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Welcome to Belovedgems, a blog about building a bridge between faith and mental health. The author rooted in her faith , her old-soul leads her into adventures to seek spreading hope into the world through a couple of written words.

Depression and The Church

Depression has been a common word among our society in the past years. Many utilize the word vaguely while others have been properly diagnosed with this mental health illness. However, we still encounter among our churches that stigma or judgment. Many among the church are fearful to seek help among their church leaders due to fears of being judge or being told “get over it” or "just go pray about it”. But did you know that depression isn’t a new thing that just happened to pop up into our culture recently. We can actually look into the Bible and see some signs of depression among some of the great men. Perhaps these feelings, emotions or whatever you prefer to call them weren’t labeled back then, but it doesn’t mean that they weren't relevant.                                                            

Biblical Connections

Jonah (Jonah 4)

He was angry and wanted to run away after God called to preach to Nineveh.
“…I am angry enough to die.” Jonah 4:9

He suffered through great loss, devastation and physical illness
       “I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26

Elijah (1 Kings 19)
He was discouraged, weary and afraid. He ran and isolated from the threats of Jezebel.
“I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4

Jeremiah wrestled with great loneliness, feelings of defeat and insecurities. He is even known as the weeping prophet, because he constantly experienced rejection by people he loved and reach out to.
        “Cursed be the day I was born…why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” Jer. 20:14,18

David (His love letters in Psalms)
He has many letters to God where he expresses honestly his turmoil, his weary soul and his aching bones.
      “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. …I groan because of the turmoil of my heart” (Psalm 38:6,8)

When I read through these stories I can clearly see some of the signs of depression and I believe the importance of us being aware of them in order to seek help immediately. Please be cautious and do not diagnose yourself or label someone else. Besides I am not sharing a diagnosis criteria, I am only sharing the following signs to increase awareness among our community and to encourage each other in seeking for hope.

1. Feeling of hopelessness or constant pessimism
This happens after feeling sad or down for a long period of time. You become hopeless of the future with negative perspective on everything and everyone.

2. Restlessness or Irritability
The inability to relax or rest. Getting annoyed by the smallest things, being angry at everything etc.

3. Anhedonia
Lack or no interest in participating in things you use to enjoy. This can be isolation from friends, no longer exercising, no more reading, or wanting to go out.

4. Overeating or loss of appetite
This can be you running to comfort food and gaining a significant amount of weight in short period of time. Or not finishing your food, lack of appetite…not related to an eating disorder.

5. Physical Manifestations
Aches, Pains, Headaches, Digestive issues…after all medical reasons have been ruled out

6. Suicidal Ideations
Thoughts of not wanting to life, of killing yourself, or plan on how to kill yourself.

After sharing these I want to emphasis the hope we have in Christ and on getting through these weary trials.

Hope! Hope is the motor for change. Hope is what rebels are built on. It is not anger or frustration or discontent that motivates us to  change in our lives. But hope is what encourage us to the finish the race.

In Psalm 23 opens like this: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. David knew that what he needed what in the Lord.  His hope was rooted in the character of God. We find hope in God’s character and who He is. David doesn’t find hope in his abilities, his title, brand names or hope in his circumstances. He roots his hope in the character of God. We have two choices on how we go on with life. One: we can look to God and let what we know to be true about his character, tell us what we know to be true about our circumstances. Second: we can look around at our circumstances and let those inform us what must be true about God’s character.  Will we allow our situations dictate us who God is or will we focus on who God is to get through our trials?

I think sometimes we read the Bible a little bit like we would read our yearbooks from school, focusing on finding pictures us or our friends.  Which then we skip most of  the other pages that it doesn’t make sense to look at because we know we are not on them.

 The Word of God has nothing to do with me because it is about who God is. I can find God’s character on every single page and  I want  the character of God to be screaming off the page at me. I find that He is the rewarder. He is my Messiah. He is God with us. The Son of God, the provider, the healer, the teacher, the forgiver of sins. He is gentle, humble, and compassionate. He is the multiplier of food (woo!). Amen! He is my shepherd. He is my creator, my good good father.

Hope is rooted in the character of God. The Lord is my shepherd, we have all that we need even during during the time of depression. When we know who God is and we remind ourselves of who God is, we can declare who God is. That alone produces hope in our lives and hope is what we need to overcome these feelings of depression.

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