Faith Can Heal Depression, But Don’t Stop Taking Your Meds


scientificamerican.comAt least once a month I get an email from someone who says she has read my blogs and she knows what I should do: rely on Jesus and let my faith heal me.

Now I know her heart is good and she speaks from a place of compassion. I know that because I recognize myself in her.

But it still ticks me off.

Because I am not a spiritual lightweight.

I take my faith pretty darn seriously.

I start my prayers every morning before my feet touch the ground. I have a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, and a master’s degree in theology. I flew halfway around the world to work with Mother Teresa when I was in graduate school. I have written 17 books on religion and spirituality. I read the entire Bible before my first pimple. I wanted to be a nun until I started sleeping with my husband.

Faith runs in my veins.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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5 Responses
  1. Mike Leach

    Awesome. And your wonderful humor graces the tough message. I think a lot of religious people who with good intentions dispense bromides just don’t know what clinical depression is. It is hell, here on earth (and undeserved), and according to religion nothing can lift us out of hell , not even God. According to what we have come to know and understand, love and faith and medicine and therapy can. Your columns are a ministry to those who might otherwise abandon hope, and to those who love them.

    1. Amen. It took me some intensive therapy to deal with a couple of family members who insisted that faith could heal one enough to not need meds anymore. “I don’t experience depression anymore and no longer have to take meds because Jesus healed me.” I believe that can happen and would love it to be my experience. Unfortunately, despite the therapy, I can still get tripped up by what I perceive is their dismissal of my faith as vitally important even though the the fact is I have bipolar. It’s hard when I’m feeling especially vulnerable. This summer I had to tell this family member who prayed over me for healing that I feel doubly guilty because not being “healed” insinuates that I am letting God down because I’m not believing enough. This person just does not get it. I can accept that most of the time now and know it’s not about me. It’s about her own insecurities and inability to fully feel or understand her own mental illness. It doesn’t exist because her religiosity has her believing it even though the bipolar symptoms are there. Of course, I can’t argue against the logic. Who can argue against what God has done?