Category Archives: Mood Disorders

Depression Self Help is Available

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Depression Self Help Bible Study

Depression self help begins with learning not to put your faith in your feelings. Doing so is the equivalent of building a house on sand instead of rock.

Don’t put your faith in your feelings

God made us as emotional creatures and depression is very much a condition of mood (a pervasive feeling that impacts perception.) But we learn early on in our faith walk that we are not to put our faith in our feelings…In this article on depression help we will explore more lessons on depression self help from the book of Ruth.

During my own Naomi season

I felt that my life had no meaning. I had been through this depression before and had come out on the other side of this lie and experienced the victory. But this time, I found myself languishing like the cripple at the pool of Bethesda…

I could see the water of healing, but I could not see any way to get myself into that pool. I was focused on my feelings and not on the truth of God’s word and the truth of who God is. I was in anguish. I was without hope…

Depression lies to us…our lives do have meaning!

To feel that my life had no meaning was very different than the truth. God’s word tells us our lives have eternal meaning and purpose. God’s word is our greatest source of depression self help.

Naomi felt like the Lord had made her life very bitter. Indeed she had fixed her eyes on her circumstances and not on her heavenly Father. It is He who is our strength and song. It is He who is the lifter of our countenance. YHVH, He is our depression help!

Our God is the God of restoration

Despite her rather depressing circumstances, God used it all to ultimately restore and reward Naomi and of His people Israel through King David the great grandson of Ruth and Boaz.

Naomi was personally restored through the relationships that God brought into her life through Ruth and Boaz. She was also rewarded with a grandson to care for who’s lineage bore the anointed King David and his eternal throne.

See God’s provision in His Providence

Finally, overcome depression by being willing to see God’s provision to you through His providence…and then, give praise and thanksgiving to God for His daily provision as Naomi finally did. Praise and thanksgiving is a powerful form of depression self help because it fixes our mind on YHVH. After all, God promises to provide for our daily needs, not our wants and desires.

Depression self help means we need to be vigilant about looking for the ways that God fulfills His word in our lives. We must be deliberate about giving thanks to Him…

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High…Psalm 7

Naomi was so full of despair and self loathing that she missed some important signs of hope…signs like the barley harvest that was just beginning as they arrived in Bethlehem. It is also likely that she saw Ruth’s insistence to go to Bethlehem with her as a nuisance rather than as an encouragement.

It was not until Ruth returned with an ephah of barley and a job gleaning in Boaz’s fields, that Naomi recognized and gave thanks for God’s provision. It was then that she began to shed her feelings of despair.

Be vigilant about looking for and acknowledging God’s provision to you every day. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and not your circumstances. For only God knows how He is weaving you and your circumstances into His wonderful tapestry of eternity. Remember God is your depression help.

Surely God’s compassion’s are new every morning; great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

 

 

Depression Warning Sign – Now What?

Depression Warning SignsThe most serious depression warning sign is that of recurring thoughts of death. However there are multiple signs of depression to look for: from loss of pleasure, changes in appetite and feelings of low self worth to difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, changes in physical and mental activity as well as recurring thoughts of wanting to die.

What if the person is suicidal?

Since the primary sign of depression is feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of wanting to die are not uncommon in a depressed person. However, suicidal thoughts are a serious depression warning sign and should not be minimized.

Find out whether the depressed person has a plan or an intent to harm themselves. A plan with intent is very different than fleeting thoughts of wanting to be dead, although both are indicators of a serious depression warning sign. If you or your loved one indicates they have a plan or strong intentions to harm themselves take action immediately!

Get help immediately

Call a mental health professional that you have been referred to by a reliable source, check your phone book for community mental health services, or call a suicide prevention hotline. In Brevard County, Florida that number is 211 or 321-632-6688. Also, Circles of Care in Melbourne provides emergency services and evaluations. Their number is 722-5257. If the threat is imminent, call 911.

If talking to someone right now would be helpful and you live in the United States phone 1-800-suicide (1-800-784-2433).

If you live in another country, log on to www.suicide-helplines.org.

Get depression help

If you or a loved one is experiencing a serious depression warning sign or other depression warning signs please seek help. Don’t wait until your level of functioning is severely impaired. Get depression treatment now! One of the biggest reasons people do not seek help is because of the shame they feel concerning the idea of having a mental illness. The reality is that our minds are vulnerable to illness just like our bodies. There is no shame in developing the flu or some other medical condition, so why is there with the mind?

Those who avoid seeking help because of the shame they feel only languish longer like the Bible story of the cripple at the pool of Bethesda. He needed help, but he was unwilling to accept any personal responsibility for helping himself.

How Counseling Can Help

A counselor can help a person gain perspective about their illness, resolve problems that may be contributing to the depression warning sign and assist the person in developing coping skills to manage the signs of depression.

However, in addition to counseling, various supplementations known to improve moods may also be a treatment option. You can discuss this with your counselor, who can then refer you to an appropriate health care practitioner

 

 

Stress Management College Students Guide

College Stress ManagementFirst, let’s define what we mean by stress. Stress is an arousal of your sympathetic nervous system. Chronic stress means your sympathetic nervous system is aroused for extended periods…hours, days, or even weeks on end.

College life stressors may include…

  • Roommates and personality clashes
  • Pop quizzes or final exams
  • Financial issues
  • Peer pressures
  • Sleep deprivation

The symptoms of stress that a college student may experience are…

  • Body symptoms — ulcers, back ache, gastrointestinal problems
  • Mind symptoms — racing thoughts, trouble concentrating, feeling confused
  • Emotional symptoms — irritability, anger, resentment, anxiety
  • Spiritual — feel distant from God, don’t think much about Him
  • Relational — feel distant from loved ones, no heart to heart sharing, conflicts

Common causes of stress and what to do about it

Time crunches — self discipline is one of your most effective means of fighting stress. Use a weekly planner. Determine what your weekly and daily priorities are and write them in your planner. Get into the habit of making your to do lists before you turn out the lights at night. Take 10 minutes in the morning before you rush off to class to review your planner. Think about what else needs to get done that day. Write it in your planner. Look at your planner through out the day to remind yourself of your goals and tasks.

Inability to say “No” — once you start using a weekly planner it will be easier for you to say no. In fact make sure you schedule your study time as well as your classes. When someone asks you to do something, always consult your schedule first. Say, “I’ll get back to you on that” if you don’t have your schedule with you. That buys you some time to consult your schedule and make a disciplined decision that will help you, not hurt you, in the long run

Genuine crisis — There are genuine crises that are beyond our control. As the saying goes “Stuff Happens!” This is where it is important to have a support system of family and friends whom you trust and be willing to reach out for help…preferably before your stress reaches critical mass.

Relationship conflicts — being in college means you as well as your friends are in major life transitions. You are growing into adulthood. Wanting to depend more on yourself and less on your parents. It’s now more than ever that you need the wisdom of God. This can be a very troubling time in relationships as you fight temptation, learn that not everyone is who they say they are, and discover what it means to walk in obedience. To cope with relationship stress it’s important to make good choices in friends. Hang with those who live by the same values as you. Don’t let others pressure you into doing things your gut or God says “no” to.

One of the most common relationship stressors is getting involved with pathologically needy people. People who will suck the life out of you. They are takers and not givers. They come in different packages, but the results are the same. You will end up feeling drained and used at the end of the relationship. They will often ask for your advice, pouring out their many problems to you, but will rarely follow through on what you suggest.

Learn to set healthy boundaries in these situations. It is necessary that you be able to put distance between yourself and these individuals in order to manage your stress effectively. You may need to refer these kinds of friends to a counselor who is more skilled in helping them (however it is unlikely they will go.). You can also talk with your RA about these relationships.

Financial Stressors — Most college students have very little disposable income (money left over after all your bills are paid). Therefore, start a weekly budget. Take a few minutes each week to manage your money. Give yourself an allowance for those special times with friends. Think creatively about how to save money. For example make lattes and chai’s at home rather than buying them at your local coffee shoppe! Create an emergency fund. And I don’t mean Mom and Dad. Take 10% of your weekly income off the top and tithe it. Then another 10% and put in your savings/emergency fund. This is the kind of discipline that could make you a millionaire by the time your 45 years old.

Sleep deprivation and nutrition — because college students are often over worked and underpaid they often suffer from sleep deprivation and the effects of poor nutrition. Living on coffee and a few hours of sleep as well as lots of cheap starchy foods like Raman Noodles. Getting proper sleep is a necessity to your overall health and ability to perform academically. Therefore guard your sleep with your life! Budget 8 hours a night. Make meal plans as well. Plans that include easy but nutritious feed. Beans and brown rice is a cheap but nutritionally dense meal. Don’t forget to eat as many leafy green salads, fresh fruits and dark colored raw Veggies like carrot sticks and red peppers.

 

Alcoholism and the Effects on the Family

depressed-manI am familiar with alcoholism and the effects on the family. I grew up in a family where there was much alcohol abuse. My family had alcohol abuse issues on both sides. Both my parents and grandfathers abused alcohol. Now, the problem has also effected my siblings. I, by the grace of God, left my alcohol abuse years behind. That was in my teens and early 20′s.

It’s not easy to forget the family memories however: The many ruined holidays, weekends and trips to camp. I remember hoping Christmas after Christmas this would be the one when Mum and Dad would not end up drinking and fighting.

The fear of my Dad becoming so drunk that it would kill him was also very intense. Due to his drinking, Dad would go into a type of asthma attack where he could not catch his breath. It was terribly frightening for a child. Then there was the fear of my friends seeing my parents in a drunken, arguing state. This was a source of shame and embarrassment to me as a teen. Because of their unavailability, I also began to turn to alcohol and other illicit activities to get my needs met.

On top of my parent’s drinking problems, my grandfather’s drinking also impacted our family. I loved that man. But when he drank, it was scary. Once he holed himself up in his house with a shot gun. Another time he fell down and nearly broke his nose. When he walked into our house all bloodied, I was terrified. My mother has told me stories which I shall not repeat.

So just from these few stories you can clearly see that alcoholism and the effects on the family can include: trauma to children, creating a fearful and unstable home environment, encouraging parentified children, and encouraging children to find solace in other people and things.

Another clear effect of alcoholism on the family is the tendency for the pattern to be repeated. The pattern may not only be repeated in alcohol abuse. The pattern can be repeated in other substance abuse issues as well as codependency which involves many dysfunctional family dynamics. Research shows a well defined tendency for alcoholism to run in families.

Continue to second page of effects of alcoholism…

 

Christian Help for Depression is Available

Help for Depression

Help for Depression

The good news is there is tons of Christian help for depression available for those that struggle with not only with depression but other emotional and mental issues as well. Unfortunately, the stigma of having emotional, mental and even relationship struggles is still very prevalent in much of the church.

It is not unusual for me to hear something like this from people I meet: “I can’t let anyone know about my problem, Christians aren’t suppose to struggle like this.” Sadly, many Christians continue to languish like the cripple at the pool of Bethesda, only thinking about getting help for their struggles. Instead of getting help, they allow themselves to be deceived by the evil one who taunts, “If your faith was strong enough, you would be able to work out your problems on your own.”

Where do we get the idea that Christians who struggle with mental and emotional issues are weak or lacking in faith? Where do we get the idea that we are to be self sufficient? Where do we get the idea that when we become Christians we instantaneously arrive at nirvana – total mental, emotional and physical well being? Where do we get the idea that there is something wrong with asking for help when we are struggling emotionally, spiritually or relationally?

Could we be getting the idea from one another? In my experience, it is a rare sight for someone to stand up in a prayer meeting, Sunday school or small group to ask for prayer because they are struggling with obsessive thoughts, depression, thoughts of suicide, jealously, anger, or fear. Could it be that we feel ashamed about the deep struggles of our hearts…so much so that we are reluctant to share them even with our closest friends?

Yet the truth is there are many examples of Christian men and women who suffered from emotional and mental problems. Charles Spurgeon, one of the most prolific and well loved preachers of history, is known for suffering from deep depression…In a sermon he preached after being out of the pulpit for 3 Sundays he shared this…

I was lying upon my couch during this last week, and my spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for — but a very slight thing will move me to tears just now — and a kind friend was telling me of some poor old soul living near, who was suffering very great pain, and yet she was full of joy and rejoicing. I was so distressed by the hearing of that story, and felt so ashamed of myself, that I did not know what to do; wondering why I should be in such a state as this; while this poor woman, who had a terrible cancer, and was in the most frightful agony, could nevertheless “rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

Sounds like Spurgeon had his share of well meaning friends, who also sent him the not so subtle message of , “what’s wrong with you? You, of all people, should be living the victorious Christian life.” Another prominent Christian man, William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, suffered multiple mental breakdowns as well as suicidal attempts. After one such attempt, convicted by the Holy Spirit that his intentions were evil, he threw down his vial of laudanum and soon after was inspired to write one of his most moving and well known hymns: “There is a Fountain Filled with blood.”

Ruth Bell Graham, a Christian contemporary wrote, “I know what its like to sit in a pew with a broken heart. For years I sat in church with my fears, doubts and disappointments, thinking I was alone in my condition. Those around me seemed to have it all together.”

As each of these men and women of God learned first hand, God anointed His Son Jesus to bind up the broken hearted, remove our shame, and lovingly accept us with open arms no matter what our condition. God has a special love for the oppressed, the hurting, and the sick.

There is so much Christian help for depression as well as for those suffering from other emotional and mental struggles. Even the scientific research is clearly showing that there are many remedies for the treatment of depression: healthy and supportive relationships, exercise, cognitive therapy, as well as medications are all very effective means of treating depression. But, at the same time, most of these solutions require the individual struggling to reach out and ask for help.

There is Christian help for depression and other issues you may be struggling with. So please, if you find yourself, where Ruth Bell Graham did, sitting in a church pew week after week, feeling alone in your condition please take a step of faith. First pray, admitting your need before God and then ask Him to direct your steps to those who can help. Then, be willing to reach out to a pastor, a counselor or a friend today. Your help is as close as your asking.

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