Depression has been called the “common cold” of mental disorders, and one source estimates that it disrupts the lives of 30 to 40 million Americans.
But for many, a cold isn’t even close to describing their depression; it’s often challenging and destructive.
Here are nine things you must do right now:
Avoid being alone. Force yourself to be with people. (I know “force” is a strong word, but if that is what it takes!) You must find fellowship now.
Go to church. God’s people and wise elders can direct and guide you. The Church is God’s way of helping you walk through darkness and depression. They’re to be a source of authentic blessing to those who struggle.
Seek help from medical professionals. This will probably require some humility. Reach out to someone who will understand. (There are meds that might help you.)
Sing out loud. It sounds crazy, but music can uplift your spirit as it did for King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23). Get an iPod and fill it with good music. Praise and give thanks. This can really push back the darkness.
Lean heavily on the power of God’s Word. Write out verses; listen to the teachers Tear apart a book of the Bible and then put it back together!.
Read the Psalms, for these are God’s medicine for your spirit. Each one of them is divinely inspired; they have been tried over and over through many centuries by believers as a book of prayer. They’re for any need you might have.
Learn conversational prayer. Talk to your Father as you would talk to a friend. He’s waiting for you to come closer. Don’t get religious here, rather just talk to Him. Also, listen. He likes to talk too.
Rest confidently in the presence of God’s Spirit. “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance” Psalm 42:5.
Remember that God is not against you, He is definitely on your side. He’s very close to you right now. “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?”
Romans 8:31-32, Message
“God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns”
Please keep coming back to Brokenbelievers.
Use the search button on the site. You’ll find lots of good teaching which can help you sort things out. There are over 1,400 posts available here, and we can maybe help. And if you comment on any post, or via email we’ll read it, so much of this ministry comes when we connect with each other like this.
Linda and I aren’t medical professionals, however, I’m an evangelical pastor, and Linda is a wise believer who has lived through many storms. We both have been challenged with being disciples of Jesus, having had our times in the dark. We promise to help if we can.
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73, ESV
Continuity is a medicine for us who are always on the edge of losing control.
One patriarch in the Book of Genesis was told that “he was unstable as water.” And this pretty much describes me as I struggle with depression. But the promise from Psalm 73 is for a continuous presence. There is no flickering, no jumping about. He is steady. He does not flit or fluctuate.
He is always, and forever, constantly, focused on you.
He provides guidance, free of charge. We can experience many confusing days. We make the attempt to walk through them, but we quickly grasp our ineptitude. It goes very much better when He is speaking into our hearts. Since He is present with us on a continuous basis anyway, let us turn to Him for direction.
There is a realization in verse 25.“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” This statement declares “point blank” who and what is real. Try reading this verse and emphasize the “you.”
The psalmist has an ‘umbilical cord’ attached to heavenly places.
This feeds him and gives him a radical strength to stand up and ‘to be’. The writer is completely over with the things of this earth. He desires only heavenly things, that which really comes after looking down the long corridors of eternity. He has made his choice. He will follow.
In verse 26 he admits a desperate weakness.
He understands the foolishness of his flesh. He knows that he has been pathetic and spiritually feeble. There is absolutely nothing he can do about this. He has tried and tried repeatedly to change. His heart is like a colander that drains away all the grace and mercy that pours out on him. He holds on to nothing. He must stay under the faucet to survive.
But still, there is a profound realization that God is strengthening his heart. He has done this on an eternal level. What this means is this: He has touched me and by that touch has made me like Him. The rest of this Psalm extends and states certain things that the Psalmist has learned himself.
“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.”
“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
Psalm 73, ESV
God draws a person, but coming closer is also your choice.
The Psalmist sees that his “nearness to God is my good.” He realizes that by taking refuge in God there is something that will be quite wonderful. There is some effort that must happen. So he makes God his refuge. The Lord God is now a ‘bomb shelter’ or a covering for our souls. He continues this process with a deep commitment to sharing ‘the works of God.’
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2, NIV
This psalm focuses being intimate with our heavenly Father.
Throughout the entire chapter we see personal pronouns used. In contrast to other psalms that are directed to the nation, this one is written to an individual. This personal focus makes this a favorite psalm for many.
Shelter and shadow, refuge and fortress are the opening ‘word pictures’ used very elegantly. The psalmist writes what he knows, and it is apparent that he understand the needs of the human spirit, and for protection. Each of these four words creates a common link between believers. Each of us need a working understanding of all four protections.
Dwelling, resting and ‘saying’ are necessary elements for the word pictures to work. I should ‘dwell’ in God’s sheltered care. All too often, I wander out past the security of the Lord (or maybe I’m lured out?) But there is safety in having God so close to us. His proximity is for my protection.
“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
V.v. 3-4, maintains its personal or familiar tone. ‘Save you’ (salvation) is far more that a theological term. For the psalmist however, it’s not about ‘doctrine’; rather the psalm is an embrace. He is rescued from the trap, and the sickness that seems so contagious never touches him. Moving from metaphor to metaphor, he engages our imaginations to ‘see’ God’s salvation. The writer knows his stuff.
The Lord is pictured as a protective bird that covers his chicks.
We have a sure confidence as we gather together in that warm and safe spot under His wing. Whatever is after us has to go through God first. His presence is formidable. In His company is found our only safety.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.”
Romans 8:31, 33
All of heaven is rallying for your well-being. You are sure of this based on your faith in God’s own word. He has ‘busted us’ out of a dark cage, and now defends you against all your enemies. And that is a very good thing.