Yes, Christians Get Depressed
Christians get depressed just like everyone else. It would be nice if spiritual belief made you immune to mood disorders and clinical depression, but that is not the case. In some instances, depression may be worse in Christians because they think that their depression reflects a lack of faith in God, which makes them feel even more depressed.
If you are clinically depressed, having faith in God is not going to make the depression go away. There are certainly positive benefits from having religious faith, but curing depression is not one of them.
I know this to be true, because my father suffered from depression, and he was an outstanding Christian. He was also a Christian minister and a hospital chaplain.
Part of his job was to counsel patients who had problems with depression. His depression is even more enigmatic because for more than a decade, he was a chaplain in a psychiatric hospital. He knew all the signs and symptoms of depression since he was around it all the time. The icing on the cake was the fact that my mother was a psychiatric nurse who spent her career working with patients who suffered from depression and other mental disabilities.
If anyone should have been able avoid the ravages of depressive illness, my father would have been at the top of the list. But that's not the way it works. In spite of all the insight, all the training, all the support, and a vibrant faith in God, depression was a real problem.
My father's depressive illness is the main reason I developed an interest in the treatment of depression. I had seen his suffering up close and personal, and I wanted to write a book that would help people escape from the clutches of depression. I especially wanted to help people who were religious to understand that their depressive illness did not reflect a lack of faith on their part. I didn't want them to beat themselves up because their spirituality did not cure their depresssion. And I did not want them to try to cure their depression by engaging in religious activity. Depression is not a spiritual problem. It is a psychological illness with real changes in the chemistry of the brain.
Depression and mood disorders do not have a simple cause or a single cause. They also do not have a simple cure or a single cure.
Spirituality is not the cure for depression, but it can help straighten out the twisted thinking and distored emotions associated with mood disorders. Spiritual belief can also make depression worse when improperly applied.
If there is any place for spiritual belief in the treatment of depression, it must give you a new and healthy way of thinking and feeling without adding to the burden that you already bear. It must give you a healthy center around which you organize your life, thoughts, and emotions.
Although spirituality will not cure depression, your spirituality can be a real asset in the overall managment of depressive illness. People who are depressed need all the help they can get, and there is no reason to ignore your spirituality when it is a help. It may be just what the doctor ordered. It may point you in the right direction and give you the power to make the trip.
Spirituality is simply another tool that you have in your depression tool kit.
Depressed individuals should always seek assistance from a qualified professional. Ask your physician whether it is safe for you to use spiritual therapy as a part of your treatment.