Is it Depression?

Column Post by Beth Cranford

“What’s wrong with me?”

“I don’t want to go anywhere, or see anyone, or do anything I used to enjoy doing.”

“Why can’t I get anything done?”

“Why can’t I just snap out of it?”

“I feel so useless, so worthless, so hopeless.”

“Why do I feel so lonely and afraid?”

Are you thinking any of these thoughts? I know the frustration that accompanies those thoughts because I’ve had them myself. In my case I found out that what I was dealing with was depression.

Sometimes depression isn’t obvious because the symptoms we’re experiencing might not match what we’ve understood to be depression. The following is a list of symptoms that doctors use to evaluate whether or not a patient is suffering from depression. Notice how many affect not just mood but mental and physical functioning.

  1. Depressed mood
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in  activities, even those you formerly enjoyed
  3. Large change in appetite or weight
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia
  5. Slowing of physical movements, or agitation
  6. Intense fatigue
  7. Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  8. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  9. Frequent thoughts of death
  10. Feelings of hopelessness or irrational ‘certainties’ about the future

*The Depression Cure, Stephen S. Ilardi, PHD, Page 28.

A medical diagnosis of depression requires either “depressed mood” or “loss of interest” as well as four other symptoms from this list. Your doctor will look to see if these symptoms have persisted all day or most of the day, almost every day for at least two weeks. It is wise for you to keep a journal if you can, or ask someone such as your spouse to do so.

If you are feeling some of these symptoms, it’s important for you to see your doctor right away.  It is also imperative that you are accurate and objective with your answers to his questions. There are other serious medical conditions that share similar symptoms and your doctor will need accurate information in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

In his book “The Depression Cure,” Stephen Ilardi Ph.D. describes depression this way:

“It’s a syndrome that deprives people of their energy, sleep, concentration, joy, confidence, memory, sex-drive — their ability to love and work and play. It can even rob them of their will to live. Over time, depression damages the brain and wreaks havoc on the body. It’s a treacherous illness — a shudder-inducing foe that no one in their right mind would ever take lightly, certainly not if they understood the disorder’s capacity to destroy life.” (The Depression Cure, page 26)

Depression is complicated. It reaches in and affects us on every level: mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional. It is not cured magically with a pill, nor is it something against which we are helpless. God is showing me that He has equipped His children for all things, including the fight against depression. Join me next week and we’ll dive in and start learning about the weapons He has provided.

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Beth Cranford believes every Christian has been equipped and empowered to do specific and effective work in the kingdom of God. It is her heart’s desire to see women live in the freedom that is theirs through Christ by helping them break free from depression and other strongholds. She encourages women to experience God’s power in their lives by understanding their identity and position in Christ and their unique design.

Beth has a passion for helping Christian parents design and implement an education that honors and nurtures their children’s individual design, equipping them for a life of freedom and power.

Beth has been married to her best friend for 21 years. Together they raise and educate their two children in middle TN. You can find her at http://www.bethcranford.com

2 thoughts on “Is it Depression?

  1. What is so isolating about depression is that this topic is usually taboo within the Christian church. People put on their smiling masks and lead others to believe that all is fine when deep inside they are utterly broken. Something needs to change in our Christian community for emotional and spiritual support to individuals suffering depression or any form of mental illness.

    • I agree Dana, I’ve had readers tell me privately that they appreciate my willingness to talk about depression. They don’t dare to leave a comment because they’re afraid to have a lot of people find out that they struggle with it.

      Sadly, some christians do shoot their wounded by attaching shame to depression. I actually had to sit through a ladies Bible class in which the leader for the day did a whole lesson on why faithful christians should never need antidepressants. Another thing we do is offer unsolicited and unhelpful advice. I’m going to deal with that in a future article.

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