Have you ever been depressed? I mean, really depressed? Sometimes you may feel like you have no idea what is going on. Why me? What is happening? How do I climb out of this hole that I am in? Do you see the hole, or does everyone around you see it and you don’t?
One man’s bout with depression
Well, I know exactly how you feel! I was really depressed at one point in my life. There wasn’t anything major like a death in the family or someone close to me being really ill, but there was a girl who came in and out of my life. I didn’t know what I really wanted to do with my life and I had unresolved issues with my father. Do any of these situations sound familiar?
The kind of depression that I am talking about may not be what you are thinking about. I am talking about what is called clinical depression: a psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure), feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness and thoughts of death. This is the real thing.
Here are some sobering statistics on depression in the United States:
Approximately 7 million women in the United States are clinically depressed. Though women experience depression at double the rate of men, men are three times as likely to commit suicide as women. Up to 2.5 percent of children in the United States suffer from depression. Up to 8.3 percent of adolescents in the United States suffer from depression. Depression affects about 6 million elderly people. In any given year, about 7 percent—between 13 million and 14 million people—will experience a depressive disorder (www.add-adhd-help-center.com/Depression/statistics.htm).
Depression in the Bible?
Is there something wrong with human beings? Why do so many people experience depression? Do you think depression was ever present in the Bible? I didn’t think so. How could God-fearing men and women in the Bible experience depression?
But, read all about it! Many prophets, kings and writers of the Bible were depressed at one time or another. You are not alone! And you are in the company of some very faithful servants of God! Let’s look at two examples of men who may have been depressed in the Bible.
*King David. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba. He was depressed until he finally confessed his sin. “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah” (Psalms 32:3-4 Psalms 32:3-4  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
 For day and night your hand was heavy on me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
American King James Version×).
*Elijah. Even after a great miracle and victory over the false prophets, evil Queen Jezebel made Elijah fear for his life. He felt lonely, fearful, weary and very depressed. “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!’ …I alone am left” (1 Kings 19:4 1 Kings 19:4But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
American King James Version×, 10).
What should you do?
So, what should you do if you are depressed? Should you not listen to others? Should you forget about those who love you? Should you enclose your thoughts and feelings in a fortress so no one can possibly find them?
I discovered the answers to all three of these questions. Remember, I lived through severe depression. I didn’t listen to others, forgot about all who loved me and hid all of my thoughts and feelings way deep in the recesses of my mind. I wasn’t in the Church of God at the time.
Looking back, I can see that God was helping me. I went to a self-help group that started me on my road to recovery. Then, I went to a social worker who talked with me about my past, present and future. Next, I went to the Peace Corps, where I finally came into contact with the Church of God.
So, what is the first thing you should do when you find yourself severely depressed? Turn to God. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version×).
This step, turning to God, may not seem easy when you are depressed. If you are depressed, you probably think you are feeling that way because God is not giving you financial success, a stable family, good health or a strong sense of self-esteem.
It is so easy to blame God for all of our troubles. But remember, from the beginning, God gave man the power of choice. Is it possible that we create many of our own problems, through bad choices that we have made in our own lives?
The second step, after truly connecting with God through prayer and meditation, is to seek assistance from those who love you. Listen to what they say.
I know that in my situation, I was not listening to anyone. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and thinking that no one understood me. This prevented me from reaching out for help from my family or friends. Talking your problems out with even an anonymous person, like a social worker, or asking help from a minister may help. I know it helped me. I didn’t feel like I could share any of my feelings with my family, so having that third party really helped.
Remember, severe depression can be very dangerous. I almost reached that point of no return in my life. I beseech you to get help before it is too late, if you are experiencing depression now or face it in the future.
Depression is a serious issue. It is a sickness that almost all of us experience at one time or another in our lives. There are different levels of depression. But one of the true markers of severe depression is if you are having any kind of suicidal thoughts. I was. I sought help and I recovered. You can too.
God is there for all of us. He will guide you to a proper understanding of what life is all about. Never give up hope.
For helpful information on this subject, please see our free reprint article “Depression: Ways to Win the Battle”.