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There is an Answer to Depression

By Dr. Bruce Pringle
There is an Answer to Depression

From all outward appearances the young woman seemed to have everything together. From her background we learned that her family was well off and that she was talented. She was quite attractive, yet she suffered from periods of depression-- periods that would come and go. Why should this young woman, who seemingly had everything, be depressed and controlled by this problem which is affecting many people today?

Some of the latest statistics indicate that one out of six individuals in North America will become depressed at some point in their life. Probably that statistic would be higher if you took into consideration those who are depressed go just short periods of time and are not looked after medically.

There are many different causes that create this problem: poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, reactions to certain drugs, infections of the brain or nervous system, body infections, glandular disorders, imbalances of secretions from the adrenal or pituitary glands, repressed anger; reactive depression which is brief depression usually caused by a traumatic curcumstance in one's life such as divorce, separation, death, loss of a job; a disturbance in the body's chemical system, negative thinking (this is the root of much depression), and excessive self-pity which creates a poor self-image. On the other hand, achieving success can be a cause of depression. A person reaches the level that he had set and, having reached that point, depression sets in. Guilt is also a cause of depression. In some cases the guilt is real, in some cases it is imagined.

Some people remain depressed because they benefit from it. For example, they gain sympathy from people because they are depressed and, therefore, they refuse to deal with it.

When a person starts becoming depressed, he usually behaves in a way that reinforces the depression. Instead of dealing with the state of mind that he is in, his actions reinforce the depression and lead him into a deeper condition.

Dr. James Dobson, who is a Christian Clinical Psychologist in California, states that there are a number of sources of depression among housewives including: low self-esteem, fatigue and time pressure, loneliness, isolation and boredom, absence of romantic love in the marriage, menstrual and physiological problems, sexual problems in marriage, financial difficulties, aging, problems with the children, and in-law conflicts.

The twenty-four most disturbing events which cause depression, in the order of importance, are:

1. Death of a child
2. Death of a spouse
3. A jail sentence
4. Unfaithful spouse
5. Major financial difficulty
6. Business failure
7. Being fired
8. Miscarriage/stillbirth
9. Divorce/Marital separation
10. Court appearance
11. Unwanted pregnancy
12. Major illness in family
13. Unemployment for long periods
14. Death of a close friend
15. A demotion
16. Major, personal illness
17. Start of an extra-marital affair
18. Loss of personal, valuable objects
19. A law suit
20. Academic failure
21. Child marries without family approval
22. Broken engagement
23. Taking out a large loan
24. Son going into armed forces

Depression seems to be sweeping over our land destroying individuals, marriages and families. We need to look for answers to depression.

In some circles depression is referred to as sin. Some of those who are spiritually strong and who have a very strong mental, emotional and physical make-up, place a lot of guilt on the individual who is depressed. As a Christian counselor, I do not believe depression is a sin; however, it can definitely be the result of sin.

Rather than looking at depression as sin, I would say that it is a God-given defence mechanism to protect us from harm. Depression is telling us that there is something wrong biochemically, emotionally or mentally that needs attention. It is like an early-warning radar system within us to warn and protect us. Once we recognize this fact we need then to know how to handle the depression.

The monetary crash of 1929 found J.C.Penney quite stable financially in comparison with many others in his professionl. Yet, as he saw business failures around him, he became so depressed that he was taken to the hospital. During the night he got up and wrote a letter to his family, since he did not expect to see morning. However, he was awakened by music the next morning. Getting up, he followed the sound of the music to a small group who were singing a song entitled, "God Will Take Care of You." Mr Penney, by his own admission, says that from then on he began to get better as he realized God cared for him.

God will also take care of you! He is the answer to depression. God, in His love, does not want us to be controlled by fear, guilt, low self-esteem, resentment or bitterness, but rather to experience His love, to have His peace and joy within us. He has provided the answer for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, stated in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, had some things to say which deal with depression. In Isaiah 26:3 he said, God will keep you in perfect peace as you keep your mind on Him. In 40:31, he again gives us some very sound advice: "Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Perhaps you are saying that you would like to believe that this is available to you, but wonder why God seems so far away. It's probably because you have never personally accepted God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into your life. It is by accepting Jesus Christ that you can have rest and peace. God's plan and purpose is for Him to live is your heart and life. For Jesus to do that, you must invite Him in. You can do that by praying something like this, "Dear God, I recognize that I can't get rid of depression by myself; I need Your help. I also understand that I cannot get to know You in a personal way unless I know Your Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, Lord Jesus, I invite You to come into my life, forgive my sins, and help me to be the person You want me to be. Thank You!"

When you have accepted Christ into your life, you then need to believe that God has removed your sin and guilt.

The second thing that you need to consider is the possibility of medical problems. If you suspect that there may be a medical cause for your depression, make sure you check it out with a competent medical doctor. Don't put it off!

Thirdly, once you have received the Lord Jesus Christ you need to forgive yourself since He has forgiven you. Stop condemning yourself! Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the Spirit." Forgiveness is the only way out. You can say, "God has forgiven me, now I forgive myself."

Fourthly, you need to forgive others. If you are plagued by resentment and bitterness, it means that someone else has hurt you. By focusing on this resentment, you have contributed to your own depression. Therefore, you need to say, "God, I now forgive that person as well," whoever he may be.

One of the greatest sources of strength to overcome depression is a daily quiet time during which you read the Bible. Start with the Gospel of John.

Also through studying the Word of God together with other believers, sharing joys and problems and praying together, you will mature as a Christian.

Talk to God the Father, asking Him for guidance in your life. Remember, God loves you and wants you to walk in obedience to Him. Christ will enable you. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

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The Bible text in this article is from The New King James Version,
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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