Sunday, March 6, 2011


Depression (also known as Major Depressive Disorder) is a serious medical condition that can impact the way you feel and act towards others. Many people with depression feel that life is no longer worth living. They may feel hopeless, like there's "no way out."

According to McDowell and Collins, there are eight major causes of depression: (1) Biological factors, (2) Learned helplessness (sense of being trapped and unable to remedy an intolerable situation), (3) Parental rejection, (4) Abuse, (5) Negative thinking, (6) Life stress, (7) Anger, and (8) Guilt.
[Josh McDowell - Josh McDowell's Handbook on Counseling Youth (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996), and Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (revised edition, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1988).]

The Bible does not use the word “depression,” but it is clear that the writers of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations were depressed. Here are a few general principles I would recommend when trying to deal with depression:
* Avoid being alone. Force yourself to be with other Christians.
* Seek help from others, such as a pastor or Christian counselor.
* Sing Christian music to uplift your spirit, as David's music did for King Saul.
* Lean heavily on the power of God's Word.
* Rest confidently in the presence of God's Spirit.
* Above all, aim to work on the causes of your depression, and not just the symptoms.

Christians are to view life based upon God's Word, not upon feelings. Philippians 4:1 commands us to rejoice (Paul was in prison when he wrote that). James 1:2 tells us to “Consider it all joy when we fall into various trials.” Notice that James does not say we are to feel joyful; he tells us to reckon, to choose to think about your situation as a place God has allowed for your ultimate good (Rom. 8:28-29). Choosing to trust truth rather than your feelings may require a lot of faith.

Sometimes, depression has a physical basis. At the simplest level, we know that lack of sleep, insufficient exercise, the side effects of drugs, physical illnesses, or improper diet can all create depression. Many women experience depression as part of a monthly premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and some are victimized by postpartum depression following childbirth. Other physical influences, such as a neuro-chemical imbalance, brain tumors, or glandular disorders, may be the source of depression. There is evidence that depression runs in families, and it may have a genetic basis.

If confessing one's sins, praising God for His goodness, and speaking with a Christian counselor or pastor does not help, perhaps it is time to seek the help of your family doctor. God bless you and give you comfort, peace, and joy in Christ Jesus! Amen.

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