Coping with Depression

Battling Depression

By Marilyn Pritchard

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil with in me” (Ps. 42:11, ESV)? 

The writer of Psalm 42 was no stranger to depression. “My tears have been my food day and night,” he proclaims in verse 3. He knew what it was like to feel hopeless and desperate.

Everyone feels sad once in awhile, but sometimes that sadness doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you try to “turn that frown upside down.” Loss, grief or devastating news can trigger feelings of depression that can last a few days or a few months. But if you, or a loved one, is experiencing ongoing signs of depression that just won’t go away, it’s best to seek professional help.

For a diagnosis of clinical depression, at least five of the following symptoms must be present, nearly every day for two weeks:

  • Depressed mood (hopelessness, despair)
  • Diminished interest in usual activities and passions
  • Weight loss without dieting, weight gain or change in appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping (hypersomnia)
  • Physical agitation or lethargy
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or shame/guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

It is not a moral failure to admit when you can’t just “cheer up” or “get over it.” Just as we seek medical attention when our bodies are sick, we should seek professional help from a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist when we need help with our minds or emotions.

Sometimes minor depression will pass with prayer support or a talk with a pastor or wise Christian friend. Sometimes talk therapy with a professional counselor is the answer. Other times, medication may be the best course of treatment. Some forms of depression are caused by a genetic predisposition or a chemical imbalance in the brain.

To learn more about depression, how to recognize its signs and where to get help, look over some of the following articles. If you think your teen may be experiencing clinical depression, read “Is My Teen Depressed?”. To learn about other ways depression can manifest itself, check out “Faces of Depression”. For advice in seeking medical help, read “Healthy Emotions and Medication Myths”. For more information about treating depression with medication, see “Medications and Restoring Healthy Emotions”. And for additional resources, check out our Depression Help Resources.

If you have suicidal thoughts or your loved one has talked about committing suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or find a suicide prevention hotline in your country here. For signs that someone may be contemplating suicide, read this article.

We have many more articles, listed below, written by women like you, who are coping with depression in their own lives or their loved ones’ lives. Just Between Us (JBU) wants you to know that you’re not alone. There is hope, and God has a purpose for your life (Jer. 29:11).

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