Have you ever felt the tentacles of discouragement threaten to choke the very life out of you?
Have you ever been so weary that you weren’t sure you could face another day … deal with another person … grapple with yet another challenge?
Is your world colored by a gray melancholy that has shrouded your life in a relentless, emotional fog?
It’s called depression.
Depression is impacting our world in epidemic proportions.
If you are not depressed – you probably know someone who is.
No one is immune to depression’s onslaught … the elderly deal with it … teens are impacted by it … young moms are grappling with it … men might try to ignore it … and even children are being diagnosed with depression at alarming rates.
Sadness and grief are normal human emotions – we all grapple with those feelings from time to time. However, major depression is much more than just a mere day or two of discouragement.
According to healthline.com, “Depression is a diagnosable condition that is classified as a mood disorder and can bring about long-lasting symptoms such as overwhelming sadness, low energy, loss of appetite and a lack of interest in things that used to bring pleasure.”
Christians are not immune to the emotional disease of depression. However, as believers in Jesus Christ, the way that we attempt to fight it might look differently than those who don’t enlist the power of their faith in the battle.
There are, of course, different types of depression and these different types have various causes as well as various treatment options. I am not a PhD nor am I an MD with worldly credentials that give my voice expertise in this particular venue.
I am just a girl who has overcome the dreaded emotional disease of depression. Now, in this season of my life, I deeply desire to help others who are fighting the onslaught of the blackness of heart and mind that I once knew so well.
I fought a horrific battle with depression in my mid-30’s and I have determined to be a voice of joy in all the years that I have left on this earth.
My heart aches for people who find themselves in the vicious blitz that depression brings … I long to be a woman who understands, who listens, who encourages and who gives hope in the battle.
I am determined not to waste my pain but to use it as a springboard for ministry.
For the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you what I have learned in my battle against the most relentless emotional disease of our day – depression.
First of all, if you are depressed, go see your medical doctor. Make an appointment today! And then – do whatever your doctor advises you to do. If he or she advises you to take medication, prayerfully consider that option. I am not opposed to medication that will enable you to think more clearly and then arrive at a healthier place emotionally.
After all – if you were dealing with diabetes, you would be on insulin.
If you had a cold – you would take a decongestant.
If you had cancer – you would prayerfully consider chemo or radiation.
I have gone through two very difficult periods of time during which I took medication that helped me to combat depression. My intent was never to stay on the medication long term but to use it as an avenue to achieve my goal of clear thinking and healthy emotional habits.
Secondly, if you are depressed, go see a Christian counselor and allow this person to peel back the layers of your pain. It actually does help to talk to someone who can offer powerful mental strategies that will enable you to deal with your pain whether it is historical or current.
You can find a Christian counselor through your church or by a simple Google search of your area.
If you feel that you are unable to afford a counselor or your insurance does not cover counseling, call Focus on the Family and they have a trained team of professionals who might be able to help you. Here is the link to their counseling services.
As you battle against depression in your daily life, in addition to medical consultation and counseling services, never forget the power of your faith to help you walk in the joy for which you were created.
Again, if you had cancer … you would pray and worship!
If you were battling infertility … you would pray, fast and read the Word.
If you had been diagnosed with lung disease … you would ask others to pray for you!
In fighting emotional or mental challenges we must always enlist the power of our faith to heal, to recalibrate and look toward the future with hope.
Would you allow me to be your voice of faith in the battle against depression?
Would you allow me to speak victory into your life as you come against discouragement, deep sadness, grief and emotional pain?
I am not an MD or a trained counselor … but I am a woman who has battled valiantly against depression and now triumphantly I stand with my heart set free and with my countenance fixed on hope!
So … here we go … over the next few weeks … I will be sharing a spiritual prescription with you! I will be giving you each Scripture that was in my arsenal as I combatted the adversary known as “depression”.
I will be conferring upon you the lyrics to worship songs that changed my outlook from gloomy to joyful!
I will be reminding you of the healthy spiritual practices in which we each must engage in order to be the beneficiary of extraordinary mental health.
So … join me next week as we continue this journey together! It truly is a journey toward joy! And, let me encourage you, to invite a friend who is also battling depression. Who knows?! You might just change his or her life!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!