speaking out in aigburth

Dealing with depression

Here’s a really helpful post on dealing with depression from Caitlin, a church member at Aigburth Community Church…

It often feels like there’s a conflict between being a Christian and struggling with depression. I sometimes think I can’t be both.

The bible is very honest about depression and accounts for many examples of people battling with it. The book of Job and some of the psalmists talk very honestly about their despair. The fact that we can find these books and psalms in the bible means that God knows how extremely real these feelings are to us. The psalmist of Psalm 88 counts himself as good as dead. In verses 10-12, he questions whether there is any hope left for him. Has God completely deserted him? The psalmist of Psalm 42 feeds on his tears day and night (verse 3), but still his soul thirsts for the living God (verse 2). He questions whether God has forgotten him completely (verse 9) and he questions why his soul is utterly cast down (verse 5). But in the repetition of verse 5 in verse 11, the psalmist offers a solution to his turmoil and a comfort to his soul which is cast down within him: ‘Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God’.

Depression is complicated and different for each individual. Part of it is a feeling of indescribable hopelessness. It feels empty but overwhelming. It defines you without your permission but you’d be lost without it. Being a Christian does not change, in that it always involves repentance of sin and acceptance of God’s amazing grace, and God himself is unchanging. In the uncertainty and chaos of depression, I have found security in the arms of my heavenly father. Despite the hopelessness of depression, the bible tells us that God offers a hope to everyone who believes and trusts in Him.

I definitely don’t have this sorted, but here are a few things that I find helpful when I can’t see clearly from the fog of depression.

1) Prayer. I find it particularly helpful to read Psalm 42 as my prayer to God. Even when it’s hard to get out of bed, or get a shower, or brush your hair, God is waiting with open arms for us to call on Him.

2) Tell someone. Talk to a Christian friend and speak to a doctor. God has provided help in a variety of ways and it is a blessing to be able to access it.

3) Keep going to church and keep reading your bible, even though it’s hard. I am not very good at the latter, but the more we get to know God, the more He changes our hearts and the more we learn to depend on Him when the world cannot satisfy what we need.

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