What is depression?
Those who suffer with depression experience intense feelings of being trapped in sadness, despair, grief, or guilt. When you're depressed, it's hard to see and believe that there is any hope that things will get better.
Depression doesn't just effect the mind; it effects the whole being - body, soul and spirit. It can be situational depression (caused by an event, situation, or illness) or chemical depression (an imbalance that can be helped with medicine). You can have both.
Some of the symptoms of depression are: change in appetite, change in weight, insomnia, hypersomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or failure, inability to concentrate, feeling overwhelmed with normal tasks, anxiety, avoiding people, irritability or anger, mental confusion, guilt, hopelessness, and no sense of the future.
If you feel that you may have symptoms of depression, then you may be interested in taking the Online Depression Screening Questionnaire and then talking to your doctor about the results.
What to do if you are depressed.
One of most helpful things is to talk about it - it will help you process it. Talking will give you the opportunity to grieve the unresolved pain. Here are some people that you can talk to:
- a professional counselor
- a pastoral counselor in a church
- a biblical counselor at Hope for the Heart
- a spiritually mature person or mentor
- a friend
- Antidepressant medication is available at Wal-mart and Target pharmacies - $4 for a month's supply.
- If you can't afford to visit a doctor, call your state health and human services department and ask if there is a free clinic nearby.
- Taking antidepressants doesn't mean that you are less spiritual.
- You do not need to feel embarrassed about taking medicine for a chemical imbalance. It is just like a diabetic who needs to take insulin.
- Thank God for your blessings (even if they seem little) - like 5 a day.
- Memorize bible verses that will give you hope. Isaiah 54:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 42:16, James 1:12, 1Thessalonians 5:24, Psalms 130:5, Isaiah 43:2
- Grow in prayer with God. If you don't know what to pray - start by praying the words in the Psalms. This is a great time to pray for other people, especially those that are worse off than you.
- Commit to perseverance and ask God for help. He will strengthen you and get you through this painful time in your life. There is hope when you trust God and rely on Him for help. If you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus this would be a great time to get to know Him and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit living in you will guide you and strengthen you as walk through this depression.
- Listen to positive Christian music that will get your mind off of you and onto the Lord.
- Read the Bible. Story after story tells how God overcomes evil, and how He uses weak people to do His work. If the Bible seems too difficult to understand you can listen to J.Vernon McGee or Pastor David Guzik. They read through the Bible verse by verse and explain it in everyday language.
- Depression effects people spiritually. It may be extremely difficult for some people to pray or do spiritual things. This is very common. If this is true for you, know that you're not alone and take smaller steps.
- Spend time with other people. It isn't good to spend a lot of time alone when you're depressed.
- Do not expect to just "snap out" of depression.
- A woman can get postpartum depression even if she never had it with her previous pregnancies.
- Do not make major life decisions while you are depressed without getting advice from others who may see your situation differently.
- Do not accept your negative thinking as the truth.
- Tell someone if you feel like harming yourself. Don't dismiss the thoughts and wait until it gets really bad.
- Do some activities that you enjoy and that could make you feel better. Consider volunteering.
- God can use this difficult time in your life to encourage others later.
- Left untreated, depression can worsen.
Life on Earth doesn't always have to be happy. We have to wait for Heaven if we want no more sadness, pain, or death. Even though you struggle with depression, you can have joy in the Lord. You will start to experience this joy in the Lord as you grow closer to Jesus, make yourself available to do God's will, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Please remember that this will take time though. During depression, turn to God for comfort and strength. Only God can truly heal those deep hurts and make you feel whole again. And please remember - things will get better. This is just a season of your life - maybe a long and painful one, but still it is just a season.
How Depression Affects the Brain (an animated video)
Causes of Depression
Postpartum Depression Information