Dealing with Depression

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:4-8

When we concentrate on the negatives, we can become depressed.

What are the thought patterns that most often lead to a depressed attitude?

1.  Things are not going my way.  (Expectations not met)

2.  Others have it better than me.  (Comparisons to others)

3.  Others are mistreating me.  (Anger at other people)

4.  God is mistreating me.  (Anger at God)

Notice!  Each of these has the personal pronoun “me” or “my” in it!

Types of depression:

Circumstantial - Due to temporary setbacks or losses.
Chemical –  Due to physiological imbalances.
Cognitive – Due to a pattern of unhealthy thinking.
Chronic – Due to a longtime pattern of combined causes.

(Types 2 and 4, in some cases, may require medical treatment.)

Attitude is the key!  Pro. 18:14The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

Here are several spiritual keys to deal with depression:

1.  Accept yourself as a creation of God.  Ps. 139

2.  Accept and rejoice in God’s forgiveness.  Rm. 4:6-8

3.  Remember you are a work in progress.  Phil. 1:6

4.  Be positive.  Avoid griping, complaining.  Phi.l 4:8

5.  Practice trusting in God.  Isa. 26:3, Phil. 4:19

6.  Have a steady devotional life.  Phil 4:6-7

7.  Worship and Serve God.  Get out of self!

8.  Serve others.  Get out of self!

9.  Develop the attitude of gratitude. I Thess. 5:18

10. Take care of your body!

Physical exercise – Releases healthy endorphins
Good sleep – Deprivation can lead to imbalances.
Healthy diet – Balanced nutritionally and moderate
Have fun – Plan something you look forward to doing , then follow through with it.

God can help us with each of these sources of depression but cognitive depression is up to us since it is self imposed.  Even God will not override our conscious choices and artificially create euphoria or joy in the heart of someone who chooses to think in a way that brings him down in his spirit.  It would be like asking God to help you with a drinking problem while gulping down alcohol!

God has a different value system than we do. Lk. 16:13-15 Our old nature is like a little baby impatiently and irrationally crying for attention.  Before we can see that the Father is right there we have to stop crying and look at him!  Training ourselves to think better requires staying in God’s word, reaching out to others and maintaining a busy schedule with times for rest. 

Giving in to depression is something that we should resist with everything we’ve got.  When and if it grabs us, we ought to endure it for the time and then snap out of it as soon as we are able!