Black Dog Days: How to Deal with Depression


The following is a guest post by Michael J. Lichens. 
Recently, I’ve been going through what the great Winston Churchill called “black dog days.” These days are defined by an overall low mood, inability to cope with basic things like getting out of bed, or finding enjoyment in my usual passions. Do not fear, reader, this is actually normal for me.
You see, I have something called Major Depressive Disorder, which was in previous times called clinical depression. In the ancient world, the Greek physician Hippocrates labeled it melancholia. It is something I’ve dealt with for some time now, and my family has a long history of it. My family tree is full of folks who either ended up in the mental ward or at the bottom of a bottle due to this condition. A few, sadly, found more permanent ways of dealing with it.
My faith, though, has given me the hope I need to continue on. When I say Catholicism and the love of Christ have saved my life, it is not mere hyperbole.
While my condition is as much physical as it is mental, I have learned that I am not the only one who has had these low moods. The catch-all word depression can describe the condition of many men. When you factor in things like underemployment and increasing debt, it should be no surprise that so many are struggling with overwhelming sadness.
While I’d make a lousy therapist, I do want to share some methods that have helped me deal with depression. Perhaps they can help you as well.
Realize that you are not alone
No, I’m not saying “others have had it worse” or any of those other cheap and unhelpful things you’ve heard. What can be a great help, however, is knowing that you are not alone in this struggle.
The Catholic Church has dealt with mental illness for


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