By Moussa Seecy & Jordan Grantham, Catholic Outlook
Moussa Seecy and his family are members of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys. Moussa is father of five children and has overcome depression. Moussa worked at all levels of the building industry and is currently manager of a components company.
Depression is a complex mental state, characterised by a persistent feeling of intense sadness without apparent reason. The following tips are for the prevention and healing of depression.
- Evaluate your day
Catholics need to examine their minds and souls daily. People who may be experiencing various levels of depression need to examine their relationships: are you snapping at your loved ones or impatient with them? Are you preoccupied by negative thoughts that circulate in your mind continuously?
Ask yourself whether you have been in a good mental state. Ask yourself about God’s place in your day and if you could have had a greater presence of our Lord. If a bad mental state persists, you need to take action to fix things.
- Reasonable Happiness
Have a reasonable expectation of happiness. What causes a lot of depression is that we want everything, even when we can’t afford them. Like nice cars or big houses in good areas etc. We then over commit ourselves, which in turn keeps us up late at night worrying about the bills. At the end of the day these things won’t make us happy. It’s a vicious cycle of materialism and consumerism.
Reason through what you really want from faith, family, friends, career, lifestyle. Weigh up the benefits with the costs. Modest expectations can often be fulfilled and sometimes exceeded.
- Get help: parish priests are free
Parish priests deal with many different situations of people’s lives everyday which range from birth to death and they have a lot of wisdom. They can sometime be the best psychologists. However, if he is unsure of things he can also refer you on to experts as well. Men can brush over problems until they build up to a dangerous point. Some men also feel they should bear their problems alone and find it hard to talk to others.
Men sometimes worry about the financial cost of seeing a psychologist and getting professional help. Parish priests are free. However, you can also see your GP, who can give you a referral to a doctor, which will be partially covered by the Medicare Rebate. There are also free anonymous helplines such as MindSpot Clinic 1800 61 44 34 and MensLine Australia (relationships) 1300 78 99 78. Lifeline 13 11 14 provides suicide prevention counseling.
- Be pro-active in relationships
Relationships are the key to happiness. More than just making us feel good, they are key to a meaningful life. You need to try to have a meal with your family every day. Focus on others to give yourself a break from your own preoccupations. Maybe you can help your wife. Maybe it’s a lonely neighbour or friend. If you do not have family living around you anymore – build a community of likeminded people but you also need to socialise with different groups.
Be assertive in relationships and don’t be silent if it will cause regret. However, always be charitable if you need to correct someone and never in public. Don’t do anything that you will regret and could cause you or others resentment later. If certain people make you miserable, avoid them for the time being, before understanding why they have this effect on you.
Pray the Rosary regularly for your personal intentions and others. God’s grace will come to help you even if you aren’t aware of it. The time you spend meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary will also help you focus on something apart from yourself.
If relevant to you, ask for forgiveness from others who you have hurt and forgive those who have hurt you, or who you may hold a grudge against. You can also initiate an apology by forgiving someone but you’ve got to mean it and say it without resentment. His Name is Mercy by Fr Ken Barker MGL is a powerful book about forgiveness.
- Put children first
Children of depressed parents are at risk of becoming depressed themselves. Depression can weaken the relationship between spouses and children. At worst, serious depression and abusive interactions can severely damage the relationship between fathers and their children. This could then in turn take a lifetime to repair, not to mention passing on the same behaviour onto the next generation.
Parents need to connect properly with their children, to encourage them and build them up. The dinner table is not a time to tell children off or bring up negative things, make it positive. This leads to better relationships, improving children’s eating, sleeping, and studying habits, which helps form them into good adults.
- Care for your physical needs
Jesus is True God but also true man. He became incarnate in the flesh to redeem us. Our spiritual life is important but we should never neglect material things like eating, exercising, or sleeping. Keep them regular. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that contributes to our sense of wellbeing. Most serotonin is produced in the gut. Eat healthily and regularly because people with depression can overeat and under eat. Exercise produces endorphins and other chemicals that contribute to feeling good.
Team sport can also keep you connected to a community and give you exercise in one go. Exercise can help you sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene. There are many good articles about this online.