Depression

Depression.

What can I do about it?

Are there different causes of depression, different types of depression, different depths of depression? Does everyone get depressed? What can I do about depression? What does depression look like? Is it contagious? Will I ever get over my depression? What about the Christian and depression? Whew… what a can of worms to open up!

"Hello, my name is Larry and I get depressed."

That’s how many in the 12 step help programs introduce themselves. Maybe a chaplain shouldn’t introduce himself as being subject to depression. But honesty is still the best policy, and recognizing the problem is the first step in finding a solution. Clinical depression is serious, and if you need help, there is help available. See your Doctor. Get help. You Don’t Have To Do This Alone!

Now, let me say that depression is a serious issue in our world today. Let me also say that I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Even if I did have all the answers, this article is only long enough to call your attention to the problem, and maybe encourage you to seek help when you need it. Depression causes a lot of lost sleep, lost relationships, lost time…it causes a lot of hurt. Depression stems from a number of roots. Grief causes depression. Broken relationships cause depression. Health issues can cause depression.

Depression is not limited to the mentally ill, or the weak, or the young, or the old, or the healthy, or the sick, and few (maybe none) of us are immune. It might be affecting you, your loved ones, or the people you work with. Depression is no respecter of persons. Most of us have, at some point in our lives, experienced depression.

Some great heroes of the Bible were affected by depression, though I don’t find the word in my concordance. I do find the words despair, desolation, discouraged, without hope. In the Psalms you’ll find signs and symptoms of depression, as well as in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Acts, Corinthians, Revelation…and the list goes on and on. Beginning to end, Genesis to Revelation, as long as there are people you are likely to find depressed people.

Tim LaHaye wrote a book entitled “How To Win Over Depression” in 1974, and has since been revised and reprinted several times. It has sold over a million copies. In one of the chapters he names ten different causes of depression. There are obviously different “helps” for different causes.

Depression is far too complex to deal with adequately in an article like this one. If I have called your attention to the fact that most of us deal with depression of some kind, to one degree or another, not once but several times in our lifetime, then this article is worth it. I’d like to help you realize that if you are depressed, there is help.

But, how do I fix it? Unfortunately, there are no magic wands or happy potions. As there are differing causes, so are there different cures. You might be tempted to think that there is no hope. What I want to communicate to you today, if you are suffering from depression, there is hope and there is help.

Allow me to share one thing that has helped me. Reading the book of Philippians helps. If you are not familiar with the Bible, what we refer to as the “book” of Philippians is really a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a group of Christians at the town of Philippi. If you have a Bible, look it up in the index, if not…Google it. Read the whole thing. Read it daily for a while, maybe a week or two. It takes about 15 or twenty minutes to read the whole thing.

I don’t apologize for drawing strength from my faith. Much of my strength in my battle with depression comes through reading the little book of Philippians. Why not try it.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
— Philippians 4:8-9:

Please, reach out to someone you trust. Please don’t suffer in silence. You don’t have to do this alone.