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Depression

Feeling sad, moody or low from time to time is part of what it means to be human; our emotions reflect the depth of pain and sadness we can encounter as broken people in a broken world. However, there are some of us who experience these emotions intensely for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years). When looking at depression from a biblical point of view, it is important to remember that depression is not an illness on its own, and instead is a symptom of something deeper.

For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness.

2 Samuel 22:29

What does depression look like?

Emotions

Depression can involve an overwhelming amount of negative emotion, often without any clear explanation. Sadness is often accompanied by low self-esteem and feelings of guilt, shame, distance or disconnect, and worthlessness. Feelings of helplessness and a lack of hope can settle deep into our souls and at times we can also feel pessimistic, irritable and angry.

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

Thinking

Our emotions impact our thinking. When we are overwhelmed by negative emotions we can ruminate over what we see as our lack of competence and worth. These thoughts overflow into how we see our relationships with God and with others. These negative emotions and persistent low mood often leave us experiencing difficulty with concentration and memory.

Behaviour

 Getting stuck on our thoughts and emotions can also lead to a sense of inertia in our actions also. We can experience a lack of motivation and interest, even in things that we are passionate about. Decision-making is hard. Social involvement is also hard. At times the act of looking after our personal hygiene is too much and we stop even that. Productivity reduces and many things are neglected. All of this has a significant impact on our social and spiritual life.

 

Physical health

There is a significant link between depression and physical health. A person with depression may present with poor physical health or even significant physical illness and at other times depression is a symptom or compounding factor of a physical illness, because of this it is important that we continue to pay attention to what is going on in our bodies when we are struggling with depression.

Something Much Bigger

Depression is often a symptom of something much bigger happening in our lives. As our sinful hearts interact with a sinful world, it gets messy, difficult and at times overwhelming. Through our experiences we need to learn to turn to God, hold on to him and let him carry us through the darkness.

I waited patiently for the LORD he inclined to me and heard my cry; He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of 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. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 40:1-3

What can we do?

When we are living life with depression everything is so overwhelming. With the support and love of those around us we can make small changes and through all of this grow in our relationship with God. Some of the changes we can make with the support of those around us are:

Exercise regularly.

Develop good sleeping patterns.

Maintain a balanced diet.

Reach out and asking for others to help us see the hope we have in God. Sometimes we cannot do this on our own and need their perspective and strength to hold us up.

Seek people for encouragement and accountability in regular devotions and bible study.

Ask for people to pray with you and for you.

Pray through the Psalms. Pray that you can feel the comfort of scripture (e.g. God loves you, you are worthy, God is your comforter).

Find people to support and encourage you in church attendance and socialising.

Recommended Books and Resources

Depression: the way up when you are down Ed Welch

Help! I’m DepressedCarol Trahan

Unmasking Male DepressionArchibald Hart

New Light on DepressionDavid Beibal and Harold Koenig

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Depression: Looking up from a Stubborn DarknessEd Welch

When the Darkness will not Lift: Doing What we Can While we Wait for God and JoyJohn Piper

Seeing Depression Through the Eyes of GraceJulie Ganschow

If I'm a Christian, why Am I DepressedRobert Somerville

Will Medicine Stop the Pain? God's Healing for Depression, Anxiety, and Other Troubling EmotionsLaura Hendrickson

Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Help for those who suffer from DepressionZack Eswine

Depression: The Sun Always RisesMargaret Ashmore

Why am I Feeling Like This? A teen’s guide to freedom from AnxietyDavid Murray

Why is My Teenager Feeling Like This? A guide for helping teens through Anxiety and Depression David Murray

Doubt: Trusting God’s PromisesElyse Fitzpatrick

*We have a selection of books in the Trellis Library that are available for loan. If you would like to borrow a book, please get in touch with us to find out if we have a copy available. 

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