Today's devotion is about depression. I have done some research about this topic over the past couple days. I am not a professional by any means, but I just wanted to share what I have learned. As a teen, I suffered from depression to the degree of attempting suicide. Further, as a teacher of teens, today I see depression a lot more than I have ever seen before. But I was surprised to learn that depression also strikes 1 in 10 adult men and twice as many women. Depression is a real condition that can strike anyone at anytime. Depression is not the same thing as regular sadness. Sadness due to the loss of a job, loved one, divorce, etc is normal. Although the symptoms of general sadness and depression are similar, people who are depressed experience those symptoms to a greater degree and for a much longer period of time. Some symptoms of depression include:
Sad, low, empty, depressed mood, Loss of interest of pleasure in nearly all activities, Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions, Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling "slowed down", Changes in appetite and/or weight, Oversleeping, early-morning awakening, or insomnia, Thoughts of death, suicide, plans or attempts.
Do you know somebody right now who may be depressed? Please reach out to them if you can. The best way to do that is very delicately. My suggestion would be for you to also do some research to find out some effective ways to help them. Don't think it will just go away on its own; Most of the time it does not. But there is some great news in that most cases of depression are very treatable by a doctor.
I have located a few people in the Bible that were depressed. King David, Jeremiah, and Job all suffered from the condition. Although depression is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it is pretty easy to tell that these were depressed. ( Psalm 13:2-4, Jeremiah 20:14-18, Job 7:15-16) Some times depression is simply a result of our own negative feelings that have been projected inwardly. Frustration, anger, holding a grudge, failure to forgive, jealousy, envy, and other feelings can begin a cycle of depression. I found a great Bible verse that may be able to head off these feelings before they are able to take root in our lives. Romans 12:2 says, "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Since any of us can become depressed at any time, perhaps we should all stay aware to how vulnerable we are to it. By seeking God's face everyday, we may just be able to keep some negative emotions in check. But simply praying and seeking God may not be all we need to do for depression. I am in no way saying that God can not perform a miracle and simply "snap" us out of it. We all know God can do anything He wants to do. But He can also work through doctors. If you know someone who may be depressed, please do more than just pray for them. Ask God to lead you through the steps you need to take to help them. We know we are blessed if we help the poor. But doesn't that also mean the poor in spirit?
Father, I humbly come before you this morning asking for your help. I admit that I can not do anything without you. There are people all around me who are depressed and need some attention very badly. Please lead me to the place where I can help them. Also I pray for everyone reading this devotion today. There may just be a person that you have placed on their heart who is suffering from depression. Please show them how to help. In Jesus name, Amen.