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What is Depression?
Depression is the most complicated of all our emotions and yet one of the most common psychological problems a person can experience. Someone has called it the “common cold” of the emotions. It’s a feeling of gloom or sadness that is usually accompanied by a slowing down of the body. It is not just in the mind, but is experienced throughout the whole body. It’s in the stomach as much as in the head. We are all designed to experience depression. At some time in their lives, probably two of every ten people will experience depression seriously enough to hinder their normal way of life.
Can Our Attitudes and Behaviors Cause Depression?
Very definitely. For example, examine the following list, and see how many of these issues have caused you depression in your past:
Discontentment: A tendency to envy others and be dissatisfied with what you haven’t got or to resent what you have got.
A faulty set of values: Misjudging what’s important in life, and a tendency to focus too much on petty issues.
Faulty beliefs: Tendency to believe everything should go your way or that life should only present you with its blessings.
Faulty reactions: To be overly sensitive about what is said or done to you, or to be immature and not able to put things in proper balance.
Forgiveness not processed: Ignoring God’s instructions related to asking for forgiveness, forgiving yourself and forgiving others.
If you get depressed regularly without any apparent cause, the first step is to get a good medical evaluation and try to discover if there’s a physical cause for your depression. If there is, have the depression taken care of with appropriate treatment.
If the depression is reactive, caused by a loss of some sort, there are several things you can do. Minor depressions are usually temporary provided you trust God with them and don’t feed them with too much introspection.
If, however, you feel your depression is more serious, try the following steps:
Step 1: Identify the loss with all its implications
Step 2: Accept the loss, do your grieving, and try to put the loss in some perspective
Step 3: Then get on with your life
Can I Pray My Way Out of a Depression?
It depends on the depression, or more importantly on what’s causing it. If it’s caused by sin, yes, you can pray your way out of it. The act of prayer involves confession, repentance, and the receiving of forgiveness, so you remove the cause of the depression. You can get up from that kind of praying and really believe you’ve received forgiveness. Keep in mind what I’ve just mentioned, though, that the feeling of depression may not go away immediately.
Praying also helps to put things into perspective. It gets you in touch with the resources of God, too. But I don’t want to give the impression that every time you’re depressed, you can just pray and it will go away. It’s not that easy. But prayer needs to be an integral part of your healing from depression.
What Are Self-Management Strategies?
Can You Give Some Keys to Minimizing Depression in the Future?
Every depression can be used by God to grow our faith and to teach us important lessons. While we can minimize future seasons of depression in the future, we can’t eliminate them. Here are four ways to lessen future depressions:
DEPRESSION & DEPRESSION TESTING
All of us feel a little blue now and then, and that is normal. But some of us feel sad or depressed most of the time. That is not normal. The 20 questions below were developed by Dr. William Zung of Duke University to be used by people for self-diagnosis. Make copies for each member of your family. Score the answers. The results just might unmask depression and help you or a loved one take the first step toward getting better.
If your answer is: Score
None or little of the time 1
Some of the time 2
A good part of the time 3
Most of the time 4
Choose from the above responses by indicating 1, 2, 3 or 4 beside each question.
___ 1. I feel downhearted, blue and sad.
___ 2. Morning is when I feel the worst.
___ 3. I have crying spells, or feel like it.
___ 4. I have trouble sleeping through the night.
___ 5. I don’t eat as much as I used to.
___ 6. I don’t enjoy looking at, talking to and being with attractive women or men.
___ 7. I notice that I am losing weight.
___ 8. I have trouble with constipation.
___ 9. My heart beats faster than usual.
___ 10. I get tired for no reason.
___ 11. My mind is not as clear as it used to be.
___ 12. I don’t find it easy to do things I used to do.
___ 13. I am restless and can’t keep still.
___ 14. I do not feel hopeful about the future.
___ 15. I am more irritable than usual.
___ 16. I do not find it easy to make decisions.
___ 17. I feel that I am not useful and needed.
___ 18. My life is not very full.
___ 19. I feel that others would be better off if I were dead.
___ 20. I do not enjoy the things I used to.
Total the numbers in the left hand column. A score below 40 is the normal range. A score between 40 and 47 indicates a mild depression. If you scored 48 or above, a professional evaluation should be considered. If you scored above 56, you should definitely seek help.