Are you depressed? How do you know?

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by date, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22: 1 & 2

King David knew all about depression. He was scared, he felt abandoned; he was in anguish. Later in this chapter, he talks about every bone in his body hurting.

Let’s be clear.

Depression is not a few bad days. It’s not even a few bad weeks if those weeks are accompanied by difficult circumstances. For example, grief, job loss, stress, divorce, etc., all these can cause our moods to plummet. But that’s not a clinical depression.

We all go through periods of time when things are tough. When it seems like anything that can go wrong, does go wrong. But most of the time we continue on with our lives. We get out of bed, we attend to life, we take care of ourselves and our families. We go to work. We interact with people….

Too many people label these moods as depression when they are actually experiencing the normal low moods that accompany negative life events. These people can identify circumstances that explain their feelings.

That’s not the case in depression. Very often persons who are depressed have no clue as to the cause.

True depression always negatively impacts your overall functioning. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of previously enjoyed activities
  • Sleep issues, either sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating issues, either eating too much or too little.
  • Problems interacting with others (a tendency to isolate oneself)
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Problems concentrating
  • Physical problems (headaches, stomach aches, etc that have no physical cause)
  • Other symptoms that might be unique to anyone individual

In order for a medical professional to diagnose someone with clinical depression, most of the above symptoms have to be present for at least two weeks with no medical condition to explain it.

As to the causes, they are varied.

Some suggest chemical imbalances but this has never been proven. That there is a chemical imbalance, yes, but as to what came first, the chemical imbalance or the depression, is not known.

While anti-depressants may be the first line of defense for many, therapies have proven to be just as effective although not as fast. And when you’re depressed, the thought of even another day of depression is unbearable.

Most medical health professionals these days are more likely to consider lifestyle changes, and cognitive therapies, coupled with diet and exercise, to help a person regain their equilibrium.

Depression is complex and simple all at the same time. But if we make better choices, adjust our thinking, work on some behavior modification, take medication for awhile, recovery usually follows.

So how did you do with the checklist? Even if you didn’t really qualify for a diagnosis of depression, if you answered yes to even a few of them, there things you can do to improve in each of these areas.

I see no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to live a life as complete and full of joy as possible. Jesus tells us we can actually experience this same joy. Why would anyone settle for less?

“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. John 15:11

Are you ready to choose joy?

God bless and have a good day.

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