Do you, or someone you know, suffer from depression? I am not an expert, but I do know that everyone experiences depression differently and for different reasons. So, what do I know about depression? I have a strong family history of depression. My great aunt had bipolar depression, which was very debilitating. My mother was depressed all the time because she could not cope with the disappointments in her life. My sisters and I were depressed because of the dysfunction of our home.
Unfortunately, all types of depression have a stigma linked to it, and many people do not want to admit they are depressed because they don’t want to be seen as weak or mentally ill. Often medication is necessary to increase the feel-good chemicals in our brains. But because of the stigma, they do not get the help they need. The worst way to cope with depression is by escaping through drinking alcohol, using drugs, shopping, excessively watching TV and movies, overeating, etc.
Biblical examples of depression.
King David was often depressed. For example, King David wrote in Psalm 31:10; “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity (sin), and my bones waste away.” Guilt from the wrong things we do causes depression. Repenting and asking for God’s forgiveness and forgiving yourself will help you overcome depression from guilt and shame. And, Psalms 42:5,11; “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.” Cast down means to grieve and be depressed. How David overcame his depression was to turn to God and hope in Him. God is our hope too, and He will lift us out of our depression when we turn to Him for strength and salvation.
In 2Corinthians 7:6 the Apostle Paul says, God is the comforter of the depressed, and He sent Titus to comfort Paul and his companions. Then Paul was put in prison, which would make me depressed. Many people visited him to encourage him. If you are depressed or are living with someone with depression, find someone who understands and is willing to pray with you and encourage you.
Depression is a normal reaction to loss, pain, or disappointment. We are disappointed by unmet expectations. Depression is not a sin, but it shows where your heart is hurting. The Prophet Jeremiah was known as the lamenting prophet because he was depressed by the coming loss and destruction of the nation of Judah, who refused to repent of their sins.
The Old Testament Patriarch, Job, was depressed for good reason. Satan kills all his children, causes his wealth and possessions to be taken from him, and caused boils to cover his body. He writes in Job 10:15; “If I am guilty, woe to me! If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head, for I am filled with disgrace and look on my affliction.” Have you ever felt disgraced and your head hung down in sadness? Do the troubles you face cause you to be depressed? Psalm 121:1-3 explains how to overcome depression because of troubles; “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” When I change my focus from my troubles to God and His promises, then I feel peace and joy again. You can read in http://Trust God to Keep His Promises how God helped me during my divorce and custody battle.
My life with depression and how I overcame it.
I discovered that not feeling valued as a child causes a stronghold of rejection to take hold of your mind. It keeps your focus on the negative events causing the rejection. I believe rejection leads to depression because we all want to be loved and valued. So, when this expectation is not met, I feel betrayed, angry, fearful, anxious, insecure, apathetic, or many times, pathetic. Is this something you have experienced? There is hope. I write in my book on this website about how to be free from the stronghold of rejection and many more strongholds. Begin reading with chapter one to understand the role our memories play in developing strongholds and depression. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories
My depression was the worst when I was married to my first-husband who abused me. I did not feel valued, accepted, or loved. Many of my friends said I needed to get on anti-depressants. But instead, I became a raw food vegetarian. What? My sister gave me a book called “God’s Way to Ultimate Health” by Dr. George Malkmus. The book was very compelling, but what sold me was the story of a woman who had severe depression and became free from depression by following the raw food vegetarian diet. My diet was terrible and I had a lot of other health problems, so I went all in. Within six months, I was healed of almost all my health problems, including depression and endometriosis. I found out that the hormones in the meat I was eating caused my endometriosis. I am not a raw-food vegetarian any more but 50-80% of my diet is consistently raw foods. I do eat organic meats a couple times a week.
I wonder if my depression was cured because I was no longer eating preserved junk foods and sugar products. Sugar affects the chemical balance in your brain and causes inflammation. To learn more, research how sugar affects the brain. Physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, nor-epinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood.
Having a happy place helps with some types of depression because it is a distraction from the situation that is distressing you. Your happy place could be pictures, a pet, comedy shows, music, reading the Bible, etc. At the beginning of the quarantine, I got bantam chicks to help with my depression.
Another cure for depression is forgiving. For instance, I became depressed when my son would not make plans to visit with me when he came back for a wedding. Both my husband and I invited him and his wife several times for a visit, but they made up excuses. They stayed with her parents, who lived five minutes away. I let my thoughts go to every dark corner to gather up as much self-pity as my mind could find. I went to God and my happy places and could find peace or joy. Then I forgave him. Immediately the depression was gone. After calling him to see what he was up-to, I let him know how I felt (minus the self-pity) and that making time to visit would be nice. He and his wife did come over the next day before going back to their home state.
This last way to overcome depression is harder than forgiving, and that is being thankful. The Bible encourages us to always be thankful and to rejoice. I write about this in my post called http://A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER, I encourage you to read it.
Depression is different for each of us, but it often occurs when you focus on your hurt and loss. To overcome, change your focus by doing things that make you happy and finding things to be thankful for, like focusing on Jesus. Depression from the guilt of sin can be remedied by repentance and forgiveness. When you feel no hope, hope in the promises of God. Overcome depression from rejection by forgiving those who reject you and healing painful memories, which I describe how in my book. Correct depression from brain chemistry imbalance by eating a Mediterranean diet, eliminating sugar products, and exercising. But also consider an anti-depressant to correct the brain’s chemical imbalance, and that is okay. Because my depression is situational and short-term, I would take Saint Johns Wort and 5HTP to help me get through a difficult time. Whatever type of depression you have, there is hope to not let it keep you down in the pit and steal your joy.
If you know someone who is struggling, come alongside them and comfort them as Titus did for Paul. Also, learn the signs of suicide and be willing to intervene for the severely depressed person.
Please leave a comment, I would like to hear what your happy place is or how you overcome when you feel depressed.
If you find my posts and website helpful, please send a link to your friends and family. Hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and may not be reproduced without permission from Joyce Hanscom. You can contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. P.S., seeing lasting change your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).