Posted by: Lisa | October 21, 2010

The Cure for Depression & Addictions

Years ago, when I was suffering from severe depression and anorexia nervosa, my psychiatrist asked me if I belonged to any particular religion or spirituality.  I replied that although I was raised Catholic, I rarely bothered going to church.  He leaned back in his chair and asked why.  I said, “Well, it seems pretty pointless and I don’t get anything out of it anyway.”  He suggested that I give it another try because many people are helped by their faith.  I shrugged it off as a stupid idea.

Two years later, feeling bored on a rainy day, I picked up an old book on world religions and started reading about Buddhism.  I was immediately taken with the Buddha’s First Noble Truth:  Life is dukkha (usually translated as “suffering” or “unsatisfactoriness”).  To make a long story short, I spent the next three years immersing myself in eastern religions and practicing vipassana meditation.

This was the beginning of my true healing.  Meditation taught me that I could look inside myself without flinching, that I really could stop the negative thoughts that kept me spiraling down into depression.  At first, I literally had to yell inside my head, “Stop!” at my negative thoughts or visualize a Stop sign. 

This allowed me to find space inside myself.  Sometimes, this space felt peaceful and sometimes it felt empty, lonely, sad.  My innate sense of spirituality led me to nature and eventually to prayer.  During this time, I was gradually healed of depression and eating disorders (various types of food addiction).  I discovered a God who loves me and accepts me as I am.  My faith in God was strengthened.

Six years after the psychiatrist’s comment, I found myself experiencing a true connection to a loving God who wants what’s good for me.  I’d turned my life over to a Higher Power on my own, in my own time. 

Although the “Higher Power thing” sometimes seems like a cliché, I believe it is true.  We cannot find true peace, joy or fulfillment until we turn our lives over to God with full trust.  As St. Augustine said:  “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee!”

There are many forms of addiction (restlessness): drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food – even TV, movies, the internet and Facebook.  Human beings are very good at finding distractions that easily turn into addictions.  But these things never bring peace, joy or fulfillment.  They merely numb the dukkha of life.

God is the Cure for our addictions in all their forms.  It’s up to each of us to open our hearts, to seek, to make space for God within us.  We each do this in our own way, in our own time.  May we never give up on our journey!

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Responses

  1. Great blog! Glad you started blogging!


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