Depression is a global problem. One in six people around the world will suffer from major depression at some point during their lives. It has been estimated that by the year 2020 depression will be the greatest disability worldwide.
If you feel depressed at this very moment, you don’t have to stay depressed! I would like to give you, over the next several weeks, some positive natural and spiritual steps to help you overcome depression, sadness, anxiety and worry. You can start this very minute to move from the “pit of pain” to the plain of stability, wholeness and peace of mind.
It is normal for people to feel “down” or to have the “blues” when they experience a sad circumstance such as death of a loved one or friend, the loss of a job, a divorce, separation or some significant loss. However, anyone who experiences continued sadness without any recognizable cause should know that this may be a warning sign of depression. This series of blogs will help you replace depression and sadness with God’s joy.
The good news is that you can overcome depression. God has provided you with resources in both the natural and spiritual realms to defeat depression and anxiety. As you take these positive steps outlined in these blogs, hope should begin to replace depression and inner peace will overcome anxiety, Philippians 4:6-7.
Depression is very misunderstood, perhaps because it can affect all three parts of our being – body, soul and spirit. Any truly effective treatment for depression must address all three areas. Most of the time depression begins in our soul or spirit. Then it begins to affect our physical bodies. At times, the problem actually begins in the body because of chemical imbalance or some other natural cause, which we will discuss later. In any case, God has very real answers for the problem.
Depression often begins in the early middle age years; it is fairly common among the elderly. Almost half of the cases of depression among the elderly are misdiagnosed by the patient’s primary care doctor.
Depression among children and adolescents has also increased dramatically in the last fifty years. Children are becoming depressed at an earlier age. During adolescence, almost twice as many boys as girls are depressed. And over half of youth diagnosed have a recurrence within seven years.
Depression also can occur because of physical rather than soulical and spiritual factors. Anyone experiencing depression should be tested to have organic factors ruled out. These include: drug reactions, anemia, alcohol, diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, low adrenal function, low thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies (like Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Vitamin B1, B6 & B12) illegal drug use, chronic pain, heart disease and sleep disturbances.
In studying the Bible and medicine for many years, I find four main reasons for depression. I will briefly describe each one.
The four causes of depression are:
- Circumstantial Depression – This form of depression depends on the circumstances surrounding us. This has to do with expectations.
- Conceptual Depression – This type of depression transpires when we see things differently than what they are. This is a matter of seeing things through our vision instead of through God’s vision. This also has to do with expectations.
- Concealed Sin Depression – This depression is caused by concealing our sin before a holy and righteous God. Living in sin causes the “whole heart” to faint.
- Clinical Depression – This is a small category of people with depression. This depression stems purely from a biological or organic source.
All types of depression have a common spiritual thread – the lack of God’s joy in our lives. God promises to make our joy full, John 15:11. One certain antidepressant in your life is God’s Word. Trust His promise and seek His overflowing joy through:
- Reading the Bible so that you may study it and memorize it, so that you may meditate upon what it says. This is building that personal relationship with our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
- Asking God to fill you with His joy.
- Telling others about the promise of His joy.
Do not be discouraged. You are already making great strides in being filled with His joy and freed from the spirit of depression and sadness. If you follow God’s prescription for treating depression you will be less depressed than you were when you were not following God’s plan.