Understanding Depression

Written by M. Larson

understanddepressedYears ago, when we were young, my brother Gene had a dance band for which I played. He asked an attractive teenage girl to sing with his band, but she never got to do so. Her mother just had a baby and was suffering from post-partum depression. Her husband often spent his evenings at a tavern. One night, after her five children were in bed, the weary woman turned on the gas and laid down herself. When the errant husband finally came home he found his whole family dead!

Now this is not the antidote to depression! This woman not only robbed herself of life, but her five children. Unfortunately, however, many people who suffer depression are not always rational!

My story

When as “Dr. Muriel” I answer by e-mail some desperate soul who is considering suicide, I share my personal experience with her or him:

For some years I lived in an abusive situation. One day I felt so depressed about it that I went to the medicine chest and took out a bottle of aspirins and stared at it – thinking that if I took the bottle, it would all be over. But then I came to my senses and put the bottle back. If I hadn’t resisted that impulse to commit suicide, I would never have known the wonderful future that the Lord had planned for me: To become a full-time writer for Him (and have 17 books and thousands of articles published), as well as to help many troubled people all over the world as a counselor.

I know that having a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ stayed my hand that day. For I had committed my life to Jesus Christ – and it belonged to Him. He can turn sadness to sunshine for us! He did for me.

Why are we depressed?

The approach used by most secular psychiatrists, counselors, or therapists to help depressed people has usually dealt with three aspects of human beings: mental, emotional, and physical. All three may have led that poor disturbed mother to kill herself and her children.

In his book How to Win Over Depression, Tim LaHaye maintains that four parts of human beings can play a role in the problem of depression and that if one is out of order, it can affect the other three. These four parts are mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Let’s consider them:

  • Something wrong physically
    While being an emotional problem, certainly post-partum depression also figures here. Having a baby may deplete a mother’s store of vitamins and minerals. And when a colic-troubled baby keeps the new mother from getting enough sleep, the two aspects might bring this on.

    Dr. Derrick Lonsdale of Cleveland, Ohio ran a study on 20 individuals whose diet mainly consisted of junk food. One of the neurotic symptoms they exhibited was depression. He attributed it to a lack of thiamine in their diet. Indeed, a lack of B vitamins in general can cause depression. So if we suffer from it, we’d be wise to supplement our diets with vitamins, especially B-complex with C which helps us feel better emotionally. Oh, yes, and eat more vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and fish! We also might be wise to see our doctor for a check-up.

  • Stress, a loss, or tramatic change may affect us emotionally
    Just about everyone who is hit with the loss of a loved one, one way or another, suffers through a period of depression. So do those who go through some traumatic change in life: a divorce, loss of a job, betrayal by a loved one, a move away from family and friends. We may experience anger at God or a person, feelings of guilt, anxiety, fear, worry, hostility.

    Talking it out with someone – a counselor, pastor, or dear friend or relative – can provide us with relief as well as insight. Acceptance of whatever happened can also lead to deliverance.

  • Allowing the past to affect our present can affect us mentally
    I suspect that many who develop clinical depression have suffered hurtful childhoods, especially those who have allowed negative thinking to rule their lives. They may often be critical of others, be quick to anger because of stored hostility, have poor images of themselves, entertain bitter and resentful thoughts toward other people. There are medications that can now control clinical depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and other hurtful mental conditions.

    But I believe the best antidote in the world for anger, rage, and bitter thoughts is the advice God gives us in His Word, in such places as:

    • Philippians 4:4-8
    • Romans 12:1-2
    • Colossians 3:2-3
    • Ephesians 6
    • Matthew 5-7, 11:28-29
    • John 14-17
    • Isaiah 26:3
    • Psalms 31, 34, 37, 40, 46, 139
  • Victory in the spiritual realm
    Personally, I have had a close relationship with Someone who has helped me weather many trials
    , losses, changes and hurts and triumph above depression. He has guided and comforted me and lifted my heart. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

    When I recognized fully that He had died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, I gave my heart and life to Him. Through Him, I have had many answers to prayer and many deliverances. In spite of circumstances, He has given me His peace that surpasses all understanding and His unconditional love. These gifts have tremendous healing power!

    When I’ve done something wrong, I seek His forgiveness and He grants it. He has led me to forgive all who have hurt me so that I can enjoy deliverance from anger, bitterness and resentment that encourages depression. Through Him I became a child of the King and a princess. (Peter 2:9) All of God’s children are special in His sight. There’s a self-esteem factor here!

But we’re still human!

We all bleed when we hurt. We all suffer depression at times. Moses, David, Elijah, Paul and Martin Luther did! But with the help of the Lord, they came through it. Dr. Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers who ever lived, was given to bouts with depression. These may have been triggered by the stressful life he lived and perhaps a poor diet. He said,

“The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength!

You can also find joy and strength today! You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

One Response to “Understanding Depression”

  • Alfred says:

    Yes, intakes associate, this article is very well written, and if someone needs even more help after reading this, it will be up to family and/or friends to minister to the depressed.

    I like that list of 8 scripture passages, for God speaks to us through His Word. It astounds me how we can read a scripture and get what we need, and then at another time when our need is different, we get out of that same scripture a different thing, this time to meet the new need. So, it is more than words; it is God speaking to one’s soul! HE loves us so much that we can trust him at all times. We need to relax in His presence, knowing that all is well when we joyfully serve Him. Look at that beautiful smile in the mirror and thank God for everything!

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