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I speak of course of Joel Osteen, the  happy preacher, the TV mega church pastor, one of my favorite targets. I actually don’t watch him, but I clean house for a woman who has him blasting 24/7. She is so spiritually broken, so filled with despair, she is permanently disabled due to depression. Western medicine does not always address these things well, they tend to just help people develop an addiction to pain pills and other assorted pharma drugs.

It’s tragic, I’ve lost 3 people this way, they  eventually died of despair, depression, drug overdoses. We do a lousy job of caring for those who have mental and spiritual health issues. There’s nothing physically wrong with these people, not at first, not until they spend 10 years actively dying. You’re either busy living or you’re busy dying. There is no in between.

The juxtaposition between the Happy Preacher blasting in the background and the Woman of Such Despair is a surreal one that messes with my head. The last thing she needs is Joel Osteen. I tend to have the most success with her when I kick her in the pants. That’s nursing terminology for dragging her out into the sunlight and forcing her  to move. The best way to love her is actually to not accept that she is  disabled, that she suffers from a permanent disease, that she must be must be catered to and accommodated in every way.

A few years back there was a huge surge in disability claims, people now permanently disabled due to depression caused by chronic unemployment. The government, the medical system, all pretty much just validated these people’s perception that the fault must lie with them, that there must be something wrong with them, some disease. Combine that with the need to financially survive and doctors willing to prescribe opiates for the vague, unnamed pain in your left hand, and these people were pretty much doomed, casualties of a broken system.

Depression is a real thing in the world, and yes it can cause chemical changes in the brain and become a disorder, but it need not be a life sentence, a state of being.

I’m mad about these things, about broken leadership really, about the failures of those we turn to for help in our darkest hour. I’m mad at the government, mad at the doctors, and mad at Joel Osteen for having let this woman down, for telling her what she wants to hear rather than what she needs to hear.

Somewhat ironic, but one of the best things for depression is anger. Often we suppress and internalize our anger, render ourselves powerless, just keep swallowing the bitter until we can no longer move. Anger is a powerful emotion, it can help to pull us  out of that place  of despair. Me and her. Sometimes making people angry is the best way  to love them.

aslan

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