What Is Depression?
Millions of people suffer from depression, both Christians and non-Christians. Those afflicted experience a plethora of symptoms, both mental and physical. Depression can cause intense feelings of:
- Uselessness/Without Purpose
- Guilt/Self Loathing
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Low Self Esteem
- Sore Muscles and Joints
- Unexplained Weight Gain/Loss
There are a variety of other symptoms reported as well, but those listed are most commonly reported. They may begin to feel useless, hopeless, and even suicidal, losing interest in things they once enjoyed. Traumatic life events, while not the cause of Clinical Depression as with Situational Depression, can trigger or worsen the condition.
Live a Joyful Life
According to the Bible, God's wish and intent is that we all lead and experience joyful lives. It is even written in the Bible that we should be "filled with joy and praise" (Romans 15:11; Philippians 4:4). So, it is clearly evident that his intent was to live by the Word of The Lord and to feel joy and happiness throughout our lives. Unfortunately, those with Situational Depression struggle with this intention. Due to negative circumstances or events in their lives, they find it difficult to feel positive, hopeful, and happy. The good news is that it can be remedied, Christians believe, through:
- God's gifts of prayer
- Bible study and application
- Support groups
- Fellowship among believers
Depression is not a sin, it is a real sickness.
It can be cured with the right treatment and through the Word of The Lord. However, depression can be a result of sin when you:
- Use your depression to manipulate other people.
- Choose to blame God and other people for your unhappiness.
- Suffer consequences of sinful choices, but do not change your ways.
- Hold on to bitterness, anger and self-pity instead of choosing to forgive others.
- Choose to let other people control you instead of obeying Christ; Jesus should always be in control.
- Don't take the necessary steps to heal, get Biblical or Christian counseling, memorize scripture, read Bible or other Christian resources, and get medical help if needed.
Turning the Focus Outwards
Those with Depression can easily and understandably become self absorbed in their own lives, obsessing over their feelings of hopelessness and self preservation. It's no surprise that they remain depressed.
They need to turn the focus outward by making a purposeful effort to turn the focus from themselves to The Lord, and by concentrating on doing for others and placing themselves and their own feelings second. Psalm 42:5 says: "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Being focused on themselves, and preoccupied with depression and sadness, will only increase and validate their feelings of uselessness, hopelessness and irrelevant without purpose. Turning the focus to Christ and helping others in need evokes feelings of self worth, accomplishment and pride. These positive feelings replace the negative and cure the existing depression.
Clinical depression must be diagnosed by a physician. It is usually caused by a chemical balance in the brain, rather than being a result of unfortunate life circumstances. Symptoms of clinical depression must be treated with medication and/or counseling. Of course, God is able to cure any disease or disorder. However, in some cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than a Christian needing treatment from a doctor for any other disease or chronic ailment.
Be True to God's Word
Those in the Christian Faith believe that those who suffer from depression can alleviate their negative feelings and symptoms of depression by staying in the Word, even when they do not feel like it. Life is filled with trials and tribulations and is constantly changing. God's Word stands firm and unchanging. We must maintain strong faith in God and cling even more intensely to Him when afflicted with either type of depression. The Bible tells us that God will never allow temptations into our lives that are too much for us to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Although being depressed is not a sin, one is still accountable for the response to the affliction, including getting the professional help that is needed. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, our free Depression Support Group is located here to share the journey and help others who may be experiencing the same problems: http://community.edrugsearch.com/christian-support-groups/depression-support-group