The first thing I want you to know about depression is treatable and it really is not the end of the world for you if you have it. I tell you, you can get out of it and look back from the other side. I tell you because I have been there and here I am now.
Depression is a mental illness. It is an unhealthy state of mind. A person who is depressed may experience lethargy, suicidal thoughts and other symptoms depending on the severity of the depression.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/ loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work or home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite- weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g. hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others).
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Having said all this. What does the bible say about depression? Was anyone ever depressed in the Bible? Yes. We’ll study the example of David who experienced bouts of depression stemming from the numerous trials he faced. There are many times in the Psalms that David wrote in which he declares great sorrow. In Psalm 6:6, David says: ‘I am worn out from groaning; all night I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears’.
We’ll take Psalm 13 as a case study. Psalm 13 states:
Verse 1: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Verse 2: How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Verse 3: Look on me and answer me, O Lord my God, give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
Verse 4: my enemy will say ‘I have overcome him’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
Verse 5: But I trust in your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in your salvation.
Verse 6: I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me.
In Psalm 13, David starts out by blaming God and complaining about the challenges he was facing. He goes as far as saying that if God did not answer his, he was going to ‘sleep in death’. He was at the lowest of the low. He however begins a shift from complaining to prayer in verses 5 and Praise in verse 6
David shows us the approach to take when we are down in the dumps. We might gripe and blame God for our predicament for a bit but we must eventually be able to move from that point to ‘Prayer’ then on to ‘Praise’.
Remember that if the depression wont lift despite all these steps, seek professional help, confide in someone. I’ll leave you with this poem written by a prolific writer aliased ‘paradaizgurl’ (that’s me).
Depression came to visit
and I asked him to get out
He had promised to help with the pain
But instead he made it all worse
Soon I realized he had me on a leash
Linked with broken promises
He kept assuring that he’ll let me out…
But the more I banged at the door,
The less light I saw from its corners
He turned off the lights
And I was left to grope in the dark
Till I realized that all along
I had the keys!