OVERCOMING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Psalms 43:5 HCSB
Why am I so depressed??Why this turmoil within me??Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,?my Savior and my God.
Proverbs 12:25 NKJV
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
FACTS ABOUT DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Globally, more than 322 million people suffer from depression, and 264 million suffer from anxiety disorders—many of whom live with both conditions. A study by the World Health Organization found that such disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
Teen suicide is disturbingly high in many countries of the world today. Reportedly, 25% of high school students consider suicide each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among the youth 15-29 year olds globally in 2015 according to WHO.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.
Depressive disorders are characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self- worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long- lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The duration of symptoms typically experienced by people with anxiety disorders makes it more a chronic than episodic disorder.
Symptoms of Major Depression
1. depressed mood
2. lack of interest in enjoyable activities
3. increase or decrease in appetite
4. insomnia or hypersomnia
5. slowing of movement
6. lack of energy
7. feelings of guilt or worthlessness
8. trouble concentrating
9. suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
For a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, a person needs to have experienced five or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
1. excessive worry
3. being easily fatigued
4. trouble concentrating
6. sleep disturbance
7. muscle tension.
If you’ve experienced these symptoms most days for more than six months, and they cause distress in your daily life, then you may receive a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
Proverbs 12:25 NKJV
25Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
2. Uncontrolled thoughts
3You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
3. Demonic Attack
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
4. Continues Disobedience
1 Samuel 16:14
14Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.
5. Comparisons with others
1 Samuel 18:7-11
7So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.” 8Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
6. Chronic illness
chronic illness or severe stress that decrease serotonin levels in the brain.?Chronic pain can cause feelings of helplessness & hopelessness, both of which can result in depression. Young people - more than older adults - feel robbed of the joy of living when they have a disorder or a chronic situation.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO BE DEPRESSED?
Let’s take a closer look with the biblical records:
1. Moses is the greatest leader, handpicked by God and yet he became suicidal.
Num 11:14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
Num 11:15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now
Num 11:16 The LORD said to Moses: Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Make them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you.??Num 11:17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.
You will not have to carry it alone! You need to delegate. We all need somebody to help and work with us.
2. Joshua is the greatest general, handpicked by God to lead Israel into the Promised Land but he felt like quitting and deeply anxious after the defeat at Ai
Jos 7:8 What can I say, O Lord, now that Israel has retreated from the enemy? ?Jos 7:9 The Canaanites and everyone else in the country will hear about it. They will surround us and kill every one of us! And then what will you do to protect your honor?"
During time of despondency, Joshua talked to God and prayed. Prayer is the best antidote to discouragement.
3. Elijah is the greatest prophet of Old Testament who is willing to challenge the idolatry of his day and called fire down from heaven, won a face-off with prophets of Baal, but he requested for himself that he might die, and said, it is enough now, O Lord, take away my life!
1Ki 19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"
1Ki 19:7 And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you."
1Ki 19:8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
When you feel depressed and hopeless, seek the strength from God. Eat and drink from the spiritual table and fountain of the Holy Spirit. Let the angel of God encourage you.
4. Job - We talk about his patience and faith, and he was truly a great man…he had a great beginning and a great ending, but in-between, when he lost everything, he wished he had not been born, became suicidal, extremely depressed for a period of time!
Job 3:3 "Cursed be the day of my birth, and cursed be the night when I was conceived.
Job 42:10 When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!
Do not focus on your own misery. Start serving and blessing others and the Lord will bless you too.
5. Jonah was the first overseas missionary. But he also experienced deep depression. He wanted God to kill him and not even happy for all the souls that just got saved in Nineveh! God gave him lesson – something to reflect so he can understand better.
Jon 4:10 Then the LORD said, "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. And a plant is only, at best, short lived. ??Jon 4:11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?"
Often times, our discouragement is due to our short foresight. Spending time in reflections and meditations of the word of God will help us so the God can illuminate our hearts and minds about his purposes and plans for our lives.
Even great preachers such as C.H. Spurgeon experienced the woes of depression. He explained, “I find myself frequently depressed – perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace -speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions.”
DID JESUS BATTLE DEPRESSION?
‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’ ” Heb. 4:15
He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:41–44)
Depression is not something a person chooses. Rather it is something a person must choose how to deal with. The real issue is not whether a person experiences depression, but instead, how the person reacts to depression. “For this reason I am of the opinion that Christ did indeed battle depression. And more importantly, He battled it perfectly.
imagining that this “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3) experienced his own battle isn’t so hard to believe. And, in fact, knowing that Jesus understands the shadow of depression is a powerful aid to those of us who suffer. He knows what we face. He’s felt the crushing weight of it all. Talk about hope.
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
Of course, there is more than one category of depression (situational, clinical, etc). But no matter the source or treatment (counseling, medicine, etc), depression is always an opportunity to draw nearer to Christ. For this reason, we must view the words of a counselor as an extension of Christ’s wisdom –not a replacement for it. And we must see medicine as a gift of God –not an alternative to His power. If I seek a cure without seeking Christ, I am bowing to idols of my own desires.
SIX WAYS JESUS FOUGHT DEPRESSION (John Piper)
And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. (Matthew 26:37)
The Bible gives us an amazing glimpse into the soul of Jesus the night before he was crucified. Watch and learn from the way Jesus fought his strategic battle against despondency or depression.
1. He chose some close friends to be with him. “Taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee” (Matthew 26:37).
2. He opened his soul to them. He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38).
3. He asked for their intercession and partnership in the battle. “Remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38).
4. He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39).
5. He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
6. He fixed his eye on the glorious future grace that awaited him on the other side of the cross. “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: The first shock waves of the bomb in your heart, like the ones Jesus felt in Gethsemane, are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that sinful surrender is unbelief — a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.
In Gethsemane Jesus shows us another way. Not painless, and not passive. Follow him. Find your trusted spiritual friends. Open your soul to them. Ask them to watch with you and pray. Pour out your soul to the Father. Rest in the sovereign wisdom of God. And fix your eyes on the joy set before you in the precious and magnificent promises of God.
1. Depression is real. (Jesus experienced it)
2. Experiencing depression is not sin. (Jesus didn’t sin)
3. Experiencing depression is not necessarily a result of sin. (Jesus is completely righteous)
4. The key is our reaction to depression: whether or not we cling to Christ.
HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO DEPRESSION?
1. Judas Style - He regrets and turn to Suicide
3When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4“I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”
“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
5Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
2. Peter Style – He repents and turn to Savior
73A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
2 Corinthian 7:10
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
Peter overcomes depression and was reinstated to his calling
John 21: 15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
The Difference between Judas and Peter
Judas realized his own mistake, admit his fault, and even return the money but he was overcome by his pride and did not come to Jesus as the hope of his Salvation. He had chosen his own way at the start and even to the end of his life. He discovered his own sinfulness but did not come to his redeemer for cure.
Peter was full of pride and even trusted his own abilities and righteousness from the very start. But when he failed, he realized that he cannot manage his life without God. He regrets his failure but he turn to Christ for his salvation.
Whether it is our own mistakes or the fault of others that cause us sorrow and depression. It is very important that we come nearer to Jesus instead of isolating ourselves and turning in our ways. The more we feel the pain, the more we should come nearer to the healer who is Jesus.
7 PROMISES OF GOD TO OVERCOME ANXIETY
MATTHEW 6:25-34 (WEB)
1. If God is able to provide you with life and body then surely he will be able and willing to provide you with food and clothing.
25Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
2. If God is willing and able to feed such unimportant creatures as birds then he will certainly provide what you need, because you are worth a lot more than birds.
26See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
3. Anxiety is useless and accomplishes nothing but trusting God worth everything.
27 “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?
4. If God has care for the flowers that last only a matter of days. So he will certainly take care for his children who will live forever.
28Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, 29yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
5. God is not ignorant of your needs. He knows all of them. And he is “your heavenly Father.” He does not look on, indifferently, from a distance. He cares. He will act to supply your need when the time is best.
31 “Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
6. If you will prioritize God and His cause, God will not withhold anything good for you.
33But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
7. In this world which is full of troubles and problems, God has sufficient grace available every day.
34Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.