Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 3.8 percent of the population affected, including 5.0 percent among adults and 5.7 percent among adults older than 60. Approximately 280 million people in the world suffer from depression. Depression is different from the usual ebb and flow and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. It’s a severe health condition, especially when recurrent and with moderate or severe intensity. Depression can cause the affected individual to suffer greatly and function poorly at work or school. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death for 15-29 year-olds.
Although there are known treatments for mental disorders, more than 75 percent of people in low- and middle-income countries don’t receive treatment. Barriers to effective care include lack of resources, lack of trained healthcare providers, and social stigmas associated with mental disorders. In countries of all income levels, people who experience depression aren’t correctly diagnosed by doctors, and others who don’t have the condition are often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.
During a depressive episode, the person experiences feeling sad and irritable or loses pleasure or interest in activities for most of the day. Several other symptoms include poor concentration, feelings of excessive guilt, and hopelessness about the future. In some cultural contexts, some people may express their mood changes more readily in the form of bodily symptoms, like fatigue or pain. A depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the number of and severity of symptoms and the impact on the person’s functioning. During a depressive episode, the person experiences significant difficulty in personal, familial, and social areas of function. Depression can be triggered by life’s circumstances, like losing a job, the death of a loved one or divorce.
Depression in the Bible
The Bible tells us to be filled with joy and praise, so God wants us to live joyous lives. Philippians 4:4 says that we should always rejoice in the Lord, and Romans 15:11 says that we should praise the Lord and let all the peoples admire him. Living a joyous life may not be easy for someone suffering from situational depression, but God can remedy depression through the gift of prayer, Bible study, and counseling. We must make a conscious effort not to be absorbed in ourselves but to turn our efforts outward. Feelings of depression can be solved when those suffering from depression move the focus from themselves to Christ.
Clinical depression is a physical condition that a physician must diagnose. Unfortunate life circumstances may not cause it, nor can the symptoms be alleviated by your own will. Contrary to what some people believe, sin doesn’t always cause clinical depression. Sometimes, a physical disorder that needs medication or counseling can cause depression. God can cure any disease or condition. However, in some cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than seeing a doctor for an injury. There are some things that depression sufferers can do to lessen their anxiety. They should make sure that they’re staying in God’s Word, even when they don’t feel like it.
Emotions can lead us astray, but God’s Word stands firm and doesn’t change. We must maintain strong faith in God and hold Him tightly when we go through trials and temptations. The Bible tells us that God will never allow temptation in our lives that are too much for us to handle. 1 Corinthian 10:13 says that no temptation should overtake us. God is faithful, and when we are tempted, He will provide a way out so that we can endure it. Although being depressed isn’t a sin, you are still accountable for the response to the affliction, including getting the professional help needed. Hebrews 13:15 says that through Jesus, we should continually offer God a sacrifice of praise.
We shouldn’t be afraid to turn to others when we’re struggling. God works through the hands and words of professionals trained to help treat people with depression. Enduring the hardship of depression can be challenging, but those suffering from depression can fight the good by accepting how depression affects them. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you failed spiritually or that it’s your identity. It means that it’s a condition affecting you. These conditions impact your physical, mental, and emotional health. It would be best to find ways to rest, use healthy tools, and allow time to pass for a breakthrough. Christ is in you, and He isn’t distant from you in your journey. You are enough, and that’s what it means to lack nothing in Christ.
With this new perspective, your prayers or Bible reading doesn’t have to be about striving to achieve more blessings or a spiritual breakthrough. Instead, it can be a healthy discovery of your wholeness of grace and fellowship of God with you. You can learn new ways to delight in this whole mindset, and it will naturally lead to new spiritual disciplines you want. When something drops in your life that seems to threaten your future, you should remember that the initial shock waves of the bomb in your heart aren’t sinful. The real danger is yielding to the shock waves and giving in.The root of that wicked surrender is unbelief, a failure to fight for faith in future grace.
Jesus’ Take on Depression
When suffering from depression, you may feel like you’re going into a downward spiral that will never end. Still, Jesus wants us to know that He is there with us, and He’ll never let us suffer on our own. Psalm 30:5 reminds us that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Your depressive episode may feel like the end, but God says that it’s only the beginning. When you feel like you hit rock bottom, the way only way is up. Giving in to your depressive feelings may seem easy, but we must turn to Christ instead. God loves us and wants the best for us. By turning to Him when we’re down, we show Him that we’re ready for whatever is in His plans.