Depression is more than just a bad day. It’s a change in mood and function that is obvious throughout the day and doesn’t shift over a period of time. To consider whether someone may be struggling with depression, we would look for a number of the following symptoms to be present at the same time:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities of the day
- Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Unshakeable feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Reduced ability to think or concentrate; struggling to make decisions
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
Note: Suicidal thoughts are just one of the symptoms. It is possible to be depressed without being suicidal, if a number of the other symptoms are present.
Depression is complex suffering with no one cause and no one silver bullet to fix it.
But neither is it hopeless. Jesus draws especially close to sufferers and offers hope.
The Bible describes us as being both physical and spiritual – body and soul. While these elements are distinct, they are also inseparable and so closely intertwined that it is impossible to affect the one without impacting the other.
The implication of this, is that if we want to help relieve the suffering of depression, we need to consider both the body and the soul.
A doctor’s assessment and possible medication can be a helpful relief for our bodies. However, because of the unity between body and soul, if we do not deal with the depression in our soul, medication alone will not relieve our suffering.
Life can be full of many sorrows and much suffering. Suffering and stress can be found in the environment and society we live in, the studies we have to complete, the weight of other people’s expectations, the body we live in, the family we grew up in, the relationships we are currently in, the things that have been done to us and things we have done ourselves.
Depression can take hold when these life events connect with our internal values or beliefs in a way that drags our thoughts, emotions and behaviors down a negative spiral.
As our soul begins to despair, depression begins to growl.
Our hope lies in knowing that God is at work in all of life’s situations. His sovereignty over shadows the deepest lows and the highest highs. He has something to say to each heartache, each injustice, every disappointment and all our anxiety. As we bring each aspect of life to Him we can be confident that through His word and the power of the Holy Spirit, God will redeem our suffering and transform our heart responses so that our thoughts, emotions and behaviors begin to reflect the hope we have in Christ.
As we learn how God’s loving truth speaks to our hardest and most confusing moments, hope begins to trickle into our soul and depression’s hold begins to slacken.
Fighting depression and finding hope is not a path to try and walk on your own. It’s hard to start walking anywhere when you feel so hopeless and exhausted and lost. As part of community in Jubilee, we have biblical counselors who would be very happy to walk a road with you. If this is your struggle, then please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.