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Tough Talk About Depression

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Few people understand what depression is; their views are fashioned not by truth but by popular misconceptions rooted in psychiatry. So, even Christians get it all wrong; families and churches suffer as a result. Pastors are usually taught the current psychological regime and the modern answers by psychiatrists, so they, too, are duped by the ‘illness thing’.

Today I heard of yet another book, by a psychiatrist who says depression is a physical illness. But, he is very wrong. There can be many symptoms of a physical nature, but that does not mean depression is a physical illness. Treat it like one, and the person will never, ever, be free of it. The whole thing about God’s answers is that they work – men and women can be freed from the tyranny of depression. At least, Christians can! The unsaved are unable to access the gifts and blessings of God. Their answers are of this world. But, there is no need for Christians to fall into the same trap, which is sin.

We can all become depressed. Every one of us. To those who know me, I am the epitome of inner strength. My former colleagues in psychiatry used to call me ‘Mr Cool’! And, mostly, I obliged their image of me. However, at a time of intense and deepening aggravated horror, I did resort (once) to depression. It only lasted one week, but it was enough! I use the word ‘resort’ because that is what I did – I gave up. Once we give up, we will be depressed, anxious, or suffer any one of many psychological errors.

Once depression is allowed freedom to act upon our minds, we will start to experience many symptoms, such as headaches, dark moods, tiredness, supposed illnesses (called ‘psychosomatic’; in the mind), sleeplessness, anxiety, tears for no apparent reason, lack of appetite, alcohol or drugs dependency, preferring dark corners, or remaining in one’s room feeding even darker thoughts, slow food absorption and therefore constipation, and so on. Leave it go on for long enough and you may even experience hallucinations and delusions.

Because it is treated like an illness, the answer usually begins with medication. Only it is not an answer, but another problem. The drugs only work for a very short time, if they work at all. Then, they are taken for the sake of it, habitually, or in increased dosage. ‘Therapy’ usually involves input by worldly therapists who use humanist techniques. And that goes for ‘Christian’ therapies, too. All are infected by humanism and godlessness.

Why are some depressive and others not? That is like asking why some walk fast and others walk slowly. They just do! Many who become depressed may also become onerous because they are perfectionists. Though they do not recognise that depression is far from perfection, they seem always to want everything in their lives to be right, all the time. If it is not, they become miserable.

Like the Hebrews who wanted good rulers for the right reasons, their answer to the problem was ungodly. Similarly, those who become depressed may do so because they come across imperfection in their lives, things that upset their daily routines or usual life. Because they cannot be 100% perfect, the person becomes worried, anxious and then depressed. And so the cycle continues without ending.

Others become depressed for any number of reasons – and there is ALWAYS an initial reason. Nip it in the bud and the person can be helped quickly. Let it grow, and it will take over the person’s life, wreaking havoc in the lives of family and friends, too. Everyone is dragged into the low expectations and misery of the depressive! Few want to be around the person because of it, so there may also be paranoia. All the world is at fault, but not the one who is depressed! Jobs are meaningless and he will be unable to earn an income. In the end no-one will employ him.

How does this situation arise? At first there is usually a minor (or even a big) upset in the person’s life. If he dwells on it for too long, it preoccupies his mind, making him miserable. The Christian has the answer – to hand it over to God and to look to Him for guidance and strength. If he does not do this, the proof will be in the darkening moods, an overall appearance of misery, and even physical signs and symptoms.

What is this? Is it illness? No, it is outright sin. It is a Christian who has not truly handed over the problem to God. Instead, he prefers the misery and even enjoys it in a weird sense. It becomes his life, as he mulls over whatever it is that gives him the misery. The goodness of God does not interest him; he would rather enjoy his depression, because with it he can be absolved of all responsibility. Then, he can do whatever he wants, even though it causes misery for many others.

Because he cannot ever reach his mental goal, misery becomes his way of life. With it, he need not be ‘good’, or act properly, or speak with sensitivity to others, or live up to the commands of God. His life is all ‘me’ as he resolves to do everything he wants to do, regardless of what it does to others, and how it badly affects his Christian walk. In other words, it is self-indulgence.

The true answer is not therapy or any other physical resource, but repentance. He must repent and turn his back on depression and self. He MUST think of others and not himself; he must concentrate not on perceived ‘problems’ (which are usually not real anyway). He must hand over any real problems to God so that all thought of revenge, or sickness, or irresponsibility, are thrown away with other sins. Indeed, his first task is to recognise and acknowledge that what he is doing IS SIN.

The true life given by Christ was obtained by His sacrifice for our sakes. When we become depressed we throw that sacrifice back in His face. The life He gives us is free and opposite to sin. When we choose to be depressed we choose sin and cast aside the grace of God through Christ. Depression is sin. 

© November 2010

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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