Some are of the opinion that as Christians, we SHOULDN’T get depressed. However,, the truth is that Christians DO get depressed.
Living with depression is not a fun place to be! Those of you who have been there, or who are currently struggling with depression know and understand what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, there seems to be a stigma about depression, and we are ashamed to tell anyone about it, or talk about it.
However, there are different causes for depression, and you may find yourself dealing with it at one time or another in your life. That does NOT make you a bad Christian. It is NOT something to be ashamed of.
Don’t just assume that you are a failure, or a bad person/Christian because you get depressed. Rather than dwelling on the feelings of depression, and giving in to them hopelessly, seek to determine the cause.
What are some common causes of depression?
After the birth of our third child, I went through quite a time of depression, for over a year. I would cry for no reason, felt down and blue, and just wanted to sleep. As a mom of three, I obviously didn’t have that option!
I mentioned it to my Dr. and he did some testing. The results showed a chemical imbalance in my body, and he explained that it wasn’t MY fault, but rather imbalance was causing the emotional upheaval I was dealing with.
(I wrote a series of posts called Homeschooling and Hormones, that go into more detail on this. It applies even if you don’t homeschool.)
I have finally gotten to the point where I can recognize the depression that comes from fatigue. When you are tired, every problem you are dealing with seems worse, and everything becomes a much bigger deal to you than it should.
I can now tell myself when those feelings come: “You are tired. Don’t think about it till you get some sleep.”
One of the things I have dealt with is a low serotonin level. Serotonin is the happy hormone, and is also a hormone that helps regulate your sleep rhythm. If you have insomnia and struggle with depression, there’s the possibility that your serotonin level is low. This can lead to a vicious cycle of fatigue and depression. (I’m not a Dr, and am just speaking from my personal experience here.)
Many people deal with difficult, challenging circumstances that could very well lead to depression; things such as financial difficulties, marriage problems, or even dealing with a challenging, difficult child. Sometimes we let those circumstances get us down, without even realizing it.
Often the circumstances cause us to stay awake at night thinking about solutions, or dwelling on the problem. Of course, this adds to the fatigue problem. I found that I had to give those concerns to God, and ask Him to give me His peace about them. Often I had to give them to Him over and over again, as I would find myself consumed with them again, and realized they were stealing my joy.
Some people just have more of a melancholy personality that leans towards depression. This doesn’t mean you have to give in to it, and live in a constant state of depression. It does mean that you need to be aware of it, and have a strategy to help pull yourself out of that depression when you feel yourself sinking into it.
If you struggle with depression, don’t feel guilty! Instead look for the causes, and for solutions to them.
In my next post I will talk about the Do’s and Don’ts of Depression