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In an earnest desire to help, Christians unwittingly have done those things that torment rather than ease the person suffering from depression. If we are to truly help, we must be sensitive to the unique characteristics of this painful condition, and learn not only what to do, but what not to do when ministering to someone in depression.

Helping people in depression requires an understanding of what they are and are not able to do. Many Christians believe that depression is sinful in that it denies the hope and joy of the Lord in our lives. But depressed people are not at fault for their condition; they truly cannot help themselves.

In this lesson we will learn what not to do as well as what to do to help those in depression. Because they haven't the strength to believe for themselves, we must have hope for them. Before inner healing can begin, we must help to bring the depressed person into life again.

o Like one whom takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart Proverbs 25:20

Depression is a condition in which the personal spirit has died to the capacity to function, in terms of its ability to supply energy for life. Like turning the knob of an extinguished pilot light, but nothing happens.

Depression is not a sign of weakness, a lack of faith, something that we are at fault for, or the result of negative thinking.

Depression vs. Despondency

We all experience despondency from time to time. This is not the same as true depression. The despondent person knows that there are things that will help, i.e., music, exercise, friends, etc. This person still has hope for better times. He/she still has some confidence in self: "I will be able to do it tomorrow." He/she is only affected emotionally, and psychologically.

The depressed person on the other hand knows that nothing will help He/she knows that tomorrow will be as black as today, who has lost hope. He/she knows that he/she cannot be fixed. This person is affected chemically and physically, as well as psychologically.

Some degree of chemical imbalance is common in true depression. PDM's should not countermand prescribed medication. If a client asks you if he/she should stop taking his/her medication, simply tell him/her to continue to go to his/her physician and as the physician sees his/her improvement his/her doctor will decrease the medication.

How to recognize depression.

The client will tell you that he/she is depressed. You are to believe Mm/her. His/her behavior will be a good indication, withdrawal, general listlessness, the inability to take teasing, handle pressure of any kind, any challenge, criticism, or workloads.

His/her appearance will be an indication as well i.e., eyes dull and lack life, and hair has no luster, shoulders sagging.

Many of the things we can say or do to help a despondent person should not be done for one who is depressed. Don't tell them to cheer up, or get over it. Parties and celebrations will do more to depress Mm/her than to make them feel better. Suggesting that he/she go to a comedy, ballgame, or concert will tend to re-enforce how bad off he/she really is. Because he/she won't be moved to laughter or excitement, and as he/she watches, everyone else having fun, he/she will slip deeper into depression, knowing that something is dreadfully wrong with him/her.

Trying to build his/her faith and understanding by preaching or teaching, giving advice (self-help books, diets, exercises, or time management tips) taking them to prayer meetings, worship services, or asking him/her to begin private devotionals will make things worse according to Elijah House leaders. They also do not recommend deliverance from "Spirits of depression" healing memories, or digging at roots of depression.

The following is a list of don'ts for one on one ministering:

o Don't visit for long periods of time

o Don't smile too much

o Don't stand while the other sits

o Don't invade personal space

o Don't minister in close quarters

o Don't be humble about ability to help

o Don't let them measure success or failure by sign's or feelings.

o Don't pray "If it be Thy will" healing is God's will.

o Don't pray for long periods of time, and don't hand them back to God because they will feel abandoned.

o Don't say "you can or I can show you how,"

o Don't lay hands on head

o Don't ask person to make a decision about the next appointment, simply say I want to see you next...

Healing so what can we do?

o Commiserate; weep with them Romans 12:15

o Identify by sharing words that give a picture of where They are i.e., I understand that things look black, I understand that you have no energy, I realize that you can't stand people, you feel guilty, everyone says cheer up, you feel as though it's impossible, you feel like tomorrow will be as black as today, etc.

o Express confidence. Tell them that you know exactly what to do and that "You will be healed." Luke 5:17 "You don't have to have faith." Romans 3:3

o Pray simply and vividly. Rekindle the "pilot light" of their spirit (see the prayer)

o Make specific dates to meet them. Always keep appointments.

o Note changes, affirm, and compliment. Encourage them to begin to do things they like.

o Maintain relationship, and don't judge what you hear.

Only then, is it time to begin to get to the root causes of their depression. Root causes of depression are:

o Performance Orientation Failure to "earn" love via performance will lead to discouragement and ultimately to depression.

o Hidden guilt and fear

o Inability to forgive self, and others

o Childhood wounds, repressed or forgotten. Deprivation of affection, early loss by divorce or separation, abandonment, adoption, or death.

o Judgments, and angers

o Prenatal, and birth trauma. Being a "replacement child."

o Loss of job, retirement, drastic changes

o Death of mate or divorce

o Physical/psychic trauma such as postpartum experience, loss of limb, or hysterectomy.

o Sustained travel, or chemical imbalance
Recommended reading Healing the Wounded Spirit: chapter 7

What does depression look like?

What does depression look like? It has many faces but in my case it looked like a young mother at home with a little one in tow: I had begun married life in a state of exhaustion from overwork in college and graduate school; six months after the wedding (without having really recovered) I became pregnant; and then, shortly after she was born, my daughter developed diarrhea-excuse me,

I mean[ DIARRHEA!]
I was so tired, I just moved her from diaper to diaper- I didn't even bother pinning them. I had so little strength, I had to rest after each load of wash.! had to test three times while vacuuming our 10 x 10 living room carpet!

I recall one summer day when the sky was a brilliant blue and miles deep..The sun was glorious, and the birds were singing as though they were trying to develop laryngitis! All around me, life was bursting at the seams: children were shrieking with laughter in the back yard; the garden looked like the Burpee Catalog cover; the house was a showcase. I was standing at the sink doing dishes. But none of the joy of life touched me. Even breathing was a chore. I was shrouded in blackness; there was no hope. No one could really see me or sense that I was dying inside. My family didn't know anything was wrong so long as their needs were being met. But no one was meeting mine. I just wanted to be held and loved. Even my minister-husband didn't or couldn't see
that my spirit was starving. I felt that life was going to go on like this forever. I didn't know if I could last until the children were old enough to fend for them-selves. I wasn't even sure I wanted to.

I saw my spirit as a large vaulted cavern. On a table in the center of this chamber sat the dynamo that energized my spirit, but it wasn't moving at all Everything was darkness, and utter silence. Shouting would have been useless-no one knew where this cavern was,

Even God didn't or wouldn't answer.

I saw myself in a deep trench with walls so high; the sun couldn't shine in. I was chilled and shivering. But no one knew the trench was there, and no one came looking for me. I had totally exhausted myself trying to get out. I just curled up in a comet and thought about dying, slowly, painfully, and all alone.

What does depression feel like? A time came when I knew that if I willed it, I could die. My body lay beside a castle moat. The drawbridge was being lowered, link by link-heavy chains, massive planks of oak, thick iron straps holding the planks together. I lay there motionless and watched it come, doses and closer. If I didn't move, it would crush me. Morally, I couldn't justify suicide, but if death came I wouldn't fight it. Suddenly, an impulse-whether from within or without I don't know, but somehow I moaned, rolled to one side and cried out, "0 God, I have seen so much of hell; show me as much of yourself' Instantly, the drawbridge disappeared and I saw Jesus coming to me on a beam of light.

Another time, I saw a path coming down from a little Greek village, leading to a city. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, flattened up against the Wall. My father came striding down the path. dressed in full battle gear. He didn't look at me; his eyes were fixed straight ahead, his jaw set. Somehow, I knew he was going to battle because of something I had done. I knew he would return, but the cost would be enormous. I also knew he didn't think twice about fighting for me, because I was precious to him. After this vision, I could no longer hold on to the deep feeling that God had abandoned me.

In a third vision, the Lord assured me that he always battles for me. I saw him as a warrior-his face like flint, but love in his eyes. He wore a plumed Greek helmet. Nothing was said, but l knew in that moment that when he bares his strong right arm on my behalf, he will not draw it back. I know that I know that I know he is there to catch me when I fall.

Yes, Jesus saved me front the darkness, but it still took some time to get really free. The Lord brought two good doctors into my life who, over a period of three years. put my body back together by restoring vital minerals and vitamins, which also helped to reverse my emotional spiral.

Defeating depression is an ongoing process. Some-times it will come up from behind and lean on me like an old friend, inviting me to indulge. I have to make choices, to know my limits. I still need to take vitamins; I have to exercise; I have to be careful not to run up a sleep deficit. My husband and I have to nurture each other-to tend the garden of each other's spirit. But the Lord is always there,

confirming moment by moment his eternal covenant of love for me.


Psalm 44:24-26 NAS - Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For Our soul has sunk down into the dust, our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help.

Psalm 88:1-8 -0 Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape.

Proverbs 25:20 - Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Lamentations 3:6-9 - He has made me dwell in
darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down With
chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked,


Luke 5:17-20 - One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus . . Jesus seeing their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.


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Site Last Updated October 22,2023