At the Tuileries Garden in Paris there is a statue of a female, most likely a dancer. Her face is covered by a mask. From a certain distance, particularly when directly in front of the statue, it appears that the statue is smiling. However, as one slowly approaches and views the statue more closely, especially from the side, one discovers the details skillfully traced by the artist, a great sorrow as if generated by some hidden pain. The woman depicted by this statue undoubtedly wanted to demonstrate to the public a smiling face, especially because of her profession, but in reality she held a deep pain within.
There is a direct correlation between this statue and the human condition at large. Anxiety and depression are the cloak of darkness, the grey mist that affects millions of lives. Many don´t even know why they feel unsettled, bored, absent and as if nothing brings them enthusiasm. A significant proportion of these individuals end up with depression, and some even commit suicide. They haven’t come to an understanding of the origin or the nature of their suffering. In very few instances do their families understand them, and instead they tend to accuse them of being oversensitive or crazy. They tend to have strong feelings of guilt, and frequently they find themselves distressed by mistakes they have committed long ago. Their self-esteem regresses, and often they have a misconception of themselves. This person goes through episodes of grief and depression that lessens their appetite, and causes them to find their food tasteless or simply undesirable. Their sleeping habits change and they the wake up at midnight, and are unable to sleep. Individuals with depression rarely sleep well. Their sexual desire diminishes. They often feel the need to cry for no apparent reason. Sometimes they smile outwardly, but find themselves like David: “My tears have been my food day and night…My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me” (Psalms 42:3, 55:4-5).
There is a solution for this evilness that attacks millions of lives, and it is the same solution David used in his case. This king called out to God asking him: “restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23:3). After confessing his sins to God, he makes this supplication: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalms 51:12). In other words, he desired faith and the assurance of God´s acceptance and forgiveness. God desires to help each person in need who comes to him. A case of depression is found in the Bible- in the Old Testament- I Samuel 1:2-20. It is the story of Hannah. There were constant fights in her home. A woman named Penninah made fun of her because she could not bear children. This was consistently the cause of provocation. It was a serious matter in Israel to be infertile. The husband´s questions towards his wife reveal the symptoms of depression which she was experiencing: “why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved?” (I Samuel 1:8).
Elkanah, her husband, was not very wise when it came to his wife´s depression. In his love towards her he tried to help, but made the mistake of insisting that she explain her reaction. To make matters worse he said, “am not I better to thee than ten sons?” This scenario repeats itself in many cases of depression.
Job, through loss and the illness that threatened his life fell into a great depression. God used this depression to elevate him to a new stage of faith. At the end of the tribulation he experienced, and after a personal encounter with God, his depression ended.
Treatment for Depression
Recovering from depression is not something that happens overnight. It takes time and requires strength, even though the sick person desires to recover quickly and enjoy the sweet feeling of freedom and emotional stability.
1. A check-up of the person´s health is recommended. Consult your doctor, to have the assurance that the chest pain that is often felt is not a cardiac issue, neither is loss of weight and sleep. Just as headaches alone are not a symptom of a more serious illness, is a reason to not worry. To know that there is a solution and that they are symptoms of a problem that will quickly pass is a reason to feel relieved and not be unnecessarily distressed.
2. Look for help in a Christian councillor with experience in this field. You may feel that this is the first person who understands you and who is truly interested in your well-being. Counselling may allow you to understand expressions like: “you are not alone”, “God loves you and will not abandon you”, or, “Our Lord Jesus Christ not only bore our sins but also our sorrows and afflictions”. Get in touch with someone who can help you. See contact details that are provided at the end.
3. Overcome the feeling of guilt. Hay dos clases:
True Guilt: when we feel convicted by the Holy Spirit that we have transgressed the laws of God. Fictional Guilt: provoked by a feeling of unworthiness and sin. This surfaces from traumatic experiences in childhood.
When we feel true guilt, the best help is to know the promises of God. The Bible contains a wonderful message of love and of forgiveness.
Let us take a look at jus some of those passages: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” Micah 7:18-19. (Read also Psalms 103:12 and I John 1:9)
In Isaiah 43:25 it says: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins”.
4. A correct concept about love. Many believe that love is conditional. When children, they found that only when they were obedient were they worthy of love. As adults, they believe that they must do something to be worthy of God´s love and forgiveness.
When we are declared righteous, meaning, forgiven, through faith, we can have complete confidence in His love. When you understand that your experiences led you to feel in such a way, you can gain much on your journey to peace and recovery by knowing the nature of God´s love through the reading of the Bible, and accepting the fact that God considers you important; you are the reason for His love. You will then feel the desire to obey out of love— that God whom you have come to love.
God has the solution for every depressed soul. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28-29. The apostle Peter says: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” I Peter 5:7.
5. Prayer eis the way that we may tell God our problems, to unload our anxiety, lay our burden upon Him and then trust that He will act according to His will. It is like speaking to a friend.
Maintain a relationship with Him on a daily basis. Read your Bible every day, even if it is in small portions, and pray. The Word of God has a healing power on the soul. If you have difficulties in understanding it, request the free course “At the Feet of Jesus” at the address found at the end.
6. Be thankful. Even if you feel like life has no meaning for you, or if you feel miserable and with out hope, you must believe that God loves you and thank Him because He has written your name in the book of life and are considered a child of His. The apostle Paul says: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God…” (I Tes. 5:18). We have many reasons to be thankful to God. Even times of adversity teach us valuable lessons.
Request the help of the Holy Spirit. God provides help for the person that suffers from depression. It is sufficient to claim, by faith, the promises given by God.
7. Educate your mind to positive thinking. Accept the reality of your depression, yet reject every thought that condemns self and puts to shame. Imagine yourself fully recovered, happy and free of all depressing emotions, acting normal and being free from this evil. It takes much strength to accomplish this but it is very beneficial. Always be aware that things seem more negative to you then they really are, because you see things through the eye of depression.
8. Care for your body. Sleep well. You may need something that will help you sleep. Valerian tea or something similar can be useful to help you rest and recover. If possible, avoid strong pharmaceutical drugs as they are intoxicating.
After waking up in the morning, it is good to do a friction rub on your the body with cold water. This will tone the nervous system. At night, take a warm bath, relax, read your Bible and go to sleep early. Practice deep breathing exercises. It is best to eat whole grain cereals. Use wheat germ, Brewer´s yeast and soya milk. Vitamin and mineral supplements are useful especially magnesium.
9. Search for someone who needs help. There is a reason that the apostle Paul says: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Write a letter to someone who feels lonely. Take an elderly person out for a walk. Become a volunteer at a church, hospital, or daycare. Share household duties, help your family, even if it´s simple.
10. Ask for help. It is possible that you have unsuccessfully tried to battle your depression alone. Confide in a friend or family member, someone you can trust, about your struggles. If they don´t know how to help you, speak to a pastor, a christian counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist. To receive lasting help, it must be based on Biblical principles. Divine help lasts (Psalms 1:2-3).
These basic counsels have helped many. Take time for spiritual pursuits and allow Jesus to come into your life. You can request the following series of topics that are offered:
Bible Research Guide: “At the Feet of Jesus” is a series of 31 topics that you will receive at no cost. It will open a panorama of valuable knowledge that will help you search the past, in order to understand the present, and unlock the future through fascinating prophecies.