Depression has many causes and afflicts everyone sometimes. Victory is available, but it does not always arrive overnight.
William Cowper, author of “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” suffered so severely from depression he tried to commit suicide. He hired a cab and ordered the driver to take him to the Thames River so he could drown himself. The cab got lost in the London fog. Frustrated he couldn’t even succeed at suicide, Cowper ordered the drive to stop “no matter where they were.” When the cab stopped, Cowper stepped out at his own front door. He went in and wrote, “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.”
Martin Luther, author of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” was overcome with depression. He wrote of one particularly bad experience, “I spent more than a week in death and hell. Completely abandoned by Christ, I labored under the vacillations and storms of desperation. But through the prayers of the saints [his friends], God began to have mercy on me and pulled my soul from the inferno below.”
To gain victory over depression, consider these few suggestions, by no means a complete list.
1. Add guilt to your sadness.
Do not feel guilty for your “lack of faith.” God does not love you less because you are sad and weak. Psalm 103:13. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”
2. Give up. From Phillip Yancey’s book Disappointment with God: “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse,” and “What we feel now, we will not always feel.”
Seek advice from people you trust.
Moses was on the verge of wearing himself out. “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.” His father-in-law Jethro intervened and counseled him to delegate others to help him.
Realize you are not alone.
Elijah—I Kings 19:10
Elijah, hounded by Ahab and Jezebel, thought he was the “only one left” and the task ahead too big for him. “And the Lord said, I have left me seven thousand in Israel. . .”
1. Establish a routine. Get up at the same time every day. Get dressed and look as good as possible—even if you are home alone.
2. Eat good food and drink plenty of water. Stress reduces vitamin levels. Supplement your diet with calcium and vitamin C. As you discipline your body, you’ll find it’s easier to discipline your mind.
3. Exercise by doing something you enjoy. Take a walk. Ride a bike. You’ll feel better and sleep better.
4. Allow yourself time to rest and/or time for a hobby. “Keeping busy” does not mean driving yourself into the ground.
Once you’ve passed
through your dark night, turn and help the person behind you. When you’re at a
low point in life, the most encouraging words you can hear are: “I’ve been
where you are. I understand.”