I spend a fair amount of my work time listening to the sad, the despairing and the mad. The hallucinating, the deluded.
And those who are despairing for the things they built their lives on… their jobs, their spouse, their kids… have been taken from them: by accidents, by the court (which is no accident) or as a consequence of their disability.
When you listen to them, being a prig is not an option. Nor is saying that one cannot think that. We are allowed to be desperate. There is no medication for reality.
1 O LORD, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
2 let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
I am like those who have no help,
5 like those forsaken among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah
8You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9 my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O LORD, why do you cast me off?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your dread assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
from all sides they close in on me.
18 You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me;
my companions are in darkness.
It does not help when we are in despair, because the feelings are valid. But while we stand, we can recall that we are chose by God. We can approach God. And to him we can be honest.
12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
One of the basic principles of cognitive therapy is to challenge the accuracy of our perceptions. When we are anxious, sad… and particularly when things break, and depression rides through our life, we lose sight of those who love us. We become entrapped. At this times, people like Paul can speak: writing these words of comfort when he himself was not getting an easy ride in this life.
But pious hypocritical happiness? The use of medications so we do not feel good? Excuse me, no.