Category Archives: Depression

Depression The Solution

The news did a report on Andrea Yates and her subsequent killing of her five children. America was shocked concerning this news report. One of the many questions that arose from the report was: “Did her family know the seriousness of her depression?” The public also asked “Did Andrea’s husband do enough to ensure his wife’s safety and the safety of their children?” When it went to trial, the proceedings revealed that Andrea had been hospitalized for severe depression several times. Two times she was released prematurely. Her husband, Rusty, had appealed to her last doctor. He stated that Andrea needed the medication that had proven successful in the past. Andrea was left alone with the children for one hour every day. During that one hour on June 20, 2001, Andrea drowned her children.

 

The question is: “Could this have been avoided?” “Could the family have taken steps to help Andrea move from despair to the light of hope?” If they knew of the coming danger, could they have more discerning stance about her?

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:5

 

Key Verse to Memorize

 

If you are experiencing depression, recall God’s heart. Repeat the following scripture to yourself each day…

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

 

Key Passages to Read and Reread

 

We cannot choose what we inherit genetically. We can choose what we dwell on cognitively. Brain scans of those suffering with depression often show marked improvement when words of

 

-hope

-affirmation

-purpose

 

are continually reinforced. Life is a series of choices. An individual can choose today to put the Word of God into action. Note the following truths found in I Thessalonians 5:16-24:

 

-Be joyful always…Choose to write down and continue to focus on the positives in your life…v. 16

-Pray continually…Choose to talk to God about everything…v. 17

-Give thanks in all circumstances…Choose to thank God for what you are learning right now…v. 18

-Do not put out the Spirit’s fire…Choose to change when God’s Spirit convicts you to change…v. 19

-Do not treat prophecies with contempt…Choose to take God’s Word seriously…v. 20

-Choose to ask, “Is this right in God’s sight…v. 21

-Hold on to the good…Choose to do right, even when you are tempted to do wrong…v. 21

-Avoid every kind of evil…Choose to turn immediately from temptation…v. 22

-“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through…Choose to see how God has “set you apart” (sanctified you) to be what He intended you to be…v. 23

“May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless.” Choose to commit your whole being to doing what God created you to do…v. 23

“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”…Choose to rely on God’s power to do what you are called to do…v. 24

As I stated earlier, ask God for revelation concerning what is in your heart. Then you will know what to pray for. Note the following prayer:

 

“Oh, Father, I come to You as Your child for help. Calm my heart. Enable me to see what I need to see. Make me aware of my need for healing, and show me Your truth. Bring to my mind any hidden hurt in my heart and the exact circumstances that caused it. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”

 

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Spiritual Contributors of Depression

It has been discussed that there are physical, emotional, and mental reasons for depression. There are also spiritual reasons for a despairing heart. Disobedience and guilt provide enough fertile seed to turn any white cloud into a dark storm. A person cannot harbor the guilt of displeasing God and still experience the full joy of His salvation. A person also cannot withstand the schemes and attacks of the enemy against one’s mind without knowing and appropriating the Bible into one’s life. Disobedience and guilt are inseparable. Unless you apply the remedy of confession and repentance, (this means a change of mind and direction). In this respect, an individual may find depression sweeping over one’s soul and spirit. The individual suffers like the disobedient Israelites…

 

“You will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.” Deut. 28:65

 

 

Emotional Contributors of Depression

In order to discuss the physical contributors to depression, it is necessary to give a working example of it. A woman named Andrea Yates had been suicidal and hospitalized. She was taken off her medications. They had been of help to her. Because of the wide hormonal changes in her body after delivery, that deficit contributed to her plunging head first into what is called postpartum psychosis (a break with reality).

 

Unfortunately, many mothers with this psychosis are consumed with thoughts of death to their babies and destruction of themselves. Note the scripture concerning this:

 

“The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” Psalm 18:4-5

There are six physical contributors to depression.

 

#1 Hormonal imbalance

The question arises as follows: “Can depression be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?” This frequently asked question is answered with an unquestionable yes! Hormonal changes during puberty, postpartum (after childbirth) and peri-menopause (around menopause) can lead to depression.

 

#2 Medications and drugs

Certain legal and illegal drugs can cause depression, such as analgesics, anti-depressants, steroids, contraceptives, and cardiac medications.

 

#3 Chronic illnesses

Medical problems such as a thyroid deficiency and even a bout with the flu can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, which, in turn can cause depression.

 

#4 Melancholy temperaments

Orderly, gifted, and creative, the person with a melancholy temperament can be moody, overly sensitive, and self-deprecating. Because of those with this temperament are analytical, critical, and hard to please, they can take everything too seriously or too personally, quickly become depressed over circumstances or the slightest imperfection in themselves or others.

 

#5 Improper food, rest, exercise

A deficiency in the physical basics of life can contribute to a chronic sense of fatigue, lack of energy, and social withdrawal.

 

#6 Genetic vulnerability

Based on statistical data, those with depressed family members are two times more vulnerable to depression than those with no family history of depression. Likewise, “50% of those with bipolar have at least one parent with the disorder.

 

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

 

Question: “Why do twice as many women have depression as men?”

 

Women produce only one-half the amount of serotonin as men; however, estrogen in women multiples the amount of serotonin to equal the level in men. The challenge occurs at three specific times–prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle, after childbirth, and around menopause–when estrogen levels drop, sometimes severely. If a woman’s estrogen level is not sufficient to multiply serotonin, she experiences a depletion of serotonin, which can cause depression. This is one reason why many women receive Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) and why other women consult their physicians in order to feel “whole” again. Jesus said,

 

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:12

 

Physical Contributors to Depression

In order to discuss the physical contributors to depression, it is necessary to give a working example of it. A woman named Andrea Yates had been suicidal and hospitalized. Eventually she was taken off her medications. They had been of help to her. Because of the wide hormonal changes in her body after delivery, that deficit contributed to her plunging head first into what is called postpartum psychosis (a break with reality).

Unfortunately, many mothers with this psychosis are consumed with thoughts of death to their babies and destruction of themselves. Note the scripture concerning this:

 

“The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” Psalm 18:4-5

 

There are six physical contributors to depression.

 

#1 Hormonal imbalance

The question arises as follows: “Can depression be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?” This frequently asked question is answered with an unquestionable yes! Hormonal changes during puberty, postpartum (after childbirth) and peri-menopause (around menopause) can lead to depression.

 

#2 Medications and drugs

Certain legal and illegal drugs can cause depression, such as analgesics, anti-depressants, steroids, contraceptives, and cardiac medications.

 

#3 Chronic illnesses

Medical problems such as a thyroid deficiency and even a bout with the flu can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, which, in turn can cause depression.

 

#4 Melancholy temperaments

Orderly, gifted, and creative, the person with a melancholy temperament can, at the same time, be moody, overly sensitive, and self-deprecating. Because of those with this temperament are analytical, critical, and hard to please, they can take everything too seriously or too personally, quickly become depressed over circumstances or the slightest imperfection in themselves or others.

 

#5 Improper food, rest, exercise

A deficiency in the physical basics of life can contribute to a chronic sense of fatigue, lack of energy, and social withdrawal.

 

#6 Genetic vulnerability

Based on statistical data, those with depressed family members are two times more vulnerable to depression than those with no family history of depression. Likewise, “50% of those with bipolar have at least one parent with the disorder.

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

Question: “Why do twice as many women have depression as men?”

Women produce only one-half the amount of serotonin as men; however, estrogen in women multiples the amount of serotonin to equal the level in men. The challenge occurs at three specific times–prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle, after childbirth, and around menopause–when estrogen levels drop, sometimes severely. If a woman’s estrogen level is not sufficient to multiply serotonin, she experiences a depletion of serotonin, which can cause depression. This is one reason why many women receive Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) and why other women consult their physicians in order to feel “whole” again. Jesus said,

 

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:12

 

Can Sin be One of the Sources of Depression

This question does not have a yes or no answer. Some believe it is always a yes. The more accurate answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

 

1.                 Depression is not a result of sin when…your heart grieves over normal losses. The Bible says…“(There is) a time to weep…a time to mourn.” Ecclesiastes 3:4. Your body experiences natural deterioration due to the passing of years. Your body chemistry can change and be compromised. The Bible says,

 

“Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

 

2. Depression can be a result of sin when…You are depressed over the consequences of your sinful actions, and you do not attempt to change. You do not take the necessary steps for healing (seeking biblical counseling, memorizing Scriptures, reading Christian materials, getting medical help when appropriate). You hold on to self-pity, anger, and bitterness when you have been wronged, instead of choosing to forgive.

 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17

 

You use your depression to manipulate others. You continually choose to blame God and others for your unhappiness. You are depressed because you choose to let others control you instead of choosing to obey Christ and allow Him to be in control of you.

 

The Three Degrees of Depression

can occur when your body chemistry does not function properly. Some people experience both. During these heavy-hearted times when hope seems elusive, emotions feel flat and the heart feels sick. Solomon, the wise author of Proverbs explains it in this manner…

 

“Hope deferred makes the

heart sick, but a longing fulfilled

is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

 

The following four types described below are listed in diagnostic order. They show the increasing negative impact of depression.

 

1.                 Normal Depression…It is sometimes called Situational Depression or Reactive Depression. It is an involuntary sadness based on a reaction to painful life situations. Normal problems of life press down the heart for a short period of time (for example, rejection, failure, illness). Transitional stages of life often press down the heart (for example, adolescence, empty next, midlife crises, major moves, menopause, retirement. [American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text revision (Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association, 2000), 679.]

 

When severe troubles fell upon God’s servant Job (the death of all his children, the destruction of all his possessions), one of his friends observed Job’s understandable depression.

 

“Now trouble comes to you,

and you are discouraged; it

strikes you, and you are

dismayed.” Job 4:5

 

2.                 Masked Depression…It is hidden depression (for example, repressed memories of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse). It is a state of enduring sadness based on unresolved, buried conflict. Painful feelings are denied or covered up; therefore, recovery takes longer because of failure to work through the pain. Relief from such emotional pain is unconsciously found in excessive busynes, activities, addictions, or other alternatives.

The Bible describes how hidden hurts still result in heartache…

 

Even in laughter the heart

may ache, and joy may end in

grief.” Proverbs 14:13

 

3.                 Neurotic Depression…This is a minor mental and emotional Depressive Disorder classified as Adjustment Disorder with Depressive Mood. [DSM-IV TR, 679.] This means that the depression results from failure to adjust to a distressing situation. A person with neurosis has a disorder, meaning that normal activities of daily living are impaired. A person with any Depressive Disorder has “clinical depression”–the need for diagnosis and treatment based on direct, ongoing observation. It is a prolonged state of sadness lasting longer than the normal time frame expected for emotional recovery–based on “stressors” (for example, loss of an endeared relationship, a financial or work crisis, retirement). Symptoms interfere with normal work and social functioning. The cause can usually be traced to an identifiable, precipitating event.

 

The Psalms reflect the pain of prolonged sorrow…

 

“How long must I wrestle with

my thoughts and every day have

sorrow in my heart? How long

will my enemy triumph over

me?” Psalm 13:2

 

The World of Psychology

The earliest reference to what is meant by our word depression was the word melancholia, which literally means “black bile.” The assumption is that if the melancholy person had an excess of black bile, it would result in depression. In the second century AD, the physician Aretaeus referred to his melancholy patients as “sad, dismayed, sleepless… They become thin by their agitation and loss of refreshing sleep… At the more advanced state, they complain of a thousand futilities and desire death. [H. Norman Wright, Beating the Blues: Overcoming Depression and Stress (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1988), 9.]

 

Today melancholia is defined as “a mental condition characterized by extreme depression, bodily complaints, and often hallucinations and delusions.” [Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, s.v. “Melancholia.] For those suffering during this dark night of the soul, it could be said…

 

“For all of them, deep darkness is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.” Job 24:17

 

Depression is the psychological term pertaining to the mental, emotional, and behavioral characteristics of a depressed person. (Psychology is the study of the mind as it relates to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, focusing on why people think, feel, and act as they do.) [Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, s.v. “Psychology.” An example of this can be shown in the following manner. Those engulfed in the dark waves of depression feel desperately alone and often blame God for their plight.

 

“You have taken my companions and

loved ones from me; the darkness is

my closest friend.” Psalm 88:18

 

Depression is a psychological state in which the heart is pressed down and unable to experience joy. Those suffering with depression feel trapped underneath a dark, pervasion canopy of sadness, grief, guilt, and hopelessness.

 

“Darkness comes upon them in the daytime;

at noon they grope as in the night.”

Job 5:14

 

Depression is a psychological condition that affects the whole person: body (the physical, soul (the mind, will, and emotions), and spirit (the source of our deepest inner needs). Many who are depressed feel as though this verse describes them…

 

“All his days he eats in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger.”

Ecclesiastes 5:17

 

Depression is an umbrella term that covers feelings ranging from discouragement to despair. [Stephen A. Grunlan and Daniel H. Lambrides, Healing Relationships: A Christian’s Manual for Lay Counseling (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1984), 121] No matter the degree of darkness, the Lord wants us to rely on Him to provide light.

 

You, O Lord, keep my lamp

burning; my God turns my darkness

into light” Psalm 18:28