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Solutions Christian Counseling - Kim West PhD, M.Div.

Christians and DepressionWe all get depressed over situations, but true clinical depression lasts much more than a day or two down in the dumps, this depression can last for weeks or months, or without treatment, for years. A major depressive episode is at least two weeks in duration. How will you know if depression is happening?

"Depressed people act depressed."

That means that you or someone you know is no longer able to perform normal daily activities. They may not even want to get out of bed, do things they used to love or even talk with family and friends. Work, and normal everyday life become harder and harder to manage as thinking and physical symptoms increasing become dysfunctional.

Others, even those closest to you have a hard time understanding what you are going through. This is not what you want for your life. As a matter of fact, you wonder where your life went and can't seem to find the strength or impetus to go after it.

Depression is painful, isolating, frightening, paralyzing and seemingly without end.

But there is good news:

You can regain your life. You can come out from under this and find joy again. You do not have to live with the sentence of depression over your head forever. Before we talk about how that will happen, let's look a bit closer at depression itself.

What are the symptoms of depression?

If you are an adult and have at least five of these problems then you are most likely depressed:

        - You feel sad most of the time

        - You feel anxious or irritable

        - You have feel worthlessness or extreme guilt

        - Your appetite decreases or increases so you have gained or lost weight

        - You find yourself having bouts of crying

        - You either can't sleep or sleep too much

        - What used to interest you or bring you pleasure is gone

        - You feel exhausted or just don't have any energy

        - You may have thoughts of death or suicide

If your child has any of those symptoms listed above and/or has the following as well, they may be experiencing depression.

        - They often complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments

        - They start to do poorly at school

        - They seem always bored

        - Teenagers might engage in risky behavior that shows a lack of concern for safety

        - They might cry easily or a lot

        - A normally outgoing child might now spend more time alone

        - The child might have thoughts about hurting themselves, or harmful behavior

What causes depression?

No one knows exactly. In some people, the onset of depression comes from a single event, such as a death in the family, a loss of work, problems in relationships. For others, maybe a combination of things built up and depression was the result.

Sometimes, we just don't know what causes it, but it seems that in all cases, there are changes in brain chemistry, specifically in the neurotransmitters. These changes are biological and not because of an action or inaction on the part of the depressed person. Regaining balance is key to coming out of depression.

Defeating depression

First, believe that you can. Hope is a powerful antidote to depression. Now, one who is depressed will have a hardDefeat Depression time conjuring up the feeling of hope so at this point just knowing that many, many people come out of depression means that you can too.

Next believe that God is there for you. He has a plan for your life. He has not forgotten you. He is not disappointed in you because of your depression and He is still there for you.

God tells us of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. After all Elijah has done, after the miracles that have just happened, Elijah gives up hope and asks the Lord to let him die. What is fascinating about this passage is God's reaction. He does not berate Elijah for being depressed, He doesn't scold him for his lack of trust, He cares for him with food and rest.

God recognized that what Elijah needed was rest, nourishment and a reason to go on. More than that, Elijah needed God's presence. God shows up, making His presence known to Elijah. He is with him.

Now, get some help. God speaks truth to the depressive thoughts he is thinking and then provides a man to come alongside of him and help. You see, it is tough to come out of depression alone. Sometimes it takes and angel, the Lord Himself and a partner.

Finding help

We need to get your brain chemistry back to normal and there are things you can do on your own to help that along.

You need nutrition that actually will make a difference. Your body becomes depleted quickly of essential vitamins and minerals. Adding those back in can make a big change as you take the other step necessary to restore your life. Find out what will make a difference nutritionally. Try this link to find information to start to turn your depression around.

You need exercise. Not a work out - just a walk everyday. I know you don't feel like it, but I promise if you start to move you will start to want to move. And, exercise changes our brain chemistry. So, you see, as you exercise a little you are helping yourself a lot.

You need the Lord. Want to learn to be in the presence of God continually? If you are not experiencing His presence with you, then you can learn to.

Talk it out - all depressed individuals have thinking that has to be changed in order to come out of the depression. Often that means a counselor. Counseling is more effective and has greater, longer lasting results then taking medication for depression.

Christian Counseling gets to the root of the problem and takes it out so the depression cause is removed.

I have seen the Lord heal many of depression through my counseling practice. If you would like to counsel with me either in person or by phone, just use the contact form and I will get back with you within 24 hours - usually much faster.

You need a helper. Even someone who is long distance can call you daily to make sure you are getting out for a walk, that you are caring for your nutrition and that can listen for a while.

Don't start medication unless you absolutely have to or at least until you've done your homework. For some people, the depression is so severe that one must risk medication.

Medication can be helpful for some people as they go through counseling but it only masks symptoms, it doesn't treat the cause, so counseling is still necessary. For others, it creates a whole new world of problems if they have negative reactions to the medication. The problem then is not one counseling can address, only time for the body to heal from the negative effects of the drugs. You can read about those reactions here.

This is a season

Depression is only a season in life for most that experience it. Seasons change, depression lessens, healing is found. Have hope and take some of these actions and you will find a new season of life beginning.

~ In Christ, Dr. Kim West

Depression in Christians

Hope deferred makes the heart sick

Proverbs 3:12a

Return from Depression to Home Page

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the LORD.

NLT Psalm 40:3

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