“When Things Just Aren’t Right…”
“Be of Good Courage, and He (God) Shall Strengthen Your Heart, and All Ye That Hope in the LORD.”
There are times in your life when certain things just don’t seem to be working out the way you had wished or hoped. As a result you may feel a little “down” for a while. But, being the resilient person you are, you perk back up after a few days or so and move forward with your life…But, what if the feelings of being “down” begin to appear more often and last longer; even when things around you return to being fine?
It is something that you believe will never happen to you…Something that you hear happening to “others,” but not to you; never….Yet; without warning, it does happen… For weeks, maybe even months, you’ve watched TV commercials and read magazine articles giving the warning signs for “depression,” but you keep dismissing it because you are not a depressive type person…
While at school (college), church, or work, your friends and co-workers “joke” about “all” those poor people who walk around taking depression meds to get them through the day…But, you know that’s not for you….You are a Christian and Christians don’t get depressed, and if they do, it’s only situational and temporary…
Then, day by day, you start to realize that the uninvited symptoms are creeping into your life much like a hazy midst descending over a dark lake… Then, Boom! You wake up one morning to find your Joy is gone…And, with your Joy being gone…so is your Strength….In its place are fears, uncertainties, and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness… All this time, you are still trying to hide it from those closest to you…You tell your friends and family, “Oh, I’m just tired; not feeling well today.” But, you know it is much more than that….And, slowly “it” begins to manifest itself outwardly; people start to notice.
Perhaps, as you stood in the shower getting ready this morning you watched the hot water from the shower-head mixing with the uncontrollable tears falling from your eyes… Unsure and frighten of what is happening, you stand in dismay watching the water and your tears mix together becoming one combined stream before reaching the drain pipe below…You realize that you are now bathing in both hot water and hot tears…And, the episodes are becoming far too familiar with more frequency and intensity…
What do you do? How did it happen? Where can you go? And, Who do you tell?
First, for the record, I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, health care provider, or licensed therapist or counselor….I am a retired pastor’s wife, mother, grandmother, Sunday school teacher, and retired public school teacher. However, over the past thirty-seven years I have witnessed in others as well as endured myself the agonizing steps of depression. Being a Christian believer, I feel blessed that I have never faced one symptom of depression alone; my God was always there to see me through and Praise be unto Him…He brought me through!
What do you do? First, realize and accept that “depression” and the symptoms of depression can happen to any one living on planet Earth; including yourself. Symptoms of depression can be found throughout the Bible. Many of God’s most faithful servants suffered from periods of depression including the prophet Jeremiah, known as the “Weeping Prophet.” King David often wrote of his soul being “cast down” (depressed), Jonah sat down under a tree and cried out to God to let him die (suicidal thoughts), and Elijah once hid in a cave wishing to die from the fears he was experiencing over his enemies. God is NOT unfamiliar with the ways in which you are feeling….There are numerous scriptures throughout the Bible containing various degrees, stages, and symptoms of depression. I would suggest that you type the words, “Scriptures on Depression” into a search engine…You might just be surprised to see how many scriptures are available. In Google alone, there were over two million sites listed. I suggest you read these scriptures over and over from the BIBLE to help give you strength as you get through your time or season of depression; no matter its causes.
How did it happen? Depression and symptoms of depression can be brought into our lives through a plethora of causes. They can either be temporary or situational depending upon the circumstances, such as a loss of a loved one, or loss of job, or loss of other life-supporting or life-sustaining factors. Illnesses and sicknesses can bring about depression or symptoms of depression. Certain medicines have side-effects that can cause depressive type symptoms. Depression can be brought about through societal issues or uncontrolled external factors. I once heard depression described as, “Any time reality does not measure up to our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual standards, needs, or desires; no matter its catalyst.” With that definition in place, one can certainly see why “any” human can face signs and symptoms of depression throughout various stages of life!
Where can you go? Next, seek out medical assistance; if necessary. Talk to your primary care physician. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with him or her, ask who they might recommend. With my being a Christian, I would also recommend seeking out a Christian counselor; one who supports and shares in your beliefs in God through Jesus Christ. Some churches even have counselors on staff. As Christians, we tend to believe that “medicines” for depression should be one of our last venues towards healing; but don’t delay taking meds if your doctor(s) feel it is the right course of treatment for you. And, always follow your doctor’s prescribed recommended doses…They are not antibiotics; the “faster” they get into your system the quicker you’ll feel better…I have a friend who was facing a situational period of depression in her life and when “things” didn’t seem any different after a few days she wanted to stop taking the medicine her doctor had prescribed. When she called his office, she was told that it could take up to three to four weeks before she could feel or sense a difference…After a few more weeks, she began to sense a more “stabled” balance- of- mind returning.
Who do you tell? Depression can be a very private matter just between you and God. Always tell God how you are feeling about any and every situation, circumstance, or issue within your life. Remember, He plainly states, “Come unto me all who are heavy burdened (depressed/oppressed) and I will give you rest.” Satan might have you believing that God doesn’t care when you are depressed, or that God is “ashamed” or “mad” at you because you aren’t “soaring with eagles” over a matter…Remember, Satan is a liar from the start, and God already knows how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what is in your heart…He (God) sticks closer than a brother! If you feel that it will help your situation better, you may wish to share with your closest family members or friends that you are going through a time of depression in your life. Be wise…Use wisdom…Don’t be surprised if “some” people might NOT understand and would want to “judge” you as NOT being as “spiritual” as you should be! Honestly, some people look at every aspect possible to judge others without first judging themselves! As my Granny used to say, “It rains or pours on everyone at one time or another!” But, most people, especially those who really love and care about you, will only want to share in supporting you through your most difficult time either by lending a supporting ear or through acts of kindness and prayer support.
With time, support (medical & spiritual), and prayer, most people survive moments, seasons, and occasions of depression within their lives and some return to even a healthier life style. It is for those who have no “hope;” no personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that I feel the most sorry for…Truly, these are the ones who suffer the fullest effects of deep depression, gloom, and sadness. I’m not saying that a Christian cannot suffer deep valleys of depression as well, but as they “walk through” their valley of depression God is with them (Psalm 23)….Those without Christ are walking its darkened path all alone… God have mercy on the lost.
Today, you may be suffering from symptoms of depression or know someone who is…Remember, depression can come into anyone’s life and stay there longer than wanted or expected. But, there are ways and means in seeking out help for times and seasons of depression. And, most importantly know that GOD LOVES YOU and He will never leave nor forsake you….He will always be there with you….You are never truly alone no matter the circumstance with Christ in your heart…Let your spirit cuddle up with God’s Spirit (The Holy Spirit) today and pour out your heart unto him…He careth for you.
Remember, God Loves You!
Lin T. Rollins, Author