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Dear Gramps,

I suffered from depression after my first child and was put on Zoloft. Things got better and after a year or so, I got off the medication. Now, (after my 3rd child) I’m diagnosed with dithsemnia– depression. I’m on Zoloft again. My question is how the church feels about medication for depression. Depression seems to run in my family, however, sometimes I wonder if it’s hereditary or just a bad attitude that I should fix. I don’t know what’s right. Worse…since I’ve been on this medication for depression, I no longer feel sad all the time, or think about death all the time, or hate everyone and myself…but I don’t feel anything! I feel like my calling is suffering. I don’t feel nervous or scared when I gave a talk in church, and when we had a very trying challenge in our family, I logically thought…oh that’s terrible…but I didn’t feel that way…almost like my emotions are numbed. Can this be right? I don’t feel like I can feel the spirit either. I “know” logically that the church is true…but I’m having a hard time “feeling” it. HELP!!





Dear Ellie,

Think about a person who had just broken his arm, and before having it set, attended Sacrament meeting in great pain. He would probably have a difficult time concentrating on what was being said from the pulpit and feeling the spirit of the meeting. I doubt, however, that he should question his testimony just because due to his physical circumstance he didn’t have the euphoric feelings that one sometimes experiences in an inspiring situation.

But you might say that his pain was in his arm and not just a feeling of depression. Actually, the pain was in his head. Although the nervous system directs our attention to the point of injury, if one were to cut the nerve path to the brain the pain would not be felt. So I don’t see how your feelings of depression are different from his feelings of pain.

I don’t think he would feel guilty because his broken arm hurt, nor should a depressed person feel guilty because of the depression. I’m sure that the Church would not object to taking medication for depression any more than it would object to having a doctor set a broken arm.

If you know logically that the Church is true, then you know it! Although testimony sometimes stems from spiritual experiences that may be associated with a high emotional factor, the truths that comprise the testimony must be independent of emotion. I hope that you can feel comfortable and secure in your knowledge of the truth, and not let it depend on the state of your health.






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