DEPRESSION: PROBLEM OR SYMPTOM?
When depression hits, the rest of the family may not be able to understand why a once capable person finds every chore an impossible situation and involvement in the family a thing to be disdained. Rejection in early life may have played a great part in the person’s arriving at this state; and illogical actions and reactions may earn yet more rejection (perceived, if not actual) by family members. The rest of the family may not be so easily convinced that ‘the sky is falling’ and refuse to join the ‘pity party’—however whimpering the invitation! But is it all darkness and gloom? Is it necessary to submit to man’s answers which, in reality, are non-answers? Most frequently, a believer in such distress turns to the medical profession before turning to the answers which God provides in Christ.
Many are the persons who hear that they have a chemical imbalance in the brain. That being the case, the treatment of choice may be ‘mood elevators’—medications which tend to assuage the chemical imbalance. In a great percentage of the cases, the depression is at least mollified by such treatment modalities; and both doctor and patient are encouraged by a degree of improvement.
Some would say that a positive response in the ‘patient’ confirms the physiological nature of the ailment, but does it? Did the chemical imbalance precipitate the depression or did the depression precipitate the chemical imbalance? That seems to be a moot question among psychiatrists at the present time.
In the case of the non-functional lady cited above, God released her from a lifetime of depression over a weekend, and she was off heavy tranquilizers and sleeping medication in a month’s time. This, and many other similar cases over the past 40 years, would give rise to the conclusion that the chemicals were balanced out by the Spirit of God rather quickly! It could also be indicative that the depression caused the chemical imbalance! In the ensuing 20 years, she did not have to resort to the medication because she had been set free from depression.
There could be many reasons given for depression which is truly organic in origin such as endocrine dysfunction, hormonal problems, pre-menstrual tension, etc.; however, these are neither as mysterious nor as controversial as the etiology of functional depression—that which is psychogenic in origin.
Though the etiology of the depression may stem back to early childhood rejection or traumatic experiences, the believer has access to resources in Christ through Whom these may be resolved. Though much depression is caused by the guilt of sin, more may be caused by unresolved conflict which predated salvation. Given the truth that the Holy Spirit can and does set a believer free from depression as root issues are dealt with, it becomes apparent that a believer who has not availed himself of these resources has a spiritual problem—ignorance of his resources in Christ and/or refusal to appropriate the victory which is his birthright:
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6,7).