Advice & treatments for with dealing depression for Christians. Get over & beat being depressed!
“Man doesn’t live by bread alone but from every word from the mouth of God”
A Personal Experience of Depression
I suffered from depression for ten years. And even though things seemed almost hopeless at times, now it’s over, I wouldn’t trade what I learnt from having it or those terrible days of feeling down. Not to say manic depression is good – it’s not – but God used it to the good. ‘Almost hopeless’ is important as God promises in the Bible never to leaves us utterly hopeless in our trials, no matter what the situation – something I have found to be true. So what is the best treatment for depression?
A Quick Fix for Depression?
There are 2 ways to deal with depression – you can buy your way out of it, filling your life with a constant stream of activities and pleasures which relieve the pain but never really get to the root of the problem. Or you can accept that you have weaknesses, take hold of God’s promise that he can overcome anything, and slowly begin to work through them with him, facing and overcoming each, one at a time. There is no quick fix with depression but it can be overcome.
A Revelation – life’s not easy…
One of the first things I had to learn before I was able to overcome depression was that life isn’t easy and sometimes it can be especially so for Christians. It was however years before I took this to heart and so I had no relief – always expecting things to change for the better – not realising it was me that was going to have to change if I was going to survive in a tough world. Everyone else always looked so sorted. We’re often told that God meets every need and this taken at face value leaves us disappointed and bewildered when we face trials. We are left wanting and feeling neglected. Often I wanted to die, seeing no hope – just a life of rules and regulations that I couldn’t stick to and that were taking what little joy I had away. But in my conscience I saw something spineless about throwing in the towel, and knew there must be more to suffering than met the eye. It was then I asked the question, if I were God, how would I make real men and women out of the fallible often frail people humans are. Therein lay the challenge. God had set before me a chance to become a fighter. Not just that, an honest fighter with a solid foundation that wouldn’t be washed away when things got rough.
I realised that people weren’t quite as ‘sorted’ as they appeared. Real men and women survive in a world constantly bombarded by temptations too numerous to mention, and are still standing at the end, with more faith and more patients than could ever be attained by having an easy ride. What could be more desirable than to be such a strong person!! But I had to be prepared to fight and not roll over and die – easier said than done. It meant facing myself and challenges head-on, bit at a time as I could handle it. I sought counselling (everyone needs different help). And there were many steps forward and many steps back. My battle with depression would last nearly 10 years. But I overcame it with God’s help and the great news is, anyone can overcome depression! But my starting point was accepting that life isn’t easy. It sounds obvious but many people never face this reality and hop from one thing to another never facing the deeper issues from which real maturity can begin to grow. Come to terms with this, and you’re ready for anything. You can get on with the business of going higher and father than you ever imagined!
The Person as a Whole – Overall Well-being
The general well being of a person depends on a balance of heart mind and body. When one part of the being is not working well, it will eventually have an effect on another part. For instance it is known that continual mental stress can negatively effect cholesterol levels. Even not eating properly can effect the way you feel. But the most important part of your person is your heart (not your physical one!).
Who Gets Depression?
Anyone can suffer from it but but some people more predisposed to depression than others since basic personality type is determined partly by genetic make up. However it is also obviously linked to personal circumstances, health, finances etc and of course a persons beliefs are going to have an effect.
Why do some get depression and others not?
Depression can take on many forms and there are lots of terms used to describe its type and severity which can make things confusing! Looking at the different personality types, you could predict that people would react differently to different situations. We all know people that respond well to problems like a rubber band, springing back and overcoming them. Often resulting in the person being better off than they were at the start. Others don’t respond well to life’s problems. They may analyse the problem, see no way out and get themselves in a downward spiral.
People will React Differently to the Same Situation
Person A has lost his job. He dwells on his past experience and focuses on the long struggle ahead. Not only does this make him depressed and affect his performance in an interviews, it takes away the little motivation he had to start – the result is negative.
Person B on the other hand becomes angry at loosing his job and rather than take out his frustration on his boss who has long since forgotten him, he channels it into finding a new job. Within 3 weeks he has succeeded in getting a better job than he had before. For him the result of being sacked has ended putting him in a better place than before!
A person needs to have confidence in God, themselves and their abilities – whatever the circumstances – not easy! (see self-esteem)
Confide in the Right People!
If you really feel down it’s often tempting to confide in someone of the opposite sex. Sometimes the very people who we wish to attract. Not only are you displaying your lack of stability but in danger of becoming attached to the wrong person at a vulnerable time.
Other Things to Avoid Depression
This magazine claims to answer all your problems. In fact, its claims are empty. The only people left really smiling are the magazine companies. There have been recent studies that claim a link between depression, rising male suicide rates (brought on by rising insecurities) and the massive increase in soft porn magazines. Even magazines like GQ don’t contain much useful. Young men especially, – do not read this stuff. It is not designed to seduce the stable but the unstable – people who aren’t aware of soft porn’s addictiveness. It will leave you feeling insecure. Exactly what we don’t want as christians! Insecure is not attractive.
What the Bible says about Depression
The Bible says many times to guard your heart and to be careful of what you allow to enter it. It needs to be looked after and norished with good spiritual food and company. This food is the Word of God!! Feed your spirit bad spiritual food or keep bad company and it will soon affect the way you’re thinking. The way your thinking will affect the way your feeling and might lead to depression or actions that you may regret. So as the bible says, keep every thought captive and don’t allow bad thoughts to take root. Easier said than done!
Depression can be relieved by patiently meditating on God’s Word and expecting Him to act, Psalm 42:6, TLB.
“Yet I am standing here depressed and gloomy, but I will meditate upon Your kindness to this lovely land where the Jordan River flows and where Mount Hermon and Mount Mizar stand.”
Prayer is a key to healing depression I Samuel 1:10, NIV.
“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” It is useful to count your blessings, Psalm 107:8-9, TLB. “Oh, that these men would praise the Lord for His loving kindness, and for all of His wonderful deeds! For He satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry soul with good.”
Praise conquers depression, Psalm 34:1-3, TLB.
“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens, I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all His kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His name.”
Christian music can help dispel depression, Psalm 33:1-3, TLB.
“Let all the joys of the godly well up in praise to the Lord, for it is right to praise Him. Play joyous melodies of praise upon the lyre and on the harp. Compose new songs of praise to Him, accompanied skillfully on the harp; sing joyfully.”
Depression and discouragement don’t last forever, Psalm 30:5, TLB.
“Weeping may go on all night, but in the morning there is joy.”
Keeping God’s law can help bring peace to one who is depressed, Psalms 119:165, NIV.
“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
Do you feel Suicidal?
You are not alone in thinking about wanting to die. Several men in the Bible felt the same way, Numbers 11:14-15, RSV. Moses said, “I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me. If thou wilt deal thus with me, kill me at once, if I find favor in thy sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”
An event in the story of Elijah… Kings 19:3-4, NRSV.
“Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, but he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
However dark the future may appear, God will never abandon you, II Corinthians 4:8-9 TLB,
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”
You are of great value to God, Luke 12:6-7, TLB.
“What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. He knows the number of hairs on your head! Never fear, you are far more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”
God cares about you and is thinking of you constantly, Psalm 139:17-18, TLB. “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn towards me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!”
You are promised a marvellous future, Jeremiah 29:11, TLB.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Cast your burden on the Lord, He shall sustain you;” Matthew 11:28-30, KJV says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soul. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
overcome with fear? God will help you, Isaiah 41:10, NKJV “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Joshua 1:9, TLB says, “Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God will never forsake you even if everyone else has, Psalm 9:10, NIV. “Those who know your name will trust in You, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You..” Psalms 46:1-3, TLB says, “God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up, and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!”
God offers you peace of heart and mind
John 14:27, NKJV “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Isaiah 26:3, NKJV says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.”
With God’s help, keep your heart and mind focused on positive thoughts, Philippians 4:8, “And now, brothers [and sisters], as I close this letter let me say one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.” If you are feeling totally alone, remember at this very moment, you are of great value to God, and you have friends who are willing to listen and want to help.
Make sure you have plenty of Christian fellowship and contact with people.
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Getting over depression advice and help at christianadvice.net 2003