Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dealing with Depression

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is the most common mental disease facing people today – it is the common cold of mental illness.

Studies tell us that 25% of women will suffer from depression; 10% of men will suffer from depression.  For women the onset is usually between ages 15 and 19.  For men it is between 25 and 29. 

Depression Checklist:

Check all boxes that apply to you:
r I’m often restless and irritable.

r I don’t enjoy hobbies, leisure activities, or time with friends and family anymore.

r I’m having trouble managing my diabetes, hypertension, or other chronic illness.

r I have nagging aches and pains that don’t get better, no matter what I do.

ü My sleep patterns are irregular:

r I’m sleeping too much.

r I’m not sleeping enough.

ü I often have:

r Digestive problems

r Headaches or backaches

r Vague aches and pains (e.g., joint or muscle pains)

r Chest pains

r Dizziness

ü I often experience these indicators:

r I have trouble concentrating or making simple decisions.

r People have commented on my mood or attitude lately.

r My weight has changed considerably.

r I feel that my functioning in everyday life is suffering because of these problems.

r I’ve had several of the symptoms I checked above for more than two weeks.

r I have a family history of depression.

r I’ve thought about suicide.

Spiritual Symptoms of Depression:

ü Punitive image of God

ü Not able to feel close to God

ü No desire to read the Bible, pray, etc.

When does our depression become problematic?

It becomes a problem when it interferes with our daily activities over a long period of time.

Is Depression a Sin?

Depression itself is not a sin.  It is a feeling.  It becomes a sin when we decide we’re going to stay depressed, instead of taking steps out of it.  When we choose to listen to the negative messages and do nothing to change them or get rid of them.

Managing Depression:

Depression doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be on medication.  It is always your choice unless you are dangerous to yourself or others.

Suggested Steps to Manage Depression:
  1. Pray
  2. Exercise – one of the most important ways to manage depression.  Exercise whether you feel like it or not.  Serotonin and endorphins are stimulated by exercise, and make you feel better.
  3. Healthy dieting and sleep patterns
  4. Small groups – support groups – but not a small group of gripers and complainers
  5. Counseling – Sometimes you need someone to walk alongside you – maybe someone who doesn’t know you as a friend, but can be objective. Counseling can help you un-learn wrong thinking. 
  6. Medication – takes 8 weeks to feel the effect.
You cannot stay stuck in the past or in blaming someone else.  Remember, how much God loves you and know that he is always available to listen to your heart’s cry and heal your hurts.

Psalm 34:15, 17-18:  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

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