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Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Because of the sound of my groaning My bones cling to my skin. Psalm 102:5 (NKJV)

Yesterday we looked at one thing that Joan Raymond[i] suggests you should not say to someone who is depressed: “All you need is therapy.”  Here are a few more things she suggest you should not say:

Don’t You Want To Get Better? This implies that the person who is depressed is at fault.  Many depressed patients already feel they are not strong enough or “good enough” to fight the illness, so to add to their burden with negative comments that imply they are in complete control of their well-being is destructive.

I Was Depressed Once.  Not everyone’s feelings and experiences are the same, so it is never appropriate to bring up your own pain and sadness.  Sometimes people want to show their empathy by explaining how they handled their own experience when they had a sad experience.  The fact is that unless that person is struggling with clinical depression they have no clue what their friend is feeling. Instead of talking about yourself, encourage your friend or family member to talk about their own feelings.

Suck it Up, There Are People Worse Off Than You.  While this may be true, it doesn’t really help someone who already has negative feelings to be made to feel selfish or egotistical.  It can be very difficult for a person in the throes of a depressive episode to “look outside” of their own situation.  It would be better, when talking with someone you care about who has depression, to remember that you can’t “fix” them; however, you may be able to lessen their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Keep these words in mind, “We cannot afford to be in any way a hindrance to others. Each has his own peculiar temptations and trials, and we are to stand in a position where we can help and strengthen the tempted. We are to encourage, and, if possible, lift up those that are weak in the faith. By speaking of the promises of God, we may sometimes remove depression from the minds of those who are in trial and difficulty.”[ii]

Father God, may my words help and not harm.  May they soothe and not never be harsh.  May my life be a blessing to those in need.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/what-say-not-say-someone-who-depressed-t52066

[ii] White, E.G., Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 435

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I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. Psalm 22:14 (NKJV)

Yesterday we looked at two things that Joan Raymond[i] suggests you can say (or should not say) to someone who is depressed.  You can say, “I’m here for you,” or “let’s do something.”  In addition, do say:

I Don’t Know Exactly What You’re Feeling, But It Has To Be Hard.  Depression is not a simple thing.  It is a complex condition with a mixture of genetic, biological and psychological components.  It can be very beneficial for you and the person suffering from depression to reaffirm that you may not understand the disease, but you do recognize that it is real and often difficult to control.  Just acknowledging that depression sucks can be the start of a good conversation and invites the depressed person to talk without fear of judgement.

Sometimes, Say Nothing.  For someone suffering from depression, having a good listener for them is priceless.  It’s appropriate to say nothing.  You do not have to offer advice, but instead simply sit and listen.  Because feelings of loneliness and isolation can often overwhelm someone with depression, just your presence can help.

At the same time, Raymond suggests a number of things you should never say to someone suffering with depression:

All You Need Is Therapy.  One of the least helpful and most potentially damaging things you can do is to minimize someone’s pain.  Remember that people with depression don’t choose to be sad, or pessimistic.  Using clichés or saying something trite that doesn’t acknowledge the difficulty of depression does not help them at all.

Keep in mind that clinical depression is a mood disorder best treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy, along with lifestyle changes like exercise and stress reduction.  Therapy alone may not be helpful and suggesting it may be more harmful.

We will continue with more of Raymond’s suggestions.

Father God, help me to be an instrument of help and healing to those going through the dark valley of depression.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/what-say-not-say-someone-who-depressed-t52066

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For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away. Psalm 31:10 (NKJV)

Depression shows no partiality.  Both men and women, the young and the old, poor and rich, and even those people who seem to have everything in life can suffer from this complex disorder that makes all facets of life so hard to bear.  Some mental illnesses are rare, but major depression is much too common.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 7 percent of American adults (approximately 16 million people in 2013) experienced at least one major depressive episode.

It’s very possible you know someone with depression and you have probably felt at a loss not knowing what to say, if anything, to them.  You probably have also felt a fear that you may say something wrong or inappropriate.  Those who suffer depression say the feelings of despair and hopelessness may never be truly understood by those who have never experienced them, but there are we can help our friends and loved ones.  Joan Raymond[i] suggests what you can say (or should not say) to someone who is depressed.  Do say:

I’m Here For You.  Of course, it is important that you don’t just say it but that you mean it.  Once you say those words, you need to check in regularly with your friend or family member who is struggling.  You may also want to offer to help them with tasks like finding a therapist, keeping appointments, or any support they may need.

Let’s Do Something.  People who suffer from depression tend to replay negative events and agonize over how particular situations could have played out differently.  The problem is that rumination can lead to worsening depression.  A therapists can help people deal with this type of negative thinking.  You can also help the, if they are willing, by doing an activity together that is both mentally and physically challenging.  It can help potentially distract them from their ruminative thought patterns.  And once they do it, they could be very surprised at how good they feel after doing something with you.

Father God, use me as your instrument of healing from depression.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/what-say-not-say-someone-who-depressed-t52066

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Scripture:  Let the Spirit change your way of thinking Ephesians 4:23 (CEV)

 

Observation:  4:17–32 The first half of Ephesians emphasizes Christian doctrine or teaching, especially God’s creation of the church as the community of the redeemed (1:1–3:21). In the last half, Paul turns more directly to Christian behavior, giving instructions to the church in the world (4:1–6:24). He has already contrasted the lives of his readers before they became Christians with their lives after they believed (2:1–10, 11–13). In 4:17–32, he contrasts a Gentile pattern of life (which they would have followed earlier, vv. 17–19, 22), with the Christ-inspired pattern (vv. 20–21, 23–32). People who are watching believers should be able to tell that they have “learned Christ” (v. 20). Paul’s counsel suggests that this does not happen instantly but that we believers are to continue to be “taught by Him” (v. 21). [Andrews Study Bible Notes. 2010 (J. L. Dybdahl, Ed.) (1547–1548). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.]

 

Application:  Sometimes we have low emotional experiences in our lives which we immediately describe as depression when it may be situational sadness (for instance after the death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc.)  Depression, on the other hand, is a powerfully negative mood that interferes with your daily life. When you are depressed, you are sad, despondent, disinterested, lethargic, you feel hopeless or helpless, you may cry all the time or feel as if you absolutely cannot get out of bed in the morning.  One of the concerns is that depression affects your body as well as your mind. You may eat less or you may eat more, but less often. You may feel at night as if you are starting to come out of it, only to wake up in the morning feeling even worse.  Depression may be the result of an adversity in your life or it may seem to have just appeared on its own, or due to a change of seasons or a change of lifestyle or for no apparent reason at all.

Depression can be a life-threatening problem and may even lead a person to feel suicidal For many people suffering from depression the easy way out is through medication.  While some medication may indeed be helpful, the side effects and the addictive effect are not desirable outcomes.  Other, healthier approaches can be more beneficial in the long run.  The good news is that as serious as it may be, depression is a state of mind and body that can be changed through a combination of things such a change in nutrition and activity, intake of vitamins, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and of course the help of God.    CBT focuses on eliminating self-defeating behavior, replacing negative thinking patterns and self-talk with realistic beliefs about oneself and the world.   CBT is the only form of psychotherapy that has been scientifically proven to work better than a placebo in treating major depression.  9For more information on healthy treatment for depression visit https://www.nedleyhealthsolutions.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=54)

Today’s text reminds us that with the help of the Holy Spirit we can change any thinking pattern that hurts us individually or asa couple or family.  We don’t have to defeat ourselves with negative thinking patterns but with His help we can established positive, healthy thoughts which lead to healthier behavior.

 

A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, may your holy Spirit help us change the negative thoughts that defeat us even when we have good intentions and desires, and may He plant good, positive thoughts that help us win victories every day in our lives, marriages, and families.

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