If you have loved ones you want to help regarding depression please use this as a starting point and get help from your pastor and elders so that they can monitor progress and help you as you help the loved on handle, overcome and eliminate depression from their lives.
If you know someone that is depressed and you are not sure you can help them evn with this I strongly urge you to get the pastor involved since depression can lead to suicide. Help for the depressed person must be given... Steve
Within the medical community depression is the # 1 medical problem. The Harvard guide to psychiatry reported that depression occurs more often in younger adults and in women for several reasons.
a. One reason is that depression has increased as the public has been exposed to the increased expectations to get relief from “medical symptoms” such as anxiety, tension, and depression.
c. A third reason for the problem of being depressed, they state is that the family has lost the supports that society needs, these are supports wich include having close family ties, having extended families, good neighborhoods, and solid religious institutions.
d. Furthermore the expectations that the health system (especially psychiatry) can, should, and will respond to help you in relieving your problems increases depression in our society. Note the pressure, “There is a great deal of economic pressure on these systems to respond because if one doctor won't, the patient will go to another.” This increases depression when the “demands of the patient don’t or cannot happen. There are increased advertisements regarding overcoming depression through drugs and by doctors and it becomes a viscious cycle. Desire not to be depressed à see the Doctor à get a prescription à it doesn’t à dissatification à go see another doctor etc. I hope you get the point!
The National Health Association proclaims that you may have clinical depression if you have thoughts like these "I'm so ashamed I can't face my friends." Or "I feel so badly, I wish I could _______.” Etc. Later we will look at how to identify depression later.
Depression is costly. It is a cost to the family, to employers and businesses, and to families. In 1993 a newspaper stated: “Mental depression cost 43.7 billion dollars per year in treatment and lost productivity.”
What Causes Depression:
As we will soon see depression comes upon a person when one fails to handle life's responsibilities God's way. There are many things at the root of depression. For example:
a. recent illness
b. getting behind in wirk
c. hormonal changes
d. self pity
g. bad feelings that come from resentment
h. guilt from sin
NOTE: This list is not conclusive but only examples.
Depression does not come from any of the above listed things that may be at the root of depression. Depression comes from a downward cyclical process wherein an initial problem is handled wrongly so that problems arise and get bigger and finally spin and plunge the person into despair. Historically depression was called slothfulness when a person had “A sadness of heart and a reluctance to engage in any activity that required effort.” (compare: Matt. 25:14-46 -The Wicked Servant).
Those of you that are in depression, have fought depression, are in a family, or you have a friend that is depressed know the symptoms of depression. You also know the frustration, hurt and difficulty that comes with living with or around depressed people.
Some of us however may not know what depression is therefore we need to look at how to identify depression. Depressed people are moody, are blue and very often respond to basic responsibility in life by stating or living in a state of “What’s the use?” crying easily, seldom do they laugh having drooping efface muscles, while looking and staring doing at the ground. Depressed people many time overeat, dressing in unkempt appearance. They are often tired, spending a lot of time in bed. They fail to work in order to fulfill life’s normal duties and responsibilities.
Simply put a depressed person lives in a state of dehabilitation. The depressed person is in a state of moodiness, and in a state of feeling an open air of despair which drives their reason for not handling even the most basic and important issues of life.
The World's Perspective On Depression
The perspective non Christians have on depression is that it is an illness or a medical disease caused by chemical imbalances. I admit I do not know what medical and scientific tests are given to patients to make those determinations. Now I have heard and read some of the theories and the hypothesis given by many regarding depression. However I have seen several people that were depressed go for medical help and in every situation I am aware of the chemicals were given to them by trial and error. I am not a professional in medicine or in counseling. I do believe it is unethical for me to override a Doctor’s findings. Therefore my concern in writing this is to share what the Bible says concerning overcoming depression. As we will soon see the Bible instructs us that depression comes upon a person when they fail to handle life's responsibilities God's way. Now with that stated I do believe sin does cause physical problems. You can read about the effects of sin on other blog entries on this blog site. It is not out of the question then that chemicals in the brain and body be affected. This might happen. Now if it does the chemical imbalance did not cause the depression but wrong thinking, feelings and actions is the cause. I do not want us to get confused on cause and effect regarding depression unless there is 100 percent scientific evidence. Therefore I am interested in seeing whether it is a reality in the claim that chemical imbalances cause some depression. If you have been treated in this manner would you please list the medical and scientific tests that your doctors did in order to determine what chemicals were out of balance. Perhaps you can e-mail these to me. Note that my e-mail address in on the blog site.
Tests accomplished by my doctors:
Chemicals found to be out imbalanced:
How To Help Depressed People
As stated above those of you that are in a family, or you which have a friend that is depressed must know the symptoms of depression. You also know the frustration, hurt, and difficulty that comes with living with or around depressed people. You know all to well that to get them moving forward to do basic responsibilities in life is like pulling a truck out of a ditch. Because of this I want to start by helping you know what not to do and what to do with and for your loved ones that are depressed.
What Not To Do:
Do not just support the depressed person. In other words do not support them in their desire to lay aside their basic responsibilities. You cannot just hang out and just hold the hand of the depressed. You also cannot minimize any thoughts of guilt and hostility the person may have. Guilt and hostility is wrong. God lets His people know how to handle guilt, anger, bitterness, etc. For you to only hold their hand or to minimize any wrong in their life takes away their personal responsibility before God. It adds to the downward spiral they are in. I am confident you do not want to be a part of that. Without personal accountability and the assurance of God's Word having solutions, their problems (s) just intensify.
What To Do:
1. First gather data so that you can truly help them. This starts by listening how the depressed person describes himself. Some things you may hear are that they stay tired, are blue, shy, introverted, quiet or self conscience. They may describe them selves as being lonely, nervous, impatient or impulsive.
Depressed people often talk about other things happening in their life such as:
Also take a good look at the person. In this observe how they act present themselves in front of and to others. Notice how he or she looks in their countenance, dress, and appearance. Take note of any attitude that would indicate a life of hopelessness. Be aware of the "What's the use" attitude and of their trying to convince you that life and their situation is of no use. Also observe if they sigh and cry easily. Do they have a fallen countenance evidenced by looking down at the ground or floor having a drooping of the face muscles, or by sitting motionless with their hands held? Have they physically slowed down, have they quit work and started putting off daily chores and responsibilities?
Now a depressed person will not exhibit all the features we have listes but in helping the depressed person these are symptoms to look for and ask about.
2. Second, evaluate the problem. You will hear them present their thoughts and ideas of the problem. They will give you their understanding of the problem. For example they may state, "I'm tired most of the time. I cry a lot. I'm nervdus. I never get anything done. Or, “My husband just doesn't understand me and yells at me."
These things may be true and need to be handled later but that is not the real problem so more need be discovered. This presentation is on the surface, and any attempt to handle depression at this level would be shallow. A presentation by the depressed person like this is their view of the cause but in reality this is an effect rather than the cause. Remember we do not want to confuse cause and effect.
Proverbs20:5 - Counsel in the heart of man is like deep waterier; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Now the next helpful question, to be able to help the depressed person, is to ask “How far back does the problem go?” Wt are the habits that have been formed which make it easy for the depressed person to respond as he or she does now?” How long has it been since you stopped performing? What specifically happened that led you to this conclusion?
3. Third, summarize the facts. Once you have gathered the above information in order to begin seeking to help the depressed person you can begin summarizing certain facts.
Now if they will let you help them and you give them homework to accomplish they may, and often do, become critical that you make them do work. But in order to help them you cannot allow their lazy habits to continue.
2) The second fact is that they only talk about the problem (s) but never do anything about them. To talk about issues is one thing but, never doing anything about the problem is not helping them at all. At this point they may be reading their Bible and even praying. That is a great place to start but it is a horrible place to end. To end there is to continue to hurt yourself and everyone that is around you. To start and stop with prayer and Bible reading is to go nowhere! So your job in helping the depressed person is to get them praying, thinking and doing the right things. This brings peace that surpasses all understanding and the presence of the God of peace in the persons life (Phil. 4).
3) The third fact is that the depressed person has unbiblical check points. For instance they may have their personal Bible study for two hours but can't get the housework done. This become their excuse for spirituality. Their thinking goes like this: “ I missed my devotions so I'll have a bad day" or "If I can't do everything right, I'll not do anything right." They do not take note and live in the reality that God's goals are always achievable.
4) The forth fact which you may have already seen is this: the depressed person is feeling oriented. In this the person feels then takes action on the feelings they have whether it is according to God’s word or not. When sin happens it adds to their worries, frustrations, despair, guilt, etc. They continue down the spiral of deep and darker depression. If not changed this can lead to many problems and can finally lead to death.
Give Forth Hope
In all of this negativity in their life it is important that you give them hope. Note that this is not a personally developed hope but a true living hope stated in the Word of God. Hope such as stated in the following passages of Scripture:
Now teach how to reverse the spiral of depression by replacing old habits with new biblical habits. This is the put off and put on principle taught by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians and Colossians. Instruct them what confession of sin means and how they are to confess and tear down the idols of the heart. Also work with them on thinking biblical in order that biblical actions follow. These things break the downward dark spiral of depression and bring light and life and blessings in to a persons life.
So in summary the depressed person must:
b. Work on right thinking and behavior – That is Biblical thinking must precede biblical actions.
John 13:17 - If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Philippians 4:9 - "Do those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you - Help them, work on obedience despite their feelings being command-oriented.
All may not be rosy for the depressed person may start to make excuses. If they do then you must deal with whatever excuses they present. Some examples include, “I can’t.” your response to that excuse may be “You just haven't learned how yet.” Another excuse that comes up often in a person that is depressed is, “I'm no good." To deal with this excuse acknowledge that this is true and that “all are sinners but have been given the righteousness of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with the privilege to please God.” Another favorite one is, "I'm lonely" and we all know the answer to this one! “Yu may be alone, but you choose to be lonely.” And what about, "I'll be a hypocrite to go against my feelings." I foind this one a miserable excuse. A response to this one is simply, “No! If you do what God says you are to do you'll be a responsible Christian that lives like Christ.”
A Biblical Case Study – Cain & Elijah
A. Consideration of Cain: Genesis 4:1-14
The overview of the account goes like this: First In 14:3-4 we see that Cain brought for the fruit if the ground as an offering to the Lord. God rejected Cain’s offering and Cain became extremely angry causing his countenance to fall.
However God did not leave Cain to himself but came to him in counsel asking, “…why art you angry? and “…why is you face fallen”, God then let Cain know that if he would do well both he and the sacrifice would be acceptable. If not then sin will continue to torment his conscience for sin lies at the door of his conscience!
Well Cain defied the Lord and did not confess, repent and obey the Lord. Cain came back to the Lord with a smart-alecky defiant attitude “Am I my brothers keeper?”
Therefore, since Cain defied reason logic and merciful advice we see God’s punishment in verse 11-12 “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall thou he in the earth.”
Cain's depression spiral went downward and got deeper and darker. He begin spiraling downward at a very fast pace. In his spiral there is A Fallen Countenance > Anger > Wrath > Bitterness > Murder > Excuses > Hopelessness In His Life > Wrong View of God (“thou hast driven me out”) > "More than I can bear.; Everyone Will Be Out To Kill Me"
In this biblical case study we see:
b. God’s rejection – Gen. 4: 5
c. Cain’s feeling oriented response – Gen.4:5
c. God’s counsel – Gen 4: 6-7
d. God’s Intervention – Gen. 4:9
e. Cain’s feeling oriented defiance – Gen. 4:9
f. God’s punishment – Gen: 4: 11-12
g. Cain’s Depression – Gen. 4:5-7, 9, 13-14 (Note: it is caused by sinful feeling orientation disobedience)
“Gen 4:1-14 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (3) And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. (4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (5) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (8) And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (9) And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? (10) And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. (11) And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; (12) When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. (13) And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. (14) Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.”
So now here is what we learn from this biblical case study:
a. Sinful habits that go unbroken will bind us even tighter
b. Sinful responses to problems will always produce additional complicated problems.
c. God in His grace tells us to choose right steps in spite of our feelings.
d. Depression an emotional problem it is a sinful problem.
The goal is not to get rid of the depression. The goal is to find out why the person is depressed and deal with those causes biblically. Once these causes are dealt with Biblically then depression goes away. The downward spiral is reversed. The depressed person comes into the light. The Goal - Destroy Idols of the Heart.
Another case study one can mane regarding depression is in the life of Elijah. Elijah was exhausted, needed sleep and shows himself to be sleep deprived. AS depressed people do he became oblivious to God’s blessings and had a wrong and misunderstood view of God. All depressed people I have known had a wrong perception of God. The particularly confuse God’s mercy and grace while going through depression. Therefore notice that both Cain above and now Elijah have the a wrong view of God as well. Elijah also became critical od others, selfish with the emphasis on me, me, me and was in a pity party of which no one else was invited. Is it any wonder he was depressed. Posted below is the account of Elijah. Note you will need to start the reading in chapter eighteen.
1Ki 19:1-10 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. (2) Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. (3) And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. (4) But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (5) And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. (6) And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. (7) And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. (8) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. (9) And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? (10) And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
Having read the biblical historical account and case study here is a brief outline of the issues surrounding and causing Elijah’s depression:
1. Exhausted - Needed sleep and food – 1 Kings 19:1-10
2. Oblivious to God's blessings - 1 Kings 18:22
3. Emphasis on" me " -1 Kings 19:4,10
4. Exaggerating trouble - 19:4,10 (see above)
5. Critical of others - 19:10 (see above)
6. Wrong view of God. - 1 Kings 19:10
7. Pity party -
We also see in this account of Elijah’s life and depression case study we see God’s remedy for depression. The remedy for depression in all cases is change: :
1. Change your view of God – 18:22 ff.
2. Change your view of others – 19:18
3. Change your view of self – 19:13
4. Change your thinking-19:4 5. Change your goals . - 19:12
6. Change your view of others - 19:18
7. Change your view of self. -19:13
8. Change your relationship with God. - 19:19
9. Change your directions and actions - 19:15-18
Handling Lifes Pressures So As Not To Become Depressed
(2Co 4:1-18) “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
(2Co 11:22-28) “Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Paul’s pressures were both inward as well as being outward. His inward pressures consisted of things such as thise that believed not the gospel, Isreal the nation, false teachers, etc. WE see some of the inward pressures in the following passages of scripture:
a. Romans 10:1 - Those who rejected the Gospel.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israelis, that they mightbe saved
His outward pressures were from such things as being in prison several times, his being beaten, etc. The following passages describe many of the outward pressures that the Apostle Paul experienced.
a. II Corinthians 11:23-27: 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as afool) I land more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft 24 Of the Jews five times received Iforty [stripesi save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice 1 suffered shipivreck, a night and a day I \'I have been in the deep; 26 [In journeyings often, perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils by [mine ownl countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the city, [ml perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, infastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Now how did the Apostle Paul handle pressures both inwardly and outwardly and not let them bring him to a point of depression? First the Apostle Paul focused upon his responsibility to fulfill that. He dod not get sidetracked, become selfish, move according to feelings and end up wit a confused view of God. Notice his focus as he states in the letter of I Corinthians 4:1 - Let a man so account of us, as ofthe ministers of Christ, andste)vards of the mysteries of God.”
Next Paul also focused upon the purpose of the call and the duty he was to fulfill even under pressure. In his second letter to the church at Corinth he stated that he focused on the purpose, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man pensh, yet theinward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
Therefore no matter the pressures you are facing and going through, whether inward or outward pressure, in order not let this pressure drive you to depression you need to: a. stay focused upon his responsibility to fulfill your responsibilities before God and b. stay focused upon the purpose of the job you are call to.
A lot has been said and a lot of work is to be done in helping depressed people or in a depressed person working to God’s glory to reverse the cycle of the downward dark spiral. It can be done and you can be blessed and happy with life (see the hope passages above)!
Here are some of the basics we have identified that must be done in order to overcome, handle and eliminate depression.
1. Depression an emotional problem it is a sinful problem.
2. Sinful responses to problems will always produce additional complicated problems.
Right Thinkling + Right Actions = Blessings and Happiness
9. The goal is not to get rid of the depression. The goal is to destroy the idols of the heart. So one must find out why the person is depressed and deal with those causes biblically. Once these causes are dealt with Biblically then the downward spiral starts reversing itself. The depressed person comes into the light.
a. Change your view of God – 18:22 ff.
b. Change your view of others – 19:18
1. Guided … by God?
2. Tools of the Faith
3. The Bible God’s Word To Us
4. Progressive Sanctification – Growing in Grace, Cooperation With God
5. Godliness through Discipline – Jay Adams
6. Our Basic Duty – Forgive the Repentant
7. Worry: A Serious Life Issue That Leads To Atheistic and Lazy Process Which Must BeBroken Broken
8. Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic
9. Thoughts on Biblical Sexuality and in Overcoming Sexual Difficulty
10. From Uselessness To Usefulness
11. Guidance When You Are Just Not Sure What To Do!
12. What To Do With Guilt?
13. How Is Your Conscience?
14. The Power of Relationships (Influences)
15. Forgiveness Basics – The Purpose of Forgiveness