Have you ever suffered from depression or anxiety? Depression is a major problem in the world today. By the year 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide.
This time of year feelings of depression are common. Most people suffer in silence. And in this episode I will share my own battle with depression, and give you my recipe for defeating this debilitating and deadly disease.
Tip of the Week:
Moodtracker. Enter daily a choice of three moods and have the option to input notes as well.
You can see a twoweek calendar view from the main page, or a full month view calendar from the Calendar view.
Also, export your notes to email so you can bring in your notes to your next doctor's visit or keep for your reference.
Spiritual Foundations: Depression Is Always a Spiritual Battle
Depression is always a spiritual matter at the root – but don't let condemnation creep in.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
- Decide to use the opportunity to glorify God.
- The deeper your depression, the more expressive your worship should be.
- Read the Psalms until you hear your voice – then camp there for a while.
Feature Presentation: How To Overcome Depression
Depression is a major problem in the world today.
- By the year 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide.
- Of the estimated 17.5 million Americans who are affected by some form of depression, 9.2 million have major or clinical depression.
- Two-thirds of people suffering from depression do not seek necessary treatment.
- 80% of all people with clinical depression who have received treatment significantly improve their lives.
- The economic cost of depression is estimated at $30.4 billion a year but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
- Women experience depression about twice as often as men.
People who are not depressed don't commit suicide.
I've battled depression myself, and I know it is not an easy thing to deal with. I have tried just about every solution available to fight depression. I feel it is important to resist this force, which is more than a mere “feeling” – it is an enemy that will devour your life and the lives of those around you.
But there is hope. And I'm going to share my own battle plan and recipe for overcoming depression.
First Things First: Does God Want Me To Be Depressed?
First and foremost, let me state very clearly: I don't think depression or anxiety are ever from the Lord. Ever. End of discussion.
God can and does use bad things and turns them ultimately to our good-but that is his work in redeeming an imperfect creation from the curse mankind placed it under. It is not him abusing his children in order to “teach them something”.
The theology here is very deep:
Good things come from God.
Bad things come from Satan.
Children understand this. It takes adults make it complicated.
Ray's 9-Step Anti-Depression Recipe
- Prayer daily, as a conversation with God.
- Practice the awareness of God's Presence.
- Journaling daily (I use Day One, and a template of questions that I answer each day. I store the template as a TextExpander snippet).
- Read 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs daily (in addition to normal Bible reading/study)
- Vigorous Exercise 6 days per week (while listening to powerful, positive UPBEAT worship music – ie, no “I've written an ode to my problems” type songs)
- Daily declarations (speaking out loud the promises of the word, see the book above)
- Paleo Diet to regulate blood sugar and neurochemistry
- Supplementation (especially Vitamin D and B-Complex)
- Tracking mood daily (use MoodTracker App)
Additional Resources For Battling Depression
Here is a list of resources that have been very useful to me.
- I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life – Joel Osteen
- Declarations: Unlocking Your Future – Steve Backlund
- Strengthen Yourself In The Lord – Bill Johnson
- The Power of Right Believing – Joseph Prince
- Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device
Final Thoughts On Overcoming Depression
No discussion of this topic would be complete without mentioning antidepressant medications.
As a last resort, I can tell you that antidepressant medications can be useful.
But I strongly believe this is only after you have exhausted every other possible answer. There are peer-reviewed, controlled studies that demonstrate vigorous exercise is just as effective as antidepressants in most patients.
The possible exception to this rule is that you may have an actual physiological problem in your brain.
In my case, because I was been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, I have empirical evidence that my neurological systems are flawed. Specifically, the production and delivery of dopamine, which controls movement, is at the root of most Parkinson's symptoms. It just so happens that dopamine also controls mood. Thus, there may be more of a direct physiological element in my individual case. But even this is in dispute amongst experts.
I have taken anti-depressants, under the close supervision of a medical professional. So if you need to do this, please do not accept any shame or condemnation for doing so.
God always does the healing, whether through the laying on of hands by a believer… or the laying on of hands by a doctor. Or the blessing of intellect that allows the creation of medicines that heal.
The Role Of Psychology and Psychiatry In Treating Depression
If you seek counseling of any kind, I strongly recommend working with a Christian counselor, and finding one who does not have some perverse “theology of suffering”. Unless you want to suffer and believe it is “for a reason”.
I have in the past sought out professional help with depression. Even when I went to see a medical professional, I sought one who was a believer, because the baseline theological premises one begins with influence the final practical outcome conclusions one forms. Even in medicine.
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