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Overcoming Depression As a Christian

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Disclaimer: Not all mental illnesses are of a spiritual nature; some are chemical or biological. This thread is geared more towards depression, which if rooted in negative thinking not associated with a chemical imbalance or wiring of the mind, is more than likely a spiritual matter. And even if there has been a re-wiring of the mind because of the depression, one can still benefit from a solid spiritual foundation in addition to psychological resources.

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It has crossed my mind (and spirit) numerous times to post about "Overcoming Depression." But each time I held back. Well, I want to post about it now. I've suffered from depression on and off for some time and know that there are other Christians who do as well or have in the past. Ideally this thread can be an area where we:

1.) Share advice on how to overcome depression
2.) Reach out during times of depression
3.) Share Scripture to uplift one another from depression
4.) Share general spiritual insight into the spiritual side of depression
5.) Post spiritual references concerning depression
and more

For now, I'll start with the following:

Prayers: LHCF Prayer Against Depression

Scripture: Job, Psalm 143, Psalm 13

Sermons on Depression:
http://www.sg-audiotreasures.org/ja/ja_depression.mp3 (Beware. This is heavy and requires open ears to absorb.)
http://youtu.be/3Q8rnTto98M?t=56s (TD Jakes. Though I haven't listened to it yet, he has yet to disappoint me with his messages.)

Spiritual Insight: The enemy enjoys attacking the mind, and one of his weapons includes injecting negative thoughts into the mind. A Christian who delves deep into depression rooted in negative thinking and lingers there for too long has given the enemy a foothold. At this point, he has you where he wants you, be it in an area of unbelief, an area under the control of negative emotions, an area where you are unable to experience blessings, and/or an area where you are unable to do the work of the Lord. It is a mighty clever weapon to use, especially against an active Christian. Major depression can render that Christian inactive, especially mentally and physically. Putting on the full armor of God is the best defense and offense against the enemy: 1. defeat his lies with the belt of truth, 2. guard your emotions, self-worth, and trust with the armor of God's righteousness, 3. put on the shoes of peace, 4. defeat insults and setbacks with the shield of faith, 5. fight doubt with the helmet of salvation, 6. fight his attacks with the sword of the Word of God. It is easier said than done, but it must be done.

Spiritual Homework: The hardest part in battling depression is getting started on the solution. Depression can be that debilitating. But if you want to experience what God has for you in this life (e.g., your purpose, your blessings, your spiritual growth), then you must do the homework: 1. Find a good psychologist, preferably a Christian psychologist. 2. Start a Bible reading regimen. Get into the Word daily. Post uplifting Scriptures around your bedroom so that you read them when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed in the night. 3. Allow the power of sin to be broken. Sometimes, sin opens the door to depression. Close that door. 4. Remember that "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Let go of the regret of past sins. Holding on to regret can open the door to depression. 5. Get close to God. Develop the habit of having regular quiet time with the Lord. 6. And most importantly, hold onto the Word. Don't let go. Once you let go, you've created a hole in your armor.

Depression's Doorways: These are just some doorways that can create an entrance for depression. Beware of your doorways and work to close them:
Bitterness
Anger
Envy
Regret
Selfishness
Low Self-Esteem
Unforgiveness (of others or self)
Fear
Unhealthy Diet
Resentment
Not Guarding the Heart (Proverbs 4:23)
Relationships/Friendships with Negative Individuals
Lack of a Good Church Home
No Prayer Life
Superficial Faith
Certain Sins
 
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loolalooh

Well-Known Member
"Positive Thinking". I am posting the following information from Mayo Clinic (link to full article) and have added some words in purple.

Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk

Identifying negative thinking


Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:

Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received. (The enemy strives to accuse you.)

Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you. (The enemy strives to blame you.)

Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster. (The enemy strives to make you believe the worst.)

Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure. (The enemy strives to condemn you.)

Focusing on positive thinking

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.

Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. (Scripture is a good place to go for affirmations. It speaks of you as a child of God, as made in His image, as loved unconditionally by the Lord, etc.)
 
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LifeafterLHCF

New Member
This topic will always be near and dear to my heart. I won't give a testimony but this will always be a topic that I am highly concerned about in regards to the saints. There has been some major developments with me in this area but I know better not to post that here. Praying for those who are going through this though.
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Praying for you and other precious hearts.... :pray: :love3: :pray:

Thank you much for your prayers, Shimmie. :)

This topic will always be near and dear to my heart. I won't give a testimony but this will always be a topic that I am highly concerned about in regards to the saints. There has been some major developments with me in this area but I know better not to post that here. Praying for those who are going through this though.

Thank you for your prayer and sharing, Goddessmaker. :) To the bolded: Same here.

Off topic, kind of: I have a theory that more Christians than non-Christians are affected by depression (and other mental illnesses). However, I don't have stats and don't know if there is a correlation and, if so, why. But it's a theory I've had for a while. Maybe I'll look into it over the weekend.
 

Shimmie

"God is the Only Truth -- Period"
Staff member
Thank you much for your prayers, Shimmie. :)



Thank you for your prayer and sharing, Goddessmaker. :) To the bolded: Same here.

Off topic, kind of: I have a theory that more Christians than non-Christians are affected by depression (and other mental illnesses). However, I don't have stats and don't know if there is a correlation and, if so, why. But it's a theory I've had for a while. Maybe I'll look into it over the weekend.

In many ways this is true, yet more Christians find 'peace' with God.

I'm praying on what to share. It's interesting that I have been 'thinking' about posting a thread to encourage those who have been feeling so down and under. Life is not over and God will heal everyone who has been feeling in despair. Be it chemical or biological, it's still a spirit that hovers over individuals to impact their feelings of despair.

The medications 'subdue' the symptoms but they do not remove the issue or the spirit behind it.

I do not condemn anyone who takes prescription medications; if this is what God is using to help them, then glory...thank God. However, no one can take medication without the direction of God and prayer over any such medication to make sure it does what God intends for it to do.

I have to come back to this. I cannot type anymore without seeking God in prayer.

In the meantime, please know that there is total liberty and deliverance from depression and it's not temporary, it indeed for real.
 

LifeafterLHCF

New Member
Thank you much for your prayers, Shimmie. :)



Thank you for your prayer and sharing, Goddessmaker. :) To the bolded: Same here.

Off topic, kind of: I have a theory that more Christians than non-Christians are affected by depression (and other mental illnesses). However, I don't have stats and don't know if there is a correlation and, if so, why. But it's a theory I've had for a while. Maybe I'll look into it over the weekend.

I believe this is so because of all the stuff we go through and the stigma that is held against us that if your a christian your suppose to be this sappy happy person. I believe Christians deal with certain things differently as well not always the most productive ie not getting counseling bc God is just going to magically take away the depression. I firmly believe that we as Christians need to be realistic and practical in how we deal with depression...speaking from personal experience.
 

Iwanthealthyhair67

Well-Known Member
AMEN!!!!

I don't want to be crass and insensitive to those who suffer from depression (will post more soon, I hope), but depression also falls under the spirit of fear...

By his stripes we WERE and by his stripes we ARE healed of both physical and mental illness.

In many ways this is true, yet more Christians find 'peace' with God.

I'm praying on what to share. It's interesting that I have been 'thinking' about posting a thread to encourage those who have been feeling so down and under. Life is not over and God will heal everyone who has been feeling in despair. Be it chemical or biological, it's still a spirit that hovers over individuals to impact their feelings of despair.

The medications 'subdue' the symptoms but they do not remove the issue or the spirit behind it.

I do not condemn anyone who takes prescription medications; if this is what God is using to help them, then glory...thank God. However, no one can take medication without the direction of God and prayer over any such medication to make sure it does what God intends for it to do.

I have to come back to this. I cannot type anymore without seeking God in prayer.

In the meantime, please know that there is total liberty and deliverance from depression and it's not temporary, it indeed for real.
 
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sidney

New Member
One thing I know, is that PRAISE confuses the enemy. Maintain the spirit of praise and the enemy will flee! Depression is a real medical illness but I agree with Iwanthealthyhair67! By his stripes we are healed! We can tear dear strongholds with the weapons of our warfare! We don't have to be under bondage! Praying and believing with you ladies! Give him praises!
 

CoilyFields

Well-Known Member
Depression is also caused by selfishness

You have made YOUR situation, YOUR problems, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires the center of your life.

God has told us to put HIM first. And to be concerned about others. But instead we are completely focused on ourselves.

We are also not desiring the right things. Our focus is external when the solution is spiritual. God wants to give us HIS peace, joy, contentment etc. We are not supposed to be looking for fulfillment in other things...most especially ourselves.

I went through a bout of depression and I was ME-Focused. It SEEMED like my situation was overtaking me...I just coasted along with "no hope". NOTHING in my life was going right. Why me? It wasn't until I stopped my pity party (after almost 6 months) and turned to God for the answers, that I came out of it. (Oh and for real for real...my situation WAS HORRIBLE so it wasn't my imagination or overreacting, it made grown men cry to see what was happening to me...it was REAL! But my mistake was in letting it DEFINE me and I became my situation)

I had to stop focusing on my problems going away and focus on:

1. What is the purpose of trials? (found in the word)
2. Praying, fasting, studing the Word
3. Asking God to show me where I was weak spiritually and how to improve that
4. Ignoring what the devil said about me (that I was worthless and my situation was hopeless) and finding out what GOD said about me (in the WORD).
5. Get OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MINISTER TO SOMEONE ELSE (stop focusing so much on my problems) and GO HAVE FUN...laugh!!!
6. Definately memorized scriptures that pertained to my issues. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. SO I hid his word in my heart and spoke it to myslef to increase my faith.

Now all of the problems havent even been resolved in my life but I am no longer depressed! I have HOPE! I wont let it defeat me. And even though there are still moments of hurt I let God heal me and continue being about Kingdom business! I was CREATED to OVERCOME...so I stay true to my heritage.
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
I believe this is so because of all the stuff we go through and the stigma that is held against us that if your a christian your suppose to be this sappy happy person. I believe Christians deal with certain things differently as well not always the most productive ie not getting counseling bc God is just going to magically take away the depression. I firmly believe that we as Christians need to be realistic and practical in how we deal with depression...speaking from personal experience.

Good insight, Goddessmaker, especially about getting counseling. I think some Christians who are going through depression, particularly major depression, could benefit from the combination of professional therapy in addition to getting closer to the Lord. (I didn't always believe that way, but now I do.)

I also believe that because Christians come under attack more and because depression can be a form of attack, that we are more likely to suffer from it than non-believers. The mind is the perfect entity to be attacked by the enemy. If he can inject bullets into our mind, he can cripple us from the inside out. I find it interesting that a lot of the people I've encountered with mental illnesses are strong (not superficial) Christians. It makes me wonder ...
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Depression is also caused by selfishness

You have made YOUR situation, YOUR problems, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires the center of your life.

God has told us to put HIM first. And to be concerned about others. But instead we are completely focused on ourselves.

We are also not desiring the right things. Our focus is external when the solution is spiritual. God wants to give us HIS peace, joy, contentment etc. We are not supposed to be looking for fulfillment in other things...most especially ourselves.

I went through a bout of depression and I was ME-Focused. It SEEMED like my situation was overtaking me...I just coasted along with "no hope". NOTHING in my life was going right. Why me? It wasn't until I stopped my pity party (after almost 6 months) and turned to God for the answers, that I came out of it. (Oh and for real for real...my situation WAS HORRIBLE so it wasn't my imagination or overreacting, it made grown men cry to see what was happening to me...it was REAL! But my mistake was in letting it DEFINE me and I became my situation)

I had to stop focusing on my problems going away and focus on:

1. What is the purpose of trials? (found in the word)
2. Praying, fasting, studing the Word
3. Asking God to show me where I was weak spiritually and how to improve that
4. Ignoring what the devil said about me (that I was worthless and my situation was hopeless) and finding out what GOD said about me (in the WORD).
5. Get OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MINISTER TO SOMEONE ELSE (stop focusing so much on my problems) and GO HAVE FUN...laugh!!!
6. Definately memorized scriptures that pertained to my issues. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. SO I hid his word in my heart and spoke it to myslef to increase my faith.

Now all of the problems havent even been resolved in my life but I am no longer depressed! I have HOPE! I wont let it defeat me. And even though there are still moments of hurt I let God heal me and continue being about Kingdom business! I was CREATED to OVERCOME...so I stay true to my heritage.

Thank you for sharing your testimony, Coilyfields!! Hopefully many (posters, lurkers, etc.) can benefit from what you've shared. I've added "selfishness" to the list in the OP. So true. This reminds me of a sermon I listened to a while back. Let me see if I can find it and post it ...

Thank you for sharing your focus list as well. That is a really good plan.
 

sidney

New Member
This whole post is amazing! Testify!!! Thank you!

Depression is also caused by selfishness

You have made YOUR situation, YOUR problems, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires the center of your life.

God has told us to put HIM first. And to be concerned about others. But instead we are completely focused on ourselves.

We are also not desiring the right things. Our focus is external when the solution is spiritual. God wants to give us HIS peace, joy, contentment etc. We are not supposed to be looking for fulfillment in other things...most especially ourselves.

I went through a bout of depression and I was ME-Focused. It SEEMED like my situation was overtaking me...I just coasted along with "no hope". NOTHING in my life was going right. Why me? It wasn't until I stopped my pity party (after almost 6 months) and turned to God for the answers, that I came out of it. (Oh and for real for real...my situation WAS HORRIBLE so it wasn't my imagination or overreacting, it made grown men cry to see what was happening to me...it was REAL! But my mistake was in letting it DEFINE me and I became my situation)

I had to stop focusing on my problems going away and focus on:

1. What is the purpose of trials? (found in the word)
2. Praying, fasting, studing the Word
3. Asking God to show me where I was weak spiritually and how to improve that
4. Ignoring what the devil said about me (that I was worthless and my situation was hopeless) and finding out what GOD said about me (in the WORD).
5. Get OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MINISTER TO SOMEONE ELSE (stop focusing so much on my problems) and GO HAVE FUN...laugh!!!
6. Definately memorized scriptures that pertained to my issues. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. SO I hid his word in my heart and spoke it to myslef to increase my faith.

Now all of the problems havent even been resolved in my life but I am no longer depressed! I have HOPE! I wont let it defeat me. And even though there are still moments of hurt I let God heal me and continue being about Kingdom business! I was CREATED to OVERCOME...so I stay true to my heritage.
 

SummerSolstice

New Member
Depression is also caused by selfishness

You have made YOUR situation, YOUR problems, YOUR feelings, YOUR desires the center of your life.

This is not always the case. There are plenty of people who experience depression who are not putting themselves first. In fact, putting everyone else first before yourself can cause depression. Its not so cut and dry.

I like the rest of your post though. Some days I get there some days I don't.
 

sidney

New Member
This is not always the case. There are plenty of people who experience depression who are not putting themselves first. In fact, putting everyone else first before yourself can cause depression. Its not so cut and dry.

I like the rest of your post though. Some days I get there some days I don't.

Good point! There are many causes. Hope that healing results from this thread. God gave us Power, Love, and a SOUND mind. Amen.
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Another Sermon on Depression. This one is by TD Jakes. Though I haven't listened to it yet, he has yet to disappoint me with his messages.

Edited: This version excludes the ads. :)
 
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auparavant

New Member
Off topic, kind of: I have a theory that more Christians than non-Christians are affected by depression (and other mental illnesses). However, I don't have stats and don't know if there is a correlation and, if so, why. But it's a theory I've had for a while. Maybe I'll look into it over the weekend.


Why do you think so?
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Why do you think so?

Why do I theorize that Christians suffer depression more than non-Christians? Because depression is a powerful weapon. With the enemy working hard to attack Christians and the mind being the perfect target, I believe that depression (and even other mental illnesses) is the ideal way he can wreak havoc in a Christian. If he can "cripple" the mind, he can cripple the Christian from the inside out. Get a Christian to absorb negative thinking, low self esteem, regret, and ultimately depression, especially major depression, and he has gotten a Christian to halt, or even go backwards, in his/her spiritual walk.

But this is just my conspiracy theory and I have no stats.:look:

What I do know, and which Shimmie touched upon, is that deliverance from depression is real and possible. I know, in my instance, it requires me to be closer to the Lord than most people can get away with, if that makes sense. I literally have to cling to Him, like be at His feet regularly.
 
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sidney

New Member
Good point! There are many causes. Hope that healing results from this thread. God gave us Power, Love, and a SOUND mind. Amen.

I thought about this some more, and I think CoilyFields has the answer...I think when God is the center of your life it is harder to succumb to depression....He can cease to become the center if you are focused on yourself or focused on others...but no matter what...A mind that is stayed on him is kept in pefect peace. I believe that!
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
Update: I updated the TD Jakes link above. The new version excludes the ads and gets to the heart of the message. There are 6 parts and you can find 2-6 to the right of the video while watching. :)
 

daydreem2876

carpe diem
My personal little testimony...

I was near breakdown around Easter. I was overwhelmed with my newly diagnosed illness, my father illness, and trying to keep with with other obligations. So I just left, upped and ran away from home if you will to a friends house where its very calming, very peaceful, and very low levels of stimulation. I was in the process of having a meltdown in her presence and she simple told me, "daydreem, you have to tune things out".

What I realized is that it is an absolute must for me to create the mental space, time and enviroment to commune with God. I realized the enemy attacks my body and mind with physical illness. I need to meditate on things, read my devotionals, process my feelings and listen for God's words. When I can't hear the masters message for me, I get all off balance and have problems.

For me, that means I had to stop the flow of negative energy into my mental space. I had to stop answering the phone and engaging with others before 1030am so I could have ample time to commune, focus, and prepare to face the world. I have to keep levels of stimulation low, dont watch the news or much TV at all, prioritize getting proper rest.


All of that to say... what has help me most is creating room for God to move within me every day has help me the most
 

loolalooh

Well-Known Member
My personal little testimony...

I was near breakdown around Easter. I was overwhelmed with my newly diagnosed illness, my father illness, and trying to keep with with other obligations. So I just left, upped and ran away from home if you will to a friends house where its very calming, very peaceful, and very low levels of stimulation. I was in the process of having a meltdown in her presence and she simple told me, "daydreem, you have to tune things out".

What I realized is that it is an absolute must for me to create the mental space, time and enviroment to commune with God. I realized the enemy attacks my body and mind with physical illness. I need to meditate on things, read my devotionals, process my feelings and listen for God's words. When I can't hear the masters message for me, I get all off balance and have problems.

For me, that means I had to stop the flow of negative energy into my mental space. I had to stop answering the phone and engaging with others before 1030am so I could have ample time to commune, focus, and prepare to face the world. I have to keep levels of stimulation low, dont watch the news or much TV at all, prioritize getting proper rest.


All of that to say... what has help me most is creating room for God to move within me every day has help me the most

Thank you for sharing, daydreem2876!! Amen and Amen. I like the idea of keeping levels of stimulation down and creating more room for God, especially in the morning. I can definitely relate to the bolded.

P.S. I hope that you and your father are well now.
 

auparavant

New Member
Selfishness...hm, I guess it's part of the human experience. I just don't want people thinking that depression is a sin or something. If someone lost a child and got depressed, they are being selfish? Grief and trauma can cause chemical imbalances. Tragedy can cause extreme suffering, like war. IMHO, to suggest that someone who hadn't found a way to deal with their tragedy could be selfish is kinda harsh. I understand about individual experiences and all. I'd say, the average person who is depressed is not selfish but is suffering to find a way OUT of their situation and have not yet found it.
 

daydreem2876

carpe diem
I just want to add one more thought...

I am not the Christian who can necessarily quote the Word, offer beautiful prayers, and find resources to help other (God bless those who can, it's just not me) I say that for someone who may be passing through this thread and not be able to absorb everything that has been said.

What I want to say, is making room for God to move within me does not take away my external problems but he gives me strength, courage and wisdom to handle them and closes the door for the enemy to come in and attack. If I know I am working within his will, it gives me confidence to hold my head up and face this world challenges
without fear or doubt. Because I KNOW God is with me, whatever happens (the good, the bad, the downright ugly) is according to his will and though I may not like it, I can be at peace with it.

Whatever type of depression one has, whether you are medicated or not, fact that does not change is you still has to manage through life here in earth. God gives the peace of mind to do that.
 
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