Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Say a prayer for some of my parishioners who are suffering from depression. My parish has an incredible number of people who live on their own, in tiny flats; isolation, loneliness and hopelessness are not an unusual feature of many people's struggle towards God here in the inner city.
I met somone on the street yesterday who had taken an overdose, someone else seems to spend most of their time, at the moment weeping, one poor girl has most of her body scarred where she has been cutting herself, someone else just can't get out of bed.
For many of my people depression is a great crushing weight that stops them from working or forming relationships, or even wanting to relate to other people. Many people here simply don't "do" social events.
So often depression here leads to "solitary vices" drink, drugs, pornography, all of which tend to lead people further and further into themselves.


gemoftheocean said...

I'll pray for them. Father, I hope this doesn't sound too simplistic, it's not meant to, but it's been shown that for people who live alone, pets can greatly relieve stress.

Can maybe some of these people be asked to help other people, in even small ways? It really helps a person to know someone needs THEM. It can take someone out of himself/herself. It doesn't have to be a "big thing."

Anonymous said...

Father, these people can't profit from therapy until their mood is lifted and this requires the people to take their medication regularly. Are the people you described under the care of a psychiatrist?

Moretben said...

A rosary from me, today.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Some are, some not, some have found it doesn't work. Some can't cope with the interference of others in their lives.
I am sure for many it would be a great blessing, care for someone or something other than self is always a good thing. Unfortunately in this part of town it is impossible to have an animal. Most of our housing is converted Georgian/Victorian town houses, which at one one time were rather grand, and now are bedsits or "studio" flats.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Thank you for your prayers.

Ma Beck said...

Terrible to hear, Father.

Thank you for bringing attention to this, and I will pray for your parishioners.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I am so sorry to read of the loneliness and depression of so many people.
They have my understanding and my prayers.

I suppose I am one of the fortunate people :
I live alone, but don't feel lonely.
(You can feel lonely in a crowded room.)

Karen is absolutely right : there needs to be something to take people out of themselves, be it a drink in the pub, going for a stroll and exchanging a word or two with a neighbour, doing the shopping, anything but staying indoors and alone all the time.

But then there are, I know, people who can't face going out.
Or even seeing other people.

Keeping oneself busy is essential :
I have too often seen elderly people, deserted by their family, go into decline because they are no longer needed, find themseles totally alone, with nothing useful to do.

People of any age must have a hobby or pastime or interest in something, so that they are not turned in on themselves.

For the clinically depressed there is, or should be, medical treatment. What help is available usually isn't enough.

They feel hopeless and helpless.

Father Ray did ask for prayers, not for comments, so perhaps I should simply say :

These people have my prayers.
I am so sorry.
I really do understand.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Prayers on the way.

Anonymous said...

Well Fr, anyone can get depression..i live with 12 people!

As you know i suffer from major depressive disorder as a result of my bi-polar affective disorder. Many of the people you mention might have underlying undiagnosed mental illnesses & or addictions..often a dual-diagnosis.

It's wonderful you have an insight into depression since most people are so scared by it they think it's contagious..

The prayers of a Priest are particularly powerful as is bringing the sacraments to the shut-ins.

i will certainly pray for those affected by this cruel & disabling illness..

Anonymous said...

The suggestions put by the people who have responded here are all excellent - it would be good if these people reached out of themselves to help others, it would be good if they could go to the pub, go for a walk etc but first must come the mood lift. Anti depressants aren't like penicillin; one size fits all so to speak. It can take a long time to find the right match between patient and correct anti-depressant for a particular person. It took a member of my family four years to find the right drug for him and then the improvement - plus therapy - was amazing.

Father, if you can, I would advise you to encourage these people to persevere with their medication and to give their psychiatrist feedback if a particular anti-depressant is not working in a reasonable period and then another can be tried.

I will keep all of these people in my prayers and ask St Benedict Joseph Labre's intercession for them.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous that was brilliant..i had to try 8/9 antideps & it was only when lithium was added that i began to recover..perseverence is certainly the key...