You can win over depression, if you start by telling your doctor about it

Every single is familiar with depression, but sadly, many are in denial about it.

Within some churches, this problem is considered a sin. Members are told it is unChristian to be sad. They are berated for having a "pity party" and told to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.


What those preachers fail to tell you is some of the most admired people in the Bible got depressed. Study the Psalms and you'll see how David struggled with this problem. Read the account of Elijah after his victory at Mount Carmel for another description of discouragement. Or see how Jesus himself responded to the news that his friend and cousin John the Baptist had been executed.

No, let me be absolutely clear: This is nothing to be embarrassed about. It's yet another traumatic aspect of being human.

Wrong ways to handle depression

Here are the wrong ways to try to conquer it: pray more; pray harder; have others pray for you; rebuke the devil; claim God's healing and do nothing else; read the Bible more; fast; go to a faith healer. 

No one in their right mind would ever tell a diabetic to "think positive thoughts" or believe that God will heal them. Diabetes is a physical disease, caused by a malfunction in the body's systems. It demands immediate, careful treatment by a trained doctor.

Likewise, you should always, always go to your medical doctor about depression. It can often have a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in your body, which needs to be treated with medication. Only your doctor is qualified to diagnose this condition and what should be done about it.

The "pull yourself up by your bootstraps/snap out of it" approach is as wrong and obsolete as treating a person with diabetes by applying leeches.

Overcoming the stigma

It's way beyond the scope of to give specific advice on treating this serious condition.

But I do want to convince you of three things here:

  • 1. Recognize that your problem is nothing to be ashamed of. It's not a weakness, insanity, or a sin. It's a medical problem.
  • 2. Seek treatment by your doctor. This is a complex but treatable illness, and trying to handle it on your own doesn't work. It hasn't worked up 'til now, has it?
  • 3. Persevere until you get relief. The first medication your doctor tries may not be effective. Tell him, be assertive and don't give up. This is absolutely crucial. Every person is different. It's not unusual to try three or more prescriptions until you find the one that works.

What God wants for you...

God loves you very much and wants the best for you. Struggling through every day, aching inside from depression is not his best. God wants you healed so you can be happy and enjoy life. Take it from me, happiness really is possible for you.

Remember that mankind's intelligence is a gift from God, and we have taken advantage of that gift to advance medical science. Doctors are simply the instrument God uses to bring about healing.

In conjunction with professional treatment, I recommend an excellent book on the subject, which will help you understand it and give you Christian strategies for dealing with it. It's titled Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness, by Edward T. Welch. I found it very helpful. 

You don't have to live a lonely, tortured existence any more. God has an exciting, meaningful life planned for you, and it all begins when you make that phone call for an appointment with your doctor.

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