Depression and Religion

Genesis 2:7 reports that at creation “The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing.” From this text, we understand that a lifeless body is just a body, but when God inserts the breath of life into it, the act of breathing and the pulse of the heart demonstrates that it has become a living being, a person, a soul.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the soul is the “[…] essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life”, it is the complete person itself, with personality, desires, thoughts, etc. The soul is the same as a living person. And how can we understand the soul in the context of 3 John verse 2, which says “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”? The Bible makes it clear that God wants to see His children healthy in all aspects of their existence, be it in their material and visible body, or in their mind/spirit/soul.

So it follows that depression, like any other disease, compromises God’s ideal for us, and incapacitates us to keep our body and soul preserved for Him, glorifying Him in all their fullness. But the Lord has given us instructions and instruments to guide us on the safe path to full health.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 says that the Lord is the One who gives wisdom, and Proverbs confirms:

All wisdom comes from the Lord, and so do common sense and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6

We understand that God has given mankind the wisdom to understand and learn about the human body and mind, in order to diagnose, treat, and cure diseases. We believe that diverse methods and practices, experiments, and scientific discoveries have been guided by God to favor the full development of the physical, mental, and spiritual health of human beings.

Unfortunately, many people have used religion as an excuse for not seeking professional support when emotional or mental problems are at stake. They consider that God, in His omnipotence, will solve all their problems and supply all their needs. Of course He could! But He uses instruments to care for His children. To this end, there are areas of science and several professionals and specialists who can specifically address the conditions we suffer.

In the case of depression, the need for a therapist, psychologist, and even a psychiatrist is unquestionable. You may think: “Impossible! What a lack of faith! To go to an atheist psychologist and open up my life to them” or even “a psychiatrist is a doctor for crazy people, who prescribes addictive medicine, drugs! That’s not something for Christians!” Let me clarify two things: a psychologist is a professional specializing in human emotions, just as a cardiologist is a profound expert on the functioning of the heart. A psychiatrist is someone who knows the functioning of the brain with its chemical changes and variations. And the therapist, especially a Christian one, is a professional who is knowledgeable about the human sciences and health. If you don’t want to open your heart to a doctor who isn’t a Christian, look for one who is. There are Christian psychologists who seek to help their patients and respect the Christian perspective. It’s important to remember that none of the professionals mentioned will deal with your spiritual life, but with the specifics for which they are qualified.

Treatment and prevention

Today, there’s a range of treatments for depression, whether it’s fully natural treatment, herbal medicine, homeopathic, quantum, or the conventional treatment with allopathic medication, in addition to others. The choice of which path to take will depend on the beliefs and needs of each person. The most important factor, both in preventing and treating depression, is to be humble enough to recognize the need for help, having a mind open to change and healing.

A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health. There are very many more than we imagine who are sick mentally. Heart sickness makes many dyspeptics, for mental trouble has a paralyzing influence upon the digestive organs.

Mind, Character, and Personality vol. 1, p. 63

In this excerpt, Ellen White speaks of depression as a disease that directly affects the body, and that has its development in the mind. How can we doubt that it’s necessary to care for the mind? To take care of the emotions we feel, the thoughts we nurture, the energies that circulate through the body? We insist, once again, on the need to open our minds and ask for Divine help to look for a health professional who can help us in times of difficulties.

If you or someone you know are going through a difficult situation, ask God to give you the strength to seek professional help. Emotional suffering takes away your quality of life. Don’t let that happen. Ask God for a humble and wise heart to see your real need and seek help. Take hold of His promise:

“I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

Isaiah 41:13

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