2 Corinthians 12:9
"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me."
The normal ups and downs of life result in sadness or feeling blue from time to time. But if emptiness and despair have taken over your life or someone close to you and lasts for weeks or months, depression may be the cause. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming.
Depression differs from person to person, but there are common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms are also a part of life if they happen intermittently. But the more symptoms you have, or the stronger emotional despair felt, it may be time to seek help.
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and learn to recognize the warning signs.
Warning signs of suicide include:
- Talking about killing or harming one’s self
- Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
- An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
- Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
- Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
- Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
- Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
- A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy
Don't allow weaknesses and insecurities to keep you from life or being that angel someone else may need. God loves to use ordinary people like you to do extraordinary things. You may not feel capable in your own strength, but God knows that already. The apostle Paul said, "When we are weak, He is strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) God knows we need help from time to time, and within that time span we are often needed to help others.
God sees us as "well able" people. Not because we are powerful, but because God is powerful and works within us. When we face adversity and hardships in life, fill up with the boldness and confidence knowing that God will help you overcome them.
Should you or a loved one be faced with depression take a moment to pray. Ask God how you should maneuver this latest obstacle. Realize that you may need a support system. Seek help for depression. Encourage anyone else that suffers from this to do so, too. The following tips may help:
10 Depression Treatments
1. Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, you need a routine.
2. Set goals. When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.
3. Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain.
4. Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It's a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better.
5. Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse.
6. Take on responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don't. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.
7. Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental -- changing how you think. When you're depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions.
8. Check with your doctor before using supplements. There's evidence for certain supplements for depression. Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe.
9. Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench.
10. Try to have fun. If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy.