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Pointers along the way #83

Nurturing depression?
- Jacob Ninan

Depression is something all of us face at times. But some of us are more prone to it than others. Disappointment, frustration, setbacks, inability to handle crises, etc., can cause depression. Usually it passes off soon. But unless we know how to face and overcome it, it can overpower us. If that happens, we can set a vicious circle into motion, in which our depression causes us to make wrong moves which backfire and cause us to be more depressed.

Some people seem to kind of enjoy a light dose of depression because it makes them feel sorry for themselves and they like that attention. But what we must remember is that depression will only produce negative results. Satan finds depression a fertile ground to plant his pernicious seeds, and his goal is to lead us to more and more confusion and bondage and ultimately to suicide.

Of course, sometimes depression can be due to physical reasons in which case it has to be treated by doctors. If anyone has been depressed for more than two weeks, with symptoms of early morning awakening, loss of appetite, loss of weight, constipation, decreased sexual interest, general loss of interest in everything, inability to enjoy the things he used to enjoy earlier, etc., he needs to see a doctor urgently.

As Christians we have a right to rejoice always. This is the opposite of being depressed. But the secret of rejoicing always, irrespective of people and circumstances, is to rejoice in the Lord (Php.4:4). He is always with us, He will never leave us, He is dependable and trustworthy, He has everything in His control, He will cause all things to work together for our good, and He is always planning for our welfare and not for our calamity. In every circumstance and situation, if we look towards Him we can recognise ways to overcome depressing moods and thoughts.

Sometimes it may be that we feel too depressed even to think about the Lord. We don't feel quite up to it. At that time the devil comes along and tells us that it would not be of any use anyway. But of course, true to his nature, the devil is telling us another of his lies. The only thing that can really set us free is to turn to the Lord. When we choose to turn to the Lord, the veil that kept us blind to the truth, right perspectives, right values, and the right way forward will be taken away (2Co.3:16). If we truly turn to Him, He will see to it that we will not be disappointed (Ps.22:5).

If we are feeling a bit depressed let us also take natural measures such as relaxing with a walk, listening to soothing music, seeking out the company of our friends, having a work out at the gym, etc. These will help us to take our mind off from brooding about our depression. Singing praises to God (even if it takes some effort to start) can do wonders for us, helping us to turn our attention to the Lord.

So let us not believe that depression is something we have to live with. Our right is to rejoice always. We can learn to do that.