Overcoming Depression Part III
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."1
Yesterday we talked about depression that has a physical cause. The cause can also be emotional. If so, complete honesty with yourself, a trusted friend (and/or a qualified counselor where needed), and God about your true feelings is the first and all-important step in overcoming this type of depression.
Questions such as the following can be helpful: Am I hurt or angry? Am I not forgiving someone? Are my needs for love and acceptance being met? Have I learned to recognize and express my feelings creatively? Have I resolved any impaired relationship or feelings of guilt? Am I using my abilities? Do I have a purpose for living with worthwhile work and meaningful goals? Have I accepted full responsibility for my life and my feelings?
Merely talking about problems or feelings is not helpful. We need to see, confess and resolve the feelings that are the root cause of the depression.
Is the cause mental; that is, in one's negative thinking? Remember, when we feel down, we tend to dwell on self-defeating, negative thoughts. Practice exchanging these for positive affirmations such as, "Thank you God that you love and accept me as I am, and because you do, I love and accept myself too." Concentrating on positive thoughts—even though you don't feel like it—and doing something worthwhile to help get your thoughts off yourself is also helpful for overcoming depression.
Is the cause spiritual? Dr. Paul Tournier, world-renowned Swiss medical doctor and psychiatrist, states, "All my experience has taught me the limitations of medicine and psychology, because the supreme and universal need of man is to find God."
Augustine (AD 354-430) aptly described man's need for God this way: "You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You."
Man finds total inner peace and wholeness only as he is in harmony with himself, others and God.
If you are depressed, talk to your doctor, a close friend, your pastor, or a competent counselor. Live a balanced life and remember, with competent help, faith, and persistence you can overcome depression. Above all, talk to God. He loves you and cares for you. Ask Him to direct you to the help you need, to give you the courage to face the cause/s of your depression, and to help you grow through your pain.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whatever unresolved issues I have in my life, please give me the courage to admit that I have a problem and need help. Deliver me from the sin of denial and lead me to the help I need—be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual—to understand and overcome my problems. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Philippians 4:8 (NIV).