Facebook Twitter

The Atonement gives hope to the depressed

SHARE The Atonement gives hope to the depressed

PROVO, Utah — Despite clinical depression, there is always possibility for change and hope because of the powerfully transformative gift of the Atonement.That was the message Dr. Kara Thompson and Dr. Marleen Williams shared in their talk titled "There is Hope and Help: Dealing with Depression" on Friday at BYU's annual Women's Conference.Thompson and Williams both work as clinical psychologists at BYU's Counseling Center.Thompson likened the search for hope among clinical depression to the "Where is Waldo?" book popular in the 1980s. Although identifying Waldo at first seems simple and straightforward, there are many red herrings that divert readers' attention from the true Waldo. Finding hope when depressed can be similarly frustrating because people become easily distracted by society's quick fixes, said Thompson.Thompson clarified the difference between clinical depression and "the blues." "Clinical depression includes depressed moods, a diminished interest, significant appetite changes, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, difficulty concentrating and recurrent thoughts of death," Thompson said. "Unlike clinical depression, 'the blues' are triggered by stressful life events and are temporary."Thompson explained the paradox of depression: Depression is disabling because it leads to a cycle of inactivity and drains motivation. Yet, becoming active and accomplishing goals is overwhelming because it requires motivation.Despite physical, mental or spiritual debilitations, Thompson emphasized that a remedy is acknowledging our eternal individual worth.Thompson encouraged listeners to view themselves as a chess board. Presented on the board are the pieces used to play the game. Only one or two of the pieces represent depression while the other pieces represent positive attributes."Instead of saying 'I feel depressed,' we say 'I am depressed,'" Thompson said. "These thoughts and feelings are not you. This struggle is just one piece of you. If, however, you are the board then you can keep a bigger picture, recognizing that they are just few pieces in the game. "Williams said that one in every four women will struggle with clinical depression at some point in their life. She emphasized that society expects cancer patients and diabetics to participate in the proper medical procedures intended to resolve poor health and said that people should view depression similarly.To support the depressed around us, Williams said they really need to know that people around them care. When Christ suffered in the garden, Thompson believes he brought along Peter, James and John to remind him that people cared and supported him. Our loving Heavenly Father understood his son's needs and sent an angel to console him.Williams shared her personal experience with depression after losing her first husband to cancer. She battled a desire to perfect motherhood, a career, Mormon church duties and a duty to fill her husband's role."The term perfect used in the scriptures comes from a Greek root meaning the entrance into a process that is only over a long distance," Williams said. "We are only able to complete this process because of our dependence on the Atonement."

E-mail: hmecham@desnews.com