Christian Counseling: Initially Managing Depression & Anxiety

"I have been battling depression since February, I think. I was doing fine until then, but now feel like emotionally I have lost the love I used to have for many things, including myself. Some of it could be related to losing my job after working for about 34 years straight. I...have been looking for a job very hard. I thank God that I am OK financially, but as I mentioned, I am very depressed. I have been filled with anxiety along with the depression. What are my options for seeking help, as I presently do not have any health benefits, but would give anything to feel better. Thank you for answering my questions, and giving me your thoughts. BTW, faith has been extremely important to me, but now I feel as though I have turned my back on God, by how I feel. That really hurts me." (A male posed this question on "The Doctor Is In" on our website.)


Thank you for your question! I am sorry to hear of your tough circumstances, but glad to see you are reaching out for some help. Mature, faith-healthy Christians can suddenly experience overwhelming anxiety and/or depression, and often those two problems go hand in hand. They can develop as a result of biological or medical problems, such as thyroid issues, and/or from stressors, such as a significant loss, like a job. I do not believe God is disturbed with a person in any way because of the changes brought about as the result of depression. He understands the consequences of the loss of feelings about Him and the desire to be actively involved in church or even more generally, in life. 


It is also not uncommon for depressed persons to feel detached from all kinds of pleasure, including feeling connected to and enjoying one's relationship with God.  Frequently, they lack the motivation to seek involvement in activities, like seeking employment and job interviewing. Some who are moderately to severe depressed, will experience suicidal thoughts, whether passive (just thoughts with no intent to really harm themselves; they may wish God would take them home to heaven) or active (have thought about when and how they might end their misery through death). Hope is often lost for those with more serious depression. A person experiencing any of these symptoms should seek professional help. 


If active suicidal thoughts are present, it is best to share this with a trusted friend and family and seek immediate help from 911 or a local hospital. If there are no active suicidal thoughts, I suggest seeing your primary caregiver to rule out any medical causes for the anxiety and depression. It should be noted, research has shown long-term depression is strongly associated with serious health problems, such as heart disease. Therefore, it is very important to treat depression and not simply try to ride it out. Your medical doctor will determine if testing or medication is warranted for your presenting symptoms. After that, if your doctor determines mental health counseling is needed (it often is) or you want it, seek a referral for that help.


At our Christian Center we have trained therapists who can handle both anxiety and depression, as well as spiritual issues, and would be most willing to assist you in your recovery.  We take a holistic approach to treatment in considering how the body, mind and spirit affect illness, as well as healing. 


He has not forsaken you and I don't believe, from your comments, you have forsaken Him. 


 

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