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Dealing with Depression as a Christian

How to Overcome Depression

July 17, 2024

Originally posted on August 31, 2021 @ 12:35 pm

Times are very difficult, and the world is becoming difficult to live in. We face pressure from all sides, and this can affect our mental health. These days, even the church can place expectations and burdens on Christians, which can become too much to bear. Dealing with depression as a Christian and how to overcome depression is an important discussion; the discussion is more valid now than ever. Let’s talk about all mental health issues in the church, from depression to obsession and all forms of addiction.

Kindly Note that this article does not replace professional advice. You should please consult a professional who can guide you through.

What is depression?

Depression is a feeling of severe dejection. Depression is a constant feeling of loneliness, sadness and worry. It is characterised by living in fear, doubt and unhealthy habits. If it isn’t nabbed early, it can lead to severe health issues or death. Depression is not limited to a particular age group or gender. The rate of depression among teenagers is increasing and alarming. In this article, I shared my story and how to overcome depression.

How to overcome depression bible
Image Credit: Pexels.com

Overcome Depression in Seven Easy Steps

This video explains how to overcome depression with seven easy tips. Depression is a constant feeling of loneliness, sadness and worry. It is characterised b...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) 

 JOHN 10:10 (amp).

The devil is the greatest enemy of man, but he is invisible. He uses tactics like depression because he knows that our mind is our greatest weapon. He makes us feel sad because of the things we do not have, rather than being grateful for what we have. He whispers saddening thoughts, which reminds us of our desires and needs. That is why the bible told us

  Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this tiny thing, why do you worry about the rest.  

Luke 12:22-26.

Can a Christian be depressed?

Yes, a Christian can be depressed and feel dejected. It doesn’t mean that you don’t know or love God. A Christian can be depressed, but how you handle the depression matters a lot. You mustn’t allow the depression to define you or your achievements.

Should a Christian remain depressed?

No, a Christian should never remain depressed. It is an attack of the enemy over your life. God wants us to be happy, enjoy life, and live a fulfilling life. The challenges you face are not a reflection of the future. Don’t give up on yourselves. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength

What are the signs of depression?

There are many signs of depression according to professionals.

Depression can manifest in various ways, and it’s important to recognize the signs early on. While everyone’s experience is unique, here are 10 common signs of depression

1. Persistent Sadness or Low Mood

   Feeling persistently sad, down, or experiencing a general low mood that lasts for an extended period, often lasting for most of the day, nearly every day.

2. Loss of Interest or Pleasure

   Losing interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable or fulfilling. It can include hobbies, socializing, or other activities that used to bring joy.

3. Changes in Sleep Patterns

   Significant changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping). Sleep disturbances are common in depression.

4. Fatigue and Low Energy

   Constant feelings of fatigue, low energy levels, and a sense of lethargy, even after a full night’s sleep or minimal physical activity.

5. Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions

 Experiencing difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or having a reduced ability to think clearly. Cognitive functioning may be noticeably impaired.

6. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt

   Persistent feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, or self-blame, even when there is no rational basis for these emotions.

7. Changes in Appetite or Weight

   Significant changes in appetite, leading to either weight loss or gain. Some individuals may experience an increase in appetite, often craving comfort foods, while others may lose interest in eating altogether.

8. Irritability or Restlessness

   Signs like increased irritability, restlessness, or a sense of agitation. Individuals with depression may become easily frustrated or agitated, and small stressors may provoke intense emotional reactions.

9. Physical Symptoms

   Unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach-aches, or other aches and pains, may not be attributed to any specific medical condition.

10. Social Withdrawal

    Withdrawing from social activities, isolating oneself from friends, family, or social events. A person with depression may feel overwhelmed or disinterested in social interactions.

11. Suicidal thoughts

Depression can come with suicidal thoughts.

It’s essential to note that experiencing one or two of these symptoms may not necessarily indicate depression. Still, a combination of several symptoms over an extended period may cause concern. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of depression, seeking professional help from a mental health professional is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Depression is a treatable condition, and timely intervention can make a significant difference in recovery

Causes of Depression

Depression doesn’t happen suddenly. In order to overcome depression, the cause of depression must be known. Depression is a complex mental health condition, and its causes are often multifaceted. Various factors can contribute to the development of depression, and these factors may interact differently for each individual. Here are 15 potential causes or contributing factors to depression

Causes of depression
We are usually burdened with all the activities that call for our attention.

1. Biological Factors

   – Genetics A family history of depression or other mood disorders can increase the risk.

   – Brain Chemistry Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, may contribute to depressive symptoms.

2. Psychological Factors

   – Personality Traits Certain personality types may be more prone to depression, such as those with a pessimistic outlook or low self-esteem.

   – Trauma Past traumatic experiences, such as abuse, Low Self-esteem, neglect, or significant loss, can increase the risk of depression.

3. Environmental Factors

   – Stressful Life Events Chronic stress, major life changes, or ongoing difficulties can contribute to the development of depression like loss of jobs.

   – Financial Strain Economic hardships or financial stressors can contribute significantly.

4. Medical Conditions

   – Chronic Illness Chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, or neurological disorders can impact mental health.

   – Hormonal Changes Fluctuations in hormones, such as those occurring during pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause, may contribute.

5. Medications

   – Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or beta-blockers, may have depression as a side effect.

6. Substance Abuse

   – Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug abuse, can contribute to or exacerbate depressive symptoms.

7. Social Isolation

   – Lack of social support or feelings of loneliness can contribute to the development of depression.

8. Cognitive Patterns

   – Negative Thought Patterns Habitual negative thinking or distorted thought patterns can contribute to the maintenance of depressive symptoms.

9. Childhood Experiences

   – Early Adversity Exposure to adverse childhood experiences, including abuse or neglect, can impact mental health later in life.

10. Family Dynamics

    – Family History Dysfunctional family dynamics, Toxic Relationships, conflict, or a lack of emotional support within the family can be contributing factors.

11. Lack of Exercise

    A sedentary lifestyle (a lifestyle type in which one is physically inactive and does little or no physical movement) and lack of physical activity have been linked to an increased risk of depression.

12. Sleep Disturbances

    – Chronic sleep problems, including insomnia or irregular sleep patterns, may contribute to or worsen depressive symptoms.

13. Cognitive Distortions

    – Persistent negative thought patterns and cognitive distortions can contribute to the maintenance of depressive symptoms.

14. Chronic Illness

    – Dealing with a chronic illness or chronic pain can contribute to the development of depression.

15. Gender

    – Women are generally diagnosed with depression more frequently than men. Hormonal factors and societal pressures may contribute to this difference.

It’s important to recognize that these factors often interact, and the development of depression is rarely attributed to a single cause. Additionally, individuals may experience depression without an identifiable cause. Seeking professional help for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate treatment is crucial for those experiencing depression.

Biblical Characters who struggled with depression

  • David

David was a strong Man. A man who killed thousands of enemies. He was decorated and celebrated by his people. He is still one of the most respected and exalted biblical characters. 

David also experienced depression in his lifetime. He once had to flee his own country because his son was after his life. (2 Samuel 15:1-19). He wrote this passage when he faced this situation (Psalm 3). He eventually had to sort things on the battleground, which resulted in Absalom’s Death. David mourned his death for days.

Another time was when David went to war, and his village was looted before he came back. He was devastated and sad. His men thought of stoning him, but David rose courageously and sought the Lord. (1 Samuel 30)

  • Elijah

Elijah is one of the fiercest prophets in the bible. He is a model to many believers. He heard God clearly, and he was God’s mouthpiece to Israel. In a day, he killed over 300 prophets of Baal, restoring the confidence of the people. 

Shortly after he achieved this feat, Jezebel sent him a message. She informed him of her plan to kill him. He fled for his life and took shelter in a cave.

He prayed to God and wished for death! He did not see an escape from this trouble, but God came through for him. (1 Kings 19)

  •  Job

Job’s story is that of a man who served God faithfully. He lost all he had in one day! His children, Cattles and wealthy. Shortly after, he got a serious boil disease, and he wished for death. He was depressed, hurt and unhappy with life. (Job 3:26, 10:1, 30:15-17). He also survived and recovered all.

17 Steps to Overcome Depression for Christians

The good news is that no matter how depressed you are right now, there is hope. You can overcome! The struggle to overcome depression is a journey that requires determination and courage. I believe you can overcome depression by doing some of the things I did.

Next time the devil comes to take you down the road of depression and anxiety, try these things;

freedom from depression
No matter how strong a bondage is: It can be broken. Image Credit: Pixabay

  • Admit your struggles

The first step to break free from depression is to admit it. It has a way of helping you seek. The fact that you are depressed does not mean that you are a terrible person. It happens to the best of us. Examples are some of the highly exalted biblical characters mentioned earlier.

  •  Seek Counsel

Receive instruction, and accept correction that you may be wise in the time to come. 

Proverbs 19:20 (Amp)

    Seek professional counselling from a Christian therapist or counsellor who can integrate faith into the therapeutic process. Depression grows in negative and a toxic environments. Pour out your heart to a trusted counsellor who is ready to walk the journey with you. Don’t be afraid to seek Counsel.

  • Meditate on the Scriptures

The bible is a great book that has answers to all life worries. Find solace in reading the bible. You will be surprised to discover you are not the first person who struggled with some of your fears. The bible is indeed complete.

Meditate on Scriptures that bring comfort and hope. Reflect on God’s promises and the truths found in His Word.

  I will meditate on your precepts and (thoughtfully) regard your ways (the path of life established by Your principles).  

Psalm 119:15(amp).
  • Make a Change 

Some of our thoughts are a reflection of the environment we belong. We sometimes need to change our settings, friends and habits. These ensure we find peace.     Prioritize physical wellbeing by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and ensuring sufficient sleep. Physical health can significantly impact mental wellbeing.

Do not be afraid to make a necessary change in life for the sake of your mental health.

  • Set attainable goals

Set your goals based on what you can achieve. Break those goals down and follow them one after the other. Don’t set goals that are overwhelming and difficult for you to complete. Some may look difficult but attainable, while some goals are not attainable. 

Break down tasks into manageable goals. Celebrate small achievements, and avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. (10 days Journey to Self-Discovery Plan)

  • Be grateful for every win

Reward and celebrate yourself anytime you succeed at something. Try not to focus on the things you didn’t achieve; value what you have achieved. This boosts your self-love and confidence. You become optimistic that you can do what you set your heart to do. 

  • Listen to edifying Music 

Music is a way to revive a dying spirit. It permeates the soul and implants itself in the heart. Listen to edifying songs that will uplift your mood. I have some that boost my faith in God when I am feeling sad. Those songs help me remember that God is indeed faithful and whatever I’m going through is temporary.

    Incorporate worship into your daily life. Music, hymns, and songs of praise can uplift your spirit and shift your focus from despair to God’s goodness.

  • Community and Fellowship

    Engage with a supportive Christian community. Attend church services, join a small group, or connect with fellow believers who can provide encouragement and understanding.

  • Pray Always
prayer is important during quiet time
Dealing with Depression as a Christian 6

Prayer is the rod of every Christian. Speak out your talk to God as if you can see him in person. Hannah cried unto God, pouring out her heart like waters before him. (1 Samuel 1). David, after he got to Ziklag, turned to God in prayer for direction.

While we walk the road of life, it helps us connect with God. Like going skiing, the rod helps in understanding the soil. With it, it is easy to navigate the ground structure. When I pray at these times, I speak as if I’m pouring my heart out to a friend. I say things the way I feel.

    Develop a consistent prayer life. Pour out your heart to God, expressing your struggles and seeking His guidance and comfort.

  • Journaling and Reflection

    Keep a journal to express your thoughts, feelings, and prayers. Reflecting on your experiences can provide clarity and help identify patterns.

  • Volunteer and Serve Others

    Engage in acts of kindness and service. Helping others can bring a sense of purpose and fulfilment.

  • Limit Negative Influences

     Be mindful of the media, social media, or relationships that may contribute to negativity. Limit exposure to sources that trigger distressing emotions.

  • Professional Treatment

    Consider seeking professional help from a mental health provider, such as a therapist, counsellor, or psychiatrist, who aligns with your Christian values.

  •  Develop Coping Strategies

     Identify healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or engaging in activities you enjoy.

  • Educate Yourself

     Learn more about depression and mental health. Understanding the condition can empower you to make informed decisions and reduce stigma.

  • Focus on Gratitude

     Practice gratitude by intentionally recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. Keeping a gratitude journal can be a helpful exercise.

  • Professional and Pastoral Support

     Seek guidance from pastors or spiritual leaders within your faith community. Many churches offer pastoral counselling and support groups.

It’s crucial to approach overcoming depression holistically, addressing spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, seeking professional help and building a strong support network are vital steps towards healing. Remember that overcoming depression is often a gradual process, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

“Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I’ve made that commitment for my life’s sake and for the sake of those who love me.”

 Susan Polis Schutz

Bible Verses to Overcome Depression

The bible is very clear about depression. God loves us and he never wants us to be enslaved by the feeling of depression. There are many bible verses in the bible that serves as comfort during this lonely times. I believe these bible verses are good for overcoming depression.

Here are 10 Bible verses that address the struggles of the heart and offer solace in times of darkness

1. Psalm 3418 (NIV)

    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

2. Psalm 4211 (NIV)

    “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.”

3. Isaiah 4110 (NIV)

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

4. Matthew 1128-30 (NIV)

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

5. 2 Corinthians 13-4 (NIV)

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

6. Philippians 46-7 (NIV)

    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

7. 1 Peter 57 (NIV)

    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

8. Psalm 305 (NIV)

    “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

9. Jeremiah 2911 (NIV)

    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

10. Romans 1513 (NIV)

     “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

These verses remind us of God’s presence, comfort, and the hope found in Him. They encourage us to cast our burdens on the Lord and trust in His promises, knowing that He cares deeply for those who are struggling. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, consider meditating on these verses and seeking support from a faith community or mental health professionals.

how to overcome depression: listening to edifying music
how to overcome depression: listening to edifying music. Image Credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Final Thoughts

let me share my experience;

 When I just got married, I was so confident I’d have a child within the first year. I was already planning my life as a mother. I feel pregnant every month, but it was always in my head. My hope gets shattered when my period comes. I started counting months, then years. I remember crying my eyes out every month, and anytime I remember. I became a shadow of myself. I stopped taking care of myself. I lived every day like it meant nothing. I was under pressure, and this led me down the road of DEPRESSION.        

I began to withdraw from friendships and relationships with people. Most people thought I was behaving because of pride. I was indeed devastated. Unfortunately, people who I thought would be supportive were tormenting me with negative words. Sometimes when I remember those times, I wonder how I survived.

 Depression is a terrible road to walk. It robs you of joy, leaves you ungrateful and makes one feel useless and sad. Its victims are a danger to both themselves and the people around them. Life becomes meaningless when depressed, and this is why it can lead to suicide. 

Finally, let this scripture always be in your heart as a tool to overcome depression

 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice]. I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  

 Jeremiah 29:11-13 (Amp)  

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