Dueling Depression

Before I say too much, you need to know what I believe about depression. I believe that depression does not have any one cause, but many causes, chiefly Satan, the people around you, yourself, and God. If I had time to do a lengthier article, I would explain these further; however, in an effort to keep this article on-point and concise, I will refrain from doing so.

Also, there are certain theorized causes that I do not believe are really a factor in depression. Many believe that depression is caused by chemical imbalances; I do not accept this theory as legitimate cause. My belief is due to one very important, practical reason: scientists have not developed any way to even test this theory, much less prove it. Even if they discover a way to test whether or not a person has chemical imbalances, it would be a stretch to link those imbalances to depression. Maybe, but there is no concrete evidence to support this theory. While I’m not saying that I have the absolute truth and that chemical imbalances are definitely not a cause to depression, this is what I believe.

Another theory that I reject is that depression is just a part of what a person is and therefore has no remedy. Depression is not an innate part of you; it can be overcome. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If you have any questions about what I believe about depression, please comment, as I do not have time to give a full-length account of my beliefs about depression. The final three things that I want to mention are what we shall be focusing on in this article:

Depression is real.

Depression is painful.

Depression is a problem.

Depression is real. If you’re reading this because someone you know is depressed or struggles often with depression, you need to understand that DEPRESSION IS REAL. It’s not some imaginary concept that disheartened people have contrived to give an excuse for their incessant misery; it is real. Over 20% of teens struggle with depression on varying levels, so it is not just a minor problem that a few people have. Depression is huge! I think that many people pass off depression as something that’s “just in your head” or not real; right now, I am debunking that idea. Depression is not only real, but prevalent. It’s not just us in the 21st century either; people have suffered from depression for thousands of years. Look at Jesus; He was called “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3), He was saddened unto death according to one passage. He knows what it is like to be depressed. You’re not alone.

Depression is painful. If you have never encountered a period of severe depression, you cannot even comprehend the amount of mental pain that those who are depressed are going through. Various writers have written about their pain in more eloquent ways than I can describe it (and I have not experienced even close to the most severe of it).

  “If there is a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy heart.” – Robert Burton

  “I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for.” – Charles Spurgeon

Each writer gave a different description of what depression was like for them, but each description runs in the same vein:

  “The dark night of the soul.” – John Cross

  “Hellish torments” – J.B. Phillips

  “Hell’s black depths” – William Styron

I could continue to list different quotes by various novelists, poets, songwriters, and more, but I think that my point has been made. Depression is an incredibly painful experience. You see, physical pain can sometimes cause mental pain, but mental pain almost always causes physical pain, as I have noted from my limited experiences. When one is experiencing depression, they feel so much pain (both physical and mental); pain that feels meaningless. However, suffering is never meaningless; many famous writers who were often depressed described the feeling as “meaningless pain” or “purposeless misery”. Suffering is not pointless. Several places in Scripture, we are told that our faith is tested for various purposes. Never does God just give us trials for fun; He always has a purpose and a plan that He is trying to accomplish through our suffering.

Depression is a problem.

Depression is a problem that can and needs to be solved.

I’ve struggled with depression at a minor level; I somewhat know how it feels. I don’t want to in any way minimize the pain and misery that you are experiencing. However, I do want to do my best to show you the way out of this horrible darkness and point you toward the Light. I’m not going to help you diagnose what the root cause of your depression is, because that is not the answer to ridding yourself of the misery. Edward T. Welch has helpful information to offer on this topic in his book Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness:

  “Instead of teaching us how to identify the causes of suffering, Scripture directs us to the God who knows all things and is fully trustworthy. In other words, Scripture doesn’t give us knowledge so that we will have intellectual master of certain events; it gives us knowledge so that we would know and trust God. ‘God, I don’t know what You are doing but You do, and that is enough.’ Somehow, turning to God and trusting him with the mysteries of suffering is the answer to the problem of suffering… All suffering is intended to train us to fix our eyes on the true God.”

I know that this doesn’t sound like the practical, hopeful information that you were hoping to get out of this article, but it is all that I can offer; it is all that anyone can truly offer. Don’t buy the lie that the newest medication will take away your depression, because while it will temporarily numb you or make you “happy”, it will eventually wear off. Only in Christ can true joy, comfort, and relief be found. God and God alone is the only cure to your depression, but to feel the great joy of the Lord, you must be close to Him and listening to what His Word has to say. Right now, that is the last thing that you feel like doing, but it is the only thing that will bring you out of your depression. I want to leave you with a piece of good news and two quotes from some of my favorite songs:

God has promised us that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

  “Every moment of my life, God, You never left my side. Every valley, every storm; You were there.”You Carry Me, Moriah Peters

  “In the dark, in the light, in the morning and night, in the good, in the hurt, in the places I hide, when I rise, when I fall, You’ll be there through it all.”Center of It, Chris August

Depression is real.

Depression is painful.

Depression is a problem… that can be overcome through the power of Christ.

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