Sunday, 15 July 2007


By Dr. Ann ShorbChristian Counseling & Educational Services

Major depression can greatly affect a person's ability to function at home and/or at work, and inhibit the enjoyment of life in any way. Some people suffer depression only once but others may experience it several times in their lifetime.
Answer the questions below to determine if you are experiencing depression. If you answer

True to at least four (4) of the following statements, you may be suffering from depression. If you answer True to the majority of the following statements, you are certainly experiencing depression and you need to seek professional help. See a doctor or a counselor before the depression gets worse.

T or F - I feel sad and blue most of the time.
T or F - I feel like crying more than I did six months ago.
T or F - I feel hopeless and helpless most of the time.
T or F - I have no motivation.
T or F - I'm not interested in things I used to enjoy.
T or F - Recently I have wondered if life is worth living.
T or F - I am not sleeping well, or I want to sleep all of the time.
T or F - I have lost my appetite.
T or F - I am easily irritated.
T or F - I am more anxious about things than I used to be.
T or F - My energy level has dropped recently
T or F - I dread the morning. It is hard to get up.
T or F - I have been thinking about myself a lot recently.
T or F - The face looking back at me in the mirror is sad.
T or F - My self-concept needs improving.
T or F - I worry about the past, the present and the future.
T or F - I've had more headaches, upset stomach, constipation, rapid heartbeat, etc. in the last six months than usual.
T or F - I think that people have noticed that I am not working as well at my job, or enjoying life like I used to.

Is Depression A Sin?
Christians often ask this question. The answer is Not necessarily! While harboring sin or sinful attitudes in your life can certainly produce depression, other possible causes include experiencing a significant loss or having a physical problem that causes body chemistry to be imbalanced. Great men in the Bible, such as David (in many of his Psalms), Elijah (I Kings 19), Moses (Exodus 18), and Jonah (Jonah 4) experienced depression. In each of these situations God sent someone to help the suffering individual but He did not condemn him. Psalm 23:18 says, The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Whatever the cause, God cares about the person experiencing depression.
Some Interesting Facts
- One in four women and one in ten men will develop depression some time in their life.
- Men experience depression differently than women. Men tend to get angrier.
- Depression can affect children as well as adults and the elderly.
- Suicide may result when depression has not been treated successfully.
- Depression has been called the common cold of the mind.
- Between 80-90% of the people seeking treatment get well.

What Are Some Symptoms Of Depression?
Everyone feels sad sometimes due to a significant loss such as a death, a divorce or losing a job. Anger turned inward can also cause sad feelings. When these feelings are not dealt with properly and they continue over a long period of time, a person usually experiences a major depression.
Look For These Symptoms
- Feelings of sadness for over two weeks- Not wanting to spend time with friends and family- Increased irritability- Changes in sleep and appetite patterns- Frequent crying spells- Difficulty concentrating- Forgetfulness

How Can You Help A Depressed Person?

We often feel uncomfortable around a depressed person because we don't know what to say or do for him. This may cause us to make some serious mistakes when we try to help them. So what can you do to help?

Let him be honest about his feelings.Allow him to talk about his negative, depressedfeelings. Don't say, You shouldn't feel like that. Be there for him. A depressed person may have lost someone important in his life. Let him know you care and will be there for him.
Be aware. A depressed person often tries to avoid dealing with his feelings, or to pretend he is fine. If he fails to get help, he will only become more depressed. Help him get help.
Avoid saying . . .Just trust God.Just get over it.If you would just do . . . You have lots going for you. You shouldn'tfeel so bad.

When to Seek Help . . .
Major depression is a serious illness and can be fatal if left untreated. A person cannot face this illness alone. Seek professional help for yourself, or for someone you care for when you see . . .- Three or more symptoms of depression- Response to your attempts to help- No family or friends there for support- There are suicidal thoughts- The person turning to substance abuse- The individual cannot take care of his family or himself.

Dr. Ann Shorb is the founder of Christian Counseling & Educational Services, an accomplished professional speaker, and the author of A Light for My Path, a weekly email devotional. Visit her website for a free subscription to A Light for My Path.

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