Dealing with Depression: Ideas

This post marks the end of my response to a question about dealing with depression as a Christian. Before reading this part of the response, I recommend reading part 1: “The Struggle” and part 2: “The Source of Hope”. This last part shows my response to specific sections in the question I received:

How do you as a Christian deal with something like depression?

A number of things could help a Christian deal with depression. Here are some ideas that have helped others in this process:

  • Memorize some of the passages already mentioned or other helpful passages to have them in mind during difficult times
  • Pray for God to help you through your circumstance
  • Try to think about positive things, like the blessings you have received, instead of focusing on the things you don’t have
  • Form an “action plan” by setting aside time to do something you enjoy or something that you can find purpose in
  • Seek help from people who are close to you, such as friends and family. Let them know specifically how they can help.

There may not be one answer to the question of how to deal with depression as a Christian, but seeking help from God and people close to you is a great starting point in that process. And if it appears to be necessary, professional help can allow you to gain an understanding of what you are going through.

The idea that you need help can be hard to accept. But as Christians, we all need help. We need help from God, as sin causes problems that we cannot solve. And we need help from other Christians in our ministry and lives, as we are all part of the “body of Christ” rather than isolated individuals. The necessity of help is not limited to Christians who have depression; it expands to every Christian no matter what struggles are present in life.

For a while now, I have felt very lost and I know that my relationship with Jesus is not what it should be.

I just wanted to make a general comment about this statement. At the very least, this statement indicates that you care about your relationship with Jesus. You recognize a point where you “should be” in that relationship, and seem to have a desire to get to that point. This mindset is far away from apathy, where you just don’t care about that relationship and put no thought towards it. And that is an encouraging sign from my standpoint.

I think I have pushed God away because I blamed Him for allowing me to go through some very tough struggles.

Many Christians have blamed God for the struggles they are going through, especially when life seems unfair to them. But Christians can choose another route – to trust that God has responded to those struggles through the person of Jesus Christ.

You have the choice to blame or trust God. This choice could be difficult considering the severity of the struggles you are referring to. But through those struggles, you are not alone. God is always there for you, even when you don’t feel like that’s the case.  Kristin Anderson, who has been through some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, expresses this idea in a letter written to people experiencing suicidal thoughts:

“Please don’t give up. You are not alone. There is a God who made you, and he’s not as far away as you may think. He is always near. Wherever you go, whatever you do, he will be with you. He loves you, and he wants to comfort you, heal the hurt in your heart, and carry you through this life. Let him in.”

I can give no better advice. God is there to help you through your struggles. Let him in.

My “brief” response to this difficult question is finished, but more can be said about the topic of depression. If anyone reading this response has ideas for Christians who are dealing with depression, please post those ideas in the “Leave a Reply” section below.

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2 Responses to Dealing with Depression: Ideas

  1. Anonymous says:

    All of this is wonderful advice and answers but I feel it should also be noted that it depends on the depth of your depression and the type of depression you are dealing with. Surprisingly to most, there are different kinds of depression. There is an apathetic depression where you feel nothing. Literally nothing. That’s why a lot of people cut themselves. Not because they want the attention or they hate themselves but because they want to feel something. Another type is the sad and hopeless depression which involves a heightened emotional state. I think friends of people with depression need to realize that there is no right answer. The right answer is asking their friend what they are feeling. Only then can you know how to help them because giving emotional appeals about Jesus to someone who feels nothing is not likely to make them feel something. What they need is accountability and affection. Ask them what they need. Tell them you want to help them.

    • linnjr02 says:

      Thank you for your reply. You explained something that I did not point out directly in part 1 of my response – that there are different types and degrees of depression. This spectrum adds more complexity to the question of what can help in each case of depression. I did point out that my response (including any intellectual or emotional appeals about Jesus) would not necessarily help someone with depression.

      What I appreciate about your response is your reminder to people who know someone struggling through depression. Making yourself available to help can be the best thing you can do to help that person. The response may be that no, there is not a way you can help out, but making that offer at least lets that person know there is someone willing to help them when that help is needed. And a key point that you mentioned is the importance of asking how that person needs help. With all the factors involved with depression, you very likely won’t know what will help unless that person tells you specifically how you can help.

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