During my early adult life, I found myself getting into periods of deep depression and self-depreciation. A frightening thought began to occur to me that ending my life was the best way to handle things. But, through Christian Science, I recognized the need to see that mental suggestions of worthlessness were not really part of me and to understand better my indestructible relationship with God, divine Life and Love.
Many believe that depression has its seat in the brain and treat it with drugs or using psychiatry, for example. But rather than dealing with the material body to heal disease, Christian Science teaches that it is mortal mind that needs to be corrected.
The term mortal mind is used in Christian Science to refer to the so-called mind of mortals, which encompasses all the fears, problems, and limitations that are experienced in this world. This mind “builds its own superstructure,” a portion of which appears as the body (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 177 ), and therefore, it is this false sense of mind that has to be challenged through an understanding that the only real Mind is God.
Jesus told the story of “the strong man” (see Matthew 12:29 ), who needed to be brought into submission before his goods could be taken. Mrs. Eddy explains that this strong man can be thought of as mortal mind, “which must be held in subjection” before it can be deprived of its goods—“namely, of sin and disease” (Science and Health, p. 400 ).
Despite the recurring question, “Will this depression ever go away or is it an inseparable part of me?” progress continued to be made. The turning point in my healing came when I read an article titled “Shine inside” by Sara Emerson Rolleston, in the July 26, 1975, issue of the Sentinel. I had been suffering from a crushing feeling that life was futile and that I was chained to an unproductive past, but this was healed immediately after reading the article. Rolleston describes earth’s “sicknesses, sins, sorrows” as “clouds of mortal mind, which can be dispersed by the healing action of Truth, Life, and Love …” Glimpsing this, I was able to face up to depression, face it down, and demonstrate my dominion over it.
Another article, “Our inseparability from God” (Stephen T. Carlson, Sentinel, March 15, 1975), had also greatly helped me. It points out that “unhappiness and frustration in any situation result from falsely identifying ourselves. We need to conceive of ourselves as spiritual ideas in a wholly spiritual universe.”
Shortly after my initial healing, I noted some of the things I’d been working and praying with, which included:
- Realizing that the foundations of my being are built on the rock of Christ and that these foundations couldn’t be shifted by some passing storm of mortal mind’s making.
- Firmly and consistently rejecting anything in my thinking that was not Godlike.
- Recognizing that “trials are proofs of God’s care” (Science and Health, p. 66 ), since they impel us to rely on Spirit instead of matter for our safety.
- Seeing the importance of expressing gratitude by doing good, including being active in church work.
Over the next few months, I only had to overcome hints of depression again on a few occasions, and these gave me opportunities to prove that I had understood the needed lessons. After that, the condition disappeared and has never returned in the succeeding decades.
The depression that I experienced is only one aspect of the wider mortal mentality that seems to wash around one’s consciousness. Other intruding thoughts, such as addiction, compulsion, obsession, infatuation, and so on, can all be healed in the same way. These errors may threaten to overpower one’s ability to listen to divine Mind’s guidance, and although they might seem to be desirable, or even irresistible, and an inherent part of one’s identity, none of this is true. Christian Science teaches us the way to be lifted out of self-centered, unhealthy behavior so we can live a satisfying life based on the acceptance of our spiritual identity.
Southampton, Hampshire, England