- Rejection. If we experienced rejection as a child and the pain of rejection has not been dealt with, we are likely to fear confrontation as an adult. The moment our ego is hurt, we become depressed. Rejection has already been discussed, but one of the results of rejection is depression. Tim La Haye says: “Often the depression we experience is out of proportion to the rejection, especially if the person concentrates on the injustice of the rejection and the loneliness which it brings”.
- Exhaustion. In 1 Kings 19:4 we read about Elijah in a state of depression, to such an extent that he wished to die. After the victory over the priests of Baal, he was physically exhausted. Physical, spiritual and emotional exhaustion can lead to depression. If we are physically exhausted, the body reacts in such a way that we become depressed, telling us that the body cannot cope any longer, and it affects our emotions as well as our spirits.
- Disappointment in ourselves. We often set goals for ourselves, and if we find that we cannot achieve these aims, we become depressed. This applies to all aspects of our lives, physically, materially and spiritually. We may aim too high and are then disappointed at not being able to reach our goal. Our expectations are unrealistic, resulting in depression. This can also happen in their Spiritual life when we ask the Lord to undertake in a matter, and if He does not answer, we become depressed. Perfectionists often suffer from depression.
- Unfinished business. How many people begin a job and don’t finish it? Procrastination can lead to depression. An unforgiving attitude is also unfinished business. A newly married couple who is used to being ruled by their parents and who is emotionally dependent on one of the parents can become depressed during the early stages of marriage. This is also unfinished business.
- Sexual Abuse/Molestation. Maybe a married woman was molested sexually as a child, but the matter has never handled. Now as a married woman, she becomes depressed as a result of her first negative sexual experience as a child. A younger woman or child who is being sexually harassed is likely to suffer from depression.
- Self-pity. A person who continually feels sorry for himself and who believes that the world has turned against him will automatically be depressed. This person can only see the negative side to everything. Self-pity is very subtle and is often difficult to diagnose, and every Counsellor should be able to diagnose self-pity and realise that it is one of the leading causes of depression.
- Physical conditions. Hormonal imbalance, low blood pressure, PMS, certain virus infections and long-term illness can all lead to depression.
- Lack of goals (no aim in life). If someone has no goal in life, nothing to live for, depression could result. This often happens in an old age where the person becomes too weak or ill and loses all interest in those around him/her and life has lost its meaning.
- Losses. Loss of work, loss of a dear one through death, loss through theft or an accident, loss of a relationship or friendship and even the realisation that a person has lost his/her youth, looks, physical strength as well as children leaving the home can cause depression.
- Fear. There are so many things people fear, that fear becomes the dominating factor in people’s lives, causing depression. Fear of theft, murder, hijacking, rape, fear of losing finances or work, fear of sickness, etc. all cause depression.
- Unresolved feelings of guilt. Should the person not be willing to deal with guilt feelings, the result is depression. This could fall under ‘unfinished business’ and should be addressed. The depression can be addressed, but the person will not be healed unless the guilt is addressed.
- Selfishness. Individuals who have been spoilt as a child and are used to getting what they want, when they want it, no matter at what cost, are never satisfied with what they have and are continually in a state of depression. This depression could be a way of manipulating those around them in getting what they want.
- Side-effects of medication. Every person should be able to judge for themselves whether the medication they are using is causing them to be depressed or not. It is the duty of the patient to decide for themselves whether there are side-effects or not. Depression can be caused by certain tranquillizers or anti-depressants and should be monitored. Addiction to medication can also be the cause of depression.
- Drug and alcohol dependence. If someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol and is aware of the dependency, but is unable to stop using these drugs, they are likely to become depressed. This could cause them to use more drugs or alcohol to try and avoid depression, thus forming a vicious circle.
- Depression can be acquired. Children are inclined to copy their parent’s behaviour. Should one parent be suffering from depression, as the child grows older they think it natural to become depressed in reaction to events in life. The person becomes depressed at the slightest negative incident as this was the example set by their parents.
- Chemical imbalance. Many types of depression are caused by a chemical imbalance, and unless this is brought into balance through medication, the person’s depression could become worse and lead to suicide.
- Demonic/occultic. Satan always attacks our minds, and since our emotions are fed by what is in our minds, depression (which is an emotion) can be caused by thoughts leading to self-destruction, fear, self-hate, even hating God and we become depressed. Prayer, praise and worshipping God, as well as prayer for deliverance, bring victory over satanic depression.
Depression Affects the Total Person:
- Physical presentations: General psychomotor retardation is the most common symptom. However psychomotor agitation can also present, i.e. hand wringing, hair pulling. The classic presentation of a depressed patient is that of a person with a stooped posture and no spontaneous movements a downcast and averted gaze. This includes drab clothing, dishevelled appearance, unwashed, bad personal hygiene, loss of energy, loss of sex and healthy activities, difficulty in concentration and insomnia.
- Emotive presentations: depression, guilt, melancholy, sadness, pessimism, fear, apathy, weariness, fatigue, lack of appetite, lack of enthusiasm, inability to make decisions, desire to withdraw from life, self-criticism, self-doubt, self-pity, sense of worthlessness, loss of interest in work.
- Perceptual: depressed clients can present with delusions, hallucinations – this is the case of a psychotic depressive episode.
- Thought content and process: depressed clients have a negative view of the world, life and of themselves. Many clients evidence a decreased rate and volume in speech, responding to questions with single words.
- Impulsiveness, suicide, and homicide: 10-15% of depressed clients, complete suicide and about two-thirds have suicidal ideation. Interesting most depressed clients lack the motivation or energy to act impulsively.
- Orientation: most depressed clients are orientated to person, place and time, although some may not have enough energy to answer questions during the interview.
- Memory: 50-70% clients report cognitive impairment. They complain of impaired concentration and forgetfulness.
- Judgement and insight: Client’s experience is best assessed by reviewing their actions in the recent past and their behaviour during the interview.
- Reliability: all information obtained from a depressed patient overemphasises the bad and minimises the good.
Treatment of Depression
There is so many different views on the treatment of depression. Some maintain that the only treatment is medication. Others believe in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and many other therapies.
For the Christian counsellor, there are many scriptures, which give advice on treating depression. David often found himself in the pit of despair but also on mountain tops, and it was only his faith and trust in God, which brought him out of his depression. He speaks to himself in
Psalm 42:5 – Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Moreover, why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him…?
In many of the Psalms, he begins by calling to God in his distress and towards the end of the psalm he is praising the Lord for deliverance.
Paul gives us good advice in Rom. 12:1-2 and Eph. 4:23-24 where he says, “Be he transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In Col 3 Paul says we must be able to control ourselves and in vs. two he says, “Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth”. Vs. 12-15 he points out what we have to change (vs. 15) “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts”. This is excellent advice to the depressed.
Incorrect and negative thought patterns cause depression, and each one has control over their thoughts. As soon as we begin to think negatively, we should follow Paul’s advice and reflect on those things which are above, of God who is our Provider, our Friend, our Father, our Victor and our All in All. When we begin to place our thoughts on God and think of Him, we begin to praise and worship Him for who he is and our negative thoughts disappear, and we start experiencing joy, peace and happiness.
The Christian Counsellor can assist the depressed person to change his/her thought patterns.
These scriptures on depression will give you hope and will build your faith. Confess and meditate on them to win the fight against depression. The key is not losing Hope. Allow the hope of God to seep back into you. Remember, there is a real Person (God) behind each and every one of these promises. He promised them to you for a reason – to help you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
2 Samuel 22:17-22 – He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; (18) He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. (19) They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. (20) He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me because he delighted in me. (21) The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. (22) For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and, have not wickedly departed from my God.
2 Samuel 22:29 – You are my lamp O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Ecclesiastes 9:4 – Anyone who is among the living has hope.
Psalms 9:9 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 37:23-24 – If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 43:5 – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 62:5 – Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
Psalm 126:5 – Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
Psalm 143:7-8 – Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I’ll lift up my soul.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 145:14 – The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down (depression), but a good word cheers it up.
Isaiah 26:3-4, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. (Perfect means complete. If I keep my part of the promise by staying steadfastly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, He will keep His promise to give me His perfect peace. See also Philippians 4:6-7 below)
Isaiah 35:10 – And the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away
Isaiah 40:31, But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 53:4 – Surely he took up our sicknesses and carried our sorrows.
Mark 9:23 – Everything is possible for him who believes.
Romans 4:18-22 – Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall they seed be. (19) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: (20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. (21) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. (22) And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
II Corinthians 7:6-7 – Nevertheless God, that comforts, those that are depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; (7) And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.
1 Peter 4:12 – Dear Friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange was happening to you.
1 Peter 4:13 – But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.