Written by Anna Sojourning
My depressed thoughts would go like this: “I want to be alone, but I don’t want to be lonely. I’m afraid of failure, but I feel unable to do anything anything. I know I should be peaceful and happy, but I just want to fall on the floor and lay there like a beached whale wallowing in emotions.”
After spending significant time overseas, I returned to the United States a broken woman. I always had a tendency towards being depressed and having wrong mindsets, but after experiencing some broken relationships and emotionally intense situations abroad, my heart just shattered. The feeling within me was one of utter devastation and desolation, as if what was once a temperate forest was now a barren desert. I became spacey and forgetful and felt little motivation to work. Quickly my appetite declined and I began to loose weight. I was blessed enough, however, to have godly, understanding friends who I could confide all of my deepest struggles in. I honestly couldn’t have made it through this dark time in my life without them. I would joke with them about depression being the most efficient weight-loss plan ever. As I went through my heartache I coped with the pain by laughing at it. I have since learned that, indeed, the people with the strongest emotions are often the funniest. Just telling a depressed person that they have no reason to be feeling sad or anxious is as helpful as telling a person with the stomach flu to stop vomiting, and so I am deeply thankful to have people in my life who will just listen, laugh with me, cry with me and give me godly encouragement.
Where does depression come from?
I’m not talking about grief or even a season of sadness which is due to a particular bad situation or event you experienced. I’m talking about chronic depression, that ongoing debilitating heavy cloud which you can never seem to let go of.
Although chronic depression and grief are different, both will often be triggered by a significant event or traumatic experience, such as the death of a loved one, a painful breakup or divorce, a violent personal assault or even something which seems relatively simple like losing a job or moving. Everyone’s case is unique.
The tricky thing about depression is that it can be rooted in several causes, making it hard to pinpoint where it’s coming from.
Sometimes it’s a spiritual attack thing, as the Devil tries to hinder you from following Jesus.
Sometimes it’s due to sin that is keeping you from full fellowship with the Giver of Joy.
Sometimes it’s the result of bad thinking habits which can, thankfully, be changed.
Sometimes it’s a physiological issue, such as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, GUT imbalances, self care needs (such as lack of sleep, exercise or private time), or chronic stress, just to name a few.
And in many cases, depression is caused by a mixture of all of the above.
It’s difficult to remember why we should love God when we’re depressed, and it’s so easy to become self-focused. The absolute most important thing
you we MUST DO to heal from depression is seek after God, ask Him to help us discover the true source of our depression, and rest in His love. It’s hard to not listen to our emotions. But it’s important to remember that our feelings don’t define truth: feelings are information about our internal state, not facts about a situation. Don’t let your prayers be motivated by worry, but instead give your worries to God.
Psalm 42 perfectly articulates what goes on in the heart of a depressed person. See verses 6 to 11:
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?’
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
‘Where is your God?’
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”
We see David expressing to God the depth of his despair, but he speaks to his own soul and knows that the only remedy for his aching heart is to turn to the Lord and praise Him. That’s what I did as well, along with seeing a therapist and starting on medication. Gradually my depression lifted and my emotions became significantly more stable.
I still have my ups and downs, but now when I find myself growing anxious or depressed I know where to turn. Our Lord is healer, and He is faithful.
Meet the Author
Anna Sojourning is a child of God, and is the wife of a Christian pastor of Asian persuasion. She enjoys traveling, going on dates with her husband, and drinking innumerable cups of tea while she writes. She has a passion for deepening her relationship with God, and she desires to show others what He has taught her through scripture and through life experiences.
Visit Anna’s Blog: Sojourner