Depression – by: Lois Breit
I wish I had a fun gimmick or answer for depression, but there is nothing funny about it. We all suffer from depression at some level in our lifetime. Some have clinical depression and must be on medications at all times; most, however, suffer depression during times of grief, unwanted change, and life’s uncertainties. As Christian women what can we do to combat depression?
Recognize the symptoms (from the Mayo Clinic):
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Feeling sad, hopeless, and crying for no reason
- Problems sleeping, focusing, concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Unintentional weight gain or loss
- Irritability, restlessness
- Feeling fatigued or weak
- Feeling worthless, suicidal thoughts (seek immediate help)
Be kind to yourself Depression does not make you a ‘bad’ Christian, God knows our humanness and offers hope “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13
Understand the source Is your sadness justified (death, divorce, major change), or without viable cause? If your depression is not justified, you need to seek medical advice promptly.
As Christian women we need to balance the spiritual and the physical. I was delivered from depression through prayer, saturation in the Word, encouraging friends, and my choice to leave the past behind and seek the unknown future God had for me. For some, medication will be a physiological necessity as determined by a doctor. We must be careful not to confuse real oppression with a real medical condition. Don’t be afraid to seek help from all available sources.
For those in a trauma-motivated depression, ask yourself these questions: (1) How long have I been grieving, unmotivated, depressed? (2) Can I change my circumstance? Ladies, we need to seek after hope rather than wallow in depression (giving up). We MUST make difficult choices about our future when we cannot change our past or our present! I know it’s hard, but these steps may help the process.
- Find a friend to talk to. Isolation is a dangerous companion of depression.
- Listen to your friends, pastor, or relatives if they say you need help.
- Read, believe, and hang on to the scriptures. God does have a plan and purpose for you, even if you don’t see it – yet.
- Begin to trust God. He did not cause your pain or loss, but He can strengthen you through it!
- If you have thoughts of suicide, seek immediate help from a pastor, professional counselor or medical doctor.
A year ago I was part of a retreat for single mothers; we gave testimonies and spoke of hope, futures, practical helps and real life! A few months ago, one of these single moms ran into a leader from that retreat. The mom confessed that she had come to the retreat hopeless and with plans to commit suicide; but instead she found hope through the testimonies and scriptures to face life and go on. She now has a good job, a future, and a changed life. This beautiful young woman spoke of how we saved her life; but really, she had to make the decision to leave her depression behind and seek the hope God offered her (the same hope He offers each one of us).
Life is never easy, but God is always with us. Meditate on these scriptures, believe they are for you; pull your body out of bed, your feet out of the mire, and your mind away from the hopeless thoughts and you will be amazed at the journey of life