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Christianity is No Shield from Depression

by Kristi Lemley
Kristi Lemley is a minister, speaker, author, counselor, and licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is the founder of Living in the Light Ministries, an international ministry focused on helping people deal with daily life struggles, and heal from their past hurts by experiencing the freedom and truth of the Gospel. Her latest book and bible study is entitled Broken and Transformed: Moving beyond life’s difficult times.
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If you have never been depressed, you might not understand how a person can take their own life. I have often “They had a beautiful family, they had everything going for them, they had it made.”However, when you are experiencing darkness so deep that you cannot see anything else, nothing else matters.
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Depression can be a very lonely battle. One of the main symptoms of depression is feeling alone which, in turn, causes people to isolate. I have seen marriages come unraveled because the depressed spouse has lost their passion, energy, sex drive, and any interest in activities they once enjoyed. Obviously, marriages are not the only part of the family that is impacted.
Are you or someone you love currently suffering from depression? Here are some symptoms to consider in yourself or loved ones:
  • Feeling sad
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in appetite and/or sleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Suicidal thoughts
If the majority of these symptoms describe you, you might be suffering from depression. The first thing I want you to know is that you are not alone. There is help that is ready and willing to meet you right where you are and join you on your journey to recover your life. Call your primary doctor for help, go to your minister at church, or call your insurance and find a Christian therapist in your area. If you don’t have insurance, call your community mental health clinic. Where ever you decide to seek treatment, you are not ALONE.
Sometimes people erroneously think that if someone is a Christian, they should not struggle with depression. I want to expose that myth. If you read a majority of the psalms that King David wrote, he experienced terrible depression, as did many other people in the Bible:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God
 (Psalm 42:5).
The myth that Christians cannot be depressed is one reason I believe that some people simply do not seek treatment. Do not be ashamed for what you are experiencing – find the courage to seek help, especially if you are thinking about ending your life. Some of the heroes of the Christian faith experienced the same feelings:
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:3-4).
In addition to professional help, I recommend a few practical suggestions you can do on a  daily basis to help alleviate your symptoms:
  • Exercise
  • Watch a comedy
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Tackle one thing at a time
  • Journal your feelings
  • Stay connected with friends and family
  • Hug someone
  • Take a bubble bath or do something nice for yourself
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Read and quote scriptures- for example: content with what  you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I                            forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
If you have not experienced depression, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone if you see them struggling or hurting. I believe simple acts of kindness keep us compassionate and help us to begin to understand how depression can affect our friends and family. Depression does not discriminate based on color, race, gender, or social class. It is not something to fear in other people, but an opportunity to reach out and let them know they are not alone.  

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