by Aleta Kay
Depression is anger turned inward. The first step in overcoming depression is to face whatever you are angry about, or determine with whom you are angry. Many times we are angry with another person and don’t have the courage to face them or confront them about the issue.
Anger can come over the loss of a job, a dumb choice we made that got us into trouble, an argument over a family situation, or any number of other things. Keeping that anger bottled up inside can create an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain (serotonin and melatonin) that keep our emotions on an even keel. When serotonin is depleted we feel tired, lethargic, not interested in much of anything. We begin to feel hopeless.
It is important to be COMPLETELY honest with yourself about the anger issue. Let me give a brief illustration.
I have a friend (I’ll call her Jennifer since I have no friends by that name). She had been sober for a number of years. She was stressed out about her job, and she takes care of a neighbor who, although healthy enough to get up and do most minor things for herself, had become completely dependent on Jennifer to come over and make coffee every morning, fix breakfast, pay her bills, do her laundry, etc. Jennifer had become resentful but not willing to stop enabling her friend. One evening she took a drink, realized she needed fuel in her vehicle and drove to the gas station. She got pulled over for a tail light being out. The officer smelled alcohol on breath, gave her the breathalyzer test and arrested her for DUI. She spent eighteen months in the county jail and lost her job.
Jennifer got depressed. She said she wasn’t mad at God; she was mad at herself. When she got out of jail she moped around for weeks before filling for unemployment. She is eligible for disability but won’t file because it takes too long for it to go through. She is still enabling her neighbor and still feeling resentful. She won’t go back to church either.
Jennifer says she is mad at herself. Maybe she is but she is taking it out on God by leaving Him out of her life. Oh, she listens to Christian radio and reads a devotional book occasionally, and her Bible, but none of those are affecting change in her attitude. She is choosing to stay miserable.
She punishes herself by not eating and not taking the necessary steps to take care of her financial situation. Yes, it is difficult, but not impossible. Jennifer has two choices: she can stay miserable and keep punishing herself and God, or she can choose to get back into living her life for God and do something constructive.
God saves us for two reasons, and two reasons only: fellowship with Him, and tell others about Him so they know they can choose heaven or hell. Depression keeps us out of fellowship with God, keeps our attention focused on ourselves, and keeps us from spreading the Good News that Jesus loves and wants to save people from their sin.
Depression, like happiness, is a choice. We all get depressed from time to time but we don’t have to take up permanent residence there.
The only legitimate reason for depression is loss of a loved one and having no one around for moral support. But even then, God wants us to turn to Him. He’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He promised never to leave us or forsake us. If we aren’t close to God, guess who moved?