The Ongoing Journey with Depression (book idea from Kleinig)

So what should the next book be about?

My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the last session in the DOXOLOGY training seminar this past weekend. The main speaker was Dr. John Kleinig from Australia, an incredible scholar and pastor whose insight into human nature and Christ’s ministry to us sinner is, well, just amazing.

We had dinner with him one night. He gets depression, understands it as well as anyone I know I’d say. The one thing that he suggested to me was to write a book about what it is like living with depression on a day to day basis. How does one recognize the signs? How does it impact your prayer life, your ministry to others, etc?

I’m letting the idea percolate right now, but I would like some insight from you. What would be the most helpful to you and why?

-DMR

17 thoughts on “The Ongoing Journey with Depression (book idea from Kleinig)”

  1. This would be especially helpful for the seminarian. Depression is the sort of thing that we ought to examine/be examined during the duration. Your section on coping during seminary hit too close to home.

  2. I think Dr. Kleinig's idea and the comment for a sequel from your wife's perspective are both excellent ideas.
    I just finished reading a book titled: Finding God: Praying the Psalms in Times of Depression, by Thomas Lewis. I was wondering, how have the Psalms helped you? Have the Psalms helped you in relation to depression? I know I found that book to be enlightening, but I am on the outside when it comes to depression, I don't know how helpful such things would be for someone who is living with depression.
    If you ever find the time, I think that would be a helpful post.
    Rev. Benjamin Pollock

    1. Rev. Pollock,
      Psalm 77 spoke for me, at a time when I felt the need to explain to those who were trying to help, what was in my mind at this point in time. It helped to explain the deepest low, and the mixed emotions of knowing God has provided and cared for me so many times in the past, but even though I can remember those times, the "what if's" of depression take over and fade them into the darkness of my mind. It helped me uncover the anger I felt in knowing God would/does/ always carry me, and my inability to stand firmly on that knowledge and walk forward without fear, and to share this with my pastor, who in response, lovingly revealed God's precious Words of Grace which I so deeply needed to hear. I now have a question for you. Is the book you referred to in your post, a "laymen" type of book, or a book written for theologians?
      Theresa

      1. Theresa,
        Thank you for your response. That helps me to be more understanding and empathetic, and the best way to show that, when I minister to those living with depression. In answer to your question, it is definately a "laymen" type of book. It is written for someone like me, or a layman, to hand to a loved one who is suffering from depression. It is intended for those who do not have a degree in theology.
        Rev. Benjamin Pollock

  3. I don't know Todd, maybe enough about living with it and the use of sacramental gifts (on a practical) level to combat it. As you know that's an area that I write in. There are no shortage of books on depression (I know, I have many in my library!). Christian and depressed is also a trendy topic, but no one yet (in my reading anyway, which is pretty extensive) has addressed the value of the Eucharist in depression, or spiritual direction (another area of study for me). I'm presenting next week at a circuit meeting and we'll see–try a new approach.

  4. I don't know Todd, maybe enough about living with it and the use of sacramental gifts (on a practical) level to combat it. As you know that's an area that I write in. There are no shortage of books on depression (I know, I have many in my library!). Christian and depressed is also a trendy topic, but no one yet (in my reading anyway, which is pretty extensive) has addressed the value of the Eucharist in depression, or spiritual direction (another area of study for me). I'm presenting next week at a circuit meeting and we'll see–try a new approach.

  5. "…he suggested to me was to write a book about what it is like living with depression on a day to day basis."

    I'm not sure if this is the kind of input you are looking for, but here are the things that I find are a balm for my daily struggles:

    1. Drown me in the gospel.
    2. Tell me the story of Jesus over and over.
    3. The theology of the cross and Christ for me.
    4. The Treasury of Daily Prayer.
    5. Humor about my estate. 🙂

  6. Todd,
    great seeing you – even though my wife never did get that autograph. 🙂
    as for another book, I don't know what to recommend. I do know that your book left me wanting more. Dealing with it day to day sounds like a good direction to me.

    SjB,
    I haven't read "Grace upon Grace," but it was my impression that much of Kleinig's presentation can be found in his recent book. I also heard some things I had heard from his CPH Bible Study – "Lutheran Spirituality: Prayer"

  7. A few random thoughts on your question:

    1. You could describe how depression affects one's perceptions in hearing the Word of God and how it affects perceptions of other people coming to you for pastoral care.

    2. Relate depression to repentance as well as anfechtungen in Luther's thought.

    3. Address how both God and the devil might use depression.

    4. Respond to "canned answers" some might have on depression or "cheering you up."

    5. Can some or all be "cured" of depression?

    6. Comment on ecclesiastical supervision and depression.

    7. Perhaps relate depression for the need to rest/sabbath/day-off/vacation.

    8. Talk more about distinguishing pastoral care from psychological counseling and the medical side of mental health. (e.g. Koehler – Counseling and Confession, Pruyser The Minister as Diagnostician).

    Beyond that I'll say that what you wrote is familiar.

    1. Pr. Frahm,
      These are all wonderful ideas. Could lead to a series of studies which would open the door for those suffering from depression, and those who are trying to help..and those who just don't understand it at all.
      Theresa

    2. Thankyou so very much for sharing. This topic is sihetmong that so many people still do not understand, or want to understand.I had PND and it was not detected & treated until 5 years after having my daughter, I believe that the depression affected the way I bonded with my daughter (There was a lack of bonding) and as a result I see big differences between the relationship I have with my daughter & the relationship I have with my son. (Things just come easily/naturally with my son, but I feel like I have to work very hard to even have simple conversations with my daughter) :(I do remember, on the 3rd day after her delivery, I was in tears for the entire day and the nurse told me I was just having the “baby blues” and to snap out of it, becasue I needed to feed my baby. I believe that from that moment on, whenever I felt sad (all the time) I thought I was just having the “baby blues” and I needed to “get over it”. I wish I had known more about PND way back then, once again thankyou for sharing xx

  8. Your first book offered a great conspectus on clinical depression from a broad perspective. This time, put depression under the magnifying glass. Many people — seminarians included — are caught in the struggle of wondering whether their persistent low mood is merely situational or due to a lack of willpower. Providing details ("It took me forty-five minutes to write a five-line email this morning") would give them greater clarity to identify their struggle as something chemical and clinical, if that is the case.

    And please continue to be frank in your condemnation of the uber-pastor. We laypeople need to see that our shepherds get attacked by wolves, as well.

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