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Q: I am struggling with depression and don’t know where to go from here.

A: There are different types of depression. “Situational depression” is a normal part of God’s design for us; everyone experiences sadness and depression whenever life brings us loss and hardships. These episodes, however, are always temporary moods that we are able to experience, process, and then move on. I relate this kind of thing to the “dark man” roaming around outside our house; we see him from a distance, but we don’t let him in the house.

For many of us, however, the problem of depression is far more serious. “Endogenous depression” (meaning a cell-based, neurochemical disorder) can be a life-threatening illness, often requiring a combination of therapeutic approaches (both medications and counseling.) I call this “allowing the dark man to sleep on the couch.” There are different levels of depression, ranging from mild mood disorders to serious depression that can lead to suicidal ideation. As a therapist, one of our main priorities involves determining the risk factors for suicide when assessing depressed clients, then referring to the appropriate, safe places for help. Soon, I will release a booklet that goes into far more detail about this disorder and its many guises.

Like addiction, I personally believe that depression is ultimately far more complicated than mere brain chemistry imbalances alone. As a Christian, I realize a need to deal with each suffering person not only a biophysical level, but a spiritual one as well. So if you feel you might be suffering from a kind of depression, or love someone who seems to be struggling with feelings they can’t control, I encourage you to pray for God to guide you in seeking the right kinds of help. Use the links below to get started.

In my book, Prodigal Song: A Memoir, I tell the true story of growing up in a home with a seriously depressed mother, and how that can affect the entire family. I also battle depression in the form of bipolar disorder. There are certainly a number of resources available to people like me, who suffer from depression and the feeling of hopelessness. This is a very common thing in those who have grown up with addiction in their family. We should not try to ignore it, or pretend it's "just life." God wants us to share in a full and rich relationship with Him, and there are a number of new medications that can help get us "over the hump" regarding depression.

Another thing I would recommend is to seek a healing community. If you have a church family, I urge you to be transparent with them and to ask for help and prayer. There are also 12-step oriented fellowships out there that offer a wonderful sense of "connectedness" that can mean so much in our daily recovery.

Some of us have spent our entire lives living in a lonely, lost place. Getting well doesn't happen quickly, and it doesn't happen without help from others. I encourage you to reach out. Here are some website links that may help:

 

www.myDNA.com

New Life Ministries – 1.800.NEW.LIFE

 

 


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