When Christians Become Depressed
By Crossroads Counseling Center
There are major causes of depression such as: biological/genetic, learned helplessness, rejection, abuse, trauma, and severe life stressors. The word depression is used to describe everything from a day full of work/life stressors to the actual deep dark hopeless state of mind. The Bible actually does not use the word depression, but describes people, symptoms and behavior that clearly indicate depression.
What are the characteristics of a depressed person? hopeless and helpless speech and behavior, irritable/anger, tearful, unable to keep track of time, constant complaining, overwhelmed by most circumstances, isolation, not reading scripture, no pray life, unable to sleep or sleeping too much, eating too much or not eating at all, fatigued, physical pain, excessive feelings of guilt and shame, and often suicidal threats, gestures, or attempts.
Christians must realize that basing our lives on emotions does not align with our Christian belief. Our Christian belief of life is based on truth, not feelings. Christianity commands us to find truth, comfort and guidance through Biblical study and prayer. David fought and lifted depressive thoughts and feelings by meditating, confessing and sharing with others.
The depressed person’s inability to think clearly is a flag for a firm, but caring family member or friend to ask questions. Are you sleeping? What are your eating habits? Are you going to work? Are you in pain? Ask if he or she have stopped Biblical reading, praying or going to church.
Be visually observant if the person has stopped their usual tasks (housekeeping, yard work) or not maintaining usual hygiene or appearance. Ask if he or she is thinking of hurting themselves – be bold. Do not hesitate to ask questions and especially ask if he or she have plans to hurt themselves. These questions actually bring relief to a hurting person.
How to help a depressed person as Biblically directed? For example, Elijah’s symptoms were of sadness, hopelessness and fatigue. God first made sure that Elijah had proper food and rest, before speaking with Elijah about the other problems in his life. God spoke to Elijah in a small firm voice that he was loved and peopled cared for him. He gave Elijah hope and normalized the overwhelming challenges.
Today, a Christian would do the same but can offer many other resources. It is most critical to find a Counselor (Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist) who is a Christian. The counselor will evaluate the severity of the depressed symptoms and advise a course of treatment.
Treatment can be hospitalization, individual/family/couple counseling, medication, exercise, eating and sleeping properly and many other choices (pending severity). A comprehensive physical is always a part of treatment. It is helpful to remind a depressed person that thoughts will either cause feelings of contentment and joy or feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The best thoughts to cause self encouragement thinking are found in the the eight qualities given in Philippians 4:8-9.
God bless each of you who reach out with boldness and understanding to help someone lost in depression.
For more information:
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