Am I depressed? I don't know, aren't depressed people stuck in bed for weeks at a time?
But, well, I feel really “blah” a lot, and my temper smoulders beneath the surface, just waiting to catch flame. And sometimes I have to force myself to leave the house, since I never seem to have much energy to do much of anything anymore. But depressed? I don't know.
Sometimes I think I feel this way because I have something wrong with me, or because I'm being punished for all the wrong things I have done in my life. Then I wonder if God really loves me like He says He does.
Life is difficult for everyone—but I seem to be the only one really struggling. Why is life so hard for me to deal with right now? Sometimes I wonder if it's just easier to stay down here in the pit and wait for assistance rather than try to climb out on my own. It just seems too hard.
We are imperfect people living among other imperfect people in an imperfect world. That has numerous effects. We do things contrary to God's Word and experience guilt as a result. We also get angry but mishandle it by repressing it or becoming bitter. We suffer physically and emotionally. All these things can result in depression—feeling hopeless, dejected, and sad—becoming inactive and not being able to sleep or focus on normal tasks. Most of us experience this at one time or another.
The Lord knows depression is part of the human condition and provides answers to help us:
- He gives biblical examples of people who experienced it. In His Word He shows us some of its causes and cures: Elijah (1 Kings 19); Jonah (Jonah 4); David (Psalm 69).
- The Lord provides hope to the depressed. His Person (He is faithful, powerful, loving, and wise), His promises (to meet our needs, give strength, to protect), and His presence (He will never leave us or forsake us) all bring hope to the weary of soul.
- God also gives reasons for suffering and pain—to teach us (James 1:3), strengthen us (1 Peter 5:10), discipline us (Hebrews 12:5-11), and make us like Christ (Romans 8:28-29), to name just a few reasons.
- His unfailing love is also offered to comfort and encourage us when we are depressed (2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 7:6).
- Do not turn inward and away from the Lord. Instead turn to Him. Express your thoughts and feelings to Him, even if they are negative.
- Direct your thoughts to meditate on the promises and love of God. Through these you will experience hope (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).
- Since some depression may be caused by physiological or biological factors have a medical examination to rule those out.
- View yourself holistically. We are multi-faceted yet unified beings. That means when the reserves of one part of our self become depleted, it affects the rest of our self as well. For example, physical exhaustion or disease can cause emotional depression; mental stress can cause physical illness; spiritual guilt can cause physical sickness. Learn what things drain your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical batteries and minimize them. Conversely, discover what recharges your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical batteries and regularly engage in them.
- Your difficulties are not meaningless. Remember that God will use your experience for good (Romans 8:28). Believe that but don't insist on discovering why things happen.
- Refuse to engage in self-pity, which only worsens the depression. Seek opportunities to help others (Colossians 3:13).
- Remember that when we are down is when the enemy of our souls will attack. Be strong and resist Him in the Lord (1 Peter 5:8).