How to deal with depression
Depression is something a lot of people feel but few talk about.
If you are struggling with depression, or anxiety, or both, you are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the adult population in a given year.
Someone struggling with depression feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general. Depression can last for short seasons or long seasons. When these feelings last for more than two weeks and begin to interfere with daily activities, it’s likely a depressive episode.
Lots of things can trigger depression, such as loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a major life change, a traumatic event, or difficult relationship. Experiencing depression does not make you less of a Christian, and it does not mean you are doing something wrong.
Romans 8:39 promises, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing in all creation includes your depression. Even when life feels out of control, and God seems far away, we know that He loves us greatly, and He is always near.
The First Step Is to Ask for Help
If you are struggling with depression, asking for help is the best thing you can do.
Maybe your next step is honesty with your spouse or close friends about how you are feeling. Maybe it is asking for prayers from others, or joining a small group to have community and remind you that you are not alone. Maybe your next step is seeking professional help from a counselor or medication from a physician. Whatever your next step, know that God has given us the gift of each other to encourage us and help us along our journey.
We need to invite others into what is going on in our lives. We need to open up about how we are feeling and let others pray for us and offer encouragement. 2 Thessalonians 2:5 says, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
Not only does the Lord give us hope, encouragement, and strength directly, He also gives us those things through other people. When we talk to others about our struggles, the encouragement and strength we receive from them is one way Jesus shows His love for us.
Being vulnerable is scary, but we aren’t meant to carry burdens alone. That is one of the amazing reasons God made the church.
Medication and Counseling Do Not Make You Weak
Sometimes the depression is more than we can work through on our own. Taking medication, pursuing counseling, or both, doesn’t mean you are weak. Having the courage to ask for help shows you are strong.
Just as God has given you special gifts and abilities, He has given others, like counselors, physicians, and therapists, special gifts to help those struggling with depression. The prophet Isaiah references this variety in calling and gifting when he says, “The Lord has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1). God gave Isaiah a specific mission: to help those who were hurting. All around us, God is doing the same thing — setting aside people to help us through tough times.
Even when life feels out of control and God seems far, we know that He loves us greatly and He is always near.
If a doctor or counselor recommends medicine to help your depression, keep an open mind. Nowhere does the Bible say you can’t take medicine for depression. If you have a heart disease and need medication, you wouldn’t think twice about heeding your doctor’s advice and taking medication. Taking medication for you mental health is no different than taking medication for your heart health. Sometimes we need additional help, and that’s OK.
Romans 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Maybe one of the tools God has given us to help us endure is medication and/ or counseling.
Decide that you are going to be strong and work through this depression in whatever form it looks like. Get the help you need that God has provided.
God Is Fighting for You
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” You are never forgotten. The Lord promises that He is with you, always, and that He is close.
Depression is real, and it hurts. But God has given us amazing gifts in Himself and each other. God has what we need and has given us others to help encourage us, lift us up, and push us forward.
Promises to Remember when You Are Struggling With Depression
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12)
“...For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:5).