For A Christian Friend Going Through Depression
5 Things Christians Get Wrong About Depression
Somewhere in the house that is my mind is a room, a room in which no one is allowed to see. It lies behind an inconspicuous door that goes undetected on the walking tour. Behind a lock and three deadbolts lies a dark and empty space, no furniture or decoration to be seen. The dull hardwood floors are dirty and warn from years of pacing feet and neglected housekeeping.
The sole window is boarded up and sealed to perfection as to block out any rogue ray of light that may attempt shine a sliver of hope into the clandestine space. A stale musty smell hangs in the air intermingling with the pungent odor of disappointment and heartbreak.
The walls are the color of a restless night and appear smooth to the naked eye. Upon further investigation, raised words can be seen upon their surface a wallpaper of scars.
Stepping back, a lifetime of painful stories reveal themselves on every inch from floor to ceiling. As my hand traces each letter for the millionth time, the words cut through as if someone were carving them deep into my skin.
This room is a place I have spent too many hours of my life, it is a room called depression.
Unless you’ve experienced this, I’m not sure there is any way to explain the depths of the despair and hopelessness that can sneak up and invade unannounced. And soon, the enemy starts peaking the imagination about what it would be to never feel that pain again. Believe me, I’ve been there.[Click here to read “A Letter to Anyone Who Feels Giving Up”]
Depression is a persistent little beast that remains on the outside of public discussion and is largely neglected by the church
I have a weird habit; about once a month I go to Barnes and Noble and stare at the bookshelf where one day my published manuscript will sit. It is an improbable dream with just a third of the book finished and no publisher in sight (okay I also haven’t submitted any proposals, I’m working on it people).
However, as a result of my perusing, I’ve formed some strong opinions about this strange section called, “Christian Living.” My biggest question that hopefully my book will answer: why are there no books about depression or suicide? The dangerous implications are obvious: suicide and depression are not part of Christian Living.
Yet, we know that depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year.*
What I’ve realized in my almost 5 years since becoming a member of a church for the first time is that Christians, just let every other human, get a lot of things wrong and, how to talk about depression and mental illness, is one of our biggest offenders.
1. Depression Shouldn’t Be Talked About
Heaven forbid.Could you imagine if a Christian was… gasp! (whispers) depressed?The horror.The inhumanity!
Who would spread the J-O-Y of C-H-R-I-S-T to every corner of the W-O-R-L-D? *Jazz Hands*
The underlying message is that depression is best discussed in a hushed doctors office and definitely not in a church. Even saying the words “Christian” and “Depressed” together seems… dirty and inappropriate.But let’s think about this, Christians are people. People get depression. Therefore… Yes, you guessed it Bobby, Christians will suffer from depression.
I have never once heard the word depression said from the pulpit and that has to change.
2. Christians Must Be Happy at all Times.
I once worked for a moderately completely psychotic catering manager who literally said to me, “If you wait to smile until someone looks at you, they’ve already seen you frown.” Sometimes I wonder if she coaches the members of my church.
The joy of Christ does not equal a 24/7 state of euphoria. That, my friends, could only be achieved through acidic type drugs or a Vikings Superbowl Victory. Nowhere in the 10 commandments does it say, “THOU SHALT CEASELESSLY SMILE”
We all need to be more real and vulnerable about where we’re at, especially within the church walls so that those struggling the most, feel safe to share what they’re going through.
3. No One in the Bible Ever Suffered From Depression
Yeah okay, so maybe they didn’t have a clinical definition yet, but there are certainly passages that might lead one to wonder if perhaps the speaker might have been in the gripes of the emptiness of depression.
- “He (Elijah) came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.” –1 Kings 19:4-5
- “Hannah wept and would not eat . . . She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly” –1 Samuel 1:7–10
- [Paul] . . .we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” –2 Corinthians 1:8–10
4. Depression is an Indication of One’s Relationship with Jesus
Depression and mental illness are struggles much the flu or food poisoning. You would never say to someone puking their brains out, “you just need to spend more time with God.” No, you’d tell them to hydrate for heaven’s sake. So why is “Jesus time” our go-to answer to someone feeling down and out?
Yes, time with God is never a bad idea but our first response is often over-spiritualized. Instead, what if we asked, “have you ever talked to someone about the way you’re feeling?”
5. __________ is the Obvious Cure
The treatment of depression is complex and emotional in every way. It seems the American way has become synonymous with take a pill. Yet for many those pills are a serious fear of losing who they are (that’s my story). Unless you are a medical professional, don’t try to fix anyone. Just listen and encourage.
Takeaway: *Up to 80% of those treated for depression show an improvement in their symptoms generally within four to six weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, attending support groups or a combination of these treatments. (National Institute of Health, 1998)*
I have spent a lot of years learning to find my way out that dark and lifeless room. As many times as I say I will never go back to that place, inevitably I find myself back there at some point during the year. Yet, if you’re on this journey as I am, I can’t even begin to tell you how much hope there is to feel recklessly alive again. It WILL get better.[I[If you are really struggling, check out my post “God, Am I Worthless?”]p>The truth is it takes a lot of work and strength you might not think you have. (don’t worry, you do).
Phil 4:13 (NKJV)
My battle for life (as chronicled in this crazy blog world I’ve created) has involved counseling, healthy eating, forcing myself to be social, serving other people, going on adventures, trying new things, and consistently meeting friends for coffee and check-ins. (And my strongest sword in the fight has been and continues to be regular exercise).
Christians get a lot of things wrong. We should be leading the change in the world in every single area from poverty to caring for veterans to talking about mental illness. Let’s start now
So today I challenge you to be brave. If you’re struggling ask for help. If you see someone struggling, don’t shy away from the awkward conversation. Ask the questions. Listen. Love them. That’s how we change the perception. We listen and love them Jesus.
33 Motivational Quotes to Uplift People Going through Depression
Depression can be crushing at times.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 300 million people across the globe are living in depression. Thus, depression is quite common in modern times, a little bit of inspiration can offer great comfort to those suffering from depression.
Inspirational quotes can lift your spirit and steer you through the rough sea of life. When you are feeling low and depressed, words of encouragement can give you the strength to overcome obstacles and move on.
If you have ever felt inspired listening to numbers such as ‘I Have a Dream’ or ‘Defying Gravity,’ you will agree that a single positive quote can change your life.
33 Motivational Quotes
Here are 33 motivational quotes that will enable you to see the light at the end of the day.
1. “A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” ~ Joyce Meyer
2. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~ Helen Keller
3. “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach
5. “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
6. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher7. “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell
8. “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen
9. “The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” ~ Tenzin Gyatso
10. “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” ~ Kenji Miyazawa
11. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
12. “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” ~ Michael John Bobak
13. “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’amour
14. “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~ William Faulkner
15. “Everything you can imagine is real.” ~ Pablo Picasso
16. “Find your purpose and fling your life out to it. Find a way or make one. Try with all your might. Self-made or never made.” ~ Orison Swett Marden
17. “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” ~ Christian D. Larson
18. “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” ~ Robert Schuller19. “Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” ~ Cadet Maxim
20. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra
21. “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” ~ Douglas H. Everett
22. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~ Arthur Ashe
23. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank
24. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
25. “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” ~ Helen Keller
26. “I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” ~ The Dalai Lama
27. “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~ Joseph Campbell28. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
29. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” ~ Victor Kiam
30. “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” ~ Wayne Dyer
31. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
32. “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” ~ Saint Francis de Sales
33. “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” ~ Robert H. Schuller
Life is a constant struggle. Regardless of what you are struggling with, it helps to read a few words of inspiration.
Whether you have faced a tragedy, failed at an attempt to achieve a goal, or have been rejected by someone you care for, these motivational quotes will give you the much-required boost to overcome your depressive state. They will fill you with positive energy and get you ready to face the world with a smile.
12 LIFE GIVING Bible Verses To Conquer Depression and Hopelessness
Are there Bible verses for depression?
It depends what you mean.
The Bible is not a dispensary that we come to for our daily dose of inspiration or good feelings. The Bible is primarily the grand story of God’s plan to redeem a people for himself for the glory of his name.
Nevertheless, the Bible does speak directly to the depressed, which is good news for people me who often find themselves engulfed in the darkness.
So yes, there are Bible verses for depression and hopelessness. These verses shine light into dark places, give hope to the hopeless, and allow the depressed person to have God’s perspective rather than their own dismal view.
If you’re depressed, burn the following verses on your heart. Print them out. Think about them and rejoice in them. They can be life to you.
Now, one thing that’s really important to note as you read these verses. You probably won’t FEEL any different after reading these verses.
There’s this weird idea in some Christian circles that the moment you change your thinking your feelings will also change. That as you read these Bible verses for depression, the gloom will suddenly lift.This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when it comes to mental illness. But here’s the good news: all these promises are TRUE. They don’t depend on you. They’re all about God and his mighty works on your behalf.
As you read these, thank God that they’re true, regardless of what you feel.
Down, Not OutChris Cipollone – Publisher: Good Book Co – Paperback: 144 pages
Here are eleven bible verses for depression. May these give you hope and strength as you wait for God to lead you the Valley of Darkness.
Bible Verse About Depression #1: God Will Never Leave You
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Don’t be dismayed because God is with you! Just as he swore to never desert the people of Israel, he will NEVER leave you or forsake you because you are in Christ. You are his child, and a dad clearing a path through the woods for his small child, so God is going ahead of you, clearing the way.
Bible Verse For Depression #2: God Will Strengthen You and Uphold You
…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 (Isaiah 41:10).
In your depression, you feel you can’t hang on to God. your weak and helpless, unable to do anything. Sometimes you can’t even get bed. The last thing you feel is “spiritual“.
Good news! You don’t have to hold on to God because he is holding to you. When you fall, he will uphold you with his righteous right hand. When you are weak, he will strengthen you. Even if you don’t have assurance of your salvation, you can be assured that God has a firm hold on you.
The reality is, you ARE weak, you’re just feeling it more acutely now. Take heart, because God loves to sustain the weak. God’s grace is sufficient for you, even in these deep, dark times.
Bible Verse About Depression #3: God Hears Your Cry
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God (Psalm 40:1-3).
God hears your cries and sees your tears. He is not ignoring you and his heart breaks over your suffering. He takes no delight in the suffering of his people.
You can be sure that God will respond to your pleas for mercy. Maybe not when you want or in the way you want, but he is your loving, merciful Father, and he can’t ignore the cries of his children. He will put a new song in your mouth and set your feet upon the rock. Joy will come in the morning.
Bible Verse For Depression #4: The Lord Is Your Shield
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).
God is your shield when you are weak, helpless, and hopeless. He is standing over you, guarding you, protecting you, keeping watch over you. Even though you are broken by depression, the almighty God is your shield.
He will lift your head the dirt and set you on your feet again. He will move you to sweet places and green pastures. You can trust HIS sustaining, protecting power even though you have no strength in yourself.
Bible Verse For Depression #5: God Is Near To The Brokenhearted
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him them all (Psalm 34:18-19).
When you are sunk into the depths of depression, you feel constantly brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. The soundtrack of your life is in a minor key.
God has a special place in his heart for the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. When you find yourself under a crushing burden, God draws near to you. He sees you in the midst of your affliction and moves toward you with deliverance. Even though you can’t feel his presence, God is nearer to you now than ever, and he is working on your behalf.
Bible Verse About Depression #6: The Lord Will Renew Your Strength
…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Few things sap your strength depression or feeling anxious. Everything seems overwhelming and impossible. Even the most mundane acts require a massive amount of effort.
The good news is that God is in the business of giving strength to those who have none. He loves to sustain those who are fainting and give life to those who feel completely depleted. Wait for the Lord and he will give you life. He has promised to renew your strength even though you don’t feel it now. He has good things in store for you.
Bible Verse For Depression #7: A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break
…a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice (Isaiah 42:3).
A bruised reed is one that that is on the verge of breaking, and a faintly burning wick is a flame that is almost entirely extinguished. That’s a very apt description of depression. You feel as though you’re about to be completely broken or totally extinguished.
And though others may judge you because they don’t understand what you’re experiencing, God most certainly does not.
But doesn’t break bruised reeds or blow out flames that are sputtering and smoking. Rather, he nurtures them and heals them and brings them back to life. God doesn’t despise you in your bruised, broken, smoldering state. Rather, he is near to you, nurturing you and sustaining you.
Bible Verse About Depression #8: Come All Who Labor and Are Heavy Laden
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus gives rest to those who are crushed by the weight of the world. He is gentle and lowly in heart, and he doesn’t rebuke those who find themselves laboring under the overwhelming yoke of depression.
Come to Jesus in your depression and find rest for your soul. Let him carry the heavy end of your burden. Confess your utter weakness and frailty and let him be the burden bearer.
Bible Verse For Depression #9: Nothing Can Separate You From God
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
When you’re haunted by the specter of depression, you feel very cut off from the love of God. Everything seems dark and bleak, as if there will never be another good thing in your life. You feel as though God has left you to wallow in the mire.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You are not outside of God’s sovereign will and gracious love. Because you are in Christ, nothing can separate you from God’s love. The only way God will stop loving you is if he stops loving Jesus. Though you may feel alone and unloved, there is absolutely NOTHING, including depression, that can stop God from loving you.
Your body may be a broken down temple, but that doesn’t diminish God’s love for you one bit.
Bible Verse About Depression #10: The Lord Hears Your Cry
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them all their troubles (Psalm 34:17).
When you are sunk into the valley of depression, it feels you are totally and completely alone. no one cares, no one is listening. You feel isolated, cut off, and God has abandoned you.
But has not, and could never abandon you. When you cry to him for help, he hears and delivers. Maybe the deliverance won’t come tomorrow, but make no mistake, it will come. God does not leave his people to wallow and blunder their way through depression and hopelessness.
He hears every cry you utter, sees every tear that rolls down your cheek. You are not alone. You have a good Father who is with you and for you.
Bible Verse For Depression #11: Hope In God
Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:11).
Depression and hopelessness cause turmoil deep within your soul. You feel crushed, broken, downhearted, overwhelmed, and there is no hope for tomorrow. But even though it feels you have no hope for tomorrow, you DO have hope.
Why do you have hope? Because God is your salvation. If your hope depended on you and your ability to pull yourself up, you would have no hope. But your hope depends on God. You shall again praise him, even though it feels that day will never come. Hope in God and trust him to lead you the dark valley you find yourself in.
Bible Verse About Depression #12: Comforted By God
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
When you’re in the midst of a b depression or hopelessness or anxiety, it feels you’re all alone. no one understands and no one cares about you. But there is at least one person who deeply loves you and desires to comfort you, and that is God.
God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Run to him in the midst of your brokenness. Flee to him for comfort and grace and strength. He desires to meet you and to comfort you and refresh you.
Don’t try to make it through the darkness of depression on your own. Run to the God of all comfort. Take shelter in the Father of mercies. He is for you and on your side.
Fear Not The Storm
Charles Spurgeon, who was no stranger to depression, said:
Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. Fear not the storm. It brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.
In the midst of your depression, all you see are clouds that are black with horror. Remember, it is God himself who controls the storms and Jesus is with you in your boat. You may not feel his nearness and it may seem that he is asleep in the stern, but he is with you nonetheless.
When the moment is right, he will deliver you. Until then, hold fast to these verses.
Christian Depression Help – Biblical Encouragement and Advice
Everyone goes through depression from time to time. It is absolutely normal, even for Christians. However it becomes a problem when you remain in a state of depression of an extended period of time. What can a Christian do when they encounter depression? What advice can we find in the pages of scripture?
What is the Source of Depression?
First of all, there is nothing wrong with being depressed. It is natural for all people to experience times of depression. When you are unable to break loose from a prolonged state of depression, you can seek counseling from a licensed Christian counselor or therapist.
They are trained in how to deal with depression and they hold to biblical principles and values so you can find God’s perspective and receive the help you need.
Aside from seeing a counselor or therapist, what particular Bible verses or stories can help a person break free from such a state?
There are several people in the Bible who endured depression and to such an extent where they contemplated suicide. Of course suicide is never an answer. It never solves anything.
We can read of others who went through severe depression and they are a veritable “who’s who” of the Bible: Job (Book of Job), Abraham (Gen.
15), Jeremiah (Book of Jeremiah), Jonah (chapter 4), King Saul (I Sam 16), Elijah (I Kings 19), and even the greatest king that Israel ever had, King David (Book of Psalms).
Our emotions can change from day to day, but God never changes (Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6)Sometimes depres- sion has a physical cause and not an emotional cause. I used to work as a Mental Health Case Manager and there are brain chemical imbalances that can cause severe depression. These are treatable. At other times depression can be caused by emotional upheavals.
It’s important to realize that our emotions can not change our state of salvation. We might have doubts and fears but God’s Word is certain and sure. We can depend upon God’s unchanging nature; our emotions can change from day to day, but God never changes (Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6).
His Word gives a believer so much hope and has real power in it to encourage us.
God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you and me (John 3:16). Why? Because God loves you unconditionally. The Psalms are one of the greatest books in the Bible that can help us realize just how much God watches over us and is protecting us. The Word of God is so full of the reassurance of God’s love. Read these verses to see exactly what He thinks of you:
Bible Verses To Help With Depression
Zechariah, 2:8: “For this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.”
Deuteronomy 32:10: “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.”
Psalms 17:8: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings”
Psalm 27:5: “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 36:7: “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalm 63:7: “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalm 91:1: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (a fortification, a means of protection or defense).”
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Joshua 1:5: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5b has a similar saying, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Saved vs. Unsaved and Depression
Of course when a person loses a spouse, a child, a close friend or relative, it is natural to go into a state of depression. This is a fallen world and things go wrong, but a great way to beat depression is to give thanks to God. This is how King David came his depression.
David did not write all of the Psalms, but when you read the Psalms that he did write, you’ll find that they often start out with David being in sheer agony, hopelessness, and even in a state of depression — but keep reading.
David usually ends his Psalms by giving thanks to God: for His salvation, for His faithfulness, for His certain deliverance, for His protection. We have a hope and a future that the world doesn’t have. I often feel empathy for those in the world who are not saved. They have no security in their tomorrows.
They don’t know where their deliverance will come from. They do not have a God that is watching their back.
When I have experienced depression from time to time, I have sought the advice of others. One thing that is helpful is to volunteer to help others. It is harder to be depressed when we are helping others.
Also, find a trusted friend, family member, or a fellow Christian in whom you can confide in and talk with. Sometimes just talking about your depression can help you identify what the root causes are.
Why not try writing out on a piece of paper the many things that you have to be thankful for (I Thess. 5:18). These may include having a family, a home, a job, food on your table. Even the poorest Americans are far richer than the vast majority of the world.They can not always lay their head down at night safely on a pillow, inside a home, or know where their next meal is coming from. It is hard to be depressed when we are giving thanks.
Disclaimer: This is not professional advice. If you remain in an extended period of depression, seek medical help, see your doctor, or seek a qualified counselor or therapist.
It is believed that depression can be caused by a variety of reasons such as a chemical imbalance in the brain, hormonal changes, brain irregularities or other causes that may be undiagnosed.
If you feel suicidal, seek immediate help.
|Additional Helpful Internet Resources:gotquestions GotQuestions.org is a volunteer ministry of dedicated and trained servants who have a desire to assist others in their understanding of God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics.Focus on the Family – life challenges Focus on the Family offers one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They also offer referrals for licensed Christian counselors in your area.Selah Mountain Ministries Biblical Counseling Selah Mountain Ministries offers Biblical Counseling to the community in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They also offer counseling via video conference. They believe that if God gave us His Word as a gift to humanity, it would not be proper to charge someone to share His gift. This means they do not charge for services nor turn anyone away for inability to pay or make a donation.
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I close my eyes, turn toward the back of the couch and curl my knees up to my chest.
“Don’t hang up,” I cry softly into the phone. “I’m afraid to be alone.”
My husband’s coming home early. Today’s one of the bad days.
If I admit my thoughts to someone, they’ll think I’m crazy. Am I going crazy?
No. You’re not.
For me, depression came with the winter, though warning signs signaling its approach could be felt and seen much sooner. A born and bred Southern girl, I’d gotten married, started a new job and moved across the country to Minnesota, all within two weeks and just in time for the cold.
I was tired. Really tired. I was edgy and emotional and anxious. I began noticing that I felt exactly it looked outside – gray and miserable. Numb. I sank further and further until finally breaking down one day at a work conference. I just couldn’t go through the motions anymore when I felt I was dying inside.
If you’re in the thick of the dark and lonely hell that is depression, I wish I could wrap my arms around you and cry with you, because I know how badly you hurt. Come take my virtual hand and know you’re not alone.
As a Christian, depression tempted me to distrust God. I was desperately seeking deliverance He seemed to withhold from me.
Why won’t you lift me this pit? I’d cry. Aren’t you a deliverer? Why do the voices of despair sound so much louder than yours?
I don’t have the answers. But here are 3 things we can cling to as Christians walking through depression:
1. We are not alone
When I’m depressed, I can’t read about God’s promises. It hurts too much. But within the pages of the Bible, I find friends.
Check out these words from Jeremiah, Elijah and David:
“O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived” Jeremiah 20:7
“It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” 1 Kings 19:4
“I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me?’” Psalm 42:9-10
The Bible gives many examples of people experiencing depression, darkness and even frustration with God. He isn’t angered by honest words – He deems them holy. God wants our relationships with Him to be authentic. His mercy reigns even in our brokenness.
The ultimate Friend we find in our pain is Jesus himself. He wept. And on the cross, He experienced separation from God in its fullness. Our Savior knows what it means to suffer.
2. God’s love and faithfulness are never dependent on us
Depression makes it hard to choose the “right Christian things.” I didn’t usually trust God, make a gratitude list, or even recite prayers and Scripture. My shield of faith was often lying next to me on the ground.
I wish I had done those things. But in my not doing them, God taught me the most valuable lesson of my life: His love for me is solely dependent on His character, grace and goodness.
Because I’ve placed my faith in Jesus and He’s paid for all my sin and brokenness on the cross, He will never walk away from me. And more incredibly, He doesn’t even want to.
3. Pain doesn’t have to be wasted
He can handle our doubts, frustrations, failures and darkest moments because He is an astoundingly gracious God. He loves us through it all, because that is simply who He is.
Tears roll down my cheeks when I hear someone say they want to kill themselves, because I’ve been there. Empathy is powerful. It enables us to comfort others and know how to pray for them.
As I was healing from a season of deep depression and anxiety, I got to sit next to a young woman who was in the thick of it. I listened. I offered my story. Tears streamed down her face as she whispered a thousand “Me, toos.” I put my arm around this woman and prayed for the things I myself had needed just a few months before.
Ultimately, God will always use us to bring hope to others who are hurting, because we’ve been where they are and made it to the other side. Hope means the most when it’s come, stumbling, the dark places.
If you’re depressed, tell someone. Tell a doctor, friend, family member or counselor. Please do not suffer alone, especially if you feel suicidal.
4 Free Phone Backgrounds
Download these free phone wallpapers as a daily reminder that God is with you.
7 Strategies to Help You Manage a Depressive Episode
I live with depression. Sometimes it’s major, sometimes it’s minor, and sometimes I can’t tell if I have it at all. But I’ve been clinically diagnosed for over 13 years, so I have gotten to know it pretty well.
Depression presents itself differently in each person. For me, depression feels a deep, heavy sadness. a thick fog that slowly rolls in and envelops every part of me. It’s so hard to see my way out, and it blocks my vision of a positive future or even a tolerable present.
Through many years of treatment, I have worked hard to understand how I feel when depression comes back, and I’ve learned how to take the best care of myself when I feel sick.
1. Don’t panic
“For me, depression has been nothing short of devastating. It’s hard not to freak out when I feel it coming on.”
When I feel that first tinge of sadness, or when I feel more tired than usual, alarm bells start to go off in my head: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, NOT DEPRESSIONNNNNN!!!!!!”
For me, depression has been nothing short of devastating. It’s hard not to freak out when I feel it coming on. When I remember how sick I was, the thought of a relapse is absolutely terrifying —especially if I have been having a really good, upbeat streak. I feel my thoughts start to race ahead to the worst-case scenario, and a panicked feeling grows in my chest.
This is a critical moment for me. This is a moment when I do have a choice. I have to stop and take a very deep breath. And then 10 more. I talk to myself, sometimes out loud, and tap into my own strength and past experience.The conversation goes something this: It’s OK to be scared of getting depressed again. It’s natural to feel anxious. You are a survivor. Remember how much you have learned. Whatever happens next, know that you can handle it.
2. Know your red flags
“When I notice these warning signs, I try to pause and reflect on what might be triggering the thoughts or behaviors.”
I have found it necessary to understand what my thoughts and behaviors are when I start to spiral downward.
This helps me catch myself before I hit the bottom. My first red flag is catastrophic thinking: Nobody understands me. Everyone else has it easier than me. I will never get over this. Who cares? It doesn’t matter how hard I try.
I’ll never be good enough.
Once I start thinking or saying things this, I know that my depression is flaring up. Another clue is if my energy is low for several days and I find it hard to complete daily tasks, cleaning, showering, or cooking dinner.
When I notice these warning signs, I try to pause and reflect on what might be triggering the thoughts or behaviors. I talk to someone, my family or my therapist.
While it’s tempting to ignore red flags, I have found that it’s super important to acknowledge and explore them. For me, avoiding or denying them only makes depression worse further on down the line.
3. Remember that depression is an illness
“Shifting my perspective has helped me to react with less fear when my symptoms present themselves. They make more sense within the context of depression as a legitimate medical condition.”
For a long time, I didn’t think of depression as an illness.
It felt more a personal defect that I needed to try to get over. Looking back, I can see that this perspective made the symptoms of my depression feel even more overwhelming. I didn’t view my feelings or experiences as symptoms of an illness.
Sadness, guilt, and isolation loomed large, and my panicked reaction magnified their effects.Through a lot of reading and conversation, I have come to accept that depression is, in fact, an illness. And for me, one that needs to be treated with both medication and therapy. Shifting my perspective has helped me to react with less fear when my symptoms present themselves. They make more sense within the context of depression as a legitimate medical condition.
I still feel sad, afraid, and lonely, but I am able to recognize those feelings as connected to my illness and as symptoms that I can respond to with self-care.
4. Realize that these feelings won’t last
“Allowing myself to feel the depression and accept its presence alleviates some of my suffering.”
One of the hardest features of depression is that it makes you think it will never end. Which is what makes the onset so scary. A difficult piece of my work in therapy has been accepting that I have a mental illness and building my ability to tolerate it when it flares up.
As much as I wish it would, depression won’t just disappear. And somehow, as counterintuitive as it seems, allowing myself to feel the depression and accept its presence alleviates some of my suffering.
For me, the symptoms don’t last forever. I have made it through depression before and, as gut-wrenching as it was, I can do it again. I tell myself that it is OK to feel sad, angry, or frustrated.
5. Practice self-care
“I practice coping skills every day, not just when I am at my worst. This is what makes them more effective when I do have an episode of depression.”
For a long time, I ignored and denied my symptoms.
If I felt exhausted, I pushed myself harder, and if I felt inadequate, I took on even more responsibility. I had a lot of negative coping skills, drinking, smoking, shopping, and overworking. And then one day I crashed.
It took me two years to recover. Which is why, today, nothing is more important to me than self-care. I had to start from the bottom and rebuild my life in a healthier, more authentic way.
For me, self-care means being honest about my diagnosis. I don’t lie anymore about having depression. I honor who I am and what I live with.
Self-care means saying no to others when I am feeling overloaded. It means making time to relax, to exercise, to create, and to connect with others. Self-care is using all my senses to soothe and recharge myself, body, mind, and spirit.
And I practice coping skills every day, not just when I am at my worst. This is what makes them more effective when I do have an episode of depression; they work because I’ve been practicing.
6. Know when to ask for help
“I believe that I deserve help in treating my depression, and I recognize that I can’t do it on my own.”
Depression is serious. And for some people, my dad, depression is fatal. Suicidal thoughts are a common symptom of depression.
And I know that if and when I have them, they are not to be ignored. If I ever have the thought that I would be better off dead, I know that this is the most serious of red flags.
I tell someone I trust immediately and I reach out for more professional support.
I believe that I deserve help in treating my depression, and I recognize that I can’t do it on my own. In the past, I’ve used a personal safety plan that outlined specific steps I would take in the event of suicidal thoughts. This was a very helpful tool. Other red flags that indicate I need to step up my professional help are:
- frequent crying
- prolonged withdrawal from family or friends
- no desire to go to work
I always keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (800-273-8255) programmed into my cellphone, so that I have someone to call at any minute of the day or night.
While suicidal thoughts don’t mean that suicide is inevitable, it’s so very important to act immediately when they come up.
- If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- • Stay with the person until help arrives.
- • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
- If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
7. You are not your depression
“It’s critical for me to remember that I deserve to, and will, feel better.”
I am not my diagnosis or my mental illness. I am not depression, I just have depression. When I am feeling especially blue, this is something I say to myself every day.
Depression impacts our thinking and makes it difficult to appreciate the whole picture of who we are. Remembering that I am not depression puts some of the power back into my hands. I am reminded that I have so much strength, ability, and compassion to use in support of myself when depression strikes.
While I can’t control my symptoms and while nothing is more difficult for me than experiencing depression, it’s critical for me to remember that I deserve to, and will, feel better. I have become an expert in my own experience. Developing awareness, acceptance, self-care, and support have shifted the way that I cope with depression.To paraphrase one of my favorite internet memes: “I have survived 100 percent of my worst days. So far I’m doing great.”
Amy Marlow lives with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. A version of this article first appeared on her blog, Blue Light Blue, which was named one of Healthline’s best depression blogs.