Depressed?

It’s Monday. That alone might be enough to make you depressed. But wait. There’s more.

The economy, whether it’s as bad as being reported or not, can be depressing.
The moral decay in our country can be depressing.
The government’s inability to lead ethically, responsibily, and with integrity, can be depressing.
The crime and violence in our country and around the world can be depressing.
The financial debt many carry can be depressing.
The fact that marriages are falling apart all around us can be depressing.
The dismal place our favorite team finished can be depressing.
Unrealized dreams can be depressing.
Anything at all can push us towards depression.

And it’s a serious issue. According to medicinenet.com, here are the symptoms of depression:

– Persistently sad, anxious, angry, irritable, or “empty” mood
– Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
– Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
– Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
– Decreased appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and/or weight gain
– Fatigue, decreased energy, being “slowed down”
– Crying spells
– Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
– Restlessness, irritability
– Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
– Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and/or chronic pain

It is alleged that one in ten adults is depressed. And 30% are women. So men seem to get more depressed than women. So it seems to be the not-so-talked-about topic in the church. And it should be. Jesus encountered all kinds of people. And since some were lame, deaf, blind, caught in adultery, sinners, tax collectors and prositutes, I bet a lot of them were depressed. 

So is there hope besides medication? There has to be. And it is not as simple as some would lay out, but it’s not as difficult either. As with all real life issues, the first place is Jesus. When Hannah was barren and being made fun of for it, she became truly depressed and frustrated and in total dispair. And when she finally had enough, she turned to God and became completely transparent with Him. Simply throwing up a prayer to God is not enough. It is that transparent, open, honest talk with God. That has to be the starting point. It has to be that way. 

There are so many thing sto wrestle with in the depression strategy. But one is to get to the real issue. Often we only see signs or indicators that something is wrong but don’t get to the real issue. What is the real issue? Sometimes it helps to write down all the things that are frustrating a person. It’s a personal inventory of all things messed up. And then, one by one, see what can be done to change them, fix them, or get past them.

At the end of the day, depression is a tricky thing. But it doesn’t have to win. It doesn’t have to be dominant. We can overcome. Medication may be necessary. But Jesus is MORE necessary. MORE. 

2 Responses to Depressed?

  1. Becky says:

    I have suffered most of my life with depression. Since I could remember I have battled feelings of guilt. Recently a friend of mine gave me a great book titled, “Escaping Toxic Guilt,” by Susan Carrell. Susan, 7 year Episcopal Chaplain and couples therapist, helped me understand this guilt and taught me how to work through it.

  2. jennet says:

    Good post. Living with someone who is depressed I think sometimes depression can cause depression. It can be a vicious cycle. But you’re right that Jesus helps. What also helps – at least with us – is simply recognizing that depression is a state of mind but not of the heart. Even though one doesn’t feel love or happiness doesn’t mean they stopped existing it just means their brain is blocking the ability to feel them temporarily. Strangely enough, just knowing that goes a long way in making it manageable.

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