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I have endured some severe bouts of depression that stem from quite a few underlying causes, one of which is physical.  I was on an anti-depressant that made the bouts less severe and shorter in duration but had thought that once a circumstance was ending I could handle being off of it.  Not so.  So I am back on and we're looking into other methods in conjunction or something better that will alleviate even those minor leftovers. 

In the meantime, I have read massive amounts of books and websites on the subject of overcoming depression, emotions, etc.  I finally have come across a 1973 book by Christian author June Hunt called How to Handle Your Emotions, that covers six emotional areas (Anger, Depression, Fear, Grief Recovery, Rejection and Self Worth) in four parts each (Definitions, Characteristics, Causes and Steps to Solution).

The second section on Depression certainly hit home on many areas for how it affects me and feels.  She speaks of sometimes we have a need for medical intervention and she uses massive amounts of scripture to support everything she writes. 

Without going into the causes, definitions, etc., I want to give a few sections of Depression.  I will give the scripture references without full scriptures and will abbreviate a bit as it is lengthy.

F. Discover God's Purpose for Permitting Depression. 

God has a purpose for everything.  Even the times of painful pruning are useful.  Depression can heighten your awareness of God and increase your dependency on Him.  It can open your eyes to His unique design for you before, during and after your bouts.  Just as storms replenish dry and parched ground and give birth to flowers and new life, so the storms in life can revitalize your relationship with God and give birth to greater fruits. John 15:2,8

Depression is permitted to:

  1. Warn you something is wrong Psalm 119:67
  2. Slow you down and cause you to reflect inwardly 2 Corinthians 4:16
  3. Reveal your weakness 2 Corinthians 12:9
  4. Bring you to Him Hebrews 10:22
  5. Develop your trust in Him Psalm 43:5
  6. Be a healing process for damaged emotions Jeremiah 17:14
  7. Develop your perseverance and maturity James 1:2-4
  8. Affirm worth and value in your life Luke 12:6-7
  9. Cause you to rely on His resources 2 Peter 1:3-4
  10. Increase your compassion and understanding for others 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

(I can't help but apply the majority of these to myself)

She relates a story of Charles Haddon Spurgeon who openly reflected on his own bouts with depression and of Abraham Lincoln who suffered great losses and was so depressed he often spoke of suicide but then turned it all into greatness. Lincoln turned to scripture to help with his depression, most notably, he read Job during these bouts.  (I assume it hits everyone differently.  Job would tend to make me feel even worse.  LOL)

In light of how most people tell the depressed to snap out of it, here is what the author says.

G. Do's and Don'ts for Family and Friends

Be aware of the power of your words.  You can be God's instrument of hope to change the disposition of the depressed. Proverbs 12:25

Don't say "You shouldn't feel that way"

Say "I care about what you feel"  Offer to let them talk

Don't say "You need to quit taking that medicine."

Say "Not all meds work the same for everyone"  Offer to go with them to a thorough medical evaluation for a second opinion.

Don't say "You need to pray more."

Say "I'm praying for you and am going to keep praying" Offer to pray with them.

Don't say "You need to read the Bible more!"

Say "I have some passages that give me hope, mind if I share them" Offer to help them memorize scripture.

Don't say "You need to get involved in church"

Say "I would love for you to come to church with me" Offer to go with them

DON'T say "Snap out of it! Get over it!"

Say "I'm going to stick with you and we'll get through this together"  Be willing to help and give them someone to hold onto.

H. How You Can Help

Do NOT avoid them.  Find ways to show you care.  Plan a fun activity, exercise together, invite them to events and to run errands with you.  Their tendency is to withdraw.  Help then by getting them involved not just as a spectator.  You may be their only lifeline of hope.  Do what you wish someone else would do for you if you were the one struggling with depression.

  1. Learn about depression
  2. Find out if suicide is a concern
  3. Take all threats of suicide seriously
  4. Be an accountability partner
  5. Initiate regular dialogue
  6. Listen and hear their pain
  7. Talk about depression to remove the stigma of it
  8. Verbally encourage them often
  9. Realize the power of touch - a hand on the shoulder, hug
  10. Play inspirational praise music
  11. Bring laughter into their life
  12. Recommend nutritional therapy (vitamins B-6, E, calcium, magnesium and folic acid)
  13. Help them set small daily goals and check on their progress daily
  14. Enlist others to help

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Hi Char,

 

Let me start out by saying: I think you are great!

I've been around AAG,  going on about three years now......and have got to know the regular members of the family somewhat.

 

No doubt you're weary and heavy laden much of the time.......but you are still yoked to Christ.  Amen!

Keep on keeping on........follow the light....listen for the music......hang in there.

 

About stress, anxiety, and depression........do you think very many folks actually overcome these negative aspects in the world?

I'm thinking this is on-going situation ,  like the war on terrorism..........keeps poppin' up - never really ending......but we can stay on top of it with help from the Holy Spirit.

 

But people who don't know Jesus have to be really hurting..........

 

Just wanted to check in with you.

Grace and Peace.

Richard, I do think people can overcome it because the Bible tells us that we can.  Mine has a lot to do with extreme circumstances and physical issues.  That pesky change of life men don't experience....ummm, or do they...can anyone say midlife crisis?  LOL

No sooner did I start back on the antidepressant and was just getting it back into my system then I just got sidetracked or something, forgot to put the pills into my daily pill minder, so again was off of them for about a week and it's been bad all week.  I just realized it this weekend and getting them back into my system again.  Just started a new pill for the hormonal issues as well.  And ultimately, circumstances change, they won't always be bad.  So....I'm just looking forward to the day I am no longer suffering from these bouts of it.

My Dear Sister

First I agree with Richard, "You are great!"  So many would have given up long ago.  A few things I believe we must know.  We are Loved by Love Itself!  No power exist, that can come against The Love of God!  

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1 We stand on this verse often.  Yet, when we continue in Romans, {I am not saying, "Snap out of it! Get over it!"}  because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Rom 8:2 Verse 2 tells us why no condemnation now exists.  

After these past few months, I have learned depression works at trying to condemn us.  Tries to point out all that we have done wrong; all we lack and why. Still the Word tells us, "For we are God's Masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life. Eph 2:1 

I have seen you and many others, get knocked down by so many things.  Yet, you continue to get back up and walk the path ahead of you.  This shows His Power working in you.  Which displays your Faith in action.  As we have talked and shared many times, I have seen His Grace, Power, Love, and your Faith in Him working.  

We believe more in the unseen then the seen.  So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Cor 4:18 Not that we close our eyes and wish our problems away.  I admire you in so many ways.  You are stronger in Him than you think.

Yes, that's something I was told this weekend, that even when I think I'm doubting and not trusting, I do keep getting back up, so that shows I AM trusting, even though I have my "moments".  Yet when I go through those depressed moments, it's like all the doubt crops up, and then when I start to come out of that dark place, I spend two or three days just kicking myself because I got that way.  And I know that doesn't help either, it's just I haven't figured out how not to just yet.

Char, I know you've been going through a tough time for the last few years. You've had several losses. If I've learned anything at all about depression, I've learned that when we fail to grieve completely for any kind of loss, it can easily turn into depression. Grief is a healthy response for humans. We are supposed to grieve when we face certain situations, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of an engagement or love relationship, a miscarriage, an injury, or an illness that is going to be chronic or has no cure, the loss of a job, even a pet, and many other losses. Even losing a church family. The pain is supposed to subside. Grief is part of the healing process. Many people don't heal because they don't let themselves grieve. They just push forward, bury it, and move on. They don't deal with the feelings. They never accept the loss. They think things like, why bother, nothing will ever be the same again anyway? And I can't make it on my own. And this isn't really happening. We have to learn to live with the losses. You have to take care of your emotional needs. Depression is treatable. God is with you. Your friends want to help. You are loved.

I believe mine is mostly treatable with the right medications.  The anti-depressant was helping to an extent except during those monthly points.  Perhaps the doctor will find the right combination Wednesday.  I just keep praying I don't suffer another drop like I've had.  I know people want to help, I'm just not sure much helps except going through it to get it out of our system.  Friends however can always be there for a shoulder to lean on when we're dealing with it, and that's a major help.  I appreciate everyone who's been there when I just needed to talk or vent.

I feel terrible that the whole time we've known each other I've never been able to really help you in your depression. You've been in my thoughts and prayers. Even whenever we are hurting in the same ways, we're supposed to be able to offer ourselves in service to others who are in need ... And I have failed to do that with everybody. I'm glad that you can rest in the shelter of God's love and His help because He can take it when we vent our feelings while others don't always seem able.

Don't feel terrible cause you have helped.  When I'm like that, having someone to talk to who understands is the best help.  Sometimes I just need to talk and get it out of my own system.  None of us can do everything for everyone.  That's something that's ate at me too and I'm trying not to let it anymore.  I can get under so much condemnation that I'm not able to help more or do more and I have to remember that maybe I can't right now, but who knows what I might be able to do later on.

Here's an article that might help those who know someone suffering from a long term, deep depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. http://www.mentalhealth.com/story/p52-dps2.html
Items 3, 4, and 5 say this and I can't emphasize the assurance part enough and how much it is needed from almost anyone in the person's life, even in an online community, which is sometimes the main social contact that the person is choosing to engage in still.

"Be ready for a whole range of moods. Depression can make each day a nightmare of variation. It may be that in the morning all is bleak and dark. A person may be so panic-stricken that even being alone for a few minutes seems to be impossible. This mood may last for hours. In such times be quietly and faithfully present. The depressed person does not want to manifest this behavior. No one wants to be afraid, anxious, panic-stricken. But it happens to the person. What gives strength is simple presence.
During the dark and fear-filled times that a person is enduring, do not give advice on how to cope. Yes, the person should “smarten up, appreciate all life's blessings, pull up bootstraps and get on with life.” No one wants to do that more than the depressed person. But it is not possible at the moment.
When the depressed person expresses fears about the future, give assurance that change will come. It seems to be impossible for the ill person. Keep emphasizing that it will be so."
I think you have experienced what is talked about in item 8 to a certain point, even though you don't have MDD. Yours is a different type of depression. I hope this discussion will be a help for everyone who suffers from depression or has a loved one suffering from it.

Yeah I'd say 8 pretty well describes me.  But no, not MDD.  I don't stay in depression.  And I think once I pass a certain point with hormone issues, that will even clear up.  I've had bouts of it for many many years, and yet this is as severe as it's ever been and also my circumstances and hormones are as severe as they've ever been.

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