A Christian Perspective on Depression

185/365 days of blogging.

Guest blog by April at Peaceful Wife.  I thought this was some very useful information!

As a pharmacist – I am very keenly aware that millions of people are taking prescriptions to help with depression, anxiety, and a wide range of emotional and mental disorders.  These disorders can be very life-altering and make living a productive life difficult.  Sometimes people can be completely paralyzed by these conditions and I am SO thankful that we have medications that can help many people have a much better quality of life.  I do want to be sure people who are taking anti-depresants and anti-psychotics are aware that these drugs MUST be taken daily.  If a patient misses even one or two days of some of these medications, they can have “rebound depression,” major stomach problems, severe headaches and even suicidal thoughts.  So please do not EVER stop taking these drugs suddenly or without your doctor’s help.

SOME CAUSES OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY:

Some people inherit a predisposition to mental disorders and conditions.  Many of these things run in families.  But there is also the fact that children grow up around adults with these kinds of problems so they also learn to react to life in similar ways to the parents who raised them.

There is situational depression or anxiety – the death of a loved one, a major disagreement with a friend, the loss of a job, a very stressful situation, a natural disaster, tragedies and the like can cause depression and anxiety in anyone.

People who suffered sexual, physical and verbal abuse can have depression, anxiety and a wide variety of other mental and emotional illnesses as they try to deal with the trauma they endured.

Children of divorce – even when they are adults – may suffer from depression and anxiety years later.

People who have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Sleep deprivation, illness, exhaustion, etc can cause great emotional and mental stress.

Brain chemistry problems, low blood sugar, illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, low oxygen levels (altitude sickness), estrogen level changes (pregnancy, postpartum, PMS, menopause) and neurological issues.

Side effects of some medications.

Disobedience to God’s Word, sin, idolatry, trying to control things that only other people or God can control, living in fear instead of faith, or not having God’s Spirit will invariably cause depression, guilt, shame and anxiety.

WE SEPARATE THINGS TOO MUCH IN WESTERN MEDICINE SOMETIMES

In medicine today, we tend to separate organs and body systems and even emotions and the soul from the brain and body in the way we think about things.  But the truth is, our body/mind/soul is all connected.

If I think an anxious thought in my mind – my body reacts by producing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones).  If I am constantly thinking anxious, worried and fearful thoughts, I bathe my entire body in these chemicals that affect my immune system, causes insomnia, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, a higher heart rate, stomach ulcers, heart attacks, increased sensitivity to pain, increased body fat accumulation around the belly (which increases the risk of diabetes), migraines, lower levels of serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter) irritability and a lot of other medical problems.  Our bodies are designed to live by faith.  Even if our faith isn’t in Jesus – our bodies are designed to be healthier when we live in faith instead of fear and worry.

If I think about things I am thankful for and good things in my mind – I am blessed.  My body reacts by NOT producing stress hormones.  My immune system is boosted.  I DON’T tend to get all those maladies that are caused by stress hormones.  My neurotransmitters in my brain increase serotonin (making me feel happier), I sleep better, and I am overall much healthier and happier.

God designed our bodies to be blessed when we live by faith and to be cursed (His blessings are withdrawn) when we don’t trust Him.

DRUGS CAN’T COVER UP THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN OR SPIRITUAL SEPARATION FROM GOD

I am going to now focus solely on spiritual causes of depression and anxiety.  This section does not cover all forms of depression and anxiety, but I think we often gloss over spiritual causes of these conditions to our detriment.  Here I am only talking about depression, shame, guilt and anxiety associated with disobedience to God’s Word and sin.  There are many forms of mental illness that do not fall under this category.  I am not attempting to diagnose or treat anyone with a medical condition.  If you are suffering from emotional or mental problems that are affecting your ability to function and get along with others – please see your doctor!   If you are taking medications for an emotional/mental problem – PLEASE do NOT stop taking your medication without consulting with your doctor!

I pray that you might examine your own spirit and soul by the light of God’s Word and see if it’s possible you may have grieved God’s Spirit.  If you have, then it will take repentance to God to have His Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit restored to you – love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Sometimes we take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs because we are living in sin and we are filled with guilt, shame or anxiety because of that sin.  We think that if we take medication, we can escape the consequences of our sin or rebellion against God. Maybe we refuse to forgive someone. Maybe there is a feud going on in the family and there is constant conflict and drama.   And we have allowed a HUGE root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts – giving Satan a stronghold in our souls.  Maybe we live with constant resentment and anger – possibly for many years.  Maybe we are living in an immoral situation and we are racked with guilt and anxiety because we are afraid God will find out, or our parents will find out, or our spouse might find out.  If I am living in sin, there is no medication that will alleviate my anxiety and depression and restore God’s peace to me.  I will suffer the consequences of broken fellowship with God because of my sin – so I won’t have His power available in my life.  God will not allow me to enjoy His sweet presence and fellowship and the gift of His Spirit if I am clinging to sin.   I will also suffer the lack of spiritual fellowship with my husband/family/friends because of my sin against God. And I will suffer emotionally with anxiety and depression because I am cherishing sin in my heart.  I may suffer physical consequences like unwanted pregnancy or STDs if I sin against my body and against God  by committing sexual immorality. Maybe I have an addiction to a drug/alcohol/behavior and I am filled with anxiety because I am idolizing that thing and idols cannot  satisfy – only fellowship with God can bring true contentment, peace, joy, hope, satisfaction and abundant life.

If I am living in sin – there is no anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug that can erase the God-given consequences of my sin.  No prescription can take away my guilt.  No drug can remove my shame.  Only the blood of Jesus can wash away the stain of my guilt.  And to have that kind of clean heart, I have to turn away from my sinful life and walk to Christ – abandoning my sin, and embracing Him and His will for me.  I have to give up control over my life and give that to Christ.  I have to trust Him to make me right with God and realize that I can’t earn the right to be in a right relationship with God.

  •  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23.
  • The wages (paycheck) of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23
  • For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, Daddy.”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.  Romans 8:12-17
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

GOD’S PRESCRIPTION FOR JOY

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.

Finally brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE – if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY  – think about such things.  Philippians 4:4-8

Now, your assignment is – think about these verses from Philippians 4.  And think about your marriage with those verses  – and your husband.

Please ask God to show you the good in your husband and THINK ON THOSE THINGS.

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