Debate 002: Ben and Blair debate depression and God

Ben Rebuttal #001:

This is a reply to the comments you have made below which were forwarded to me by a friend of mine who thought I might have something so say in response. I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read what I have written.

BLAIR: “Prayer and God do not cure depression…”

First thing: Yes they do, I am living proof of this fact, since without God’s miraculous healing I would probably have committed suicide several years ago.

BLAIR: “…or rebuild your house after a tornado.”

I find your analogy here to be quite ridiculous and thus non – comparable.

BLAIR: “How many times have people been told to pray to help them through times of depression?”

Many I should hope, all I can say is that it worked for me.

BLAIR: “We know (a.k.a. it’s been proven) that depression is a chemical imbalance in the body…”

There are many different kinds of depression, which can be psychological as well as biological. My depression was triggered by a very traumatic and upsetting experience, which I was going through at the time, however it was NOT caused by a chemical imbalance.

BLAIR: “…and can never be cured by prayer.”

YES IT CAN. I WAS 100% CURED OF DEPRESSION THROUGH PRAYER AND FAITH HEALING AND THIS WAS AFTER I HAD BEEN SUFFERING FROM IT SEVERELY FOR 7-8 YEARS.

BLAIR: “It takes drugs and therapy to cure depression.”

Depression can NEVER be COMPLETELY cured by taking drugs and having therapy unless God does something.

BLAIR: “Prayer may help as a form of therapy but will not cure depression.”

YES IT WILL.

BLAIR: “How many people theists owe loved ones an apology for not getting them proper medical treatment of depression?”

Why should someone who is suffering from depression (and believes in God) apologize to their loved ones for not getting themselves proper medical treatment? Clearly you have not suffered from depression yourself, because if you had then you would know the extreme feelings of helplessness, which depressed people go through. Their mentality is that no one can help me and no one can make it go away, therefore a logical conclusion to make would be that taking drugs and having therapy will not help me either.

BLAIR: “How many people have committed suicide because theism blinded them to the medical treatment of depression and other diseases?”

None, I should think.


Response to Ben #001:

BEN: “First thing: Yes they do, I am living proof of this fact, since without God’s miraculous healing I would probably have committed suicide several years ago.”

As a society we tend to over use the word depression. When we are sad we say we are depressed when we are really just sad. There is a difference between feeling depressed (sad) and clinical depression. You may have been sad and your prayer gave you the strength and confidence to carry on and come out of your sadness – but you were not clinically depressed.

BEN: “I find your analogy here to be quite ridiculous and thus non – comparable.”

Actually I’m glad you pointed this out. An important part of that paragraph was left out. I went from one thought process to another without expanding on the first thought. The point behind this was attributing acts of nature to God and thanking God for sparing your life but killing your neighbor. Prayer does not re-build a house after a tornado. Prayer and faith may give you the strength and courage to continue on after the tornado and re-build your house – but it doesn’t re-build your house for you. This also works the same with clinical depression. Prayer and faith may give you the strength and courage to continue but it will not cure the clinical depression.

BEN: “Many I should hope, all I can say is that it worked for me.”

Prayer helped you out of a time of sadness – not clinical depression. The point I was trying to make is that instead of telling people to pray for their depression get them the medical treatment they need to cure it – because prayer will not cure clinical depression.

BEN: “There are many different kinds of depression, which can be psychological as well as biological. My depression was triggered by a very traumatic and upsetting experience, which I was going through at the time, however it was NOT caused by a chemical imbalance.”

As I said before we abuse the word depression. A traumatic and upsetting experience happened in your life that caused sadness and you felt depressed. But you were not suffering from clinical depression. There’s a big difference between the two.

Let’s take a look at the kids of “depression”:

Normal Depressed Mood & Grief:

This is a natural reaction to losses in life. It typically involves sadness, lethargy, and in some serious cases, despair, anger, insomnia, poor appetite or weight gain, obsessive thoughts about the lost person, and terrible guilt about relationship problems with the lost person. This is a normal reaction because people eventually recover. If you lose a baseball game you may take a couple of days to bounce back. After you lose a job you may take a month to bounce back. After you lose a loved you may take a year to bounce back. But you bounce back. A lot of times therapy (from a psychologist, meditation, prayer, faith, etc.) will help resolve this normal grief period more quickly because the therapy provides courage and strength to make it through the period of grief. If the symptoms persist then the sufferer may have crossed the line into clinical depression, causing a chemical imbalance in the body. A physician should be consulted immediately. Normal depressed mood and grief presume a triggering life event.

This is not clinical depression but has the capacity to become clinical depression if no resolved. Once it becomes clinical depression the assistance of a physician is required.

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood:

Life is full of changes. Coping with them can be difficult. Many people feel overwhelmed and “crazy” for a while. Then they get things under control. If they don’t, and they become persistently gloomy, angry, and unable to cope, it’s most likely adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Adjustment disorder with depressed mood presumes a triggering life event — the change you have to adjust to.

This is not clinical depression and normally does not escalate into clinical depression. If the rare event happens and it becomes clinical depression the assistance of a physician is required.

Mild Depression (Dysthymia):

Dysthymia (pronounced dis-THIM-ee-uh) involves chronic depressed mood, poor self-esteem, and low-level symptoms of major depression (see below). “People with mild depression can still function, but they’re sad sacks,” says San Francisco psychiatrist Michael Freeman, M.D. “They consider themselves losers.”

Dysthymia may or may not have a triggering life event. Quite often, there is nothing to blame it on — no loss or life change. This can be confusing for both the person affected, and their loved ones. But just as you can catch a cold seemingly out of nowhere, you can also slip into Dysthymia for no apparent reason.

This is not clinical depression and is easily treatable with methods in raising the self-esteem. Acceptance into a fellowship often raises the self-esteem of individuals because they feel accepted. Prayer itself has not been shown to help with this disorder – on the flip side prayer has been shown to make this worse because the patient dwells on their problem in prayer and low self-esteem persists. Patients that become active in church group and become an integral part of the fellowship show faster signs of recovery – just as patients that join other groups also show speedier recovery. If left unabated this has the ability to become clinical depression by altering the chemistry of the body – at which point a physician’s assistance becomes necessary.

Major Depression:

When people say “seriously depressed,” this is what they mean. Major depression often causes despair and hopelessness so profound that the person loses interest in life, becomes incapable of feeling pleasure and sexual arousal, and may be unable to get out of bed or eat for days at a time. But this illness may also cause other symptoms not easily recognized as depression: weight loss or gain; anxiety, irritability, or agitation; chronic indecisiveness; or sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping all the time). In other words, you can suffer a major depression and not feel blue.

Very often, major depression strikes without any triggering loss. This can be confusing and frustrating for both the person affected, and their loved ones. We want our illnesses to have clear causes. But many serious diseases do not: diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. That’s how it is with major depression. It’s a serious disease that often develops with no discernible triggering event.

Officially, according to DSM-IV, major depression involves at least two weeks of deep despair and at least four of the following:

  • Sleep problems. Insomnia or sleeping all the time.

  • Appetite problems. Loss of appetite or major weight gain.

  • Lack of energy. Apathy, lethargy, no interest in anything.

  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and/or terrible guilt.

  • Difficulty concentrating or unusual indecisiveness.

  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.

Beyond the almost unbearable misery it causes, the big risk in major depression is suicide. Within five years of suffering a major depression, an estimated 25% of sufferers try to kill themselves. The myth is that people who talk about suicide don’t attempt it. The fact is that many people announce their intention before their suicide attempts. Take any talk of suicide very seriously, and make sure the person gets professional help. Call their doctor immediately, if possible.

This is usually associated with clinical depression. It is important to note that thoughts of suicide are not just associated with major depression. Thoughts of suicide can be associated with any type of depressed feelings or sadness. Major depression is listed as a disease – not a condition. Major depression is a chemical imbalance in the body and requires the use of medication. Because major depression can come and go sufferers are often mislead about cures and causes. Coming out of a major depression does not mean the sufferer is cured. It just means the sufferer is in remission. Without proper drug therapy another episode is likely. With each recurring episode the risk of suicide increases.

Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression):

About 1% of the American population experiences bipolar disorder annually. This illness involves major depressive episodes alternating with high-energy periods of wildly unrealistic activity. A manic friend might, for example, call at 3 A.M. to announce in all seriousness that she’s flying to Hollywood immediately to marry Robert Redford, and star in his next movie.

Typically, bipolar disorder develops without any clear cause. Treatment usually involves drug therapy. Other therapies are being researched and the cause of Bipolar disorder is still being researched.

Atypical Depression:

“Atypical” means unusual. Instead of feeling unrelenting gloominess and lethargy, a person with this condition might seem deeply depressed for a few days, then fine for a while, or anxious and irritable. Like many other forms of depression, the atypical variety often develops without a triggering event. Recent research has indicated that a chemical imbalance may not be permanent in some people. The research indicates that chemical imbalances may come and go in some people causing “mood swings” or small periods of depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):

This condition is often called “winter blues.” A reaction to lack of sunlight in winter, mild or major depression develops in late fall and clears up in early spring. As distance from the equator increases, this condition becomes more common. In the northern hemisphere, December, January, and February are the worst months. This is not clinical depression but is a depressed feeling associated with cloudy skies and rainy days. How many times have we sat in our living rooms on a rainy day and let out a long sigh and felt an overwhelming boredom – often leading to sadness.

Postpartum Depression:

New mothers typically expect to feel overjoyed after giving birth. But because of the enormous hormonal changes of delivery and the challenges of dealing with an infant, some two-thirds of women feel transient sadness. About 10% to 15% become clinically depressed. And about one in 1000 become so severely depressed that they must be hospitalized for their own safety and the safety of their baby.

This is another example of how a period of feeling sad (depressed) can become clinical depression if left unabated or the sufferer cannot “shake” the sadness. The chemical imbalance goes unchecked and becomes permanent – requiring the aid of a physician and drug therapy.

BEN: “YES IT CAN. I WAS 100% CURED OF DEPRESSION THROUGH PRAYER AND FAITH HEALING AND THIS WAS AFTER I HAD BEEN SUFFERING FROM IT SEVERELY FOR 7-8 YEARS.”

If you honestly suffered from clinical depression for 7-8 years without the use of drugs or the aid of a physician then you are still clinically depressed and not cured. Your prayer and faith may help you deal emotionally with your clinical depression (after all, it’s just another form of psychotherapy).

As far as “faith healing” goes there are reasons it appears to work. Prior to exposure there is a buildup of anticipation and anxiety over the faith healing experience. This causes a massive buildup of adrenaline in the body. The adrenaline overrides the chemical imbalance that causes depression and the depression is submissive. The adrenaline override can last for months and sometimes years – especially if the patient is radically involved in the faith healing process. The faith doesn’t cure the depression – the adrenaline from the anticipation and excitement cover the depression up.

If the body is exposed to continuous adrenaline over extended periods of time it can cause a lot of damage to sensitive organs. When the adrenaline finally recedes and the depression is allowed to resurface it is overwhelming – often resulting in suicide or death from some other bodily reaction.

BEN: “Depression can NEVER be COMPLETELY cured by taking drugs and having therapy unless God does something.”

Yes it can. No doctor will prescribe just drugs, obviously. There are other activities help the sufferer overcome different aspects of the depression. The chemical imbalance in the body must be treated with drugs to rectify the imbalance. Feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, phobia, etc. may be helped by other means. But these side treatments help or cure the symptoms – not the source. If you clean away a scab – the wound is still below it. And if you don’t treat the wound with medication – infection can set in or scarring may occur.

Let’s take a look at some of the therapies involved:

Research shows that for mild depression, non-drug therapies are as effective as antidepressant medications. For mild-to-moderate depression, non-drug therapies may be sufficient, but many people also need antidepressant medications. The two often work best together. For moderate-to-severe or severe depression, medications are necessary. But the non-drug therapies can still play a valuable supportive role in treatment.

Have more fun. In mild depression, this often helps. “Happiness requires action,” says psychologist Jennifer James, Ph.D., author of Women and the Blues. Try not to mope. Visit a friend. Have a massage. Get a pet. Redecorate. Take a class. Take a vacation. If nothing feels fun, do things you used to enjoy.

Cognitive therapy. You can’t talk yourself out of depression, but you can stop talking yourself deeper into it. Cognitive therapy — also called cognitive restructuring — teaches people to recognize and correct depressive thinking. If you make a mistake at work, you might think, “I’m hopelessly incompetent,” and slide toward depression. That’s “awful-izing” — a thought distortion that magnifies minor upsets into catastrophes. With cognitive therapy, the reaction changes: “OK, I made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, my boss and co-workers know I don’t make many. And I can fix this one easily.” A National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study showed that after 16 weeks of cognitive restructuring training, 51 percent of those with mild to moderate depression reported significant improvement. “Cognitive therapy also lends itself to self-help,” Dr. Freeman says.

Exercise. A tremendous amount of research shows that exercise — particularly strenuous aerobic exercise — elevates mood, relieves anxiety, improves appetite, sleep, sexual interest and functioning, and self-esteem. Studies show that it also helps normalize the chemical imbalances in the brain linked to depression, Dr. Stuart Yudofsky says.

Psychotherapy. Long-term Freudian psychoanalysis has been largely replaced by shorter-term “talk therapies.” The NIMH study showed that after 16 weeks of psychotherapy, 55% of those with mild to moderate depression reported significant improvement. Support groups. Depression feels terribly isolating. Support groups show you that you’re not alone. They are particularly helpful for depressions associated with drug or alcohol abuse, which is why Alcoholics Anonymous and the other Anonymous organizations are so popular.

Herbal medicines. Several medicinal herbs have antidepressant effects. The most powerful is St. John’s wart, a natural SSRI and weak MAO inhibitor. In addition, kava-kava, ginkgo, and caffeine can also help.

Dietary supplements. Certain vitamin deficiencies — notably B-6, B-12, C, folic acid, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, and pantothenic acid — can cause depression.

Acupuncture, aromatherapy, and other alternative treatments. The United Nations World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as effective for mild-to-moderate depression. Other helpful treatments include aromatherapy, massage therapy, music therapy, and meditation.

Photo therapy. Seasonal affective disorder is caused by lack of sunlight in winter. Supplemental artificial light successfully treats it. A half-hour a day in front of a special bright-light appliance lifts the spirits of 60% to 80% of those with winter depression. Another appliance that simulates an earlier dawn may also be beneficial. Antidepressant medication can help as well. So can midwinter tropical vacations. The emotional benefits typically last a week or two after returning north.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In cases of severe depression where antidepressants prove ineffective, ECT is another option. Once known as “shock therapy,” and given an undeserved bad reputation by the book and movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dr. Yudofsky says: “When used properly, ECT is safe and effective. Unfortunately, because of fear of electricity, and the inaccurate ways ECT has been portrayed in movies and on television, many people who could be benefit from it don’t consider it.” They should: In severe depression, it helps 80% to 90% of cases.

BEN: “Why should someone who is suffering from depression (and believes in God) apologize to their loved ones for not getting themselves proper medical treatment?”

Brother Fred is a local religious hero of sorts here in Mobile and a recognized religious consultant nationwide. He tells a wonderful story about his wife. His wife was depressed for years. He constantly told her to snap out of it and pray to God to help her out of her depression. For years this went on. A doctor in his congregation told him that his wife needed medical help to cure her depression. Brother Fred reluctantly agreed because he felt that his wife was not putting her heart into her prayer. Six months later Brother Fred’s wife was a completely different person. She remains on the medication to maintain the balance of chemicals in her brain and prevent a relapse into depression. Brother Fred apologized in public to his wife and told everyone that if they felt as if they suffered from depression to seek medical help to be cured. Brother Fred said, “Pray to God not to cure you but pray to God for the doctors to cure you and give you the courage to carry on.”

I know a lot of Christians that are depressed and possibly suffer from the disease of clinical depression. They are told by their spouse or clergy to pray and that God will cure them. For most this will work because they are only depressed and do not suffer from the disease of clinical depression. For a few this will not work and their spouse and clergy owe them an apology for not letting them or telling them to seek the medical help they need.

BEN: “Clearly you have not suffered from depression yourself, because if you had then you would know the extreme feelings of helplessness, which depressed people go through. Their mentality is that no one can help me and no one can make it go away, therefore a logical conclusion to make would be that taking drugs and having therapy will not help me either.”

You presume too much. I have suffered from depression and so have my wife and mother. My wife and mother continue to take medication to keep the chemical balance in their brains regulated. My depression was not clinical depression but just a deep sadness and lethargy. I was able to “snap out of it” with therapy and a change in lifestyle. What does the mentality of “no one can help me so why can drugs” have to do with the actual fact that drugs cure depression? Just because Joe Blow thinks drugs won’t help doesn’t mean they won’t help him. It’s true that nearly 2 out of 3 sufferers of clinical depression do not seek medical help.

Some additional facts about depression:

  • The rate of clinical depression for women is about double that of men; in bipolar disorder, the rates are about the same.

  • There’s a risk for developing depression when there is a family history, of these illnesses, with a somewhat higher risk for those with bipolar disorder. Where a genetic vulnerability exists, onset probably results from a combination of vulnerability and life experience.

  • There are no differences in rates of depression among ethnic/racial groups.

  • Depression often co-occurs with medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse disorders. When this happens, the presence of both illnesses is frequently unrecognized and may lead to serious and unnecessary consequences for patients and families.

  • Estimates for the cost of depression to the Nation in 1990 range from $30-$44 billion. In addition to direct costs, consider the value of millions of lost workdays (estimated to be as high as 200,000,000 days lost each year), impact on productivity due to the nature of the symptoms (e.g., lack of concentration, loss of interest), and the immeasurable disruption to personal and family life.

  • With treatment, up to 80% of those suffering from depression can improve and return to daily activities, usually in a matter of weeks, with treatments generally on an outpatient basis. Unfortunately, nearly 2 out of 3 depressed persons do not seek treatment. In fact, the majority of depressed people are seen initially in primary care setting, where their depression is not diagnosed and its symptoms frequently are inappropriately treated.

  • Depression is Not Grief It is normal to feel sadness after the death of a friend or family member. Indeed, most of us experience great sadness at times in our lives, perhaps from a divorce, moving away from family and friends, losing a job, even losing our good health due to illness. But, most people cope with these losses without becoming clinically depressed. If the sadness or depressed mood continues for a long period of time, the person may be experiencing clinical depression, and should seek professional help.

Causes of Depression:

  • Some types of depression run in families, indicating that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. This seems to be the case with bipolar. Studies of families, in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder, found that those with the illness have a somewhat different genetic makeup than those who do not get ill. However, the reverse is not true: Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes vulnerability to bipolar disorder has the illness. Apparently additional factors, possibly a stressful environment, are involved in its onset.

  • Major depression also seems to occur, generation after generation, in some families. However, it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression. Whether inherited or not, major depressive disorder is often associated with having too little or too much of certain neurochemicals.

  • Psychological makeup also plays a role in vulnerability to depression. People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism, or who are readily overwhelmed by stress are prone to depression.

  • Biological – People with depression typically have too little or too much of certain brain chemicals, called “neurotransmitters.” Changes in these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.

  • Cognitive – People with negative thinking patterns – people who are pessimistic, have low self-esteem, worry too much or feel they have little control over life events – are more likely to develop clinical depression.

  • Genetic – A family history of clinical depression increases the risk for developing the illness. However, clinical depression can also occur in people who have had no family members with depression.

  • Situational – Difficult life events, including the death of a loved one, divorce, financial problems, moving to a new place or significant loss, can contribute to clinical depression.

  • Co-occurring – Clinical depression is more likely to occur along with certain medical illnesses, such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and hormonal disorders. This is called “co-occurring depression.” Co-occurring depression should be treated in addition to the physical illness. It is important that you report any depressive symptoms to your doctor.

  • Medications – In addition, some medications for various medical illnesses can actually cause clinical depression. That’s why it is also important to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking.


Ben Rebuttal #002:

Ok then. I have read your reply and would like to say that I was suffering from all forms of depression listed except for bipolar and postpartum depression. I have suffered from normal depression, major depression, seasonal affective disorder, adjustment disorder and whatever else it was that you listed. My point is this: IT HAS GONE!!! I guess you could say I was hanging on for a long time, I guess you could say that I am a pretty tough person on the inside and on top of all that I also had a breakdown. You’d think that someone would notice right? But no one ever did because I learnt to hide it real well. You’d think I would have told someone right? But I couldn’t, the pain went so deep I didn’t know where or how I could start? I thought no one would be able to understand and that they would just think I was a crazy person and shut me away in some mental institution somewhere. And I guess that scared me more than the depression itself did so I learnt to hang on, to close myself off from everyone around me and I became a shell of a human being for those hellacious seven – eight years, I stopped feeling and I shut down permanently. I don’t think it’s funny that I had to cry myself to sleep every night, I don’t think it’s funny that it went on for so long. But when people like you come to me after everything I’ve been through and try to tell me that it wasn’t God who makes me better every single day, then that’s what I just can’t take because by your own opinion I should be dead right now. Do you class major depression as clinical depression? Are the two actually the same thing? Or what about if you’re actually suffering from everything else I stated above at the same time? Is that good enough to be classed as clinical depression? So I had clinical depression and I cried myself to sleep every night wanting to be dead and no one ever noticed and I wasn’t put on medical ‘drugs’ and neither was I at any stage ever hospitalized. I think I’d say that living like that for seven to eight years would just about drive a person insane right? And now? All of a sudden it IS completely gone… just like that? But nothing big, miraculous, phenomenal or god like happened to make it go away. Come on, if I am still depressed and in fact nothing miraculous did happen, then I would say that you’re either talking to a crazy person right now (and my friends can all vouch for me that I am not crazy) or alternatively you’re talking to a dead person. Now which do you think is true? I think it is neither.


Response to Ben #002:

BEN: “I have suffered from normal depression, major depression, seasonal affective disorder, adjustment disorder and whatever else it was that you listed. My point is this: IT HAS GONE!”

At this point I doubt your credibility. To suffer from every form of depression without seeking medical assistance is guaranteed death. The destruction done to your body over a 7-8 year period that you are talking about… you would not have lasted. I think it is necessary to say that I worked at a hospital for four years and responded to psychiatric emergencies on the mental health ward. I’m not just speaking nonsense – I actually have experience with the mentally ill. The physical damage done to a body for that extended amount of time with every form of depression is inconceivable. Why is it inconceivable? If you truly had every form of depression you would be a marvel of medical science – because it has NEVER been documented where a patient has suffered from every kind of depression at one time.

If you were as deep as you claim into depression for a 7-8 year period and you did not seek medical assistance then one of a couple things happened.

First – your chemical imbalance went into remission and you are in fact a bi-polar disorder with extremely long periods of disorder (not uncommon, by the way).

Second – your brain switched modes and reversed the chemical imbalance. This is pretty bad, too. Basically what happens is the brain reverses the chemicals causing the depression to seem to disappear overnight and it is replaced by elation, anxiety, fear, schizophrenia, euphoria, and sometimes hallucinations. Often the other symptoms may result in paranoia or full-blown schizophrenia. The process may take from 1 month to 10 years or more.

Either way – you need to seek medical assistance. If you stick a frog in hot water it will jump out. If you stick a frog in cold water and slowly boil it – the frog will stay in the water and die. You are slowly deteriorating or will sooner or later go back into depression and start the down side of your bi-polar disorder. Seek medical help.

BEN: “But nothing big, miraculous, phenomenal or god like happened to make it go away.”

That is a correct statement.

BEN: “Come on, if I am still depressed and in fact nothing miraculous did happen, then I would say that you’re either talking to a crazy person right now (and my friends can all vouch for me that I am not crazy) or alternatively you’re talking to a dead person.”

I am either talking to a liar/prankster or I am talking to a crazy person just as you suggested. Perhaps you should re-read your paragraph. There is absolutely no sentence structure and you did nothing but ramble on. The whole paragraph sounds delusional and borderline schizophrenic. Your friends can vouch for you all they want – we fail to see change when it happens slowly. Jeffrey Dahlmer’s friends and neighbors never thought he would do what he did – he didn’t seem crazy – they all thought he was normal. I only have three words for you: seek medical help.


Ben Rebuttal #003:

BLAIR: “At this point I doubt your credibility.”

At this point you clearly fail to read the rest of my mail. READ THE REST AND DON’T TAKE WHAT I SAY OUT OF CONTEXT FROM THE REST OF IT.

BLAIR: “To suffer from every form of depression…”

I didn’t say every form of depression, SO DON’T TWIST MY WORDS AROUND.

BLAIR: “…without seeking medical assistance is guaranteed death.”

No it’s not guaranteed at all, I’ll admit I felt very borderline suicidal for a long time and I thought I was going crazy and I had a breakdown, but guess what? I was forced to rely on the measure of faith, which I had already been given by God even before I knew Him and it’s exactly the same measure of faith, which every person who is ever born into this world is given. What you fail to realize here is that there are always some exceptions to every rule, so I guess that I was an exception, because as you rightly say what I went through should have killed me but it didn’t. Now why is this? Because God already knew what was going to happen in my life and that eventually I would be able to come to Him. So by His grace and mercy He saw me through it. Yes I suffered and yes it wasn’t easy but I am telling you now that I am a living, breathing, walking miracle of God.

BLAIR: “The destruction done to your body over a 7-8 year period that you are talking about… you would not have lasted.”

Under normal circumstances, no I wouldn’t have, but God’s love is so mighty and powerful that it can easily defy any pre-assumed default option.

BLAIR: “I think it is necessary to say that I worked at a hospital for four years and responded to psychiatric emergencies on the mental health ward. I’m not just speaking nonsense – I actually have experience with the mentally ill.”

This is of no relevance whatsoever in relation to me.

BLAIR: “The physical damage done to a body for that extended amount of time with every form of depression is inconceivable.”

Once again I did not say I suffered from every form of depression, only all the ones you listed with the exception of two. And the fact that I am still here breathing and living is not inconceivable at all because without God’s intervention I would quite easily have killed myself.”

BLAIR: “Why is it inconceivable?”

It’s not, see above.

BLAIR: “If you truly had every form of depression you would be a marvel of medical science…”

Yes, I guess I would be, science calls it unexplainable, and I call it a miracle of God.

BLAIR: “…because it has NEVER been documented where a patient has suffered from every kind of depression at one time.”

  1. Just because it hasn’t been documented doesn’t mean it has never happened.

  2. I did not say that it was every kind of depression, I even listed them for you. READ THE MAIL.

BLAIR: “If you were as deep as you claim into depression for a 7-8 year period and you did not seek medical assistance then one of a couple things happened.

First – your chemical imbalance went into remission and you are in fact a bi-polar disorder with extremely long periods of disorder (not uncommon, by the way).”

My depression began as a result of intense psychological trauma and hence was not triggered by any chemical imbalance.

BLAIR: “Second – your brain switched modes and reversed the chemical imbalance. This is pretty bad, too. Basically what happens is the brain reverses the chemicals causing the depression to seem to disappear overnight and it is replaced by elation, anxiety, fear, schizophrenia, euphoria, and sometimes hallucinations. Often the other symptoms may result in paranoia or full-blows schizophrenia. The process may take from 1 month to 10 years or more.”

I admit I had some of (but not all) these symptoms for a while (especially over a four year period when I was at college) but now once again THEY ARE COMPLETELY GONE!

BLAIR: “Either way – you need to seek medical assistance.”

NO I DON’T, I AM HEALED, AND I NO LONGER HAVE DEPRESSION OR ANY OF THE OTHER SYMPTOMS THAT ARE RELATED TO IT!

BLAIR: “You are slowly deteriorating…”

No I am not, I feel great.

BLAIR: “…or will sooner or later go back into depression and start the down side of your bi-polar disorder.”

NO I WON’T SEE ABOVE FOR REASON WHY.

BLAIR: “Seek medical help.”

I DON’T NEED IT, I AM CURED.

BLAIR: “But nothing big, miraculous, phenomenal or god like happened to make it go away. That is a correct statement.”

Yes it did, of course it did.

BLAIR: “I am either talking to a liar/prankster…”

THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

BLAIR: “…or I am talking to a crazy person just as you suggested.”

THIS IS ALSO NOT THE CASE.

BLAIR: “Perhaps you should re-read your paragraph. There is absolutely no sentence structure and you did nothing but ramble on.”

Why? I made a perfectly legitimate point. Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were an experienced teacher of English grammar. No, I made a perfectly good point, which you have not given me a conclusive answer to, is in fact what I did.

BLAIR: “The whole paragraph sounds delusional and borderline schizophrenic.”

Oh please! Don’t insult me now, I have an above average IQ.

BLAIR: “Your friends can vouch for you all they want – we fail to see change when it happens slowly.”

READ MY LIPS! C-O-P O-U-T! IT WAS AN INSTANTANEOUS REACTION AND I SHOULD THINK THERE ARE ABOUT SEVERAL HUNDRED WITNESSES WHO COULD TESTIFY THAT FACT.

BLAIR: “Jeffrey Dahlmer’s friends and neighbors never thought he would do what he did – he didn’t seem crazy – they all thought he was normal.”

Once again this is completely irrelevant to me.

BLAIR: “I only have three words for you: seek medical help.”

Why? You’re the one who pledges insanity not me. You seek it. “IN CHRIST, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE”


Response to Ben #003:

BEN: “At this point you clearly fail to read the rest of my mail. READ THE REST AND DON’T TAKE WHAT I SAY OUT OF CONTEXT FROM THE REST OF IT. I didn’t say every form of depression, SO DON’T TWIST MY WORDS AROUND.”

I took nothing out of context from your rebuttal at all. You said (and I quote), “I have read your reply and would like to say that I was suffering from all forms of depression listed except for bipolar and postpartum depression.” You said you were suffering from all forms of depression except two. I personally think that you also suffer from bi-polar disorder. If you suffered from all forms of depression than you are a medical first – and I doubt that – just as I doubt your credibility (still).

BEN: “…And it’s exactly the same measure of faith, which every person who is ever born into this world is given.”

And you of course have proof that every person is born with faith? You have proof that a 2-month-old baby has just as much faith as you?

BEN: “What you fail to realize here is that there are always some exceptions to every rule, so I guess that I was an exception, because as you rightly say what I went through should have killed me but it didn’t.”

There are not always exceptions to the rules. When exceptions to the rules are identified then the rules were not written correctly. That is the art of science – constantly re-writing the rules to incorporate the “exceptions”. You were no exception. You are still suffering from depression. Your desperate need for faith and the use of that faith have brought you temporarily out of that depressed state. There are three possibilities that exist here. One, you were not clinically depressed but were emotionally weak – and your faith became your mental crutch. Two, you are lying. Three, you still have the chemical imbalance but your mind, because of its need for faith, has altered the chemical imbalance in the other direction – which of course makes you a bi-polar depressive.

BEN: “Under normal circumstances, no I wouldn’t have, but God’s love is so mighty and powerful that it can easily defy any pre-assumed default option.”

If believing that helps you deal with your depression and causes your brain to release opposing chemicals then more power to you. God did not cure your depression – you did by subconsciously altering your chemical imbalance for the need in faith. This is often what happens in “faith healing”. Like the cripple who suddenly walks because a faith healer touched him. There is sudden rush of adrenaline and other hormones in the brain in anticipation of the touch. These chemicals override the brain’s normal chemistry which controls pain and sensory. The cripple walks a few steps on his own adrenaline and chemicals. Unfortunately – when the episode is done there may be emotional trauma because the “cure” was not permanent and often more physical damage is done to the person because they irritate the injury.

BEN: “Yes I suffered and yes it wasn’t easy but I am telling you now that I am a living, breathing, walking miracle of God.”

You can “tell me” all you want to. The fact remains that you have provided no substantial proof to verify your claims. I have already questioned your credibility to that affect. You stated that you suffered from every form of depression except postpartum (which is understandable since you didn’t give birth) and bi-polar (which is questionable at this point). The physical affects of all forms of depression at a single time over an extended period of time would have caused damage to your body and mind.

BEN: [My hospital work] “This is of no relevance whatsoever in relation to me.” [Jeffrey Dahlmer’s friends & family] “Once again this is completely irrelevant to me.”

Why do these have no relation to you? I worked at a hospital where I routinely responded to psychiatric emergencies and other cases on the mental health ward. In other words – I have background experience in dealing with people suffering from depression. The case of Jeffrey Dahlmer’s neighbor’s is relevant to you. The neighbors swore up and down that he was not crazy and that he showed no signs of schizophrenia. And they were right in the fact that he showed no signs of mental illness. 2 out of 5 people suffer from one form of schizophrenia or another – and half of them don’t know it. And out of the ones that do realize what’s going on are adept at hiding it fact from the outside world. Your friends would have no idea if you were crazy or not – so their “vouching for you” is worth nothing. Just because the examples justify my arguments does not make them irrelevant. Should I make every one of your examples and arguments irrelevant?

BEN: “Once again I did not say I suffered from every form of depression, only all the ones you listed with the exception of two.”

I listed ALL forms of depression. And you said, as I quoted you above, that you suffered from all forms except two. One is obvious and the other is questionable at this point.

BEN: “Yes, I guess I would be, science calls it unexplainable, and I call it a miracle of God.”

Since you did not seek medical assistance, there is no proof that you suffered from every form of depression for 7-8 years. Do you even realize how preposterous that sounds? You are saying that you suffered, for 7-8 years, EVERY form of depression (except postpartum and possibly bi-polar). You would have been suffering the equivalent depressive symptoms of 9 or 10 people! You are greatly over-exaggerating to justify your false claims, lying, or suffering from paranoia and mild schizophrenia. And judging by your answers you probably suffer from a mild psychosis.

BEN: “Just because it hasn’t been documented doesn’t mean it has never happened.”

You can say the sky is green all you want – but until you can prove the sky is green – it is still blue. What you are describing is the suffering of one person on the equivalent scale of 9 or 10 people. Like I said before – you are either lying, over-exaggerating, or suffering from paranoia, schizophrenia, or some psychosis.

BEN: “My depression began as a result of intense psychological trauma and hence was not triggered by any chemical imbalance.”

After a psychological trauma what do you think happens in the brain? Quantities of endorphins are released to help you deal with the trauma. These chemicals help to dull your feelings and emotions to better deal with the trauma. Sometimes they backfire by dulling and enhancing the wrong emotions. It is these very same chemicals that cause the hallucination of a near-death-experience (NDE). If the chemicals do not return to normal, guess what, you have clinical depression.

BEN: “I admit I had some of (but not all) these symptoms for a while (especially over a four year period when I was at college) but now once again THEY ARE COMPLETELY GONE!”

So you are now changing your story from had all of them to had some of them? From 7-8 years to just four in college? And as I said before they only appear to be completely gone because of the previous three reasons I gave which explain this phenomenon. Denying these explanations is fine with me. If the belief in God and “healing power” helps you deal with your depression then I am all for it. Whatever helps you deal with it is okay with me. However, I still recommend you seek medical help to have your neurochemicals checked. If you think you’re happy now – wait until they fix your chemical imbalance – then you’ll be so happy you’ll be climbing up the walls.

BEN: “NO I DON’T, I AM HEALED, AND I NO LONGER HAVE DEPRESSION OR ANY OF THE OTHER SYMPTOMS, WHICH ARE RELATED TO IT!”

So you keep saying. And yet you cannot show this to be true one-way or the other. The very answers you give betray you. Denial does not equal cure.

BEN: “Why? I made a perfectly legitimate point.”

You made a perfectly legitimate opinion – but you have yet to make a point or provide any proof to substantiate you claim. Your credibility has been questioned and all you can do is respond with all caps and short simple answers that only go further to prove my point that you suffer from a degree of paranoia, possibly mild schizophrenia, bi-polar depression, and maybe even a degree of psychosis.

BEN: “No, I made a perfectly good point, which you have not given me a conclusive answer to, is in fact what I did.”

Better go back and re-read your responses if you think that you made a point. All you have said is that you suffered from sever depression (elaborated on that a lot) and that God healed you. Where is the perfectly good point in that? Everything you’ve said has just been an extension of that and nothing else. Where is your proof? Where is your evidence? I have given you several conclusive answers based on the information you have provided me. You failure to see that only further illustrates your paranoia and possible schizophrenia. It shows your refusal to see your own illness. It shows you inability to rationalize. It shows that your emotions are still too powerful for you to handle it and that you have only altered the depression with your “faith” – you are not cured – just in an altered state of mind.

BEN: “Oh please! Don’t insult me now; I have an above average IQ.”

Only someone with an emotional problem would feel insulted. A rational human being would defend him or herself and provide the adequate proof or evidence. A rational human being would not provide the emotionally charged answers that you have. And as I’m sure you know – someone’s intelligence has nothing to do with his or her mentality. Some of the smartest people in the world are lunatics. Intelligence and mentality are separate. The average IQ isn’t that high, anyway.

BEN: “READ MY LIPS! C-O-P O-U-T! IT WAS AN INSTANTANEOUS REACTION AND I SHOULD THINK THERE ARE ABOUT SEVERAL HUNDRED WITNESSES WHO COULD TESTIFY THAT FACT.”

What was an instantaneous reaction? What did you react to? This is a highly charged emotional response for such a simple statement as “Your friends can vouch all they want – we fail to see change when it happens slowly.” Why did this comment evoke such strong emotions from you? What do you have to hide? What did you do that has you on the defensive suddenly? Where were you and what did you do that would have several hundred witnesses? And all several hundred of these witnesses can testify to the account that something you did that justifies my argument that you are crazy was actually just an instantaneous reaction? You have walked yourself into a room of mirrors – and all eyes are on you.

So why do I think you are still depressed and mildly schizophrenic. I thought I was going to be engaged in an intelligent debate. Instead all I get is kindergarten tactics and responses, coupled with schizophrenic and emotionally charged answers. Just take a look at your responses in regards to kindergarten tactics and answers:

  • READ THE REST AND DON’T TAKE WHAT I SAY OUT OF CONTEXT FROM THE REST OF IT.

  • …SO DON’T TWIST MY WORDS AROUND.

  • This is of no relevance whatsoever in relation to me.

  • It’s not, see above.

  • …but now once again THEY ARE COMPLETELY GONE!

  • NO I DON’T, I AM HEALED, I NO LONGER HAVE DEPRESSION OR ANY OF THE OTHER SYMPTOMS, WHICH ARE RELATED TO IT!!!

  • No I am not, I feel great.

  • NO I WON’T SEE ABOVE FOR REASON WHY.

  • I DON’T NEED IT, I AM CURED.

  • Yes it did, of course it did.

  • THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

  • THIS IS ALSO NOT THE CASE.

  • Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were an experienced teacher of English grammar.

  • Oh please! Don’t insult me now; I have an above average IQ.

  • READ MY LIPS! C-O-P-O-U-T! IT WAS AN INSTANTANEOUS REACTION AND I SHOULD THINK THERE ARE ABOUT SEVERAL HUNDRED WITNESSES WHO COULD TESTIFY THAT FACT.

  • Why? You’re the one who pledges insanity not me. You seek it.

  • “IN CHRIST, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE”

You have shown me absolutely nothing but highly charged emotional responses, paranoia laced rambling, mild schizophrenic phraseology, and the likelihood of some degree of psychosis. Coupled with the possibility of a bi-polar depressive disorder.

Good luck to you Ben. I can only hope that you heed my advice and seek medical help. Look at it this way – if your God cured you of depression and you have no side affects – what do you have to lose by seeing a psychologist? It’s the old Pascal’s Wager in a medical sense!

The last response from Ben was February, 2000: I never received a response from him after my last rebuttal.

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