May is Mental Health Awareness month and we want to address one of the most common mental health issues: depression.
According to recent statistics, 1 in every 15 American adults are affected by a diagnosable depressive disorder every year. Many communities and churches remain silent about the topic of depression for various reasons. Some see that depression is seen just as a physical or chemical imbalance. Others consider it purely spiritual (or even consider it a sin!). The truth is that there are many reasons for depressive disorder, and we have a God who cares.
Our hope is that healing for and discussions about depression can be started in Christian communities, and the Bible is a great place to start. Certain Bible passages might be reflective of these four classic types of depression:
1. Normal Depression
Symptoms: self-doubt, worry/fear, forgetfulness, anger, sadness, diminished joy, irritability, activity pattern upset, loss of appetite, sleep difficulty, no death threat,
Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.–Nehemiah 2:2
2. Masked Depression
Symptoms: self-inflation, appearance of invincibility, disorganized thoughts, suppressed anger, distraction, self-sacrifice, judgmentalism, increased activity, weight gain, less need for sleep, hidden death threat,
Even in laughter the heart may ache.–Proverbs 14:13
3. Neurotic Depression
Symptoms: self-criticism, hypochondria, inability to make decisions, anger, hopelessness, no pleasure, apathy, diminished activity, weight loss, escape by sleeping, manipulates with death threat,
I groan in anguish of heart … My strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes … I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute who cannot open his mouth; I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.–Psalm 38:8, 10, 13-14
4. Psychotic Depression
Symptoms: self-rejection, hallucinations, lack of judgment or reasoning, acute anger, schizophrenia, no pleasure, unresponsiveness, catatonia, weight loss, severe insomnia, severe death threat,
My days vanish like smoke … My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food … I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof … I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears … I wither away like grass.–Psalm 102:3-4, 7, 9, 11
What Can I Do?
Do you think you may know someone struggling with depression? Perhaps you have recognized these symptoms in yourself. Do not feel ashamed to reach out to others or to get help. There is hope. These solutions and more are available in June Hunt’s biblical counseling book Depression: Walking from Darkness into the Dawn.
- Scriptures to Memorize for Combating Depression
“7 Ways to Help a Depressed Friend” eChart
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when you or someone you know is depressed. You wonder, “How can I really help?” This FREE printable PDF “7 Ways to Help a Depressed Friend” shares helpful do’s and don’ts on how to help someone struggling with depression. Includes what to say, what not to say, practical ways to help them, and relevant Scripture verses that will point them in the right direction. >> DOWNLOAD <<