Moving Past Postpartum Blues

Your baby is finally here. After months of growing and developing into a tiny human, your little one has made an entrance. You know you should be elated, but something feels off. Postpartum blues is real and can last a few weeks as your hormones shift from pregnancy to the recovery period.

How do you move past postpartum blues and get back to enjoying your new baby?

Getting back on track after postpartum blues.

You may have felt happy, joyful, and serene right after the birth of your baby, but after the first week of no sleep, constant diaper changes, learning how to care for a newborn, and shifts in hormones, you feel the opposite.

This is a normal occurrence. Hormones control our emotions and moods, and as estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, you may experience postpartum blues with mood swings, sadness, and anxiety for a few weeks.

The good news is that the postpartum blues only last about two weeks, then your hormones stabilize. When the emotions do not seem to be stabilizing and you continue to experience mood swings, sadness, and/or anxiety, it is important to check in with your healthcare provider. While experiencing these emotional lows is normal after birth, there are things you can do to help ease your way through this time.

Increase rest and nutrition.

This may sound easier said than done, but as your hormones adjust, it is the most important time for you and your baby to focus on rest and nutrition. Keeping your body fed and hydrated will boost your ability to weather the baby blues. Resting may not come easy as life can be full of demands, but finding a way to incorporate it whenever possible is a must.

One of my favorite pieces of advice in this area was from a midwife who said, “stock up on one-handed foods.” The unpredictable schedule and demands of a newborn will seem at odds with the times you are hungry. One-handed, nutrient rich and/or simple foods are a great go-to.

If you are unable to sleep whenever the baby sleeps, that’s okay. Increasing rest can also look like decreasing the energy you expend or creating a restful environment. Dim the lights, light a candle, time-block for quiet activities, and set the mood for relaxation for the whole family.

Find help with the baby and the house.

The overwhelming feelings may be more acute if you are trying to manage a newborn on your own. The first few weeks of an infant’s life are also a challenge for them. They must adapt to sights, sounds, and smells they did not have in the womb. In addition, they have no way of communicating except through crying.

This trying period will pass as your baby grows and adapts, but in the meantime, you need help. Do you have a spouse that can take over while you get some sleep? How about a parent or sibling who can handle the daily chores like dishes and laundry? A friend who can bring you a meal, sit with you, or hold the baby while you shower? Asking for help is a sign of strength. Many people will want to help you, but they will need your permission.

If you are preparing for your baby’s birth and are reading this to know what to expect, take the time to recruit help now. From anything to setting up a meal train, to driving siblings to their appointments, to walking the dog and cleaning your house.

There are things you can do for yourself as well. To save time during those first few weeks, consider cooking and freezing meals for when your family is too tired to cook. Consider reducing physical clutter and daily routines to the necessities. Even stocking up on paper plates and disposable cutlery.

If you have a large family, teach your older children to do certain chores, like taking out the trash, running the vacuum, and dusting. Even little ones can fold the towels and washcloths; their work may not be perfect, but it will be done and one less thing for you to think about.

Focus on less.

Now may be a time when focusing on less or slowing down may not be possible. Maybe you are in the middle of a school program, have to go back to work immediately, or are raising other kids who haven’t reached a significant independence level.

Even if that is the case, something will have to give. The attention a baby demands, coupled with the struggles of the baby blues, makes it necessary to slim down the daily doings to the minimum. If you are able to before the baby comes, make a list of things in your days that can be altered to an easier form for the transition of this new baby.

Focusing on less while you are facing the baby blues can be difficult if you are not prepared to take it easy. You may be struggling with doubt, guilt, or other negative influences. If you are unable to prepare prior to having the baby, three ways to focus on less immediately are:

  • Recognize the negative and unrealistic message of having to “do it all” during this time and replace it with “I am doing what’s most important” by tending to the needs of the new baby and taking care for yourself so you have enough to keep going.
  • Remind yourself that it is a different season that will pass quickly and you will find a new way to get things done eventually.
  • As “eventually” may not come as quickly as one would like, remind yourself the days are long, but the years fly by and take as many deep breaths as you need.

Facing the baby blues is difficult for any momma, even a seasoned one. Seeking help is another way to start immediately focusing on less and getting the most important work done.

Seek support.

You are not alone. Postpartum blues affects up to 70% of new mothers. You may still develop the postpartum blues even if this is not your first child. Seek support if you struggle with symptoms or have questions for other women.

You can find support through online communities or live local groups. Your obstetrician, pediatrician, or lactation consultant may be able to recommend a group or community you can join. Some groups meet at hospitals and clinics.

You can also find Mothers groups that consist of women who have children from birth through age five. These groups offer invaluable insight and activities for children while the mothers provide advice and ask questions. They may also host events or Mother’s Day Out opportunities.

You don’t need to leave anyone off the list when it comes to seeking support. From your church to your neighbors, from your county organizations to your online communities, finding people to help doesn’t have to be limited to family and close friends.

As long as you can trust them with even as small a task as providing clothes for the new baby or taking your trash cans out for trash day, it can help ease the burdens and lighten the weight of the baby blues.

Accept your body in the moment.

Postpartum blues can worsen our perceptions and expectations about our bodies after a baby. Sometimes we expect our bodies to bounce back quickly after a child is born. We become disappointed and depressed if we still weigh the same as we did when carrying a six to nine-pound baby.

Most likely, you are still retaining extra fluid, and if you are breastfeeding, your new milk supply may alter the fluid content and weight. You may not be able to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes for weeks or months after birth. This is normal. As your body adapts to the changes, overall change towards your former body will happen.

In the meantime, give yourself grace. You may not like what you see in the mirror when your clothes are off, but remember that you just gave birth to a baby. The process of pregnancy and birth is a miracle. Your body nurtured and protected a child for nine months. Accept and practice gratitude for the body God blessed you with that could participate in this miracle.

Stop the comparing.

Becoming a mother is an honor and a blessing. But we can romanticize pregnancy, birth, and new motherhood. We admire other mothers on social media who seem to have it all together. These women may show organized nurseries, svelte bodies, and sleeping babes on their newsfeeds.

What they are not sharing with you are the same issues you are dealing with having a newborn. These women also have laundry, dirty diapers, painful breasts, and spit up on their clothes.

Your schedule may not be what you expected, but it may be the one that will have to work for you and your family temporarily. Your new baby might be your fifth, but is the exact opposite of their siblings. Your home may look like a nursery exploded inside for the first few weeks. Accept that things will not be perfect, call on people to help, and let the rest go for now. Learn to pivot instead of compare and you will adapt more easily.

If you give birth to your new baby right before a holiday, accept that this year will be different, and don’t stress yourself out trying to make it magical. Instead, request more help or scale down on the lavishness. For example, if your baby is born a week or two before Thanksgiving, you might choose to stay home and have a premade meal delivered instead of traveling for two hours to visit extended family. Do things that will make life easier postpartum, not harder.

Postpartum blues can leave you feeling very impressionable. While avoiding comparing with those who seem to have it easier or more together, it is also worth the caution to avoid surrounding yourself only with others struggling with the same things, as it can lead to a worsening of your symptoms.

Is it postpartum blues or depression?

Sometimes the postpartum blues is really depression. Postpartum depression is more intense and can last months. If you are experiencing persistent sadness as if a cloud hangs over you, you cannot seem to bond with your baby, or you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your infant, reach out for help immediately. Postpartum depression is treatable with the assistance of a licensed mental health care practitioner.

Contact our office today to speak with a therapist. Your therapist can offer more information about the postpartum recovery period and methods to overcome the postpartum blues.

“Mother and Child”, Courtesy of Fancycrave1,, CC0 License; “Helping Hands”, Courtesy of madsmith33,, CC0 License; “Right Foot In”, Courtesy of shelley_shang,, CC0 License; “Worried”, Courtesy of Ryan McGuire,, CC0 License

Finding Your Way Back to the Light: Addressing Depression and Anger

If you experience a major depressive episode, it can seem as though all the light in the world could never lift the gloom surrounding you. When you couple that with the anger that often accompanies depression, it can make it even more difficult to recover.

Making sense of depression.

Depression is a mood disorder and a diagnosable mental health disorder; it is not simply what you feel when you’re going through a tough time. If a person feels sad after the loss of a loved one or another personal tragedy, that is to be expected and is a natural way for a person to deal with those events.

Depression may look like this form of sadness, but it is also combined with issues such as having trouble sleeping or struggling with concentration. To be diagnosed with depression or major depressive disorder, a mental health professional will apply criteria laid out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).

The DSM-5 says that for such a diagnosis, specific symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities like work or time with loved ones should be present for at least two weeks.

Other symptoms that can cause impairment in daily functioning must be present for a diagnosis of depression. Some of these include:

  • Significant and unintentional changes in your appetite and weight.
  • Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt.
  • Experiencing brain fog, or the diminished ability to think or concentrate, and being uncharacteristically indecisive.

It is important to remember that symptoms of depression don’t look the same or follow the same pattern for everyone. There are multiple other symptoms a professional will look for that make up the criteria.

Why are depression and anger often connected?

Depression often presents as feelings of deep sadness or apathy. However, a depressive episode doesn’t look the same for everyone who experiences it. For men, for example, the symptoms of a depressive episode, such as feelings of unworthiness and helplessness can translate into an increase in anger and irritability. Essentially, the sadness ignites the anger in some.  That anger may be directed at events from your past, at yourself, or it may not have an object at all.

Maladaptive anger is at times present when a person has a depressive episode, and that anger may be turned either inward as one listens to their inner critic, or outwardly as angry outbursts, being irritable, or snapping at people.

Going through a depressive episode is hard enough but adding anger into the equation can harm your relationships at a time when those relationships are needed most to provide emotional ballast. But why are depression and the maladaptive anger that frequently manifests as irritability, hostility, and anger outbursts often connected in this way?

For one thing, there is some evidence to suggest that serotonergic dysfunction (an imbalance of neurochemicals in your brain) may be partly to blame. This imbalance leads to irritability, depression, and anger, and that’s why the medications that are used to treat depression such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) may also help to relieve your symptoms of anger over time.

Gender can also play a role in the connection between anger and depression. As noted, it is common for men to experience maladaptive anger during a depressive episode. The National Institute of Mental Health has noted that men may be less likely to talk about their experience of depression, choosing instead to mask symptoms as well as their emotions.

The result of this is an increase in anger, aggressiveness, and hostility. These maladaptive strategies for regulating one’s emotions aren’t limited only by gender, but other factors may play a role, such as age, culture, and whether there is a history of trauma and abuse.

Experiencing abuse or neglect in childhood can contribute to feelings of unresolved anger, and if there are any internalized feelings of helplessness and worthlessness that stem from adverse childhood experiences, which can lead a person to redirect their anger toward themselves. These feelings can then fuel shame, harsh self-criticism, and self-punishment which often co-occur with a depressive episode.

Addressing depression and anger

To begin with, if you suspect you may be struggling with symptoms of depression, you should first get screened by a medical or mental health professional who can provide an assessment of your life history and the severity of your symptoms.

If the screening results in a diagnosis of depression, the good news is that there are several ways to treat depression, including medication and psychotherapy. Therapy can address both depression and the anger that can accompany it.

To deal with maladaptive anger, several strategies can be employed in therapy, and these include managing the triggers of your anger to help you cope in the meantime as you grow in handling anger better, learning to accept your anger and express it in healthy ways, and alleviating anger before it gets worse.

Part of the treatment plan that your therapist may recommend include therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which challenges and reframes angry reactions and the unwanted thought patterns that stem from depression.

Interpersonal Therapy teaches you strategies to help you address and communicate anger and other difficult feelings that affect your relationships; Psychodynamic Therapy, which can help you explore the sources of anger and depression; and Emotionally Focused Therapy, which can help transform maladaptive emotions by addressing their root cause.

In addition to therapy, your therapist may recommend a referral for medication, which can alleviate the symptoms of depression, including anger.

Finding the light when you’re feeling depressed and angry.

Depression is a serious mental health challenge, but thankfully there is hope to overcome it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020, an estimated 14.8 million U.S. adults aged eighteen or older had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment in the past year. This number represented 6% of all U.S. adults.

People from all walks of life and different backgrounds are affected, whether directly or otherwise, by mental health issues. Christians aren’t immune from these realities. The Lord in His goodness has provided the means to address these challenges in both His Word and with the support of His Church. Though we may walk through a dark valley and struggle to see the light of God’s goodness, we can say with the Psalmist,

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.Psalms 77:11-12, NIV

There’s no need to feel ashamed about reaching out to others for help in dealing with anger and depression. Reach out and ask for help, as doing so will provide you with space to improve your relationships and health.

If you struggle with anger and depression, seek out a mental health professional for help. They can walk with you and provide you with guidance along your path toward finding joy and light in your life again. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment to begin making that journey toward wholeness and healing.

“Lighthouse”, Courtesy of qimono,, CC0 License; “Sink or Swim”, Courtesy of Engin_Akyurt,, CC0 License; “Angry”, Courtesy of Whoismargot,, CC0 License; “Stormy Seas”, Courtesy of jplenio,, CC0 License

What to Do When You’re Feeling Depressed

It’s never easy when feeling depressed. Your body and mind don’t do what you want them to, and they seem like they’re at war with you. Fighting against yourself by not trusting your thoughts and instincts can be difficult, but there are circumstances when it’s necessary.

Typically, our moods are well-regulated because our hormones, sleep patterns, and general rhythms are functioning well. When they are not functioning well, however, mood swings and erratic behavior can result.

Depression is a common mental health concern in the United States, with around 8% of all adults having at least one major depressive episode. Depression also affects adolescents and younger children. Regardless of age, it can affect a person’s ability to enjoy life and function in daily life.

If you’re feeling depressed, you may experience big changes, but depression can also subtly affect how you think, feel, and act. This is why it is helpful to understand depression and seek help sooner than later.

Depression is a mood disorder.

Depression is more than just feeling sad or down for some time. A better way to think about depression is as a mood disorder that affects how you think, act, and feel. That means that the issue goes deep and is more than a passing feeling that you snap out of or a funk that will go away on its own.

There are different types of depression that can be categorized according to the intensity and persistence of the symptoms, as well as what triggers the mood disorder.

Some types of depression include Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) which is when mood changes are linked to changes in the seasons, peripartum or perinatal depression which occurs during or after pregnancy and affects both men and women, and major depressive disorder, which is what many people refer to when talking about depression.

As a mood disorder, depression requires treatment to be addressed properly, as the underlying causes won’t disappear on their own. Not only that, but treatment can also help address the unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that accompany depression and that one should be on guard against, such as being irritable with loved ones, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.

Signs of depression to look out for.

Being alert to the symptoms of depression can save a life, whether your own or that of a loved one. When a person is feeling depressed, they don’t think, act, or feel like they would under normal circumstances. When you feel sad, that can color everything you experience, and depression is more intense than sadness.

Some people have described feeling depressed like being in a fog – you’re unable to think clearly or understand what’s happening around you. When you see these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or counselor.

While not everyone will experience all of these symptoms or experience them with the same intensity, you can be on the lookout for the following:

Withdrawing from your life. If you find yourself losing interest or pleasure in the things that you used to get excited by, that might be a sign of depression. You may find yourself withdrawing from family and friends, and no longer enjoying normal activities such as sports, hobbies, or sex.

Being irritable and angry beyond what’s reasonable. You may have angry outbursts at the slightest provocation.

Suicidal ideation. You may find yourself having frequent or recurring thoughts about death, or you may think about suicide or even make suicide attempts.

Trouble sleeping. You may find yourself out of your usual rhythm, either having trouble falling and staying asleep or sleeping too much.

Changes in your eating habits, such as losing your appetite and eating very little, or having increased cravings and eating more than usual.

Difficulty with mental activity. One may experience sluggish thinking, and struggle to concentrate and remember things. This can make decision-making difficult.

Drastic weight changes. Connected with changes in eating habits, one may lose a lot of weight, or find themselves gaining a lot of weight.

Lack of self-care. When a person is feeling depressed, they may let go of self-care habits such as bathing, grooming, eating well, and getting exercise.

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt. One may find themselves having low self-esteem, fixating on past failures, or blaming themselves for past events.

Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless. Depression can make a person feel like there’s no way out, and that there’s no pleasure to be found in life.

Feeling fatigued and a lack of energy. Even after sleeping for an adequate number of hours, one may feel tired, making even small tasks seem large and as though they require extra effort

Feeling anxious, agitated, or restless.

Somatic pain. Depression can result in unexplained physical problems, such as body aches, nausea, muscle tension, back pain, or headaches.

Anyone can get depressed. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender, socio-economic bracket, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. We live in a broken world, and part of living through that reality of brokenness is that our bodies and minds don’t always function as they ought. Thankfully, the Lord has made treatment options available to address depression and its symptoms.

What to do if you’re feeling depressed.

If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, especially if they persist for two weeks or more, you should seek help immediately from a doctor or a mental health professional. Depression is a serious mental health issue, and it should not be taken lightly. Instead of thinking it’ll blow over or ignoring the symptoms, seek help.

The first step if you’re feeling depressed is to tell someone. A loved one can walk with you and keep track of your symptoms. It is also important to seek help from a professional such as a doctor or mental health expert. This will allow you to get an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Should you get diagnosed with depression it’s quite likely that you’ll have a combination of regular counseling and medication. Your doctor will put together a treatment plan that fits your circumstances, and part of that plan may also include having your family as part of your support structure.

Your friends and family can help you be consistent in taking your medication, getting to your counseling appointments, as well as keeping up with other areas of your health such as what you eat and getting some exercise.

There are a few things that will help you on your journey as you deal with depression, and these include:

Stick to your treatment plan. Keep taking your prescribed medication. If the side effects are serious and are affecting your everyday life, let your doctor know. They can change your medication or the dosage until it works for you. Keep going for counseling to help reinforce healthy thought and behavior patterns while exposing and disrupting unhealthy ones.

Take care of your physical health. Exercise, sleep, and eat well. Doing this will help you keep your health up and exercise can also help elevate your mood through the release of feel-good neurochemicals.

Embrace your support network. Don’t ditch church, friends, or family, though you may feel inclined to withdraw from them. Allow people to draw close and minister to you through prayer, visits, making meals, and providing support. Go for walks with people, which gets you up and about and helps you connect with others.

Take it easy. Don’t make huge decisions like starting a new relationship, moving house, or leaving your job when you’re feeling depressed. It may also help to simplify your tasks and break your day up into manageable portions, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Create firm boundaries so you don’t overextend yourself. While it’s important to connect with others and allow your support network to be present in your life, it’s also important to maintain healthy boundaries so that you don’t exhaust yourself. These boundaries can also extend to work and learning to say “No” to certain things you’re asked to do.

Depression can be overcome. If you or a loved one are dealing with depression, don’t do so alone. Seek help and schedule an appointment with a doctor or a mental health professional. The counselors in our office can help. Call today.

“Pier”, Courtesy of Jeremy Bishop,, CC0 License; “Surfer”, Courtesy of Eric Saunders,, CC0 License; “Pier”, Courtesy of Steady Hand Co.,, CC0 License; “Beach”, Courtesy of Ian M Jones,, CC0 License

What Depression Feels Like: Triggers and Treatment

If you have a loved one that struggles with depression, it’s important to offer the empathy and support that they need. Knowing what depression feels like can help you build that empathy and help you understand why they need ongoing support.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Most people label this disorder as “depression.” However, MDD is more than a depressed mood and can often be made up of multiple episodes of depression. For the sake of this article, we will refer to depressive episodes as depression.

Having a depressive episode is like a persistent and deep form of sadness that won’t lift even if circumstances change. Depression often affects how a person sees themselves and the world around them. Some of these effects can severely undermine their working and personal relationships.

What Are the Causes and Triggers of Depression?

Briefly, we need to consider what can trigger and cause depression. Grasping this is important to help you understand that depression isn’t a choice that anyone makes, nor is it something that they can simply stop feeling.

Depression symptoms can return or appear when they are triggered by psychological, physical, or emotional events. Some of the more common triggers of depression include experiencing a medical crisis, stressors such as the loss of a loved one or family conflict, and interrupted depression treatment that causes a recurrence of depression symptoms. Many of these triggers are unavoidable and difficult to anticipate.

Doctors don’t fully understand what causes depression, but there are several possible causes that have been suggested, and these include biological, hereditary, and environmental causes. Some of the common causes of depression are:

Your genetic inheritance and family history. If you have family members with a history of depression, there’s a likelihood of developing depression or another type of mood disorder.

Brain structure and chemistry. A frontal lobe that’s less active than normal may result in a greater risk of depression. It’s not entirely certain if this change occurs prior to the onset of depression or as a result of it. A chemical imbalance in the parts of the brain that affect one’s thoughts, mood, and behavior may increase the risk of depression.

Life experiences. These include childhood trauma, chronic illness, and substance abuse. These experiences can increase your risk of developing depression.

What Depression Feels Like

There are some symptoms and experiences of depression that are typical for most people, such as feelings of sadness and loss of interest in and enjoyment of tasks that were previously enjoyable. To diagnose someone with MDD, a mental health professional will look to see if certain symptoms are present for at least two weeks.

Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • Poor concentration
  • Feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth
  • Significant changes in appetite
  • Fatigue or low levels of energy
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Having thoughts about death or suicide

When a person is having a depressive episode, they will experience significant challenges in important areas of their daily functioning such as at school, work, and in their relationships.

What Depression Feels Like in Men

For different groups of people, there are some typical experiences of depression and ways it will manifest. Men, for instance, may feel overwhelmed by depression. This will often result in a greater likelihood of drinking alcohol in excess, engaging in risk-taking behavior, and/or displays of anger.

Males will also find themselves isolating themselves by avoiding family and social situations and burying themselves in their work. This may cause strain in relationships. With fraying tempers, males may begin to display controlling and abusive behaviors that weren’t present in the relationship before the depression.

Additionally, men will often find themselves feeling angrier, more aggressive, irritable, anxious, and more restless than usual. They will find themselves unable to concentrate or make decisions and complete tasks. This may look like failing to meet work deadlines or remembering to pay bills.

A man with depression may feel tired easily and find himself having headaches, digestive problems, and other unexplained pains. At night, he may find himself not sleeping well throughout the night or sleeping excessively. Poor sleep may make him more irritable and less able to regulate his emotional responses to the people around him.

Men with depression may find themselves losing interest and having little enjoyment of things they used to consider pleasurable activities, and that may include having a reduced sexual desire or experiencing a decline in sexual performance. They may find themselves feeling empty, hopeless, or sad, and having thoughts of suicide.

These experiences may be frustrating to the people in the life of a man who is struggling with a depressive episode, as he may not have the energy to play with his kids or enjoy time with them. The negative effects of depressive episodes on his cognitive abilities, such as delayed responses during conversations, may make talking to him a more involved process than usual.

What Depression Feels Like in Women

Females struggling with depression may find their moods affected. They may have increased irritability and feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, and hopelessness. Their sleep will also be affected and deviate widely from what is considered normal, and they may find themselves losing interest in activities and withdrawing from social engagements.

Physically, females with depression may have decreased energy, increased fatigue, significant changes in appetite, changes in weight, pain, headaches, or increased cramping.

Mentally, women in the midst of a depressive episode can have decreased cognitive abilities. Their thinking will be affected so they process and talk slower than usual. Women with depression may also have suicidal ideation or thoughts and possibly take action against them.

Depression in Children, Teens, and Young Adults

Children with depression may cry more than usual and experience low levels of energy. This will often result in challenges in doing their school work and a decrease in enjoyment of social activities. They may become clingy and refuse to go to school or get into trouble at school.

Because younger children don’t typically have the vocabulary and emotional intelligence to name their feelings and express them in words, they may express their frustration in their behaviors such as vocal outbursts, anger outbursts, and defiant behavior.

Children enduring a depressive episode may also have times where their energy seems to fluctuate significantly and inability to attend to things typical for their age. Sometimes they may have thoughts of self-harm or death.

Teens and young adults who have depression may struggle to maintain social activities and/or lose interest in activities. This can lead to withdrawing from their friends and family.

Some teens and young adults continue to keep up an appearance of happiness during a depressive episode but are quick to withdraw and avoid deep/meaningful conversations. Cognitive difficulties may cause them to struggle to concentrate on their schoolwork, and they may find themselves feeling guilty, helpless, and/or worthless.

All these physical, emotional, and mental changes that occur during a depressive episode affect how he or she relates to others. People experiencing depression are not their typical selves. They can’t simply snap out of it and make things go back to normal during a depressive episode. Depression will often feel like a dark, weighted blanket that descends on a person, numbing his or her experience of the world and dulling their response to and enjoyment of it.

Treating Depression

The good news about depression is that it is treatable. It may take several months for an individual to respond to treatment, and at times the treatments may need to be combined to be effective. But various treatments have proven to be effective in relieving the symptoms of depression for most people.

Those experiencing a depressive episode can practice self-care to alleviate some feelings of depression. Work toward improving one’s overall health by going to bed and waking up at the same time, using a comfortable sleeping environment, and stopping the use of electronic devices 1-2 hours prior to sleep is helpful in winding down and allowing the brain to settle. Eating a healthy diet as well as regular exercise will also elevate one’s mood and boost one’s well-being.

Community is an important aspect of support for those going through depression. Friends and family can walk alongside those going through to help alleviate symptoms of depression as well as simply walk alongside the individual while they journey toward healing and wholeness.

Face-to-face interactions with people, with the ability to discuss practical solutions, enjoy a listening ear, and/or participate in activities that allow the individual to actively engage in loving on or having fun with others are the most helpful.

These measures are just a few helpful ways to manage the symptoms of mild depression. However, they ought to be used in conjunction with checking in with a health professional like a primary care physician or a mental health counselor.

For mild and severe forms of depression, the use of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, to address the possible triggers and causes of depression has been found to be helpful for many. It provides a neutral and supportive space for the individual to work on their healing journey. It is designed to help individuals cope with depression so that it doesn’t dictate day-to-day functioning. Some options for talk therapy include one-to-one or group counseling.

Therapists use a range of techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and other evidence-based treatments. In conjunction with psychotherapy, someone experiencing MDD may need to consider medication to support their success in managing depressive episodes.

A doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants that can help treat moderate to severe depression. These antidepressants are in several classes, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants, atypical antidepressants, and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, it is likely affecting your life in significant ways. If you are a Christian struggling with symptoms of depression, this includes impacting your faith. The impact of depression on the Christian can overwhelm the ability to live by faith and feel like a stumbling block. You don’t have to walk alone, because you can lean on the expertise of a Christian counselor.

There is hope for depression. Reach out today to make an appointment with a mental health professional to start your healing journey.

“Tearful”, Courtesy of Kat J,; CC0 License; “Pics”, Courtesy of micheile dot com,, CC0 License; “Upset”, Courtesy of Ayo Ogunseinde,, CC0 License; “Reluctant Partners”, Courtesy of Andrik Langfield,, CC0 License

Bible Verses about Sadness to Give You Hope

Sometimes it’s hard for believers to allow themselves to feel sad. After all, we say to ourselves, isn’t the joy of the Lord our strength, and shouldn’t we rejoice in all things? This places an enormous amount of pressure on us to grin and bear whatever we may be going through because “it’s what we ought to do.”

Allowing ourselves to feel sad may feel like we’re betraying our faith or are being “bad Christians.” Moreover, we may feel like we’re letting the people around us down. Many of us simply struggle to sit with despair, and we do not have the language to articulate our sadness and lament.

The picture we get from the Scriptures is more complex, and we learn from the Bible that sadness is a valid human response to situations in life. What does the Bible have to say about sadness and despair?

Jesus, the man of sorrows

About 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah spoke about the Servant who would bear our infirmities and sorrows, a ‘man of sorrows…familiar with suffering(Isaiah 53:3). This Servant was Jesus. Apart from his suffering on the cross, we also know that Jesus felt loss at the death of his friend Lazarus, even when he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead.

The famously short verse “Jesus wept(John 11:35) shows us that sadness in the face of circumstances such as death is entirely normal. Jesus felt pain, and he expressed it – it is a human thing to do.

Sometimes, your tears are your food

The book of Psalms, which was the songbook of the ancient Israelites and is a go-to book for many today, conveys the gamut of human emotions. From rage, fear, peace, joy, sorrow and so much more, Psalms is the place to go to see people being human in worship before God.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? …I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. – Psalm 6:2-3, 6-7

Here, the psalmist cries out to God in the middle of despair because of hardship that he is experiencing, possibly because of his own disobedience. His enemies seize upon this to mock him and vent their animosity.

Sometimes you might end up in a tough spot because of poor choices that you’ve made. And then some people in your life may choose to pile on criticism, making you feel even worse. The anguish and the tears that result from this are only natural. The cry “How long, O Lord, how long?” comes from the depths of our being – we want the pain and the hostility to end.

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3

At other times, through no fault of our own, we end up in dire circumstances. We have been faithful and honest, but the result was getting fired by a corrupt superior. People mock us, “Ha! So much for this God of yours. So much for being honest!” This is heartbreaking. The psalmist paints a portrait familiar to those who have grappled with such deep sadness – tears become your food day and night.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?Psalm 13:1, 2

This deep darkness where it feels as if God himself is hiding his face, and the psalmist continually wrestles with his own thoughts, seems familiar to those wrestling with sadness and depression. It feels never-ending, and one feels forgotten. The psalmist is honest before God about these feelings, asking God to intervene.


There is an entire book of the Bible about sadness and lament in the wake of devastating events. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by an invading army, the city lies deserted, feels haunted and is full of groaning from those left behind as they search for bread.

This is why I weep,” the writer says, “and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed(Lamentations 1:16).

Sometimes we are confronted by scenes of misery and destruction, as in the wake of a natural disaster or a man-made catastrophe. In the face of dispiriting scenes, the writer goes on – “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city(Lamentations 2:11).

We can mourn and be sad . . . but we have hope

Sadness is, unfortunately, a part of human life. The encouragement believers have is that we can mourn and be sad about life circumstances but with the hope that the Lord delivers us from our sorrows. It is not a hopeless, endless sadness.

In trying to encourage Christians in Thessalonica who were concerned about their loved ones who had died, Paul says believers are not, “to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him(1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Our grief is not tinged with hopelessness, but with the knowledge that there is a life beyond this one.

Additionally, many of the psalms have a note of hope in them – hope that God would intervene to deliver them from their enemies and their circumstances. Psalm 42, where the writer speaks about their tears being their food night and day, has this refrain: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”.

Psalm 13, as heavy as it is, ends this way: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me(Psalm 13:5, 6).

In Lamentations 3:19-23, Jeremiah penned these well-known verses: “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In other words, these writers trusted that God cared enough for them to not leave things as they were. That kind of hope is precious because it helps us to keep our sadness in perspective, reminding us that God will set all things right.

There will come a time . . . 

Sadness and all other things that cause us to mourn have an end date. There will come a time when all sadness ends. This gives us hope for today and tomorrow. At the end of all things, this is the scene the Bible paints:

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with people, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” – Revelation 21:3, 4


We cannot and should not pretend that we aren’t sad when we are. To do so diminishes our experience and that of others. It also denies the reality that we’re living in a broken world where things happen that cause sadness.

Beyond the grave, however, there is resurrection. Beyond this present darkness, there is light. Beyond this current hardship, there is liberation. No situation is beyond hope in God’s power to redeem and restore. We mourn, yes, but with hope.

If you are feeling sad or depressed, consider speaking with a Christian counsellor to help you process these feelings. Not only will they help you to see what the Bible says about this, but they will also give you tools to effectively engage this area of your life.

“Down”, Courtesy of Omid Armin,, CC0 License; “Grieving Alone”, Courtesy of Francisco Gonzalez,, CC0 License; “Isolated”, Courtesy of Gabriel,, CC0 License; “Grieving in the Woods”, Courtesy of Sam Burriss,, CC0 License

How Do I Know if I Need Help for Depression?

Emotions, including sadness, are a natural part of what it means to be human. As much as Facebook friends might never admit it publicly, life isn’t all “likes” and “shares.” When sadness becomes all-encompassing and debilitating over an extended period, it may be time to consider the need to get help for depression.

We’ve all heard of depression, but how much do we really understand about it? It’s often misunderstood in terms of its clinical diagnosis and greatly overused in pop culture.

According to a recent 2016 national survey on drug use and health, an estimated 16.2 million adults 18 or older across the United States experienced at least one or more major episode of depression (SAMHSA, 2016).

This number represents nearly 5% of all adults (Bureau, 2016) with the highest percentage of occurrence among adult females (8.5%). From 2005 to 2015 depression had the highest increase among teenagers with the most rapid increases seen in young people (A. H. Weinberger, 2017).

When Should I Get Help for Depression?

Because depression can vary in how it presents itself, it’s difficult to know whether it’s truly a mental health concern or simply a case of the blues.

Below are some of the more common symptoms of depression that you should be aware of:

A pervasive feeling of sadness and hopelessness

Changes in emotional functioning are one of the most noticeable early signs of depression. You may notice yourself feeling more irritable, or just plain sad more days than not. Things suddenly feel hopeless, crying becomes a daily routine, sometimes for no clear reason.

You may begin to blame yourself for your condition and the lack of control you feel with your emotions. This is often accompanied by growing feelings of anger internalized to yourself.

Things you might find yourself saying things like:

  • “I can’t do this anymore.”
  • “Why do I feel this way, no matter how hard I try nothing changes?”
  • “I should just give up.”

Lashing out and reduced patience

If you’re noticing that you’re very short-tempered or yelling at your spouse or kids a lot, or otherwise lashing out. Instead of working through your feelings, and identifying their root cause you may project them onto others, blaming those around you for the feelings you have about yourself.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “You don’t understand me, you never have.”
  • “All you do is think about yourself, you don’t care how I feel.”
  • “Why am I always angry, I hate myself. I’m a horrible parent.”

A lack of appetite or disinterest in food

A sudden change in weight, either gaining or losing, can be a warning sign of depression. You may lack appetite, or no longer remember the last time you ate or have interest in foods that were once enjoyed. This is often tied to feelings of low self-worth regarding body image.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “No matter how hard I try, I’ll always look this way. I can’t change a thing.”
  • “I cry by myself and then I eat, it’s what makes me feel better for a short while.”
  • “I’m not hungry right now.”

Fatigue, lethargy, reduced physical activity

Another common symptom associated with clinal depression is being extremely restless at night and constantly tired during the day when awake, with little to no motivation to get out of bed to start daily activities. Going to work, or getting the kids on the bus in the morning becomes overwhelming. Even trips to the grocery store may begin to seem like they are simply too much to handle.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “Can we go out another time, I’m just not up for it today.”
  • “I’m falling behind on my work, I just can’t keep up. Who cares anymore, it doesn’t matter.”
  • “Why am I so tired all the time. I can’t get any good sleep, I just need to rest a little longer.”

Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt

You may experience increased feelings of guilt about things that have occurred in the past. Regret and a growing sense of how little you matter to the fabric of everyday life with your friends and family may begin to fester. This often is accompanied by an increased or sudden onset of thoughts of death or dying.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “It might be better for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore.”
  • “It’s as if I didn’t exist now, no one even notices that I’m not around.”
  • “No one cares about me, and why should they, I’m a mess.”

A loss of interest interesting or pleasurable activities

It is common for people who are experiencing depression to experience a decreased or complete loss of interest in life. Things that once provided a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment no longer provide any satisfaction. Spending time with friends or family becomes more of a chore as isolation and solitude increase.

This often results in even greater feelings of worthlessness as one considers a possible reality where they are no longer tethered to the lives and activities of others they once identified as foundational to their sense of self.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “It doesn’t matter. Nobody cares about me anyway.”
  • “I’m all alone.”
  • “They will be better off if I’m not there. They don’t want to spend time with me anyway.”

Hope Through Christian Counseling

If you are reading this and you are concerned that you are experiencing one or more of these changes in functioning, health, or lifestyle, it is important that you seek treatment to determine the underlying cause.

Many different issues can be at the root of the emotions that cause symptoms of depression. A number of counselors at Huntington Beach Christian Counseling work directly with individuals and families who struggle with depression.

Give us a call and we can meet with you today to help you find the path to a functional and enjoyable life once again.

A. H. Weinberger, M. G. (2017, October). Trends in depression prevalence in the USA from 2005 to 2015: widening disparities in vulnerable groups. Psychological Medicine.
Bureau, U. C. (2016, July). Quick Facts United States. Retrieved from US Census:
SAMHSA. (2016). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from SAMHSA:

“Depressed”, Courtesy of Anh Nnguyen,, CC0 License; “Eruption”, Courtesy of Yosh Ginsu,, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Alex Boyd,, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Ian Espinosa,, CC0 License

What Makes Teen Depression Different from Depression in Adults?

Picture this – everything is changing. Your body is maturing. You are being given more and greater responsibilities. Fun and friendships are a big focus, but you seem to have neither.

You know tons of people your age, but can you trust them? Do they even really like you? Just who are you anyway? Suddenly, you are second guessing everything and everyone, even yourself.

Even the normal things you did are not the same. The insatiable appetite you once had has dwindled to barely being hungry at all.

You find it next to impossible to fall asleep yet it’s a grueling task to drag yourself out of bed the next morning. You find yourself in a low or bad mood much of the time. Nothing feels right anymore. Does this sound familiar?

If the symptoms above describe how you are feeling, chances are you are either a teenager, you are suffering from depression, or both. Given the body’s chemical changes and the challenges faced in general, just being a normal teen can resemble depression in many ways.

The teenage years are full of highs and lows. The rollercoaster ride of the turbulent teens can be rocky enough without adding depression to the equation. The combination of being a teenager and being depressed at the same time can be overwhelming.

Teen Depression

The fact is that depression in teens is different from depression in adults because teenagers are different from adults. Some of the differences are as follows:

The Social Scene

A sense of low self-worth is a common indication of depression. Feelings of unworthiness are often all-consuming. Negative self-talk tends to be a huge part of the cycle. The stress and anxiety that these struggles cause is heightened even further by a lack of drive or motivation.

One way in which we all tend to decide how we measure up is by comparing ourselves to others. Have we accomplished all that she has? Will we ever be as good as him? When comparing physical traits like weight, body proportions, and looks, it can easily get out of hand.

Comparing ourselves is a natural thing to do but a very destructive one too. Think about it – when comparing, you will either come up on the high or low end of the stick. Neither is conducive to a healthy self-image.

Depression has a voice that speaks to our heart and minds. The message is never a positive one. It tells us things like that we are not good enough, not attractive enough or not smart enough. We are easily deceived into believing lies, especially when we are comparing ourselves to others which only fuels the fire. As we look outward to set our standards, we are passing judgments inwardly.

The teenage years are a time of tremendous transitions. During adolescence, your body is changing from that of a child to one of an adult. Boys’ voices are cracking and changing. Girls are developing chests. While initially, it is a time of pride and excitement, the whole scenario can all change in a heartbeat when the class laughs at the shrieking voice or the girl gets whistled at by a crowd of boys.

Girls are generally the first to undergo visible physical changes. The earlier they do so, the more difficult the adjustments may be. They take note that they are “different” which can make the changes even rougher. Soon enough, boys find themselves in the midst of puberty, too, and begin comparing themselves and their changes to that of their peers. Late bloomers may have the hardest time of all whether male or female.

Teenage girls may feel as if they are in a whirlwind, being pushed into womanhood too fast, too soon. They may long to stay a little girl for as long as they can. Boys can feel left out and lonely if they don’t shoot up in height, begin to talk in a deep voice and no facial hair is surfacing. It’s easy to feel like the boat left without you. Or, that you are the only one in the boat.

Going through the various stages of puberty is enough to deal with but the fact that teens tend to experience them in different time frames can be extremely frustrating and difficult to adjust to. These factors are very challenging for even well-adjusted teens so when depression is thrown into the mix, you can only imagine the complications.

Modern technology, especially social media, hasn’t made the situation any easier either. Although bullying has been around probably since the beginning of time, within the past 20 years, it has taken on a new face. It is ever-present. It used to be that if you were being bullied, you could at least escape within the confines of your own home. That’s not the case any longer, though.

Smartphones, tablets, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have changed the dynamics of teenage lives forever. Through posts, tweets, texts and messaging, bullies can stalk their prey even in the privacy of the victim’s home.

The hurtful words can come through at any time of the day, anywhere you are. They can rip you apart and bring you so far down that it’s almost impossible to get back up. In times past, you could at least run and hide from bullying but today, that is next to impossible to do. Even when the devices are not around, the implications echo on.

The very nature of social media can be a breeding ground for depression to set in and it can make existing depression much worse. Imagine if your so-called friends were posting unflattering pictures of you or publically taking pot shots at you. Even grown adults would have trouble digesting such cruel things.

Not only can social media platforms open up a sea of opportunities to stage bully battlegrounds, they can also promote the temptation to compare. There’s the popular girl who just got asked to prom, the football jock posing in a photo with his new trophy and your friend showing off the new puppy she’d rather spend time with than you. It’s up close, personal and always in your face.

Being a teenager isn’t easy. It has never been, but it is more difficult now than it ever was before. Even normal teen changes can make it seem like the world is caving in but when you toss in a dose of depression, it can be devastating.

The Teenage Identity Crisis

The teen years are a journey. You are exploring many things that will become your foundation for adulthood. You may be searching for your identity, finding out what your interests truly are and figuring out who you can trust and rely upon. It is a wonderful time of self-discovery. Unless you have depression.

Wondering is a natural and positive part of growing up. It opens your eyes to exploring new options and to seeing things from a different perspective. It is not to be confused with doubting yourself, everything and everyone around you.

Depression steals the wonder from your teenage years. Instead of experiencing curiosity in a healthy way, you are anxious and perhaps even paranoid. You aren’t sure about the world around you so how could you be sure of yourself?

Depression can stunt the natural phase of development in teenagers. It can also cause deep-rooted insecurities that can carry over into the adult years. Athletes face a similar problem when they are trying to become better and stronger. They need to stretch their limits and move out of their zone of comfort in order to get to the next level.

But, if they are injured, they risk suffering even more damage if they push themselves too hard. The same is true for teenagers who are depressed. They are in a weakened state so the natural process of finding themselves can result in a damaged self-image.

Hope Abounds

Now that it has been established how difficult teen depression can be, it’s time for the good news. The situation is full of hope. Not only can finding help free teenagers from depression, it can give them the tools they need to set them up to succeed later in life. Medical recommendations can be addressed as well such as the possibility that an antidepressant is needed.

While the thought of an adolescent taking an antidepressant in such formative years might seem alarming, it is safe when practiced under the guidance of a skilled psychiatrist or a well-trained nurse practitioner. Still, great benefits can result from therapy by itself.

It is quite common for teens to feel as if they don’t have anyone who is there just to listen to them without passing judgment. It would be ideal if adolescents and teens were comfortable talking to their parents but usually, they aren’t. They feel intimidated. That is why talking to a professional can be so beneficial.

Within the state of Washington, even thirteen-year-olds have the right to complete privacy in their counseling sessions. While it may seem a bit strange to parents, it certainly is comforting to the teenagers.

Knowing that their secrets are safe encourages them to open up so they can receive the treatment they need and deserve without fear that there will be repercussions. The exception is when the client’s safety is at risk.

By addressing the issues of teen depression, teenagers can develop a strong self-esteem that will carry over to adulthood. The process of moving through the pain and dealing with the problems head-on means that hope abounds for a positive future.

In therapy, teens learn to set goals for themselves, both short and long-term ones. They also are given the tools that can help them with their current state of depression. These tools also help if they are hit with depression again in the future. Learning coping skills at an early age is priceless.

Teens who experience positive counseling are more likely to seek help if they run into problems when they are adults. They learn that therapy is a safe place where they can get the treatment they need to improve the quality of their life. Teenagers who have positive outlooks about the counseling they receive may very well encourage their friends to go for help. The power of positive peer pressure is amazing.

Taking the First Step

Help can’t begin until the first step is taken. If you’re a teen who is feeling depressed, or if you have a friend or a family member who is, start by seeking help. Talking to a counselor is a safe way to be heard without judgment and to get to know yourself better. You will also learn coping skills so that you can deal with the depression.

If you’ve been waiting for someone to give you a push in the right direction, this is it! Perhaps you are nervous about taking the first step. Fear and anxiety are symptoms of depression. Don’t let depression steal another moment of your life.

Admitting you need help isn’t easy, especially when you are a teenager. In fact, nothing is easy when you’re a teenager. That is all the more reason to take that first step. You don’t have to live in depression another day. There is help. Reach out to a counselor in your area so that you can get started on your brand new beginning today.


“Laundromat,” courtesy of Drew Roberts,, CC0 License; “Feeling Down,” courtesy of,, CC0 License; “Crying,” courtesy of markzfilter,, CC0 License; “Downcast,” courtesy of whoismargot,, CC0 License

Do Not Battle Alone: Seek Help for Depression

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Among the psychological struggles plaguing people in the US, depression is one of the more common ones. The states that “MDD [Major Depressive Disorder] affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.”

And even for adolescents, depression is an issue. “In 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents age 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.” (

These statistics are not surprising, however, given that life is so unpredictable. Negative experiences like the death of a loved one, separation, illnesses and accidents, failure at work or school and other forms of emotional or physical harm can readily cause severe depression.

Fortunately, it can be overcome.

The Various Ways to Get Help for Depression

Because depression is a common issue, much research has been done to discover ways to battle depression. Here are some things to do to receive help for depression.

1. Talk to somebody

One important step is to open up to someone about the problems causing the depression. The more a person stays isolated, the more hopeless the situation becomes. Speaking to a trusted family member, friend, or colleague can do wonders to lift the emotional burdens. Just the feeling of being cared for through their concern can make a sufferer feel that they are not alone.

Professional counseling is another way as some loved ones are unsure of what to say, especially if the issue is very complicated or life-threatening. Professional counselors can better probe the issue to get to the true root of the problem. If needed, counselors may also prescribe medicines to combat the problem.

2. Get diagnosed

There are different forms of depression such as major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and even depression due to medical conditions. Each one has its own characteristics.

Since depression recovery requires the willing cooperation of the sufferer, it helps that the sufferer feels that they are in good hands. This is more quickly done if the type of depression is known so that the counselor knows how to objectively explain what the sufferer is going through.

3. Join a support group

For many people undergoing struggles – emotional or physical, it helps to know that you are not alone. In a support group, experiences are shared, and emotions are unburdened.

4. Contact a crisis worker

In case depression leads to suicidal thoughts, it is imperative that the sufferer speaks to somebody about this. Sadly, many are not able to as they feel ashamed to reach out to a loved one or there may be no loved ones around to speak to. Fortunately, there are hotlines specifically for this need.

  • One may call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website
  • One may also text 741741 and be connected immediately to a crisis worker for no charge.

5. Learn more about depression

A sufferer of depression can proactively choose to deal with their situation by learning more about what they are going through. There are many available resources (e.g. blogs, articles, videos and books) that deal with this, many of which written by people who dealt with depression themselves.

Here are some helpful options:

While there are several good books out there discussing depression, two very good Christian books on surmounting depression are:

  • When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper
  • Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression by Zack Eswine

Take Care of Yourself

As with any mental issue, help from others is important in order to address what is causing the suffering. But there are also things that a sufferer must do for themselves to take care of their physical, mental and spiritual health. Failure to do so will make the depression will feel even more insurmountable.

1. Exercise and diet

Just like in other sicknesses, mental issues or injuries, if the physical body is not well, then overcoming the problem becomes more difficult. A weak body can affect the mind and soul. While a depressed person may not “feel” like taking care of themselves, it is important that this is still done. For example, a quick jog around the neighborhood or a trip to the gym can give the sufferer a healthy change of scenery to uplift their mood.

Additionally, a proper diet is necessary to prevent sickness and ensure that one’s mood does not become even more morose, adding to the depression.

2. Yoga

In recent years, yoga has become quite popular in Western culture as a way to keep the body and mind strong.

The physical discipline required to do it, as well as the emphasis on deep breathing and mindfulness of one’s body and thoughts, do wonders for obtaining self-control and peace of mind. Research has even shown that yoga can positively combat anxiety.

3. Keep a journal

Similar to the methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), journal writing allows a person to focus on their mental process and how that may be affecting them. When thoughts are written down, a sufferer may look at them objectively to unlock the negative thoughts behind their mental issues. Journal writing may also work as an “eraser” or “editing marker”, allowing a person to remove negative ideas or perhaps view them in a different light.

But even if journaling does not allow them to see the roots of their negativity, at least it may serve as an outlet for emotional release.

3. Listen to healing music

Music can be a means to heal if the melody and message are right. The following are some Christian artists whose songs can help heal.

  • Sleeping at Last

Try the songs “Saturn”, “Emphasis”, and “You are Enough.”

  • Bellarive

The song “Tendons” is about the act of grace committed on the cross.

  • Josh Garrels

The songs “Beyond the Blue,” “Farther Along,” and “Born Again” are very helpful.

  • Needtobreathe

Many of their light-hearted tunes contain much depth for the soul.

4. Read the Bible and Pray

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. – Psalm 40:1-3

All over Scripture, it is clearly seen that there is an on-going spiritual battle for our souls. Prayer and Bible reading are direct ways to fight the darkness’ powers that threaten to turn us away from God.

When depressed, a sufferer may feel that their spirit is at an all-time low, making it easier to succumb to negative thoughts about self-harm (e.g. suicide, alcohol or drug abuse) or breaking relationships (e.g. divorce, running away, isolation). This is why it is very important for the sufferer to reconnect with God.

Another helpful spiritual activity is to have someone pray for you or pray with you. As earlier stated, opening up to others is already a helpful step when battling depression.

It helps to know that somebody cares about your situation. But corporate prayer is also a powerful method in dire circumstances as there are two or more of you seeking God’s wisdom and help through Christ.

As stated in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Our Savior knows what is like to be human and what it means to struggle. If there is anyone that can help, it is He.

Depression is a serious issue indeed. It saps a person’s emotional, physical and spiritual energy, causing them to look at life from darkly tinted lenses.

If you or someone you know is suffering from it, it is best to get help soon. The abovementioned methods should be reviewed and applied. However, if professional counseling seems to be the best path, then you should get into contact with a professional Christian counselor who can listen to your concerns while applying Scripture to heal both mind and soul.

“Tearful”, Courtesy of Kat J,; CC0 License; “Group Effort”, Courtesy of,; CC0 License; “Yoga”, Courtesy of Matthew Kane,, CC0 License; “His Word,” Courtesy of jclk8888,, CC0 License