The Human Condition

A friend of mine recently pointed out this great quotation from David Karp:

“Much of depression’s pain arises out of the recognition that what might make one feel better–human connection– seems impossible in the midst of a paralyzing episode of depression. It is rather like dying from thirst while looking at a glass of water just beyond one’s reach ” — David A. Karp

This is from his book, Speaking of Sadness. I highly recommend it. He isn’t a Christian that I can tell, but he really grasps the reality of depression.


Get your orders in…

I just got an email from the powers that be about the order count.  While I’m not going to give you the exact number, I will say that the orders are getting close to 2000.  That’s pretty amazing, considering that the book has only be available to order for 2 weeks.

So please, get your orders in now.  We are going to unleash another level of materials on the site here this weekend, including discussions about all of the chapters, endorsements and comments from readers and others, and the like.

All of the Voices in My Head (getting organized)


I’m on an organization kick right now. Every once in a while I go through this. I spend a few days trying to wrap my brain around a new system for task management, etc., etc., etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Probably since before I was sick.

Now for me, being a complete geek, getting organized means finding some nice computer program to help me. I’ve tried Things and Omnifocus this time around. They would both work well, but I’m going with things.

The whole process, though, has really gotten me thinking about the process of managing information, and what that means for mental health. If you’re like me, there are a thousand things going through your brain at any given time. I run around putting out fires, trying to stay one step ahead of disaster in all of the spheres or realms that I operate. Church, home, school, opera, DOXOLOGY, Higher Things, and who knows what else. With each of these comes big tasks and little tasks. Projects and emails and phone calls and meetings and contacts and people and jobs…you get the idea.

I had a revelation a couple days ago that part of the reason why I go into mental shut down is that I am trying to remember and juggle all this stuff in my head. Whatever seems the most pressing at the moment is what gets the attention. What that usually means is that my own health and well-being ends up last, until I crash and have to recharge.

Furthermore, these lists and piles and STUFF literally keeps me up at night. I’m so afraid of forgetting something that I can concentrate on nothing.

I’m no expert, but this just doesn’t seem like a good pattern to me.

So what I’m trying to do is a few simple steps to help me keep my sanity. Here’s my list so far:

1. Deal with things as they come in. Do it now, schedule it later, give it to someone else, or delete it.

2. Don’t allow lingering projects to just hang out there. Resolve them as much as possible.

3. Actually plan for relaxation time. I wish this were not necessary, but it really really is.

4. Schedule time for prayer and meditation. If I don’t have that as a regular part of my routine, it simply never happens. If it is a choice, as often as not I will choose no.

That’s the start of my list. So far it’s been helpful, but it is a tough road.

What do you think? How do you keep the voices in your head from driving you mad?


Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-21

Why Pastors Hide Their Depression


I’ve had a lot of conversations this week with the release of the book. They have been online, telephone, email, wherever. The contacts have been from pastors, teachers, spouses, friends from college, and pretty much across the board. I’ll comment on some of those at another time.

One theme that resonates through so many of the conversations is that pastors don’t want to reveal that they are depressed. This is also true generally, and especially in other service fields. But it seems particularly true with pastors. They mask their illness.

I know I did. I worked my tail off to put on a happy face, a “game face” with my congregation and family. It took incredible amounts of energy, and really made things worse.

But if possible what is even sadder than our self-inflicted super-pastor mindset, is that we are afraid of reprisals. I am afraid that I might lose my job, be kicked out of my congregation, that my district president won’t support me. So the very people who can and should and generally would try to help, are the ones who are kept in the dark.

Why? Why do we hide? And what will happen if we reveal to our families (Who probably already know), our congregation, and our brother pastors what is going on?

aka Todd Peperkorn

Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News

Here’s an article a friend passed along that highlights a new study on the challenges of tracking down the cause of different types of mental illnesses. A 2003 study linked a gene mutation that interrupted the neurochemical seratonin increased the risk of depression. The new study seems to refute that claim, or at least temper it quite a bit. Here’s one quotation:

Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News: “Scientists have had an unusually tough time linking specific genes with different psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The likely reason: The genetic and environmental interactions are both more subtle and more complex than in many other diseases, said Keith A. Young, vice chair of research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.”

The “cause” of depression is elusive and tricky. Biochemical, situational, and spiritual elements can all come into play. How to unravel the mystery? We, of course, may never be able to completely unravel it. As Lutherans, though, we are blessed with an understanding of God’s world that takes into consideration all of these factors, and does not see them as contradictory. I can look at mental illness, recognize the physiological causes, but also see how my life affects it, and how my spiritual life impacts and is impacted by it.

One thing is for sure. It’s not as clear as a broken leg.

Todd Peperkorn
aka DMR

Two Sites on Facebook for you

I have two different sites on Facebook that I would urge you to consider joining, following, or whatever else you want to call it. Here are the links to them:



The reason it would be helpful for you to join one or both of these is that it will help get the word out about this FREE BOOK. I firmly believe that this book can serve as a blessing to many. I’ve already received a couple dozen notes from people suffering from depression, or family members of the same, who have benefited greatly from the Gospel in the book. Please help me spread the word.

Thanks much!
Todd Peperkorn
aka DMR

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14