Webster’s dictionary defines depression as “a psycho-neurotic or psychotic disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, and feelings of dejection.” One of the causes of depression is a sense of failure and frustration caused by unwillingness to do what should be done or to stop doing what should not be done. A person becomes ashamed and begins a process of self-depreciation. Then, along with personal shame, comes a loss of fellowship with God, either real or imagined.
Some years ago I knew a woman who was living with a man outside of wedlock. She was a born-again Christian, active in religious matters. She knew that cohabitation outside of marriage was wrong. She knew she was living a lie, that she was in a relationship that was wrong; yet she did not have the power to break it. She began to hate herself. You can imagine the depression that came about because of this sense of failure.
As a result, she had overdosed on drugs and was in a hospital in a near-death situation when I saw her. She had become so depressed that she had tried to commit suicide, which is what happens in the last stage of depression. Somewhere down inside her there was a voice saying, “I have failed myself and failed God.” She wanted God, but she was to weak to break with sin. So she took what seemed the “easy” way out.
Depression can also be caused by a dietary deficiency. If you are lacking iron and certain of the B-complex vitamins in your diet, you can become seriously depressed. This type of depression needs to be corrected by wholesome nutrition along with massive doses of vitamins and minerals. Junk food and excess caffeine should be avoided, and you should exercise vigorously.
The worst thing about depression is that it makes its victims withdraw and lapse into inactivity. A person has to get going again and begin to help other people, going to church, going to work, or doing anything other than sitting around feeling sorry for himself. Becoming active is a key remedy for depression. Also, a terrible tragedy or personal loss can shock the system, bringing on a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Many times these feelings are compounded by a failure to eat well and a failure to exercise or get out among other people. As the withdrawal begins, a downward spiral takes hold that needs to be broken. But our question is: How do you get over the depression? You have to recognize what is causing it. If it is sin, you have to go to the root of the failure and do whatever it takes to get your life right with God. If it is merely a sense of failure, examine your expectations. If they are too high, change them to a more realistic level. If indeed there is a real failure to perform, then grasp the task and do it.
If the depression has to do with diet and exercise, begin to eat nutritious foods, take heavy doses of therapeutic vitamins and minerals, and begin vigorous walking or other exercises. In the case of someone who has suffered an emotional trauma, that person needs to reach out for the help and support of friends. Be frank about your problem; say, “I am terribly depressed. Will you please come and be with me? Will you pray with me? Will you help me?” Try to open up to other people and draw them in. It always helps to pray and read the Bible, which is the source of comfort and the source of life (see Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Hebrews 4:15-16). Above all else, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, reach out a hand of compassion to someone whose grief and tragedy exceed your own.