Faith Health

Coping With Depression as a Christian

Some people believe Christians can’t experience depression, or that if they do, they aren’t truly following Christ. They cite Scriptures that talk about Christians’ joy, concluding that anyone who has spiritual fulfillment should not experience depression. The truth is, followers of God can and do get depressed. For example, David wrote many sorrowful psalms; in some, he claimed God had forgotten him. Elijah was once so despondent he prayed he would die. If you’re a Christian experiencing depression, you aren’t alone—and you can cope.
Don’t Blame Yourself
Sometimes Christians will conclude a fellow believer is depressed because of unconfessed sin or spiritual attacks. These can and sometimes do cause depression, but they’re often results of depression, not causes. For example, a depressed Christian may feel attacked or have trouble thinking or talking about sin. In many cases, depression can be traced back to chemical imbalances or emotional reasons other than sin in one’s life. Don’t blame yourself or conclude the depression is God’s punishment. That’s not how God works; He wants to love you through the depression and see you overcome it.
Persevere
Depression can make you feel like giving up on everything—especially faith. Sometimes you won’t feel like praying or reading the Bible, and that’s okay. However, you should try to remain active in spiritual disciplines and church activities as much as you can. They will help keep you grounded and reassure you God is still with you, working. Seek help from a strong Christian counselor when needed, also.
Take Care of Yourself
1 Kings tells us that when Elijah was depressed, angels ministered to him. They made sure he was fed a nourishing meal and got the sleep he needed. You may not have an encounter with an angel, but you, your family, and friends should care for yourselves. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. A healthy body can help your mind start to feel healthy again.

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