“When sick, seek the Lord. If there is no sin, then visit the physician, for God has made him.”—The Apocrypha
There are several issues to be considered concerning depression.
1. Depression is often internal anger. There are things in our lives that we cannot control. It can be something from our past, present, or future. If this is the case, we need an expanded vision of God, one that allows us to rest.
2. Depression can come from obsessive thinking, finding one negative thing in our life or the life of another and making it our total focus, like pulling an ink pen so close to our eyes that we can see nothing else. This is the result of an undisciplined mind. If this is the case, we must learn “not to go there.” When the thought comes, we refuse it, setting our minds on the things above.
3. It is said that depressed people are 60% more realistic about situations. Depression can come from seeing things as they are. However, we are to walk in faith, not seeing the situation but seeing God. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for! Depression can be a faith issue.
4. Depression can come from believing that our “chooser” is broken and we cannot change our lives or our situations. We are deceived into thinking that we are stuck, so we give up.
5. Depression can be an addiction, the way that we have learned to cope with life. Depression gives the excuse to be lazy and is actually very addictive. Many have a vested interest in being depressed, when the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Advantages can include not having to work, having an excuse, avoiding risk, self-absorption, and attention getting.
6. Depression can come as oppression of the enemy. All things true are not the Truth. For example, it may be true that I am not getting along with my mate, but that does not mean the marriage is over. That is something true ending at hopelessness. Instead, it is true I am not getting along with my mate, but the truth is that Jesus has made us one. In this case, write on a piece of paper all you know to be Truth (Jesus is the Truth) and mediate on it.
7. Depression can have its roots in diet. If you feel depressed after drinking coffee, tea, or eating heaps of sugar, there can be a very good chance of low blood sugar. Just by eating differently you can escape the depression cycle.
8. Depression can be the result of sin. Carl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, said that he treated the symptoms of guilt his whole life, and toward the end of his life he realized that people felt guilt because they were guilty. He then published a book, scorned by his colleagues, Whatever Became of Sin? The depressed person must ask himself or herself, is there anything I am doing that God doesn’t want me to do?
9. Having said the above, you can see that the fight to be free from depression can be daily. I have fought it most of my life. Any more, if I feel depressed, I simply say to myself, “Like the tide that rises and lowers, this tide will go out with time. I will feel myself again; therefore, I will continue working and not focus on the emotions.”
10. This brings us to the final point, which is considered after all others for a reason. Can a Christian take medication? Of course! Can there be a chemical imbalance? That has been proven. Any of the above can create a chemical imbalance. However, if the imbalance (consequence) is treated and the cause allowed to go untreated, the long-term use of anti-depressants causes more damage than good. In my opinion only about 2-3% of people on anti-depressants don’t have a core issue causing the depression. I am not opposed to anti-depressants when accompanied with a detailed examination of the cause. However, I rarely find this to be the case. Many general practitioners are writing prescriptions with no expertise in the field. They wouldn’t march in and do heart surgery if unqualified, and yet they treat the fragile brain chemistry girded with only the pen and pamphlet given to them by a drug representative. Not only are they unqualified, but they spend at the most 10-20 minutes asking the patient a few questions. They then treat the symptoms (the same symptom can have more than one cause) rather than the person. I find this very unethical. There is one more point. If the above-mentioned are the cause of depression, medication can help in the short term if there is a commitment to working on the cause. A true chemical imbalance will respond to medication, so you will begin to feel much better within a few weeks. If not, return to your physician. After I did a complete 6-8 hours of counseling with a few people that I have known (you may be one of them), no cause was found. After they visited a qualified psychiatrist and began the medications, relief came quickly. Praise God. I personally am very grateful for the physician that diagnosed my migraine headaches as coming from food allergies and gave me the non-narcotic medications that treat them. Amen!
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