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Eliminate the “D” Words Part 3 - Depression
Part three of my series on negative “D” words focuses on a big one: Depression. In the context of this series, this is not defined as an economic downturn, a low area in the ground or a tropical storm that has the potential to be a hurricane. The definition I am analyzing is as follows from the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
a: a state of feeling sad : low spirits : MELANCHOLY specifically : a mood disorder that is marked by varying degrees of sadness, despair, and loneliness and that is typically accompanied by inactivity, guilt, loss of concentration, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, and sometimes suicidal tendencies
Depression, of course, is a real disorder, with clinical and physical causes that require on-going treatment and intervention when it becomes a serious threat to someone’s life. Sadly, the majority of suicides happened to people that have been diagnosed with depression. However, the active term has crept into the daily babble of social life and social media in so many ways that it ultimately cheapens the usage of the term for those who are real sufferers. People claim to be depressed because their favorite sports team lost a big series or championship, or are devastated that a favorite fictional character was killed off on a beloved television show, or are depressed on Sunday nights because they have to go to work on Monday. They are depressed about events that are completely out of their control. In fact, this multi-purpose term encompasses a lot of the situations that I talked about in the first two parts dealing with disappointment and dread. “I’m disappointed in X and dread Y, so now I guess I’m truly depressed”. I have had feelings of depression during my life because of choices I made and things or actions that I did that were not commendable, but were truly sinful and hurtful. I never sunk low enough in despair to go for help, but I certainly entertained the blues quite often.
Although the clinical terms and definitions for depression are relatively new, there is ample evidence in the Bible that several major biblical figures suffered from depressed states. According to the on-line Biblical reference site Crosswalk, King David suffered from anguish, loneliness, feelings of abandonment by God and fears of his enemies. The prophet Elijah was discouraged, worried and afraid and actually asked God to take his life. The prophet Jonah was angry and wanted to run away from God. Job suffered the loss of everything in his life and was advised to curse God. Moses was grieved over the sins of his people and the need to be their leader. Jeremiah dealt with feelings of defeat, loneliness and insecurity. Even Jesus dealt with anguish just before facing His fate (He was so anguished in the Garden of Gethsemane that he sweated out blood though His skin and pleaded multiple times with the Father to remove this task).
There are no magical cures for real depression in a few light Bible verses. However, be comforted to know that God is right next to you if you are feeling depressed. Take precautions to not let disappointments and feelings of dread build into deeper depression. I would suggest taking a disappointment and immediately turning it into a prayer of gratitude for something that God gave you. I would advise taking the dreads to prayer and seeking out the Peace of God. Eliminate using the term “depressed” to describe a temporary situational state for a trivial matter. And remember that God inspired our medical industry to create therapies and medicines for clinical depression, which is aided by prayer and scripture for the believer.
Here is a splendid Psalm written with lonely and suffering humans in mind:
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life And loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”