I am not a psychiatrist or a licensed therapist. I am just a ordinary pastor serving God’s flock. Yet if I were to speak I would speak on the subject of clinical depression. The stats are pretty grim. Depression affects 16.1 million people, or 6.7% of the population every year, age 18 or older. The median age is 32.5 years old. (These are just U.S. stats only.)
I’ve come to understand this much through my own struggles. It seems that there are three types of depression to consider.
These ‘big three’ seldom stand alone; they mix or overlap each other to make diagnosis difficult. Only a doctor can make that, but we can at least know that these three are most likely behind our issues. You can have these three working against you at once.
- Guilty depression-– when our behavior hasn’t been what it should be (sin), this is the source of condemnation. Jesus forgives us, so we should forgive ourselves. Guilty depression is very hurtful and damaging to our spirits. Often our healing will come when we draw close to the Lord Jesus.
- Organic depression-– when it’s built into our DNA and part of our very being; it becomes fundamental to your personality. You can compare it to someone who has diabetes or MS. We live in a fallen world and genetics affects us at this core level.
- Reactionary depression— when we react to some bad news or injury, or working too much with no time off. We react to difficulties in this way when outside forces infringe upon our inner heart. Often God sends us an elder or a mature believer to come and help us out. This is fortuitous indeed to have someone to speak through our confusion.
Each of these are different, but identifying them could help you move through them more gracefully. The three can overlap. Perhaps it’s helpful to see reactionary depression as the most common, while guilty depression can be the most hurtful to the believer’s heart.
Satan is involved in the intensification of each– he creeps in and slowly strangles all hope. Worship and the Word is critical and necessary weapons for us out us to walk-out clean and clear. We must defend ourselves (and others) with these weapons that the Father has given us.
Knowing the type of depression will give you understanding and perhaps this will help you defuse the situation. These things have helped me personally to work through my own issues.
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
Statistics in opening paragraph from Anxiety and Depression Assn of America. These numbers are just for the U.S. Here is their website: https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics