Christianity and Depression

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by jaigner, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. jaigner

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    What is your opinion about depression from a Christian perspective? Is it a sign of weak faith? A purely physical issue? Completely spiritual? What would you say to someone suffering in depression?:tonofbricks:

    I'm not talking about feeling low or down like everyone is every now and then. I'm talking about real, deep, debilitating depression that lasts for days at a time or longer.
     
  2. StefanM

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    It is not usually "purely" anything. Depression has a mixture of causes, some physiological, some psychological, some social, and some spiritual.

    To someone suffering with depression, I would seek to affirm their worth by expressing what they mean to me. A common symptom of depression is worthlessness, and often a depressive individual lacks the will to take efforts to seek help. Encouraging the person that he or she is worthy of help is a positive step.
     
  3. annsni

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    I agree with Stefan that it's not usually a simple answer of A, B or C but it's usually a larger combination of them all. My recommendation is always to get into the Word, prayer and good Christian counseling.
     
  4. Spinach

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    I agree with both of the above.

    I deal with seasonal depression and I would have to say that many things contribute. Sometimes it's a lack of faith. Sometimes it's a lack of exercise. Sometimes it's a lack of sunshine. And sometimes it's because of poor diet. Either way, it's no fun!
     
  5. Tater77

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    Depression almost always has a cause and it rarely has anything to do with Faith.
     
  6. jaigner

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    I'm glad to hear this. So many Christians dismiss depression and related mental illness as being due to weak faith. I even heard a pastor say that he didn't understand how people who know Jesus can be depressed. That's just completely off base.

    Thanks for these comments. I'm glad that's not what everyone believes.
     
  7. Berean

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    Depression is as real as a toothache and I speak from experience.
    In 1999 I had heart surgery (5 by-passes) and I think it was perhaps two to three weeks into my recovery that I experienced depression two or three times. I remember that at about dusk or early evening I would have the feeling which I can only discribe as wanting to run away from the world. I would tell my wife "We need to go for a drive." and I remember one time putting my head out the window and letting the wind hit me in the face at 40 MPH, In about 20 to 30 minutes I would be all right. Thank God I have not had this happen since.
    In the 10 years since I have counciled others who have had this surgery and mentioned my experience and I had one person tell me he would not have made it had not i warned him of this. He said it happened just as I discribed.
     
  8. StefanM

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    It is accurate in a sense. He honestly does not understand, mostly because he has no clue!
     
  9. jaigner

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    Yes, and it is grieving to those of us who have struggled with it.
     
  10. Jedi Knight

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    Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
     
  11. jaigner

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    I believe there are a bunch of things that are good preventative measures for depression, like nurturing relationships and positive thinking, but when you're stuck down deep in the black hole, you don't have the ability to do those things for yourself.
     
  12. Jedi Knight

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    I think thats the point of this proverb"12:25" that was inspired by the Holy Spirit.......a word from God can encourage and lift us out. 1 Samuel 30:6 King David was depressed and encouraged himself in the Lord. Depression unchecked can take a physical toll on you...no doubt.
     
    #12 Jedi Knight, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2010
  13. Trotter

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    I have been through depression, deep and dark. Not only was a I Christian at the time, I had also surrendered to the call to preach. One could have called my faith weak if you viewed an Abrams tank as a child's toy. But that didn't stop me from falling headlong into depression.

    Mine was brought about by many factors including a chemical imbalance, stress, sleep deprivation due to crazy work schedule, and who knows what else. It all added up to a pit that had no light, no bottom, and no hope. Thank God that my wife helped me to get some help and did not condemn me and tell me I was weak in my faith. I tried to do some stupid things during that time as I sought an escape from its grip but God held on to me. My faith did become weak during that time, but He remained faithful.

    You are right, Jedi Knight... depression left unchecked DOES take a toll. At best a person's life becomes a burden and full of misery, but many try to find a way to end their misery. Some try alcohol, some try drugs, some try illicit relationships... but many try suicide. Quite a few succeed even though it may take several tries. Even Elijah asked God to kill him when he was depressed.
     
  14. righteousdude2

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    What Causes Depression?

    This is a great post, and since I have personal experience with depression, I believe that I can shed some light on this personal darkness, which has finally been accepted by most believers as a disease.

    There are three components to depression and gaining the victory...

    But, before I introduce those three components, allow me to explain why most people are depressed. First of all.... depression has been described as the repression of inner-aggression, and the two of these emotional acts results in and leads one down the road to the depression of that inner aggression.

    While it is true, that depression is caused by unresolved anger and high anxiety run amok, there is also the chemical/physical side of depression. And both of these issues must be diagnosed and placed into a personal treatment plan, along with prayer and prayerful support from your loved ones, and the church.

    In my case, I always shoved my anger as far down inside of me as possible, fearing that to release any form of anger would be a sin. Furthermore, I was led to believe that depression was demonic in nature, and that meant a weakness in my faith, and my relationship with God was lacking. From here, I turned to sexual sins, which somehow soothed the immediate stress and emotional pain, BUT, resulted in added guilt, which left to be unresolved, led me deeper into my darkness.

    Thank God for the new wave of Christian counselors, and psychiatrists when it comes to treating depression. With their help, I've learned how to let go of my anger in a positive way, freeing myself from carrying it around indefinitely. I've learned that it is for my good to release those feelings, that I used to push deep down within my psyche. That shows how the repression of my emotions led to deep bouts of depression.

    The second thing that has helped me tremendously is the medicine prescribed to help my physical deficiencies, which lacked certain chemicals, and in turn exacerbated my propensity to be depressed.

    I now take a prescribed regimen of anti-anxiety meds, and anti-depressants, and together, along with "pain management counseling" which helps me to deal with the intense pain and suffering I have from bi-lateral neuropathy and a low back injury. This weekly support group, along with meds, have helped me to practically eliminate depression from my life.

    The third, and most important component in my treatment is prayer. :praying: I pray, and I surround myself with special people who pray for me, and the Lord has brought me to the point of being able to stand strong and beat back any temptations to return to the "darkness" that once held me captive in my own mind.

    There is victory for anyone who suffers from depression. It is all dependent upon that persons mental and spiritual desire and will to seek out the professional help, be open to the help they provide, and stick with a life long treatment program.

    Can God totally heal us from depression through prayer? Can God totally and completely remove that "thorn" from our emotional being? I'd like to believe He can... but, while I wait for that complete healing to be free from personal depression, I'm willing to stick with the plan I have, believing that God put people on this planet to provide the type of assistance I currently receive. Maybe some day, I'll be free. But, if not here in this life-time, I have the faith to believe that I'll be free when I get my new, heavenly body.:thumbsup:

    This is why I wrote the two books: Prodigal Daze, and Thorn Daze. They tell others of my story and how I nearly destroyed not only my marriage, but, my call to the ministry, and my life (guilt and failure to end my unnatural hunger for satisfaction through sexual sins brought me one click of the trigger from not being here any longer). After God delivered me, I felt led to write these books to share honestly, my struggles and His gentle, yet unrelenting love which brought me back to Him. Remove the haze Ministries says it all. The devil will weave a tight web for us to be caught up in, which release a spiritual haze in our life, causing us to get lost in our journey for the Lord. It is this "haze" that must be removed in order for us to regain spiritual sight, and focus anew, upon the cross, and that small, narrow road we were once walking on.

    Shalom,

    Pastor Paul :type:
    Remove the Haze Ministries
     
    #14 righteousdude2, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2010
  15. SaggyWoman

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    When I was younger, I thought flagrantly of depression because I never really experienced it.

    AS I have gotten older and have had life experiences that have led to periods of depression, I can say it has nothing to do with Faith, except the fact that Faith has helped me through my times of depression. Faith was more of an anchor to me, knowing that God is sovereign and in control and I am not.
     
  16. jaigner

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    Pastor Paul,

    Thank you for your candor and contribution to this conversation. My own experience with depression was due to a number of things, but mostly my own repression and perfectionism.

    Those who doubt the true nature of depression haven't been there. I was once one of them. I was raised to believe that all a depressed person had to do was to claim the promises of the Bible, and if that didn't work, there was something lacking about my faith.

    While I once thought that medication was for weak people, I now find myself among them, and I am very grateful for their presence.

    Blessings.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    Finally someone I can relate to. I had a 6 way bypass January 12th. Since then, I have had three or so days of very bad depression, but have worked my way out of it in a short period of time. Different things have triggered it. The first time, about four weeks after the surgery, I got a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing me of my hospice benefits. The other times it has been battling with insurance problems for medical bills, job turn downs, and a big fight with the VA. The details do not matter, just surfice to say, before the operation, these things were just challanges, but now seem overwhelming.

    I do not believe my relationship with the Lord or faith is weak. It is a natural result of the operation. It is hard to put into words. You feel like something is missing, or that you cannot begin to do what you used to do. Had it not been for the Lord, my family, church, and those here on this board, it would be lots harder.

    There is a unique relationship between heart surgery and depression, not related to faith. I just cannot quite put it into accurate words.
     
  18. rbell

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    Granted, this is anecdotal...but I don't know of many folks who have had open heart surgery that haven't dealt in one form or another with depression.

    That link is worthy of some study.
     
  19. Gold Dragon

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    Good catch rbell. This is something the medical field is aware of and has written a lot about (Just google depression and heart attack). Depression and heart disease is found in both genders but is particularly an issue with men because men have more heart disease than women and less depression unrelated to heart disease than women. The interesting question is which comes first, the heart disease or the depression and there doesn't appear to be clear answer to this.
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    This known is post-surgical doggie syndrom where one is compelled to stick their heads out of the windows of moving cars. Just watch out for bugs.

    Just kidding.

    Depression is real. I think a believer should approach this issue with trust in God, saturate themselves in Scripture, exercise, and force themselves to keep social.
     

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