Depression Runs in Your Family? Yep, Mine too. How to Handle it.

So here’s the funny thing.

My wife was having some significant health issues that we strongly suspected were hereditary. So we decided to do a genetic workup after hearing a podcast. (From Dr. J. Dunn, at I decided to do mine at the same time just to give us a “normal” reference to compare hers too.

We were trying to see if there was something we could do in her diet or supplementation that might help us reduce the pain she was experiencing.

We didn’t find anything of value in her profile. That wasn’t funny.

But here is the funny thing! You see, I had always said (as many of us do) that some things run in my family, as in possible genetic issues. We could see a tendency toward depression, substance abuse, thrill-seeking, and (gulp) some psychosis.

So when my wife and I sat down and compared our DNA results, it was surreal how my choosing to have this done to provide a “normal” reference to hers just didn’t work out. My results were anything but normal.

If you’ve read my book Superhero: Being Who God Says You Are I mention how in the case of my dad and his two brothers, all of them struggled with various addictions (habituated comforts is what I prefer to call them in my therapy perspective) and two of the three committed suicide in their later years.

Looking at my DNA tendencies, I was disposed to have depression, anxiety, addictive tendencies, thrill-seeking to an extreme, and some psychosis.

Interestingly, my dad got me started drinking when I was 18 and by age 20 I was an emergent alcoholic, having panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, and nearly constant anxiety.

It was a miserable life, although getting into it was kind of  fun. I was spending lots of time with my dad (something I didn’t get to do earlier in life), meeting a lot of his very entertaining friends, and for the most part, the alcohol was free.

Well, “ain’t nothing free” baby!

The Path Out

Wanna guess how I defeated my cravings for alcohol, the anxiety, and all the rest of that?

You think it was a therapist, psychologist, psyho-tropic drugs, or some group recovery program.

Nope, none of that.

I went deep with God.

Really deep.

I began forcing myself to get up an hour or more early in the mornings to spend time in conversation with God. This means I was reading Scripture, talking to God, listening to the Spirit, meditating and reflecting on what He was telling me.

And then, I resolved while conversing with the Sovereign Lord and my Father that I would go out that day and live boldly, that I would spool up my mood with his help, and that I would reach out to others to keep me from turning totally inward.

How did it work? It was a multi-year struggle–it was gruelingly hard, scary, tear-filled, and there were times when I wanted to quit. But I resolved with my Heavenly Father that I would die trying to live as I knew He saw me and I would die before I gave up.

So, No Quick Fixes, No Pills…

Because of my profession as a military aviator, pills (SSRIs, Anti-anxiety, or other drugs) were not an option. The only path for me was getting up pretty much every day and curling up with God in His word, his presence, and conversing for an hour or so, and then going out and living the life he had placed me in.

And living with the brothers and sisters he had put in my life as well. I got real honest with a hand-picked (well, God’s hand picked them) few and allowed them into my heart, struggles, fears, and victories. They were, each one, special projections of God’s mercy, grace, and power to me–far better than any pill, drink, or substance.

Nothing worth doing in life is easy–even a relationship with the lover of your soul. We are called not to live out something that seems natural and evident–but instead to walk in the Spirit when no one else (sometimes) even comprehends what we are doing. Many of my moments alone with God felt very lonely–except for His presence.

But over time, my Father surrounded me with amazing and wonderful souls who showered me with care, mercy, and hugs.

In fact, after a while, I became an instrument of God’s power, to be able to come along side others and  help them–only through the power of the indwelling Christ.

Not Trying to Sell Books, But…

So there is only so much I can cover in a single blog post, but my books have so much of what my Father taught me that brought me to where I am today. My prayer is that all could know and become what he has made me or beyond.

With that in mind, consider getting:

Superhero: Being Who God Says You Are

First-Person Messiah: Transforming Your Life Through Amazing Encounters With Jesus

Satan’s Wager: What the Devil and Job Got Wrong About God

Just remember, faith is a journey, a process. It doesn’t happen quickly…

Shalom, Stevo

(Image by Guitarfoto/Shutterstock)

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