How Can You Know If You Are Dealing With Depression?
You can’t shake the feeling.
You didn’t invite it.
You can’t escape it.
You’ve adapted to it.
It’s a familiar feeling.
It lingers in your mind and takes over your thoughts as soon as you wake up.
It echoes every bad message from yesterday, last week, last month, last year.
It asks the same questions, yet never finds answers.
It’s a cunning feeling.
It suggests you’ve been down so long you’ll never get up.
It pounces on the first sign of hope to vaporize it before you even recognize it.
It invents more reasons to turn inward and reject others as outsiders.
It’s a persistent feeling.
It reminds you that you’re still stuck.
It won’t allow you to consider an alternative.
It chokes your faith with weeds of doubt and fear.
But it’s only a feeling.
A feeling that has no right to control you!
A feeling that you can take control of!
Yes, it’s true!
Depression is only a feeling.
The only problem?
9 Out Of 10 Depressed People Can't Explain What Depression Feels Like! Are You One Of Them?
What Does Depression Feel Like?
Many people have a hard time describing depression, claiming they don’t feel anything, they’re just numb.
But ironically, when you dig deeper, they all use more than one feeling to describe the “so-called” numbness.
And all those feelings affect how they think.
How Your Feelings Are Controlling You And What To Do About It
Depression feels like a form of madness making people think they are crazy.
Because they can’t make sense of their world, they can't find healing.
They feel they have no purpose in life.
They think they are worthless.
Although depressed people say they feel worthless, it’s just a mask for their pride.
They actually place too much emphasis on their self-worth.
They are depressed because they think they are worthy of something but didn’t get it.
They are gloomy pessimists paralyzed by self-pity.
They are self-centered cynics crippled by hyper-focused thoughts of themselves.
To make matters worse, many recognize this and feel guilty about it, which only drives them back to feeling worthless!
Let’s be honest…it’s a ruthless cycle that could drive anyone crazy.
Depression threatens the mind so powerfully, it negatively affects behavior in every area of life.
Let’s get a glimpse of depression in action…
A True Case Study Of Depression
What Does Depression Look Like?
Debbie groaned as the sunlight peeked through the cracks of the blinds.
Another day already?
She pulled the covers over her head and tried to go back to sleep.
She could hear the kids watching cartoons in the living room and she began to cry.
She couldn't stop the tears.
She couldn't stop the questions.
She asked the same questions she asked yesterday...
and the day before...
and the day before...
and every day for the last several months.
Why am I so sad?
Why can’t I pull myself together.
Why don’t I want to get out of bed?
She wished her kids were old enough to feed themselves and get to school on their own.
Why did her husband have to leave so early and not help with the kids?
Debbie was tired.
She had just slept for 11 hours but did not feel rested.
Debbie was angry.
Her husband was working 3 part time jobs and was never home anymore.
They needed more money, but she only wanted more of him.
Debbie knew she had to get up and take care of the kids, but she had no motivation to do so.
Instead, she started to wonder why she ever had kids.
Why did they take so much work to care for?
All she wanted was to go back to sleep and forget all her problems.
She knew her thoughts were selfish.
She knew her anger was wrong.
She was feeling sad and hopeless but didn’t know why.
Every day she asked herself the same question, “Why am I depressed?”
Can you relate to Debbie's attitude?
There are times when we all feel tired, sad, angry and unmotivated but when we continue in that mindset too long it affects our behavior.
We move from discouraged to depressed.
If left untreated, depression can move to despair!
Are you suffering like Debbie?
Do you know if you are just discouraged, or are you asking, “Do I have depression?”
Are You Or Somebody You Love Dealing With Depression?
Discouragement is not the same as depression.
Most everyone experiences times in life that are very difficult and emotionally and physically draining, but they do not persist for extended periods of time.
Most people who suffer persistent depression feel life is not worth living.
They have no joy…
and no hope of ever having them.
Depression Is Like Living In a Dark Fog
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
I believe the Bible would describe depression as “sorrow without hope.”
Quite simply, hopelessness is a negative response to life.
And it is a feeling almost all depressed people claim to experience.
And without hope, depression is the natural emotional response.
And you know what?
Emotions will cause negative responses in the body.
We Need To Talk About Depression.
It's Hurting You!
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?
Depressed people lack interest or pleasure in normal daily life and it eventually leads to biological problems in the physical body.
And get this.
Moods affect sleep.
When a person doesn’t get the right amount of sleep, they cannot respond well in daily life.
So they get depressed.
And when they get depressed, they feel anxious, which leads to obsessive worry.
So they get depressed.
And when they get depressed, they look for comfort in food, which leads to weight gain.
So they get depressed.
And when they get depressed, they can’t cope with life, which leads to wanting sleep to escape life.
I’m sure you see the obvious but let me say this straight.
Depression is an endless cycle of the inner person destroying the outer person.
Depression in the mind, leads to depression in the body.
It’s a self-destructive feedback loop that spirals out of control.
But here’s the problem.
Most people have been in this cycle so long, they can’t remember how it started.
What Are Your Personal Depression Triggers?
What Causes Depression?
According to WebMD, the main causes of depression are:
With the exception of illness, medications and substance abuse, this list of depression triggers are all external.
They are things that did not originate inside the cellular, biological body.
Here’s the big idea!
Depression is mainly caused by inappropriate responses to life.
That doesn’t minimize the triggers in any way.
But in general, those triggers are things that everyone suffers from in one degree or another.
This brings us to a very important question:
Why do some people respond to life events so negatively while others manage to move on?
The Bible gives us the first clue.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, but with the temptation God will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 corinthians 10:13
Usually when Christians seem unable to endure difficult life circumstances and are overtaken with depression, it’s because they have lost sight of God.
And they are not seeking God’s way of handling their problems.
Before we look at solutions for how Christians should deal with depression, let’s clear up some confusion.
Depression vs. Sadness - What's The Difference?
Sadness is an emotion people feel when they suffer a loss, either something or someone very important to them.
It’s normally a short-term sense of unhappiness.
Depression is a persistent feeling when the mind focuses on the source of sadness: loss, disadvantage, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow.
Interestingly, many people equate sadness with depression but they’re not exactly the same.
Yet, it does equate to the possibility of one increasing the other.
If sadness is not relieved, it can lead to depression.
Depression is like a monster.
When you feed it a diet of sadness, it grows!
Depression hyper-focuses on sadness, which increases it instead of relieving it.
The cycle continues.
Sadness is intensified.
And that intensifies the depression.
And then depression intensifies the sadness, and on and on.
By now you should realize that depression has a dangerous downward spiraling effect on people.
Is this endless cycle of dealing with depression a lost cause?
There is a solution.
Here's What You Don't Know About Depression Treatments That Could Make It Worse
What Are The Treatments For Depression?
For most people, medication is not the answer for dealing with depression.
Some people with severe depression do have pathological problems that need medical treatment.
But too often depression is treated as a medical problem so antidepressant drugs are prescribed, even without testing, or testing but finding nothing wrong.
So-called experts don’t even understand how the brain functions, or how antidepressants work.
Some people claim depression is explained simply as a “chemical imbalance” or a “serotonin deficiency.”
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We really don’t know what causes depression or how it affects the brain.
We don’t exactly know how antidepressants improve the symptoms.
Many people have reported having suicidal thoughts after beginning antidepressant drug treatments.
So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that antidepressants come with warning labels about suicide.
Don’t ignore them!
If you or anybody you know has suicidal thoughts from depression, keep the suicide prevention lifeline phone number nearby at all times and don't hesitate to call.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Another drawback of using drugs to alter brain chemistry is the risk of creating a drug addiction.
Antidepressants can create physical and emotional dependency that can lead to even more problems.
It’s important you visit your doctor and make sure there are no organic problems in the body.
If not, it’s time to do some soul searching.
For the Christian, this means it’s necessary to take a spiritual approach to treatment for depression.
God is Spirit, without a body, yet experiences emotions.
We are made in the image of God and also experience emotions.
So it seems that emotions are most likely linked to our spirit, not the body.
That’s where faith fits in.
Lies About Depression - Believe Them At Your Own Risk!
The Bible describes depression as being cast down without hope.
Does this sound like you?
Has sorrow overshadowed hope?
Are you filled with self-pity?
Do you rehearse over and over again in your mind, all the reasons your life is worthless and hopeless?
Do you know that hopelessness stems from the root of unbelief?
Do you know that wrong beliefs are just another form of unbelief?
Do you know it’s possible to believe in God without believing what God says?
How many of these lies are you believing?
God doesn’t care for me.
God isn’t able to help me.
God is able but will not help me.
God is angry at me.
God is punishing me.
Believing these lies will keep you stuck in depression from either unbelief or false beliefs about God, or wrong thinking about your life circumstances.
Whatever is false is not true and therefore a lie.
Lies are weapons that attack your mind and take it captive as a prisoner of war.
You are imprisoned by your thoughts.
You are controlled by your feelings.
You view life as something “happening” to you instead of something you do.
You adopt a “victim” mentality and your behavior becomes passive.
Once you define yourself as a victim, you stop battling depression and give in to it.
Giving in leads to dangerous temptations.
You'll have no desire to take action but instead, submit yourself to quiet desperation and isolation.
You’ll blame somebody, or something else, for the reason you feel and behave the way you do.
These attitudes and behaviors are sinful responses to your circumstances.
It’s not the external circumstances that cause you to sin.
It’s the internal responses to circumstances that cause you to sin.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
As you can see, it’s the heart, not the circumstance, that needs to change.
How do you that?
How do you treat the heart of a depressed person?
Beating The Blues - The Missing Link In Dealing With Depression
How To Fight Depression
Remember, sadness is an emotion people feel when they suffer a loss, either something or someone very important to them.
But here’s the truth!
You don’t need something to overcome depression.
You need someone.
But not the someone you lost.
You don’t need to focus on what you’ve lost.
You need to focus on what you can never lose.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Jesus Christ is the missing link in your battle against depression.
You need to focus the one who is alive, present and at work in your life.
The first step to fight depression biblically, is to remember that Jesus is in your circumstances.
Depression is hopelessness.
Jesus is hope!
Jesus is in you!
God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
God’s goal is to use your circumstances to make you know Him!
If you believe the lie that Jesus is not involved in your life, you will not go to the only one who offers hope!
Worse yet, you will be working against God’s most important goal for you as a Christian.
God’s goal is to strengthen your faith and that requires that you fight for your faith.
God call us to walk by faith every single day and your life circumstances are the means by which God will grow your faith.
Your circumstances will reveal your weakness in order for God to reveal His strength.
You must fight depression with the truth.
Depression lies and says God does not care for you.
The Bible truth says God is for you!
If God is for us, who can be against us?
That statement is a summary of all the proofs listed in Romans 8 about God’s love for His children and how He works in their behalf so they can persevere through every difficult circumstance in life.
No matter what earthly losses you experience, you will never lose what matters most.
There is absolutely nobody or nothing able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus your Lord.
Are you ready to fight depression with the determination to win?
Then you must face who you really are!
Are You Dealing With Depression God's Way?
In the Bible, God reveals what is wrong with us, what should be right, and how to be transformed from wrong to right.
You must use the Bible to diagnose what’s wrong with you.
You must use the Bible to prescribe what should be right with you.
So the next step in dealing with depression God’s way is to stop listening to your feelings and start listening to God’s truth.
Are you ready to start soul searching?
Can you identify when you first experienced depression?
When did you start feeling this way?
What were the events that triggered this feeling?
Can you identify the loss that aroused this feeling?
What did you want that you did not get?
How did you respond to that?
If you take time to search your heart, you’ll probably recognize there were unmet desires and expectations that set you off.
Make a list of them, all the depression triggers that you can think of.
Take this step seriously and invest however much time is needed to dig to the root of the problem.
The next step is to identify your responses to those triggers:
This is the stage where you discover the true motives of your heart.
We live in a cursed world among fallen people.
We want peace, comfort, and ease and instead, we see violence, pain and difficulty.
You’re not alone!
We all want to avoid suffering.
But suffering is the reality for all of us.
There will always be disappointment and discouragement in this world.
Acknowledging that this world is filled with sin is the first step towards having realistic expectations.
Without a true view of reality, you will experience the disappointment of unmet expectations.
This will quickly lead to emotions that will hinder faith and obedience, starting with a loss of joy.
After that, the discontent you feel will snowball into anger, frustration, sorrow, and eventually…hopelessness.
But here’s what you need to know.
You are not responsible for the sins of others.
You are not responsible for the calamities in the world.
But you are responsible for your responses to them.
You can’t control other people.
You can’t control all of your circumstances.
You can control how you are going to respond to them.
You can learn how God wants you to respond.
And with God’s help, you can respond in a way that honors Him.
Are you ready to ask for God’s help?
The Depression Help Line Is Open 24/7/365
What does this mean for you?
Prayer is the Christian’s personal helpline that is always available.
God invites you to his throne of grace to seek mercy and grace for your times of need.
Jesus is praying for you.
The Spirit is praying for you.
You need to be praying for you.
This is my prayer for you:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe.
Your heart is more complicated than your depression.
God is the only one who can see all the complexities of your depressed heart.
God is the only one who knows how to heal your depressed heart!
God’s word is the only effective remedy to treat your depressed heart.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Pour out your heart to God in prayer.
Pray that God will reveal His truth to your heart so you can overcome depression.
Pray that God will help you think biblically about your circumstances.
Pray that God will replace hopelessness with joy.
Believe the truth that He loves you and is capable of taking care of you.
Because your beliefs drive your behavior.
As you start believing the truth God reveals, your behavior will follow.
When you stop blaming others for your problems you will start fulfilling your responsibilities.
When you start trusting in the goodness of God, you’ll stop worrying about the problems in the world.
When you start thinking thoughts that are based on what is true, you’ll stop believing the lies that make you obsess over the difficult circumstances and people in your life.
Don’t expect this transformation to happen overnight.
You spent a long time developing depressing thought habits and they won’t be overcome in one study session of the Bible.
But don’t stop…
You will see progress…
You will be transformed!
How Are You Coping With Depression?
I see ads on the Internet all the time for “The Top Ten Coping Skills for Depression.”
But do you want to cope with depression, or overcome it?
The Internet gurus offer treatments and tactics, but they can’t provide transformation.
Transformation is only possible through Jesus.
Without me, you can do nothing.
The way Jesus transforms you is by replacing the lies of the world with the truth of His word.
The way out of depression is to be transformed by renewing your mind with truth.
The way to control your feelings instead of letting them control you is by renewing your mind with truth.
God’s word will expose your wrong attitudes so you can “put them off.”
God’s word will renew your mind with right attitudes so you can “put them on.”
It’s not as difficult as you might think.
But I know what it’s like to be depressed.
I was stuck there for way too long!
Everything seems beyond difficult.
Everything seems impossible.
Everything seems too overwhelming.
So I created a free guide to help you take one step at a time in your fight against depression.
It includes a list of Bible verses and tips to help you overcome depression.
Dealing With Depression Through Scripture
So take the next step, download the guide right now.
It will change your life perspective from depressing to blessing.
Overcoming Depression Is Possible
So what does all this mean and where do you go from here?
Depression is a serious condition that should not be ignored.
First see a doctor and make sure you do not have any medical conditions that may be affecting your ability to think properly.
Depression is a state of mind that negatively affects your thoughts, behaviors and life.
Depression is caused by inappropriate responses to life.
Depression is allowing feelings to control your thinking.
Depression is a feeling of hopelessness.
Hopelessness is a spiritual crisis.
Jesus provides hope for every crisis.
Depression can be treated biblically.
Dig into the heart, identify when the problem first took root.
Confess and repent of wrong thoughts and behaviors.
Renew the mind with truth and put off wrong attitudes replace them with right attitudes.
While dealing with depression, do not isolate yourself.
God doesn’t expect you to carry your burdens alone.
You must go to God.
Pray for God’s help.
Pray He will provide helpers.
Confide in a trusted friend and ask them to help you see the truth about yourself and your approach to life.
And most importantly…
depression is only a feeling.
A gloomy feeling.
A feeling that has no right to control you!
A feeling that you can take control of!
By contrast, joy is also a feeling.
Joy is a a glorious feeling.
Joy is fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit has every right to control you.
You were born again that you might know God and and the joy of salvation.
The joy of the Lord is your birthright.
Don't leave without your Free Guide: DEALING WITH DEPRESSION THROUGH SCRIPTURE
Dealing With Depression Through Scripture