Jesus Better Than Prozac

Jesus Better Than Prozac June 9, 2018

Above Rubies Nancy Campbell does not mention Prozac or any SSRI drug by name in this loathsome take on the best way to cure depression. She simply parrots the standard line in Evangelicalism that implies that depression is caused by lack of faith. She just hints that Jesus is better than Prozac.

This is just the type of toxic theology that leaves a body count. Depression is not demonic, it’s not a bad attitude, it’s not selfish. It can be circumstantial, or chemical, or the result of an underlying medical condition. It reveals nothing about the state of one’s soul.

People taught that it’s selfishness or demonic in the church tend not to get legitimate treatment, be that getting a physical to look for medical causes, medication or talk therapy.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    Anyone else think of Andrea Yates when reading the above quote?

  • nmgirl

    I’ve tried both. I’ll take the Prozac.

  • Aloha

    If you can reign over your depression in the name of Jesus, why don’t we just use this secret for all illnesses.
    Reign over your thirst without a sip of water!
    Reign over your fever without taking a pill!
    Just claim the Joy of Jesus so that your broken leg will disappear!

    (Please do NOT try this at home)

  • Montanto

    For me, (along with the almost as bad anxeity) it was sleep deprivation caused by untreated sleep apnea. Two years later, and still picking up the peices, I have no patience for people who throw around lines like that.

  • otrame

    Jesus can’t help with depression any more than he can help with hitting curve balls. Too complicated for a carpenter from early 1st century Palestine.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m9SQAs8mAgY

  • otrame

    It never seems to occur to these people that maybe God invented SSRIs.

  • therealcie

    I’m not going to ridicule anyone who gains comfort from spirituality, and I’m critical of the overprescription of psych medications. Some people respond badly to psych meds. I’m one of them. For me, the “cure” was worse than the problem. SSRI’s, the darlings of the psych industry, make me manic and psychotic. Medications are not one size fits all by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, I certainly don’t trust Nancy Campbell to give advice about psychiatric issues any more than I trust Tom Cruise to do so.

  • That fundagelical advice could be lethal……

  • Mel

    The amount of religiosity in my family has been fairly constant over time; we’re a fascinating spectrum of “No, thank you” through “Super-Over-Involved”.

    The rate of alcoholism took a nosedive, though, after SSRIs became available. Before that, the family seemed pretty convinced that alcohol numbed the pain of depression better than fundamentalist religious practice.

    Personally, my religious life takes a nosedive when I’m depressed – along with everything else on the planet. SSRIs aren’t magical – and unfortunately they don’t work for everyone – but they’ve been a game changing invention for my family.

  • Mel

    I was thinking of Susannah Musser and her habit of adopting a new kid when life with the previous kids gets a bit too hard…..

  • AFo

    It doesn’t help that they think most doctors are either put here by Satan or part of an evil government plot to steal and reprogram their children. It’s a feature, not a bug, to keep everyone on the reservation.

  • persephone

    It was my GP who finally found an antidepressant that worked for me. I have insomnia, which ratchets up when I’m depressed. He found one that helped me sleep as well as eased my symptoms. SSRIs and the newer drugs don’t work for me.

  • persephone

    It has been.

  • persephone

    Actually, I thought of how my mother responded when I made a half-hearted attempt to cut my wrists. We ended up kneeling in prayer for what seemed like forever. Didn’t help. Moving out did.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Firstly, of course, if your religion is toxic, it isn’t going to help with anything. Fundangelical religion running off guilt-
    and fear- inducing total depravity, “sinners in the hands of an angry God” and the relationship-destroying idiocies of “complementarianism” aren’t going to help anything anyway.
    Leaving that aside, however, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I would say a healthy spirituality is relevant to mental health, but I would stress only in the same way as physical fitness is to physical illness. A person e.g. not smoking or drinking to excess, exercising regularly, eating well and getting plenty of sleep etc will be less likely to become ill, and may in some cases (depending on the condition) more likely to throw off illness than someone whose lifestyle leaves them a physical wreck. This neither means, however, that any formula of diet or exercise guarantees you will never get ill, nor that you can cure cancer with a fitness regime. Likewise with “curing depression through Jesus”.
    P.S. It’s interesting that some of the same fundies who advocate curing depression through prayer also seem to think all physical illness is the fault of some dietary or lifestyle “sin” as well. I suspect it’s a control thing, trying to convince themselves they are exempt from anything bad happening to them because they follow the correct set of rules.

  • bekabot

    Umm…be careful what you wish for. This is advice which can work; but, if it does work, the woman who’s been cured of her depression (by whatever means) might not be as tractable or quiet as the one who was still depressed. It’s not too unusual that when a person who’s been designated as ‘mentally ill’ starts to recover, their familial relationships get worse, not better (at least to start out with). That’s because a depressed person’s depression can serve a function in a family or in a relationship, and because the underlying issue still remains even when the depressed person’s malaise is no longer around to deal with it or to direct attention elsewhere. Besides, Fundagelical notions, like Freudian theory, don’t posit women as whole people. (Women are inadequate, spend their whole lives needing to be propped up, are but mere shadows of more complete beings, etcetera.) Women who aren’t needy or depressed disprove these ideas, which is not necessarily a good thing in context if the ideas are indeed foundational to the community — in that case a woman’s recovery can be bad for the community, though it’s good for her as an individual. (Hence the sermons on selfishness and the evils of individualism; IMO, this is one of the things they’re about.)

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The cynic in me now thinks a motive for saying “cure depression with Jesus” is to avoid the depression actually bring cured.

  • The typicals “think on what Jesus suffered while on the cross”, while he know he’d come back and there’re people out there, in the myths or not, who have suffered far more and for a much longer time (ask Prometheus), as excruciating as that way to die was. Nothing new.

    Out of curiosity, how those people maintain families so large as if I suppose they’ll avoid to be welfare receivers and other benefits for large families?

  • bekabot

    Could be, but why (I ask this with respect) attribute mendacity to people’s motives when you don’t have to? People can do no end of harm and do it in perfect good faith (including all of us). Terrible things have been done and are still being done (and IMO always will be done) by the best of true believers. Ender Wiggin didn’t all-but wipe out the Buggers because he thought they were no threat. Stalin didn’t liquidate the kulaks because he thought he was wrong about them (though he might have been afraid he was wrong; however, that’s not the same thing). None of us have to be dishonest to be dangerous. We can make messes without telling lies.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    You’re probably right, I am being unfair, although I am less thinking mendacity and more thinking that beaten down depression is assumed to be the natural state for women in complementarian ideology. No cure is required.

  • RachaelinGreen

    I’ve noticed that fundamentalist Christianity tends to be very anti-sadness. Christians, according to them, are supposed to be *happy*–in a brainwashed, Stepford smiling kind of way. It’s as if, when the Bible says “Rejoice,” they take that to mean “Never express any negative emotion ever, because if you do, you clearly don’t love Jesus enough.” It’s unhealthy–dangerous, even…

  • Jen (*.*)

    Why the heck is long-suffering thrown in there? Is she trying to say that it is godly to suffer through depression part while waiting for the joy part??? Also, in her world, “down in the dumps” and “depression” are equals. Talk about toxic teachings!

  • B.E. Miller

    That’s where I’m sort of thankful to the nuns I had in elementary school. We used to ‘send’ prayers thanking God for the gift of surgeons, nurses, hospitals, etc.

    Hmmmm…. now I’m wondering if there’s a patron saint of SSRIs, and what the prayer for/concerning SSRIs would be. Suggestions, anyone?

  • B.E. Miller

    And now I’m remembering that modern parable about the man in the flood, and the boat, and the helicopter…..

  • B.E. Miller

    Andrea Yates, and Dena Schlosser. Dena especially, she was supposed to be on medication, but her pastor convinced her husband that Dena’s mental illness was really demon-related, and could be prayed away. A few days before she killed her daughter (she thought the child was possessed by demons) she had been going around on her hands and knees, and barking like a dog.

  • B.E. Miller

    Underfeed the kids, I’m guessing. Like have you seen the Duggar’s chicken etti? And they used to feed the kids lots of sandwiches in the early days of the show. (Before they got all that money.)

  • bekabot

    That wasn’t aimed at you as much as it was aimed at me. I walk around so much of the time thinking people are rotters that I have to remind myself not to do it. : – )

  • Ms JT

    I was so appreciative of a kind priest when I was in high school. Our youth director told me (when I was have a particularly bad depressive episode) that I just needed to ‘get off meds and pray more’. During confession the same day, I told him about it and I had never seen him so angry. I still remember what he said. ‘God wants you to be healthy and it would be a sin not to take care of yourself. That includes getting medical help/ therapy’ He also stated I was supposed to stay on my medication until my Dr deemed it appropriate to take me off. Then I got a single Hail Mary as penance and a promise to pray for me 🙂

  • otrame

    I was thinking about that story when I wrote that comment.

  • B.E. Miller

    I can understand that sentiment. Sometimes I think Ultron had the right idea…. hmmmm did any DC villains have the idea of killing off everyone to ‘save the world’? (Ra’s al Ghul is the only one who comes to mind, but I’ve been out of the DC fandom for a few years.)

  • Cynthia
  • B.E. Miller

    I get the funny feeling the Aish Rabbi is also a bit sarcastic….

  • Cynthia

    Could be, but this is also a tradition which has a prayer for going poop https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asher_yatzar.