In I kings 19, the story is told of a prophet named Elijah who upon achieving a victory for Yahweh found himself completely overwhelmed and exhausted. He reached a point of depression claiming to God to take his life. It is hard ti imagine someone becoming so discouraged after a successful endeavor. In verses 4-5 he prays:
“I have had enough, Lord, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Some, like Elijah, become depressed after they reach their goals and find that there is nothing left to live for. Others slip into a state of depression when hope for what has not been achieved is completely lost-
hope for a caring companion, hope for a successful career, hope for enough money to pay the bills, hope for a reconciled relationship, hope for relief from a stressful situation, or hope for the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream.
Regardless of how it comes about, depression can steal the life and/or joy out of a person.
If it is not addressed, the darkness of depression with its Gloom, confusion, and loneliness can hound the soul relentlessly.
In 2012, an estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This represented 6.9 percent of all U.S. adults.
While either medication or counseling can be used, a combination of both can often show more favorable results than if one or the other is used exclusively. In such instances, it’s apparent that more things might be a factor to investigate.
The process of recovery is built on facing the three important truths in order to achieve hope:
1) Acknowledge the pain of despair.
Loss is at times the emotional fortress that we bury our despair. Many struggle with the difficulty of accepting the pain of loss and become emotionally numb. They may blame themselves of the person or situation of what they lost. Identifying the exact nature of the loss and its pain and replacing it with acceptance is the very first step in recovery.
2) admitting the failure of misplaced hopes.
Here is the focal point if placing our hope in anything or anyone who cannot permanently satisfy. I call this being an emotional vampire of sucking the life out of anyone who we think can bring satisfaction only to be disappointed.
3) the dilemma of doubt.
Many times people lose hope that God cares about them. They stop reading their bible, going to church, praying, etc. their faith is overcome by their doubt in believing anything is possible for healing. So, they discount, disregard any notion of healthy thinking and revert to automatic negative thoughts. Pushing people, God, and every one else around us becomes the focal point.
1) seek professional help. We are to help and provide a context for developing healthy foundations for hope.
2)keep a journal. The exercise is what is called catharsis..a healthy way to write about losses and disappointments that are taking place in life.
3) eat wisely and exercise wisely.
It’s important to start out slow, keep it fun, and gradually work your way into whatever form you choose. Current research shows that regular exercise reduces the symptoms of depression. Also, eating a balanced and nutritious diet is just as important as exercise. Which is what God had asked Elijah to do at his lowest point.
The desire to pull away lies within all of us but there is hope.
But no matter how painfully taxing the path becomes, one can find in the pages that follow good reason to “take heart” (Jn. 16:33) and to believe that the best is yet ahead