The term depression is used excessively in our society today, however, it is important to clarify the difference between feeling sad (temporary emotional state) and being depressed (a mood disorder with a category of symptoms). Sadness subsides in a relatively timely manner while depression lingers for what seems to be eternity for those inflicted with it. Diagnostic criteria for depression include, but not limited to, feelings of sadness, decrease in appetite, sleep disturbance, feelings of worthlessness and despair, difficulty concentrating, thinking, staying focused, and impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of important functioning (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2000). These symptoms persist for two weeks or longer and progressively worsen if left untreated, sometimes leading to suicidal thoughts. Sadness comes from an emotional reaction to life events and can turn into depression. Depression can be related to biological or environmental factors. Recognizing the difference between a period of sadness and a bout of depression can mean the difference between life and death.
Sadness is a natural response to events while depression becomes a state of mind. To effectively battle depressive symptoms one must address the persistent thought patterns prevalent with depression.
Charles Allen (1953) states the best self-help book that has stood the test of time is the Bible. Allen published his book, God’s Psychiatry, over 60 years ago and it is still in print because it works due to the fact he points individuals to the Bible, which has been in print since the inception of the printing press and has been in the written word almost since the beginning of time. The devil tries to use our weaknesses (self doubt, self loathing, distorted thinking, ect.) against us yet the Bible states, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Eph 6:10-11. In order to address depression one must first recognize regardless of the initial causation of the depression, life events or genetics, the devil will use that weakness of depression against you.
To battle these strongholds the devil has on us, turning the depressive symptoms into a downhill spiral, one must take on weapons that are not of this world. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God………….stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As for shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Eph 6:13-17.
The Bible, the infallible word of God, addresses all our needs, including emotional. If you are depressed turn to the Bible to seek direction for help, some verses you may look to are: Proverbs 28:13, Gen 4:6-7, Ps 32:3-4, 32:5, 32:1-2,11, Ps 42, 42:5-6, Isa 40, 2 Cor 4:8-9, 4:16-18, and 11:23-28. Seek Godly counsel from someone you trust, and get into counseling with a Christian Counselor, do not let the devil convince you that you are alone, that no one will understand, your problems are too great, others will judge, or that you are worthless. These are lies from the devil to keep you captive to the depression. Break free of your captivity by reaching out to God and allow God to use those Godly people around you to help lift you from the ashes of despair into a new life of beauty with him.