Depression is more than just feeling sad because your puppy is lost or because you had a bad day. Depression is feeling bad all the time. Depression can make sleeping, eating, school, and relationships hard. God knows that people sometimes get depressed, and he tells us what to do in His Word.
What are some ways to handle depression? Read in the Bible, "Yet I am standing here depressed and gloomy, but I will meditate upon Your kindness to this lovely land" (Psalm 42:6, TLB). ‘Meditate’ means to think about something all the time. If we think about God’s kindness and the beauty of nature all around us showing us God’s love, we will not have time left to be discouraged.
What do I do if I’m feeling depressed? Tell God about it. Samuel’s mother did. "In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:10, NIV). God helped Hannah even when everything seemed to be bad in her life, and He will help you, too.
Jesus invites us to give Him all our burdens. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
I feel like no one understands or cares about how I am feeling. You’re right, nobody on earth will ever fully understand, but God in heaven understands and cares more than anybody in this world. Psalms 56:8 says, “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” God cares so much; He counts each tear you cry. It’s in the Bible, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NKJV).
Does God still love me if I am depressed? Yes! Read about His love. “But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life” (Psalm 42:8, NLT). Sometimes, depression can make it hard to pray or to feel like God loves us, but the Bible says God’s love is “unfailing.” That is definitely a reason to sing!
How does peace come? The answer, "Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble" (Psalm 30:5, TLB). Obeying God brings peace to our hearts. If you’ve been disobedient, tell God. Accept what God forgives you when you ask (1 John 1:9). Peace comes from being close to God.
We can put our trust in Jesus as our source of peace. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, do I give to you" (John 14:27, NKJV). This peace can only come from Jesus. It is in Christ, and we can receive it only by receiving Him.
Sometimes it’s hard to not let our feelings control our mind, but Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” As long as we keep our thoughts on God, He has promised us a “perfect peace.”
Praise can chase away depression. It’s true! We read, "I will praise the Lord no matter what happens, I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all His kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His name" (Psalm 34:1-3, TLB). The more we think about something, the more it affects our lives. If we think about the bad things, the depression will get worse. Instead, do what Psalms says, and think about how great God is. To hear how Paul and Silas dealt with a very depressing situation with praise, read Acts 16: 13-40.
Think on positive things. It’s in the Bible, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8)
Helping others helps with depression. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”(Acts 20:35, NKJV). When we focus on others, it takes our mind off ourselves. “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10, NKJV).
Tip: Make sure you exercise and get 10 minutes or so of sunlight. Exercise creates in your body endorphins, which are helpful with feelings of depression. Sunlight helps our body create chemicals and gives us nutrients that will make you feel better and even help keep you from getting sick.
Feeling depressed and discouraged doesn’t last forever. What a happy thought! Look in the Bible. “Weeping may go on all night, but in the morning there is joy" (Psalm 30:5, TLB). Everyone has times in their lives when things are hard and it may not seem like there is much to be happy about, but God promises that no matter how bad things are, they are not permanent. Jesus promises to give us His joy.