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Christian and Depression

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Is it wrong for a christian to be depressed? The bible says that we are ought to rejoice in the Lord. And I don't know why I'm always sad or at least neutral. 

I went to a psychiatrist last year due to my eating problems and feeling depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts. I've never acted upon it and thank God for it. The doctor prescribed a few meds for my eating problems and "suicidal thoughts" but they don't really cure anything. They just make me weak and sleepy and I feel nothing. 

I've prayed for God to help me but I still feel sad all the time. I'll laugh at jokes with friends but generally, I feel so empty and sad. 

I know I should have joy for the promise of salvation. And that I should reflect that joy that God gives. I am going to be a hypocrite if I say I'm joyful when I'm not. 

Also, the fact that I feel alone. The Christians I know around me don't hold the same beliefs as I do. It's hard to connect to anyone. 

If I relocate somewhere, this will take me far from my family which will make me feel more lonesome. 

I guess I'll request for your prayers too. :) 

Thank you for your responses. 

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People can and do become chemically imbalanced which can lead to depression.  Some of my medications were giving me problems along these lines and I had to stop taking them.  The things going through my head were worse than usual!  And out of character for me too!  

Much of it has to do with what we put into that hole below our noses, we are what we eat.

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In addition to what DaveW said and along the lines of Swathdiver, depression can come in different forms. DaveW covered the emotional form in which events in our lives affect our emotional health. Swath talked about an environmental form in which the things we do to or put in our bodies can have a profound effect. I would like to add a physical or hormonal form in which our bodies fail to function properly. A great example of this is post-partum depression, which my wife has been through a couple times. Sometimes it's not related to any event in our lives other than the fact that in our sin-cursed world, the body breaks down and doesn't always work correctly. Just as our pancreas can stop producing insulin and cause diabetes or your kidney may stop filtering your blood properly and result in kidney failure, your thyroid or pituitary glands can stop producing the right amount of hormones and wreak all kinds of havoc. Whether we like to admit it or not, this fallen vessel we call a body functions or fails without or consent and has a profound impact on how our soul is able to interact with the physical creation.

There are many potential causes for true depression, and the cause determines the treatment. Sometimes it is steady prayer and engagement with friends, family, or counselors and sometimes it's medication to get your body functioning the way it should. While I believe it can be sinful to keep yourself in a depressed state by focusing on the negatives in life and a refusal to find joy in Christ, true clinical depression is an ailment like any other illness. Making yourself (or someone else) feel bad about it will only make it worse. Acknowledging the problem and seeking the cause to determine the right solution is the first step to recovery.

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On 7/9/2017 at 8:35 PM, Alan said:

Celina, at this point, not knowing you personally, or why you are going through your depression, I feel it would be difficult to answer your questions completely. I will give a  few thoughts.

The Psalms record many things. Among them, the Psalmist, sometimes David, sometimes others, and sometimes the Lord Jesus in prophecy, all go through times of discouragement, trials, verbal persecution from their enemies, and times of doubt; maybe even depression. This world is full of sorrows, heartache, disappointment, and  discouragement. If we are the cause of the problem (as David was in Psalm 51), we need to deal with the problem. If we going through the trials of life; then we need to trust in God and have, "the sacrifice of praise."

For example: Psalm 43:1-5 is a case in point. We do not know the writer of Psalm 43

The writer in Psalm 43 concludes in verse 5, "Why are thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

With that thought of putting our hope in God, by faith, and praise Him, I will conclude. Hopefully, your trust in the Lord will bring back the health of your countenance.

May the Lord bless you.

Alan

 

 

I'm sorry. I just saw all the replies and I must have forgotten to reply. Given the date of the post, I believe that was the time I was transferred to another ROW at work. :) 

Thank you Alan for the time to reply to my post. 

 

On 7/10/2017 at 5:22 AM, 1Timothy115 said:

I'll be praying.

Thank you. :) 

On 7/11/2017 at 10:19 AM, DaveW said:

Oh, this is a big topic with much controversy.

 

To begin with, it is just a lie to say that the Christian life is one of constant happiness and good living - it is definitely not.

Jesus Himself said:

John 16:33
(33)  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
 

In this world YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION - it is not all going to be roses just because you are saved.

And as you read through the book of Acts in particular you see men suffering for Christ, not having good times.

So it is plain that the Christian life is not all smooth seas and plain sailing.

That is point 1.

 

Secondly, this world is perpetuating the lie that if you are unhappy there must be something wrong with you.

Think about this for a minute: if your dog dies, how would you expect to feel? You would expect some level of unhappiness over it.

That is absolutely fine - but the world makes it out as though only people with depression are unhappy, and if you are "depressed" or unhappy about something then you need to be treated.

Now the Lord does want us to be happy, and the Lord does want us to be joyful, but there are specific reasons to be joyful that are not necessarily related to our daily living.

By this I mean the Bible tells us to :

Philippians 4:4
(4)  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
 

Note that it is rejoicing in the Lord - and it is just after this that Paul speaks about his contentment in all situations.

Philippians 4:11
(11)  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
 

I doubt very much that Paul was "happy" when he was abased (in great need), but he was contented - there is a difference between being "happy" and having godly contentment.

 

And in fact this is one of the keys - godly contentment comes from knowing that God is in control, and that although he may allow hard things into your life, you know that:

Romans 8:28
(28)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 

Understanding this - and it is not easy to come to terms with by the way - but understanding this fact allows you to rest in Him.

So it is absolutely OK to be unhappy when sad or hard things happen in your life, as long as you keep in mind that the Lord loves you (if you are saved), and:

1 Corinthians 10:13
(13)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
 

There is another thing to keep in mind through all of this, and it is another thing that the world has totally wrong.

The world says you have have drugs to stop the bad thoughts.

(Note here that I am not saying that the drugs are always wrong - I am no medical professional, and do not have the knowledge or authority to advise about that specifically, but it is my opinion that drugs are way over-prescribed, and many of these people need nothing more than to be told they are normal and feeling like normal people should feel. Also, anyone currently on drugs should not stop without talking to their doctor, because some of these drugs will cause withdrawal symptoms that can be severe.)

The world says that you cannot help the way you think.

The bible says differently - very differently.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6
(5)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
(6)  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
 

Notice here that we are told to "bring into captivity every thought" - now it specifically relates this to Christ, so this is not in our won strength, but why would the Lord command us to take our thoughts captive if it was not possible?

Casting down imaginations? That is putting our thoughts into their proper place.

The World says you cannot control your thoughts and in fact that your thoughts control you, but the Lord says you must take your thoughts CAPTIVE!

DO NOT BUY the lie that says that you cannot control your thoughts - God says you can and should.

 

And the best way to do that?

 

Lets go right back to one of the first passages I pointed to, but lets look at more of it:

Philippians 4:4-9
(4)  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
(5)  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
(6)  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
(7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(8)  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(9)  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
 

Several things here:

Rejoice IN THE LORD, not in your troubles.

Moderation, not extremes, are the way of the Christian life - including moderation in emotions. Try not to go "really high and really low". The Christian life should be one of stability.

"Be careful for nothing" means don't worry about everything all the time - instead of worrying about everything, pray about it.

Do these three and the "peace of God" can be yours, because of what Christ has done for you.

But it doesn't stop there.

Paul adds a "finally" to it, and it is an amazing addition.

He lists a bunch of things and says to us at the end of verse 8 "think on these things".

This is again an indicator that we can control our thoughts, and we should control our thoughts, and we should specifically think about the things he lists in vs 8.

Things that are:

  • true
  • honest
  • just
  • pure
  • lovely
  • of good report
  • virtue
  • praise

And the thing I like to remind people of is that the highest expression of truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good report, virtue, and praise, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Think about the wonderfulness of God and what He has done for you, and what He continues to do for you every day.

 

Now then, whilst always keeping in mind that Jesus Christ loves you in amazing ways, if you lose your job, or you get some bad news, you are allowed to be unhappy about it - but if the unhappiness begins to overwhelm you, then you need to bring those thoughts into captivity, and make yourself think about the things of the Lord.

Then you can be unhappy, and yet still rejoicing in the Lord.

God made us with emotions - the key is to control them, not allow them to control us.

 

Finally, the world loves us to think we are the only one and that everyone else "has it all together" - the truth is that people only see what we let them see.

the best illustration I can think of is the wife and mother, who when she hears that someone has been invited over, goes on a massive cleaning spree. When the guest comes over they look around and see the house spotless and perfectly organised, and they think to themselves "I wish my house was as neat and clean as this".

But the house isn't always as "neat and clean as this" - it is normally pretty good, and not a mess, but it only gets perfect when people come over - but the guests don't see that - they only see the specially prepared "neat and clean" not the normal. But when the roles are reversed and the hosts become the guests the same things happens, and each wife feels as though she is not as good as the other - but they each do a fine job normally, but a special effort for guests.

Depression is exactly the same - people look at each other and only see the outside that we want to show them, which looks like we have it all together - but inside is a different story.

Outside we want everyone to think we are doing fine, and that is what we show them, and that is what they see. What they don't see is the inside, which is probably very much like their own "inside" which they don't let others see.........

 

I hope all of this is clear.......

 

Dave! Thank you for your time typing all that down. 
I wish I was able to read this post last July. But now that I have, I'm still blessed regardless. :) 
You stated some REALLY good points.

I was at my lowest last year and I was able to talk to another Christian woman about it and she  told me "You know the bible, you know what can fix you or somehow help you, but you are stubborn"

That was the time I realize that what makes me "depressed" is that I am not lacking in anything. I have a good job and I can buy anything I can afford but I am left unsatisfied. 
Which is what the bible tells us. 

All is vanity.

I was too proud to admit that I left my first love and the joy of serving God wasn't there anymore. 
Then I asked for joy. I asked God to make me delight in Him more. 

And He did. 

 

 

On 7/11/2017 at 3:22 PM, swathdiver said:

People can and do become chemically imbalanced which can lead to depression.  Some of my medications were giving me problems along these lines and I had to stop taking them.  The things going through my head were worse than usual!  And out of character for me too!  

Much of it has to do with what we put into that hole below our noses, we are what we eat.

Thanks swathdiver. :) 

On 7/18/2017 at 6:00 PM, TheSword said:

In addition to what DaveW said and along the lines of Swathdiver, depression can come in different forms. DaveW covered the emotional form in which events in our lives affect our emotional health. Swath talked about an environmental form in which the things we do to or put in our bodies can have a profound effect. I would like to add a physical or hormonal form in which our bodies fail to function properly. A great example of this is post-partum depression, which my wife has been through a couple times. Sometimes it's not related to any event in our lives other than the fact that in our sin-cursed world, the body breaks down and doesn't always work correctly. Just as our pancreas can stop producing insulin and cause diabetes or your kidney may stop filtering your blood properly and result in kidney failure, your thyroid or pituitary glands can stop producing the right amount of hormones and wreak all kinds of havoc. Whether we like to admit it or not, this fallen vessel we call a body functions or fails without or consent and has a profound impact on how our soul is able to interact with the physical creation.

There are many potential causes for true depression, and the cause determines the treatment. Sometimes it is steady prayer and engagement with friends, family, or counselors and sometimes it's medication to get your body functioning the way it should. While I believe it can be sinful to keep yourself in a depressed state by focusing on the negatives in life and a refusal to find joy in Christ, true clinical depression is an ailment like any other illness. Making yourself (or someone else) feel bad about it will only make it worse. Acknowledging the problem and seeking the cause to determine the right solution is the first step to recovery.

Thank you TheSword. 

I still feel the emptiness every now and then but I am definitely feeling better than I was last year. :)
 

 

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