This morning in my study I came across language quoted me by a bishop with whom I had discussed the topic of depression in 1 Nephi 17:45, "and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel His words." While here the principle was applied to the wickedness of Laman and Lemuel, this loving bishop, a psychologist, said it also applied to those struggling with depression. The voice of the Lord and His loving kindness as expressed through the peaceful feelings of the Spirit were being communicated, but the receptor was not working well enough to receive the signal.
I have thought much about this application. More than one of my loved ones struggle with the insipid affects of depression, also often accompanied by Spiritual darkness. Although I have had rough hours, days, and even months where I would describe my state as depressed, it is not in my natural disposition to be so. I am a happy, jubilant person. Gratefully, I also generally have little problem feeling and following the Spirit. So were it not for my own brief walks in the dark, I would be unable to relate to my loved ones plagued by emotional and the accompanying spiritual darkness.
As I have tried to understand the relationship between depression and the Spirit's loss, there are some niggling questions: why when you need the presence of the Spirit most, would Heavenly Father not override the affects of depression?
In my ponderings, I have thought that perhaps in his perfect economy, God does not do for us what we can and should do for ourselves. We have science and nutrition and excercise to rebalance ourselves. We have the spiritual imperative not to run faster than we have strength. If we fail to live this commandment, we will, as God generally operates by natural laws unless we in faith request His intervention, feel the affects.
This scriptural principle of not running faster than we have strength serves to answer another question
Related to depression: why must we take a pill in order to feel the Spirit? By this scriptural principle, we can either slow down or increase our strength. With regards to depression, we can do either or both to help ourselves out of our ruts. We can increase strength by exercising, by scripture study, by healthful eating (in another post I can discuss the relationship between sugar and gluten and depression). A short cut to doing some of that is taking medication. So to resolve depression so the Spirit can be our constant companion, or so that we Might recognize that He is so, we can exercise, eat better, increase spiritual activity, slow down, or take medication-or some combination. But with the advent of science or His respect for laws and our own wills, God will not circumvent this natural process unless there is sufficient faith and necessity to do well.
Anyway, these are simple Sunday musings on the topic. I have found little in Church literature on point. Most discuss depression as a result of sin, but often the depression precedes the sin or sin is not in the equation at all. Would love comments on your perspectives on the topic. Perhaps we can start to fill the void in gospel literature on the topic.