even more guilt, thinking that would somehow make things better. I don't know if this is a universal belief among the Catholic church, but either way my mom left and got the help she needed, which included medication along with therapy (and divorcing my abusive father).

I grew up in a Methodist church which is definitely not a fundie denomination, but we got a weird infiltration of fundies when I was a teenager. So I did occasionally have a Sunday school teacher or someone else give a lecture that feeling depressed is a sin because you are essentially being selfish. First of all, you should be grateful for anything that God deigns to give you because you are sinful and deserve nothing. Second, if you don't look happy all the time, you won't be able to lure people into converting. Of course they said it a little nicer than that, but I sure hope that nobody with depression heard this crap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sometimes get the impression that even in wider US society (which is still influenced by history, including religion) there's an attitude that taking medication for mental issues is somehow "cheating." Even if they're not dragging out the specific "sin" language, it seems there's a (Puritan?) idea that if only you WORKED hard enough at your problem, you could overcome it without taking medication, and that's somehow more noble than "cheating" and "just taking a pill."

...which of course just adds to the stigma of the whole thing. I am lucky enough to not have depression so probably shouldn't really be commenting, but it's just something I see out there (and see those affected complaining about).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on the individual. I don't think most churches come right out and say that anti-depressants are not allowed. One church I attended was very vocal about 'if you take any medication without praying first, you are sinning.' It has been my experience that the first thing that is encouraged is more prayer. Followed by examining your heart for hidden sins, more prayer. Then seeking out Christian counsel. Society in general, puts mental illness on the back burner because it is not always physically obvious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of fundies don't even "believe in" psychology, so many are against anti-depressants and even therapy. The typical answers from people I've been around would range from "stop feeling sorry for yourself & count your blessings - being depressed is a sin" to "pray for healing and give your burdens all to God". Some might offer pastoral counseling or counseling with an older woman in the church, but would probably get the same advice there.

I would say depression is very common, especially the situational kind, because so many times we aren't "allowed" to take the options that would get us out of the situation or improve our well being. Also, the stigma and the idea that depression is a sin or the result of sin and/or that we would be free of it if we just prayed harder and had more faith in God can be devastating.

I also find it really interesting that some of the preachers and writers that are really respected in IFB & some Reformed churches suffered from depression and wrote about it themselves C.H. Spurgeon and many Puritans wrote about "melancholy" and "overmuch sorrow" among Christians, including Richard Baxter & Timothy Rogers. Baxter is the man some call the "Puritan's Puritan", and he even recommended seeking the help of a doctor, such as it was back then, for depression because it was usually not just a spiritual problem. Again, modern fundies try to out Puritan the Puritans.

One of the things I am so grateful to my pastor for is first asking if I wanted to talk to him when I was in the hospital after a suicide attempt, and then actually talking and not condemning me or telling me I was going to go to hell for it. He also encouraged me to see a psychiatrist and consider medication if my doctor recommended it, which really surprised me but his take in it is that he can help with spiritual problems, but is not qualified to treat the mental side of it. He's married to a nurse, so he does believe in physical/chemical causes, which seems to be rare among fundamentalists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's right. If she did take medication, they do not talk about it in that "Depression Corner" they leave up.

The only "therapy" they mention is Teri meeting with a Pastor's wife once or twice. And she made some lifestyle changes, which is good, but not sure if it was enough.

I often wonder if any women with these issues read that corner, and assume that's all they need to do. "If it's good enough for Teri Maxwell, it's good enough for me.", and all that.

Don't some use natural remedies -ie supplemants? I'm thinking I read on the Maxwells blog that she tried some of those. I take supplements myself, but it's not a substitute for meds, therapy, and being properly diagnosed and treated by a professional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sometimes get the impression that even in wider US society (which is still influenced by history, including religion) there's an attitude that taking medication for mental issues is somehow "cheating." Even if they're not dragging out the specific "sin" language, it seems there's a (Puritan?) idea that if only you WORKED hard enough at your problem, you could overcome it without taking medication, and that's somehow more noble than "cheating" and "just taking a pill."

...which of course just adds to the stigma of the whole thing. I am lucky enough to not have depression so probably shouldn't really be commenting, but it's just something I see out there (and see those affected complaining about).

Coming from the inside, this is absolutely true. Someone above you also said that depression and other mental health problems aren't taken seriously enough by society at large and I agree. People REALLY don't get it. An area I really see this a lot (hope this doesn't open any cans of worms) is drug addiction, including tobacco. Many otherwise very kind and reasonable people will invoke personal responsibility in these cases. How many times have you heard "Well if he would just quit drinking..." or "Until smokers get it through their heads that they're doing something dangerous and unhealthy..." Drug addiction is a mental health issue. It takes many people much, much more than just pulling themselves up by the bootstraps to get out of it, and some people just never will no matter how hard they try. I see it a lot especially with how the cultural tide has turned against smoking tobacco in the past few decades. It seems like some people honestly think that smokers really don't know that they are harming themselves. Oh, trust me, they know -- they just can't stop doing it. Yes, addiction can be so bad you can kill yourself while wishing desperately the entire time that you weren't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not all fundie lites are opposed to psychiatry/psychology and medication.

My psychologists are both lite fundie lite (but very good psychologists...) and they both support medication. They don't think things can be prayed away. And they both have treated me although I have flat out said I didn't want to include religion in it at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like it would be so difficult to overcome depression within fundamentalist boundaries. Expressing your own goals and desires, discussing emotional reactions including anger, and being willing to actively reconfigure your life in order to become happier are pretty standard in overcoming depression. Yet those are the very things that many fundamentalists are opposed to. I often wonder if depression leads some of these women to fundamentalism (because it reinforces some of the negative feelings they have about themselves and the world) and keeps them trapped in it. I can see if you were very depressed that the thought of Jesus removing all the pain instantly would be very appealing. When that doesn't materialize though, it must be so awful to think that you just aren't doing it right. Unfortunately though, at least in my experience, moving out of depression takes a lot of hard work and a willingness to change whatever you need to change including your interactions with people and thinking patterns, not just prayer. While it might be comforting to imagine an easier path, it's just not that simple.

When I read Teri Maxwell's discussions of her depression, I wish that she had seen a professional who could have helped her see her way out of it. I think she is better than she was but still doesn't sound like she enjoys life or takes pleasure in anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience, no, antidepressants were NOT encouraged, nor was counseling (even Christian counseling.) I have some suspicion that one lady I knew may have been on antidepressants (she was in a mental hospital for a bit), but otherwise, no. You were supposed to suck it up and pray, because it was the devil tempting you.

Also, I've had stuggles myself with mental health (anxiety more than depression) but I DID try the natural stuff--the Fish oil, even homeopathic medicine--didn't touch it. What *I* needed was competent medical care--and meds. Thank GOD for meds. They will pull them out of my cold dead hands.

I've seen secular counselors, and the funny thing is, they ARE sensitive to religion. They've always asked me about my spirituality--I've been lucky to have competent counselors--but still. If I had said that I had 18 children and didn't believe in birth control, we probably would have talked about that, but I don't think they ever would have discouraged me from having faith.

(And I had to quit going to one guy because he was too woo-woo for my taste. He was all about meditation and surrender and blah blah blah--I need practical help, darn it! :) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read Teri Maxwell's discussions of her depression, I wish that she had seen a professional who could have helped her see her way out of it. I think she is better than she was but still doesn't sound like she enjoys life or takes pleasure in anything.

Well, part of her husband's "cure" seems to have been normalizing the idea of never taking any pleasure in anything, for the whole family.

Maybe depressed is the "new normal" in that family.

I would imagine that a lot of hard-core anti-med fundies believe in nouthetic counseling. It's all about sin, sin, sin, y'know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, part of her husband's "cure" seems to have been normalizing the idea of never taking any pleasure in anything, for the whole family.

My thoughts EXACTLY. Hopefully she's better than she was at her lowest, but I suspect that indeed one of the ways she "deals with it" is by assigning a value to it - she's not distracted by fleeting pleasures, or finding idols in everyday experiences, or whatever it is. Not to mention the whole family's seeming obsession with death.

Also I have to say that Raine's pastor sounds pretty awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd had a few bouts of depression, all of which had identifiable biochemical causes and were treated successfully with the lowest therapeutic doses of medication, which I was weaned off later.

For me, it was like an ear infection. It was a health problem that needed dealt with via medical treatment. I really, really look forward to a time when there is no stigma attached to health issues that just happen to affect mood. Even persistent depression that requires long-term treatment and therapy has a distinct biochemical aspect.

I have never understood why someone will take an herbal product--an untested, unregulated product that claims to do the same thing as an antidepressant but has no documentation on dosage, side effects, long term hazards, etc--over an antidepressant. Why not take the one that we know works? I just don't get it... Sure, St. John's Wort is natural, but so are cyanide, belladonna, and so many other not very nice things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom used to be Catholic. The way they dealt with her depression was to tell her that suicide is a sin. Yes, a woman is considering killing herself because of overwhelming guilt, and they decided to lay on even more guilt, thinking that would somehow make things better. I don't know if this is a universal belief among the Catholic church, but either way my mom left and got the help she needed, which included medication along with therapy (and divorcing my abusive father).

I *think* the Vatican declared suicide to no longer be a sin a few years ago since depression is a real illness. Unfortunately, those Catholics your mother spoke to weren't alone in their beliefs. I don't know how widespread the "suicide is a sin" concept was, but we were never fundie and my Catholic mother certainly believed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never understood why someone will take an herbal product--an untested, unregulated product that claims to do the same thing as an antidepressant but has no documentation on dosage, side effects, long term hazards, etc--over an antidepressant. Why not take the one that we know works? I just don't get it... Sure, St. John's Wort is natural, but so are cyanide, belladonna, and so many other not very nice things.

It's just the appeal to nature fallacy. A lot of people think that nature is somehow magical and that being more natural is always better (although it's impossible to even consistently define what counts as "natural"). A lot of people also like to think that nature is somehow safer and won't have side effects. To be fair, there have been cases where pharmaceutical companies or doctors have done bad things, but that doesn't automatically mean the alternative is better. It doesn't help that unless you study a scientific field, most people never really learn how biology and chemistry work, nor do they know how extensive testing is for prescription products and how lax regulation is for herbal things. What I really hate are "detox" products because they are such a scam. I could literally package tap water and with complete technical accuracy I could say that it "activates your kidneys to naturally detoxify your body".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have considered taking herbal things for depression, although I've never done so. I'm not against anti-depressants, I just don't think I need them. I've listened to my mom describe what it was like living with untreated clinical depression and I don't think I have it. I'm sort of wary of anti-depressants because twice in my life my mom has tried to convince me to see someone who would prescribe them for me even though I knew that what I needed was to make lifestyle changes. It was a very frustrating situation because I felt like I was being pressured to take medication to cover up the fact that I didn't fit the "perfect" mold she and my dad had picked out for me. In both cases I did what I knew I needed to do, and, lo and behold, things got better.

I feel like our culture wants medication to instantly fix everything for everyone, and I'm not just talking about depression and other mental illnesses. Again, I'm not against medication. I know many, many people who need their medication, but it's not the absolute and only answer to every problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UH, being formerly fundie lite *with* depression.. the first go to would be prayer, God, and all of that. If it didn't work, then a visit to the family doctor would be in order. No psychologist, no meds, just a visit to the doctor to say that you are all right. There is no psychologist/meds or any kind of intervention like that until there are no alternatives short of a 48 hour hold in the hospital for a mental evaluation or go to a psychologist.

NOW, things have changed after that. A *christian* counselor/psychologist is sought first instead of a doctor, and meds will be accepted as a temporary fix with therapy. Progress is progress, even if blazing the path was quite unpleasant for me. It avoided forcing my sibling to make the choice I had to do (hospital vs psychologist). There is STILL a stigma, but less of one as time and experience progresses. Maybe soon, they will understand that depression isn't just a bad case of "the blues".

I am what one might say as fundy extra lite but I have dealt with depression my entire life and never once was told that it was wrong to take meds to help deal with it. YMMV but I think it might be more a church by church thing. My church was happy for me when I had my last child so that I could get the meds that would help with my chemical depression. I sounds like I was lucky that my church family is a very open minded church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never understood why someone will take an herbal product--an untested, unregulated product that claims to do the same thing as an antidepressant but has no documentation on dosage, side effects, long term hazards, etc--over an antidepressant. Why not take the one that we know works? I just don't get it... Sure, St. John's Wort is natural, but so are cyanide, belladonna, and so many other not very nice things.

1) Because I don't have a prescriber, insurance coverage, or any sort of feasible/reliable access to low cost mental health care, or the money to purchase anything that is prescribed. My partner, who HAS insurance and prescription coverage, pays over a dollar per pill that has to be taken daily, and we can't afford that as it is!

2) Because I studied botany in college and think plants are fucking awesome! :) A lot of medications are developed from plants (and animals!). Willow bark is what we got aspirin from, after all. There's some documentation and people actually do get certified in this realm of treatment, like naturopathy.

I think extremes on both sides are bad. One one extreme you have Biggie Pharma, refusing to get sunshine, exercise, or eat properly and expecting pills and surgeries and treatments to change his life. On the other hand, you have Hippy Von Hippy who treats everything with a smelly green mixture from an unmarked bottle filled with boiled weeds from the backyard. Happy mediums!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.



  • Trending Content

  • Recent Status Updates

    • PennySycamore

      PennySycamore

      My niece is going to be a seat filler at this year's Academy Awards.  Seat fillers are asked to wear tuxedos regardless of sex/gender.  If you see a pretty young woman with very curly hair, it could be my niece. 
      · 0 replies
    • 47of74

      47of74

      Yeah, that's me.  Though to be fair I am trying to learn Italian and Spanish.

      · 0 replies
    • Kiki03910

      Kiki03910

      IT'S BASEBALL SEASON!!!!!
      ⚾❣️
      · 4 replies
    • mango_fandango

      mango_fandango

      It’s not supposed to be mosquito season right now but I still appear to have been bitten twice on the side of my foot. Bastards. I know I shouldn’t scratch but it’s so tempting… 😑
      · 0 replies
    • Therapy Outside the Box

      Therapy Outside the Box

      Hello,
       
      I'm brand new to this forum. It was suggested to me by former and outspoken Remnant Fellowship member (Natasha Pavlovich) that I join this forum and put out here what I do. She also warned me that no one on here trusts, or trusts easily, and that I'd likely be assumed to be a Remnant plant or spy until vetted and verified as not that. Fair enough. 
      In short, and in truth, I'm a psychotherapist with 25 yrs experience in Franklin TN (less than three miles from RF incidentally) with a special interest in working with people formerly associated with cults, cult-like or any and all high control intitutions. I'm especially interested in working with those desiring not only deconstruct, recover and learn to thrive post-indoctrination, but those desiring to recapture or cultivate an authentic sense of theology without walls, or spirituality with borders. 
      To date, I've worked with former Amish, Mennonite, LDS/FLDS, FOG, and a those representing a whole slew of evangelical, fire and brimstone fear/shame/guilt-inducing institutions.
      I am especially interested in working with former Remnant Fellowship and Scientology members. I view RF as basically Scientology without the budget. 
      I'll leave it there. Much more can be gleaned about me through my website: therapyoutsidethebox.com or IG: @ therapyoutsidethebox
       
      Peace,
       
      Chris Hancock, LCSW
      Franklin, TN

      · 3 replies
    • Kiki03910

      Kiki03910

      I have a friend with untreated autism and ADHD. I've tried so fucking hard to help. He refuses. It's a mess. I'm really really tired.
      · 0 replies
    • Kiki03910

      Kiki03910

      Making Jill Duggar's brownie recipe because why not stay up late.
      · 2 replies
    • 47of74

      47of74

      Party on aisle 15....

      Also no interest if fully paid in so many months.
      · 0 replies
    • WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

      WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

      Happy Supper Bowel Sunday!!  No, wait. That isn't right...
      Anyway, enjoy the game (or the half time show, or the ads)!
      And a very happy Sunday to everyone who doesn't care about the NFL! 
      · 0 replies
    • Kiki03910

      Kiki03910

      I'm a huge baseball fan. This year, MLB TV showed Liga Dominicana games in December and January and it was a fucking revelation. The players had so much fire and joy. The announcers with their charming DR accents were a blast, though I could hardly keep up with the Spanish. DItto the Serie del Caribe. As a White Sox fan, the MLB season is going to suffer by comparison. Te amo los Tigres del Licey!
      · 2 replies
  • Recent Blog Entries

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.