One of the hardest things about depression is being able to step outside of yourself.
All too often depression creates a cycle of morbid self-introspection that causes……more depression. As the depressed person, is the answer to learn more cognitive tools to combat the depression? Is the answer to take medication in hopes that it’ll change the way you think? Maybe the answer is to go back to a time when you were most happy and replicate that…maybe?
Depression treatment requires a willingness. It demands an ability to fight. I often tell people to get angry at their depression. Get angry that certain moments in time, specific interactions with people, trauma or medical conditions would seek to dictate how they live out their present. Depression would like nothing more than to see you defeated. It would very much like to be that wet blanket on the campfire. Depression wants you to be completely ineffective.
As a Christian, getting angry and fighting back against depression looks like having faith and trust in Christ and a humility that says you’re your circumstances are outside of your control.
Seems counter-intuitive addressing depression treatment this way. But as a Christian it is imperative to understand where true power comes from, that it doesn’t come from within you, but that it comes from the one who saved you. There is no amount of power, in your depression, that you can muster up and pull yourself out of the gloomy depths. I have seen people try and try again, only to find that they never really climbed out.
The bible speaks extensively on the topic of humility. The old testament talks of humility well over 900 times and the new testament speaks of it over 300 times. What can we say if the bible brings up this issue so much….it might be worth paying attention to.
The question then becomes, “Is it loving and merciful to speak of humility to someone wrestling with chronic depression?”
This is tough to answer. It is tempting when walking with someone dealing with depression to excuse them from the responsibility to respond to Christ in their suffering. Our suffering, internal and external does not make us exempt from humbly responding to God. This may be a harsh outlook, but one I believe to be true.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
This verse is plain and simple, but hard to execute. This verse isn’t saying, once you’ve got your life under control and your circumstances are less chaotic, then humble yourself before the Lord.
Humility in your present circumstances.
The reality for many Christians is a life of depression and inner turmoil and assault. Learning the value in humility for treating depression is priceless. Understanding the character of God is necessary for moving forward in your depression. Knowing the promises of Christ anchors you on solid ground, when depression seeks to blow you away like a leaf in a violent storm.
Be honest with yourself, how much do you know about the character of God? Do you understand the promises of him? How transparent are you with those around you about your depression? do you let others in to walk with you? Do you isolate yourself because the people around you, who love you don’t simply let you sit in your misery?
These are questions that I feel important for you as the individual with depression to be asking yourself. Forcing yourself outside the bounds of depression is uncomfortable and uncertain, but you can begin to see a bigger world. Finally, please don’t give up. Seek to understand how you can be humble in your circumstances. Fight hard. Always remember that you have a choice in your depression.
Christian Bringolf MA LMHC
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