By Pastor Terry Hoskins, Director of Oasis Counsel
Depression has taken our culture by storm with about 19 million people struggling with some level of depression. It has been reported that 30% of women in America deal with depression, and about 15% of men also struggle with depression. While an outstanding 80% of people who are depressed are not getting treatment or help. These statistics were reported on upliftprogram.com. The key to overcoming depression is to recognize the characteristics and learn how to change your life.
Signs of Depression…
Lose Zeal for Life
Depression saps a person’s energy and simple tasks become huge mountains to climb. This is a common characteristic of depression because purpose, passion, and desire for anything dissipates. Dreams and passion are substituted for dread, worry, and eventually numbness. The goals of life are gone, and a hopeless cloud looms over one’s head as life runs its pointless and painful course.
Live in the Past
Many depressed people talk about the person they once were. They remember and daydream about how good life was, and how it will never be that good again. They usually relive the past with an exaggerated positive spin. They become all the more depressed when they look at their present situation. It can also be the other way around, where life has always been horrible and this person feeds off of turmoil and chaos.
Life looks like a cruel game where they are always being hurt. Regardless if it is people or circumstances they have someone to blame for why their life is terrible. The culprit’s can be anyone from parents, siblings, spouse, or situations. They cannot get out of their situation or issue because other people and the environment control their destiny. They lose hope as they reach out for help and life stays the same.
Expect the Worst
Hope is gone! Optimism has been dried up, and they sometimes refer to themselves as a realist. The reality of the matter is that they expect the worst, and worry about how disaster will happen to them. They live in fear of the “what if syndrome.”
The Details of Life
When the motivation to function as a normal person leaves, it becomes hard to focus. Concentration on anything becomes a huge task. This will affect your job, marriage, parenting abilities, and friendships.
Intense Inward Focus
These characteristics of depression are not always manifested together, but usually some combination of the above is the reality. Most people all share this one in common, that they have an intense inward focus. Depression pulls the person inward, and pushes others out. ‘Self’ is on the mind continually, and thinking of others is nearly impossible, especially those dealing with severe depression.
Depression is a Symptom
Usually depression is the affect of other unresolved issues. Past hurts or wounds not dealt with, marriage problems, worries or fears, selfishness, pride, anger, loneliness, and the list goes on to how a person has to deal with these issues before depression subsides. Now there are some cases where hormones and/or injury can cause depression and someone may need medical attention. However, the majority of the cases I have dealt with personally as a counselor have been the situations where people need to deal with unresolved issues.
Overcome DEPRESSION by…
Talking to others. God has put people in your life for a purpose. Share your struggles with those who are mature in Christ and love people.
Getting your daily tasks done. Don’t let your feelings and lack of energy control your life. This will add more guilt and shame as daily tasks build up. Continue living even when you feel like giving up.
Turning to God instead of other false hopes. God is the only One who can make us NEW creations! We need God to change us from the inside out.
Pleading and sharing with God. Communication with God leads to deeper fellowship. He must become your hope! Go to Him for everything, He wants to carry your burdens and struggles. He wants to help you!
Reading God’s Word. Scripture transforms our wrong thinking and behavior as it challenges, encourages, and rebukes us. The Bible is the Word of God and it must be our road map for life!
Serving others. Many people cocoon themselves from the world, and this leads to further sadness and loneliness. God created us to be relational beings, and we grow when we serve.
Getting counseling. If you or someone you know has become depressed, then get some help. Let someone who is trained in Biblical Counseling walk with you on this journey to hope and a new life.
Oasis Counseling Center wants to refresh your hope, heart, and life with God’s Word. We are located on Marco Island and our phone #239-389-2073.
We are friends of HOPE Counseling Center located in Fort Myers, and their phone #239-481-0777.