Dealing with Depression

One of the life-issues that I am most often asked about is depression. If you follow the preceding link to its source, you will note that depression can be quite serious and require professional treatment. None of us should be reluctant to seek any and all help available in dealing with depression.

WebMD has an interactive tool that helps a person determine if he or she is depressed. It is likely that far more people than most of us realize struggle mightily with depression. If you happen to be one of these people or know someone who is, I also recommend that you visit a couple of recent posts on Jim Martin’s blog. These posts are:

(1) Dealing with Depression (Part 1)

(2) Dealing with Depression (Part 2)

I think Jim hits the nail squarely on the head with these two posts.

There are many resources available, to be sure. A quick Google Search will lead you to many online resources.

Although it has been in print for quite some time, the Minirth and Meier book entitled Happiness Is a Choice: The Symptoms, Causes, and Cures of Depression remains one of my most highly recommended resources.

For those who find themselves in the spiritual doldrums, one of the ways that I have often been refreshed is by spending time in the Psalms. I’ve found that a modern language translation is most beneficial for this purpose. One online source you might enjoy is the English Standard Version. This site is easily navigated and the translation is crisp and clear.

Beyond these things, I suggest that all who seek to walk in step with the Spirit in the footsteps of Jesus read at least one chapter each day from the Gospels. I prefer to vary the translation I’m using for this from time-to-time. Since the text is familiar territory, this keeps my focus sharp and, I believe, my heart more in tune with the message.

My prayer for each of you was uttered first by the Apostle Paul, as he was guided by the Holy Spirit: “16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

© Bill Williams

June 28, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Depression, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Dealing with Depression

  1. Mark says:

    Bill, great to see you have a blog! I am looking forward to coming to your neck of the woods with the topic of Cyber Safety.
    Mark

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you, Bill, for posting about an issue so close to my heart. Not only have I battled with depression myself (on and off since my father died and my husband left shortly thereafter) but I also see it each week as I facilitate the Divorce Care group at my church. Just tonight I had two new hearts who entered, very broken and very depressed. Hopefully, unlike me, they will move through the depression stage of grief quickly and in a healthy way, and not get stuck there like so many people who have been devasted by divorce do (and understandably so).

    During my time(s) of the darkest of deepest depression I have ever known (it happened to me twice), I literally had to eat the Word (as the prophet Jeremiah said). I was either reading it, or praying it, or listening to it, or watching it….even sleeping with it on. And although those times were so hard and so dark, I walked through on the other side knowing my Jesus in a way that I just can’t explain with mere words. I think I must’ve had what St. John of the Cross (I think) called a Dark Night of the Soul.

    So thank you for addressing an issue that most pastors and churches (and lay folks too) avoid like the plague.

    His,
    Jennifer

  3. Jennifer,

    Thank so much for the transparency of your comment. May God’s grace continue to be your comfort and stay. May your ministry to those who are battling depression be effectual.

    Blessings to you,
    -bill

  4. Greg England says:

    Of the many things we’re not very good at dealing with as a church family, depression is one of those we’re even better at not dealing with! I don’t know Jennifer, but I’ve read all of her comments along the way and I’m very proud of her journey through the junk. She’s allowed the Lord to use her circumstances and pain to minister to others. Often that is the highest form of ministry. Doesn’t always have the greatest “pay off” in this life, but it shows the presence of the Lord even in the worst of times. I would love to have many “Jennifers” in our church family.

  5. Dee Andrews says:

    Thank you SO much, Bill, for this post on depression. I don’t know if any of you have read it yet or not (if you haven’t, you really need to, along with all the comments there, to go along with this post and all the comments thus far), but over in his latest (Sunday’s) post at “Tent Pegs,” titled “Depressed?”, Patrick Mead addresses this same subject.

    Here are some of my comments on Patrick’s post that apply equally as much here. You see – I KNOW what it means to have no hope in this life even as a Christian to the point of being suicidal, as distant ago as that seems to me now. I also know it can return if I am not vigilant in keeping it at bay in every way I can, including all of those things you mention today, Bill:

    ” . . . I agree with all you say, Patrick.

    I have suffered from depression, at times and for a very long time very deeply to the point of being suicidal, for most of my life.

    Like your earlier (Patrick’s) commenter Annette has so poignantly said, those of us who suffer this insidious disease even as Christians, are sometimes made to feel it is some sort of inadequacy in us in our faith or spirituality. At least it was that way for me for a very long time.

    I thank God that I was able in my darkest hours to (providentially, I’m convinced) find a Christian psychologist who worked with me for a very long time, and with my children later, as well (due to circumstances in our dysfunctional family with their father, who I will not comment about any further), to help me and my sons and daughter come to a place of wholeness as much as possible.

    God has sustained me greatly through my life and as I’ve gotten older I’ve suffered much less from depression’s destructive forces through newer medications and the deep and abiding love of my husband, Tom, who God brought into my life a long time ago now (again, I am fully convinced, providentially because God knew of my need for Tom’s love).

    My children are all adults and doing well in their lives, for which I am ever grateful to God as well.

    Your words (Patrick’s, and yours, too, Bill) in this post are greatly needed. I hope those who read them who suffer from any kind of depression will be encouraged to seek professional help. It can make all the difference in the world. For me, I think, it made the difference between life and death and my life since those times has been much richer and fuller than I ever could have imaginged before.”

    BTW – To further comment on Greg’s above, about Jennifer and her compassionate work, I have come to believe we all suffer in this life in the individual ways we each do for the express purpose of allowing the Lord to use those specific circumstances and pains we have ourselves suffereed to minister to others. Because it is only then – through our own sufferings and redemption- that we can truly be able to empathize and minister to others in the midst of their like or similar circumstances.

  6. Steve says:

    Have you read Real Live Preacher’s account of his depression and his experience with taking medication? You can find it on his web site. You can use his search tool to find all the posts. Just enter “depression” in the search box.

    http://www.reallivepreacher.com

    Peace.

  7. Thanks, Dee, for sending me over to Patrick’s Tentpegs blog. Since he started his new one, I keep forgetting to check this one. His perspective and experiences are very valuable, indeed.

    Steve: I took the time to read Real Live Preacher’s recent posts and scanned all he has written about depression. He throws the windows of his inner self wide open for all the world to look in, doesn’t he? Thanks for dropping in and sharing this with us.

  8. Kathy says:

    Dee and Jennifer,

    I don’t get over here too much but enjoy reading your entries so much. You two are perfect living examples of God’s promise in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

    He is a God of all comfort. He DOES comfort us. He equips us through our trials to comfort others – to be able to empathize with them since we’ve walked in their moccasins – and all this comes together that we might learn to rely on Him and not on ourselves, again, something you two lovely ladies demonstrate daily in your lives.

    Praise Him for His mighty work in your lives, and blessed are those that are fortunate enough to be recipients of your God-given grace extened to others that are suffering as you have suffered!

    Bill, you bless so many through your blog. Thank you!!

  9. Thanks so much for stopping by to add your words of encouragement. It is amazing how mighty our God is and how mightily He works in our lives.
    God bless,
    -bill

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