3 Reasons Christians Must Talk about Depression4 min read
There is help for Christians with depression. But sincere, Bible-believing Christians often hold back from talking about depression.
For many Christians there is shame in admitting they’re depressed.
They tell themselves that it shouldn’t be.
They worry that their depression has resulted from sin or a lack of faith.
They worry that they haven’t prayed enough or haven’t prayed the right prayer.
They worry that they will be criticized or judged–unfortunately some are.
As a result of these fears, many Christians remain locked up in the cold, dark dungeon of depression.
Why Christians Must Talk about Depression
One was a beautiful woman, with a knock-out smile. Another seemed always full of joy and laughter. One man was a successful entrepreneur, and a loving husband and father. These were people I knew. Each one was overcome by depression. They took their lives to end the pain. All three were Christians.
The sad thing is, I didn’t know these people suffered from depression until they died because of it.
Few people did.
Christians suffering from depression need to talk about their suffering with persons they can trust–God, a family member, a trusted friend, a pastor, an elder, or a counselor.
Depression is an illness. While believing in a loving God might strengthen our immunity against depression, it doesn’t provide total immunity.
Talking Starts the Healing
Depression, like other illnesses, needs healing. The strongest medicine for healing depression can come from letting others help us. There are strong benefits that come from positive relationships that can help restore and improve health.
- Prayer not only puts you in touch with divine power and healing, but strengthens your brain’s frontal lobe. A strong frontal lobe gives you an advantage in overcoming depression.
- Reading the Bible, especially the Book of Proverbs, also helps to strengthen the frontal lobe, and can help restore rational thinking.
- Trusted family, friends, counselors, and a caring church community can often act as the ears, hands and heart of God, giving needed assistance by embracing, encouraging and supporting a depressed person in breaking free from depression’s grip. Allowing these people to help us when we’re down can increase our body’s production of oxytocin, and important hormone for improving our moods and our relationships.
Here are 3 more benefits for a person with depression that can come from opening up.
1) Breaking the silence is the first step toward healing
Depression thrives in silence. I found this to be true in my own practice as a mental health therapist. Many people who came to me for help kept silent about their depression for a long time. When they finally opened up to a family member or friend, it was like turning a light on in a dark dungeon in which they’d been trapped because they couldn’t find the door. Finding the door, means finding the way out.
2) Talking openly stimulates the healing process
Depression feeds on secrets. By talking with a trusted person about what he or she feels, a person who’s ill with depression begins healing. It’s unlikely for a person who’s depressed to heal alone. Depression gradually isolates people emotionally, if not physically. Depression can deceive a person into thinking that no one can understand or help them. The antidote to this crippling symptom of depression is for the person to open the window to their heart to people they trust, allowing fresh air and sunlight to lift them out of the stale and dark dungeon they’ve been living in.
3) Conversation invites truth to take root
The peril faced by a person with depression is that they see no way out. They can’t imagine getting out of the pit they feel trapped in. Depression tells its victims there is no hope. Dark, irrational thoughts and words come too easily. In breaking the silence, in seeing that there is a way out, in trusting what’s on their heart to a trustworthy God, friends and family, a seed of hope is planted and sprouts. Hope will flourish as the clouds of confusion created by depression are swept away by words of truth. I recommend Telling Yourself the Truth, by William Backus and Marie Chapian, as a book that can help restore clear thinking with words of truth. Talking with a counselor trained in cognitive behavioral therapy can also help.
More than Talk
There are other important steps to overcoming depression. But talking about it is the important first step.
A person recovering from depression will also benefit from practicing gratitude and learning to live generously. It’s also important to drink plenty of pure water, get physically active and make time for rest, eat nutritiously, breathe outdoor air, absorb sunlight, and get right with God. Read my post
Have you suffered from depression? Post a comment about what has helped you recover. Do you suffer from depression? Leave a comment below about what you need to do to start your return to health.