Christian Pilgrim Forum

Defy Your Depression

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Many medical professionals make a career out of treating depression. I am not a trained medical professional. But, I am a sufferer of depression. I have suffered from childhood up to this day, and I am sixty-years-old now. So, I can boast to have had experience with being depressed. Also, I am still here, so I can say that depression has not defeated me. I would like to suggest to you that you can control your depression. Likely you cannot defeat (banish) it from your life.

Some of us are wired to be depressed. It is in our DNA. I think that I must be one of those people, because I know that members of my extended family, both before and after my birth, also struggle with depression. Did you know that there are valuable qualities within the malady of depression? Depressed people worry. People who worry become watchful. They can spot danger while there is time to escape from the consequences of danger. Many folks who worry become planners. A planner can devise a way to safety. So, if you are prone to see the glass half empty, to assume the worst possible outcome, or to sense danger when there is no sign that it is actually there, then take heart. You are in fact a valuable member of your tribe (or family).

Depression is harmful to you and to all those around you if you allow your tendency to pay more attention to your negative feelings to become obsessive. One example of obsessive depression is when you are greeted by family, friends, and even strangers, you seize the opportunity to launch into your well-rehearsed tales of enduring woe and self-pity. This hurts; that hurts; I have no money; everything I own breaks; someone was mean to me today… and someone will be mean to me tomorrow! You are smart enough to know that every person on the planet has problems. Why do you think your problems are special, and merit repeating to others as if you had crafted art on the same scale as an ancient Greek tragedy? OK, that was harsh. But, I would do wrong by you if I gave you the tiniest belief that you have a right to behave that way. Keep that up and your friends will drift away. Your family will shun you. Strangers will observe the downer attitude in your countenance, and they will cross a busy street in order to avoid contact with you. Do you understand that you must be happy, independent of the things that depress you?

You must determine how to go about elevating the happy things in your life in order to defy your depression. Some of you may need a trained medical professional to help you. But, a great number of you can do this on your own. Start by getting enough sleep. Change your diet to healthy foods. Begin and stick to an exercise program. Discipline yourself to say something hopeful to people. If you feel compelled to follow that up with depressed talk, excuse yourself and get out of there before you do it. I found that a few Christian Biblical stories helped me with my depression.

A good one is found in the Biblical book of Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 10. In it, the person who has every right to be depressed is Paul, once a great sinner, who was changed to take up “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20) as a missionary. The verse is his letter to the Philippian Church that has sent him money. Paul is in a Roman prison. He has been falsely accused, nearly killed in two riots, was stoned almost to death, and has suffered numerous beatings. He is expecting the Romans to sentence him to death. Justifiably he could succumb to depression. Yet, his writing is hopeful, such as: “I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances.” Content means happy. Your life is a gift of grace. Celebrate the gift that you received by being happy. Do that, and you will defy your depression.

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