I believe that depression is beatable. I have experienced it and come out the other side. I have friends that have overcome it and I have counseled people who have won the battle. Often people are unable to win over depression because their caregiver is only working on one or two areas of their being. In order to consistently win against depression I believe you have to address all three Biblical parts of our being, spirit, soul and body. If you want to just skip to the end of this article, you will find my recipe. If you want to know how I got there keep reading. 🙂
When I was growing up, my Dad had bouts with depression. One of my earliest and scariest memories was of him during one especially violent episode. I can still see my mom screaming as she tried to get away from him. When I was older, he shared with me that electric shock therapy was one of the forms of treatment at the state psychiatric hospital. Even though I had observed my dad suffer from depression, I still had no idea what it was or what it could do to you. After I became a Christian, I simply figured it was something I would never have to deal with; after all, I was saved and loved by God. Surely something like this could never happen to a practicing Christian.
Then it happened to me; right after my brother Mike died I started experiencing some overwhelming physical and mental problems. It was like a cold dark cloud had attached itself to me, I couldn’t shake it. I would have feelings of panic, fear, anxiety and impending doom. I would wake up in the night in a cold cold sweat with the bed sheets stuck to my body. Then there was the pain, every bone in my body ached. The pain was the most devastating part. I remember lying in bed thinking, “Now I know why people commit suicide”. I used to think people committed suicide because they wanted to punish a parent or ex-lover. Or they were ashamed of something they had done, hated their life, and just wanted to escape. I was not experiencing any of those feelings or thoughts, I loved my family and my life. I had a good job and ministry, no; it was the desire to, “get out of this body of pain” that brought brief thoughts that suicide might be an option. I never really gave those thoughts any serious consideration, but I do have a lot of empathy now, for people who are suffer from this kid of pain.
I would like to say that with a quick prayer it was all gone, but It took me a few months of agony to finally defeat this sinister affliction. What I am sharing with you I have shared in my church, with my friends, and as far away as Africa. There is a biblical process that can work for you or someone you love!
A friend called one day and told me he was suffering from severe depression and he had heard that I might have a solution. After I gave him my recipe, he said that he would give it a try, but if it didn’t work, he was going to get a doctor to prescribe some antidepressants so he could have some peace.
So why not just get a prescription for antidepressants from your doctor? Here is one big reason, anti-depressants can actually cause depression, aggression and suicide?1,2 Another reason to avoid them is that many people on antidepressants are miserable. The drugs affect other things, like your relationships with people. Then there are the unwanted physical side effects. Doctors are prescribing dangerous drugs because they don’t have any other solutions. It is just like when they used to electrocute people who suffered from mental illness, they were willing to try anything. Drugs are never the long-term answer; they may be a quick fix, but if they are used for any length of time, they cause more damage than the disease.
A few days after my friend took my recipe to eliminate depression, I ran into him and asked him how it was going; he said the depression was completely gone.
The Bible is not silent on the issue of drugs, the Greek word used in the Bible to describe the use of drugs, is Pharmakeus, it is where we get our word pharmacy. scriptures that mention Pharmakeus, use it in a very negative way. The Bible has nothing good to say about Pharmakeus (drugs), here is just one example. I have left the untranslated Greek word, instead of the English substitute.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates (of heaven) into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice (Pharmakeus), the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
I do believe like doctor Daniel Amen, the author of the book “Change Your Brain Change Your Life”, that medication can help stop some immediate problems, but is not the long term solution.
So, since I was determined to find a biblical answer and not use drugs in my search for freedom, I started in the spiritual realm. I went to two other pastors, told them what I was experiencing, and asked them to pray for me, which they did. The symptoms eased up a little but I was far from being out of the woods. I made sure I read my Bible, prayed, fellowshipped and worshiped, I determined to keep my spirit in a good place and believed that my body would eventually follow. Again, it was a little better but by no means the way I wanted to exist. Next, I began to focus on my body. I would go for long runs at night, just to wear myself out, so I could sleep. One time I got stopped by the police who figured it was a little weird for a man to be running at night. They frisked me and questioned me about a robbery and finally let me go; it was a little surreal.
I started being more careful about what I ate, and again, I got some more relief. At this point I could function, fairly normally, but not with any joy. I can still remember those days, as I write this it brings tears to my eyes. I was so miserable that I would long for the few moments each day when I arrived home, because one of my kids would greet me with a big hug, which I needed desperately. I was so depressed; that hug was like a once a day affirmation that everything will eventually be alright.
So what was the final piece that brought me back to the land of the living, what gave me back my joy? It was the third step in the process which was to take a look at my soul. I began to pray the prayer of King David, who, if you read any of his writings, evidently experienced some of the same things I was experiencing.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
After praying this prayer, the one thing that kept coming up, was something I didn’t want to deal with. It wasn’t something that I thought about much, but when I did think about it, I knew it wasn’t right. At that time in my life, I was a part time youth pastor, but my primary occupation was managing a small window manufacturing company. One of our salesman had landed a rather large job that grossed the company over $20,000. Shortly after we had delivered the windows, it was brought to my attention that the salesman had misrepresented the product and that if the customers found out we would have to replace all the windows. The windows had been custom made for this client and could not be used anywhere else. They would be an almost total loss. The worst-case scenario was that we would have to junk $20,000 worth of windows, pay to have them removed and replaced, then pay for new windows. We could also be sued for misrepresentation and extending the customers completion date. I was convinced that if we got caught, it would put us out of business. A lot of people depended these jobs to support their families, including myself.
I just didn’t want to think about it, so I put it out of my mind, but the Lord wouldn’t leave me alone. He finally made it clear, that as long as I refused to deal with this unethical situation, the devil would have a legal right to make me miserable. I eventually made the call to the contractor, I explained the situation to him and he told me he would talk to the owners and get back to me.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. It was at this point that the hellish symptoms completely vanished. No more physical pain, chills, illogical fear and depression. No more emotional and physical torment. As the spiritualist song goes, “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty free at last”. I can’t explain in words what a relief it was. I must tell you that I had not been spending all my waking hours thinking about the unethical business situation. It wasn’t that I was worrying about this and that worry was tormenting me. I rarely thought about it at all. It was just the last foothold the devil had on me and when I dealt with it, he had no authority to torment me anymore. The best part was when the contractor called me back he said that the customers appreciated the call, but they liked the windows so much that they would keep them the way they were, and we didn’t need to do anything. When we do the right thing, it seems that there is no end to what blessing will come our way.
In the final analysis, the way I got set free from depression, was accomplished by dealing with my whole being; Spirit, Soul and Body. It’s kind of like having an unwanted guest in your home. If you run him out of your kitchen but let him stay in your living room and bedroom, you will still be miserable. Or you could kick him out of your bedroom and kitchen, and things would be better; but until you kick him out of the living room, he will still have the ability to make you miserable. So, in a nutshell here is a recipe for eliminating depression that worked for me and has worked for countless other around the world.
A Recipe for Eliminating Depression
- Exercise thirty minutes a day (aerobic exercise), five days a week.
- Exercise forty-five minutes one day a week, till you are exhausted and rest one day a week. When you are suffering from depression, your mind is sending messages to your adrenal gland to secret adrenaline. If you don’t burn it up, it will create tension and physical pain in your body. Hard aerobic exercise will also produce endorphins that will give you feelings of peace and euphoria (something you could use). In a study published by Readers Digest April 2005, researchers at the Cooper Institute in Golden Colorado, found that only three hours of exercise per week was just as effective in combating mild and moderate depression as antidepressant drugs. People who exercise just one hour and 20 minutes a week had no improvement.3,4
- Eliminate stimulants from your diet, like (coffee, energy drinks, etc.) If you are really serious you should also eliminate chocolate, cigarettes & medications.
- Eliminate depressants from your diet, such as (alcohol, marijuana or other drugs) they inhibit your bodies natural endorphins, which are designed to calm you down without unwanted side effects.
- Eliminate sweets from your diet, (soda pop, candy, sugar, corn syrup etc.) they can often be the primary cause of depression. You can eat honey, it has some amazing properties that can boost your physical well being, just don’t over do it. The Bible says too much honey can make you sick.
- Something to include in your daily diet is lots of high quality protein (red meat, poultry, fish, 4 eggs per day and a quart of milk)
- Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
- 1 John 1:7-9 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
- Confess your sin to God and agree with him that what you have done is wrong and then thank him that he has forgiven you.
- If necessary, confess to those you have sinned against and ask for their forgiveness. Be ready to make restitution if that is possible. (I have a friend who was never able to finish this step, he had some inexpensive stolen items that he could not bring himself to return, he never overcame his mental illness.)
- Receive what Jesus did on the cross for you personally. (John 3:16)
- Read the Bible and pray every day.
- Suspend all work, one day each week, and attend church.
- Fellowship with other Christians, as often as possible.
- Find someone who will disciple (coach) you on your christian journey.
Doctors are doing their best to help people, but they usually only deal with us on the physical plane. As believers, we know that we are not just physical beings, our soul and spirits are vitally important to our overall well being. It is my sincere hope that this was as helpful to you or someone you love, as it was to me. If it was, please send me a message using the contact form, it would be a great encouragement to myself and others.
If you believe God knows best, join us and the Wellness Gospel team and spread the word, share this with your friends on social media and may God bless you richly.
If you want to keep improving your health and like this kind of biblical, scientific information, then I would like to recommend three must-read books.
- “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, M.D. and David E. Stern, M.D.
- “Let’s Play Doctor” by Dr. Joel Wallach
- “God’s Guide To Biblical Health and Healing” by Rev. Chris & Shary Schauermann
You can get all these books at Amazon.com
- Readers Digest April 2005, researchers at the Cooper Institute in Golden Colorado,