While there are many ideas concerning the pathology of depression, we teach that depression is a debilitating mood, feeling, or attitude of hopelessness, which becomes a person’s reason for not handling the most important issues of life.
Depression is different from being for example depressed. Being depressed is not necessarily sin anymore than feeling blue, crying easily, or being tired often. However, depression is when one stops functioning in one or more areas of life.
We will define depression as the debilitating or weakening mood, feeling, or air of hopelessness which becomes a person’s reason for not handling life. The key here is the immobility or the stopping of functioning. We all get “blue” and “down” but depressed is when we stop functioning in different areas of our lives. Depression can be summed up in one word: numb. You feel empty; things that once brought pleasure to your life now seem meaningless. Your brain feels like it is in a fog. Depression tries to convince us that nothing matters, nobody cares, and nothing will ever change. The things you took for granted such as a good night’s sleep or looking forward to the future, now seem impossible.
5 Truths About Depression
All Depression is Spiritual Warfare
While we don’t believe that there is a boogie man behind every bush or that the “devil made me do it”, Ephesians 6:12 clearly teaches that there is a non-physical battle around us.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
If depression does not have a specific organic cause, then it is possible the cause can be non-organic. There is a constant battle for the heart/souls of mankind. To win this battle one must enlist God the Son, Jesus Christ to experience victory and the abundant life he offers.
We must include God in our struggle. We must allow God to be the commander of our lives. In the midst of the battle we would be wise to step outside your pain and disappointments and look for truth.
- Remember you have an enemy.
- Know the battle rages around us.
- Do not think that your case is unique.
- Grow in a biblical knowledge of Christ.
- Humble yourself before the Lord.
- Examine your unmet expectations
We Must Fight and Endure
“Perseverance and patient endurance finds grace from God, which gives us deeper knowledge of his love and sovereign strength. This in turn leads to a greater sense of purpose and God, it sends us towards a new place of perseverance” (page 99).
Often when depressed we are tempted to just give up. Sadly life continues, ignored loved ones stop trying, and neglected responsibilities pile up adding a greater sense of hopelessness. We must set aside our feeling and fight and endure. Psalm 42:11 talks about enduring.
“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.”
You Need to Do the Next Thing
To overcome depression, you need to work in small steps, one thing at a time. If the next thing is getting out of bed, then get up. If the next thing is brushing your teeth, then brush your teeth. If the next thing is doing the dishes, then do the dishes. Just do the next thing. Point out small gains. “Hey you got out of bed.” “You couldn’t have done that before.” Some have found that gathering a support network to be very helpful. It maybe that the neglect of housekeeping is in fact overwhelming for one person. But many hands do make light work and provides the one struggling with depression a level (good) starting place.
You Need People
Depression is a very isolating time. Sometimes you need a small team of people to help. Find someone to read the Holy Bible, sing together, and do chores together, or just to talk. This is where a church family is so valuable.
Remember Your Responsibilities
Whether you are a husband, a wive, a parent, a church member, a Christian, or a citizen, you have biblical responsibilities that must be fulfilled. Regardless of how we feel we are still to abide by the “Golden Rule” – to do for others as we would want them to do for us. When one is struggling with depression there is the very real danger of making it worse. Failure to do our responsibilities can produce guilt, regret, and negative outcomes that exacerbates or intensifies our negative feelings.
If you are struggling we are here to help – reach out to one of our counselors!
Stay tuned for our next article on depression, Depression in the Bible.
Oxford Valley Chapel Counseling Center
To schedule an appointment, ask a question, or just find out more information about our counseling program, call our church office at (215) 946-3946 or send us an email.