In an earnest desire to help, Christians unwittingly have
done those things that torment rather than ease the
person suffering from depression. If we are to truly
help, we must be sensitive to the unique characteristics
of this painful condition, and learn not only what to do,
but what not to do when ministering to someone in
Helping people in depression requires an understanding of
what they are and are not able to do. Many Christians
believe that depression is sinful in that it denies the
hope and joy of the Lord in our lives. But depressed
people are not at fault for their condition; they truly
cannot help themselves.
In this lesson we will learn what not to do as well as
what to do to help those in depression. Because they
haven't the strength to believe for themselves, we must
have hope for them. Before inner healing can begin, we
must help to bring the depressed person into life again.
o Like one whom takes away a garment on a cold day, or
like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a
heavy heart Proverbs 25:20
Depression is a condition in which the personal spirit
has died to the capacity to function, in terms of its
ability to supply energy for life. Like turning the knob
of an extinguished pilot light, but nothing happens.
Depression is not a sign of weakness, a lack of faith,
something that we are at fault for, or the result of
Depression vs. Despondency
We all experience despondency from time to time. This is
not the same as true depression. The despondent person
knows that there are things that will help, i.e., music,
exercise, friends, etc. This person still has hope for
better times. He/she still has some confidence in self:
"I will be able to do it tomorrow." He/she is
only affected emotionally, and psychologically.
depressed person on the other hand knows that nothing
will help He/she knows that tomorrow will be as black as
today, who has lost hope. He/she knows that he/she cannot
be fixed. This person is affected chemically and
physically, as well as psychologically.
Some degree of chemical imbalance is common in true
depression. PDM's should not countermand prescribed
medication. If a client asks you if he/she should stop
taking his/her medication, simply tell him/her to
continue to go to his/her physician and as the physician
sees his/her improvement his/her doctor will decrease the
to recognize depression.
The client will tell you that he/she is depressed. You
are to believe Mm/her. His/her behavior will be a good
indication, withdrawal, general listlessness, the
inability to take teasing, handle pressure of any kind,
any challenge, criticism, or workloads.
His/her appearance will be an indication as well i.e.,
eyes dull and lack life, and hair has no luster,
Many of the things we can say or do to help a despondent
person should not be done for one who is depressed. Don't
tell them to cheer up, or get over it. Parties and
celebrations will do more to depress Mm/her than to make
them feel better. Suggesting that he/she go to a comedy,
ballgame, or concert will tend to re-enforce how bad off
he/she really is. Because he/she won't be moved to
laughter or excitement, and as he/she watches, everyone
else having fun, he/she will slip deeper into depression,
knowing that something is dreadfully wrong with him/her.
Trying to build his/her faith and understanding by
preaching or teaching, giving advice (self-help books,
diets, exercises, or time management tips) taking them to
prayer meetings, worship services, or asking him/her to
begin private devotionals will make things worse
according to Elijah House leaders. They also do not
recommend deliverance from "Spirits of
depression" healing memories, or digging at roots of
following is a list of don'ts for one on one ministering:
o Don't visit for long periods of time
o Don't smile too much
o Don't stand while the other sits
o Don't invade personal space
o Don't minister in close quarters
o Don't be humble about ability to help
o Don't let them measure success or failure by sign's or
o Don't pray "If it be Thy will" healing is
o Don't pray for long periods of time, and don't hand
them back to God because they will feel abandoned.
o Don't say "you can or I can show you how,"
o Don't lay hands on head
o Don't ask person to make a decision about the next
appointment, simply say I want to see you next...
what can we do?
o Commiserate; weep with them Romans 12:15
o Identify by sharing words that give a picture of where
They are i.e., I understand that things look black, I
understand that you have no energy, I realize that you
can't stand people, you feel guilty, everyone says cheer
up, you feel as though it's impossible, you feel like
tomorrow will be as black as today, etc.
Express confidence. Tell them that you know exactly what
to do and that "You will be healed." Luke 5:17
"You don't have to have faith." Romans 3:3
o Pray simply and vividly. Rekindle the "pilot
light" of their spirit (see the prayer)
o Make specific dates to meet them. Always keep
o Note changes, affirm, and compliment. Encourage them to
begin to do things they like.
o Maintain relationship, and don't judge what you hear.
Only then, is it time to begin to get to the root causes
of their depression. Root causes of depression are:
o Performance Orientation Failure to "earn"
love via performance will lead to discouragement and
ultimately to depression.
o Hidden guilt and fear
o Inability to forgive self, and others
o Childhood wounds, repressed or forgotten. Deprivation
of affection, early loss by divorce or separation,
abandonment, adoption, or death.
o Judgments, and angers
o Prenatal, and birth trauma. Being a "replacement
o Loss of job, retirement, drastic changes
o Death of mate or divorce
o Physical/psychic trauma such as postpartum experience,
loss of limb, or hysterectomy.
o Sustained travel, or chemical imbalance
Recommended reading Healing the Wounded Spirit: chapter 7
does depression look like?
What does depression look like? It has many faces but in
my case it looked like a young mother at home with a
little one in tow: I had begun married life in a state of
exhaustion from overwork in college and graduate school;
six months after the wedding (without having really
recovered) I became pregnant; and then, shortly after she
was born, my daughter developed diarrhea-excuse me,
I was so tired, I just moved her from diaper to diaper- I
didn't even bother pinning them. I had so little
strength, I had to rest after each load of wash.! had to
test three times while vacuuming our 10 x 10 living room
I recall one summer day when the sky was a brilliant blue
and miles deep..The sun was glorious, and the birds were
singing as though they were trying to develop laryngitis!
All around me, life was bursting at the seams: children
were shrieking with laughter in the back yard; the garden
looked like the Burpee Catalog cover; the house was a
showcase. I was standing at the sink doing dishes. But
none of the joy of life touched me. Even breathing was a
chore. I was shrouded in blackness; there was no hope. No
one could really see me or sense that I was dying inside.
My family didn't know anything was wrong so long as their
needs were being met. But no one was meeting mine. I just
wanted to be held and loved. Even my minister-husband
didn't or couldn't see
that my spirit was starving. I felt that life was going
to go on like this forever. I didn't know if I could last
until the children were old enough to fend for
them-selves. I wasn't even sure I wanted to.
I saw my spirit as a large vaulted cavern. On a table in
the center of this chamber sat the dynamo that energized
my spirit, but it wasn't moving at all Everything was
darkness, and utter silence. Shouting would have been
useless-no one knew where this cavern was,
God didn't or wouldn't answer.
I saw myself in a deep trench with walls so high; the sun
couldn't shine in. I was chilled and shivering. But no
one knew the trench was there, and no one came looking
for me. I had totally exhausted myself trying to get out.
I just curled up in a comet and thought about dying,
slowly, painfully, and all alone.
What does depression feel like? A time came when I knew
that if I willed it, I could die. My body lay beside a
castle moat. The drawbridge was being lowered, link by
link-heavy chains, massive planks of oak, thick iron
straps holding the planks together. I lay there
motionless and watched it come, doses and closer. If I
didn't move, it would crush me. Morally, I couldn't
justify suicide, but if death came I wouldn't fight it.
Suddenly, an impulse-whether from within or without I
don't know, but somehow I moaned, rolled to one side and
cried out, "0 God, I have seen so much of hell; show
me as much of yourself' Instantly, the drawbridge
disappeared and I saw Jesus coming to me on a beam of
Another time, I saw a path coming down from a little
Greek village, leading to a city. I was probably 8 or 9
years old, flattened up against the Wall. My father came
striding down the path. dressed in full battle gear. He
didn't look at me; his eyes were fixed straight ahead,
his jaw set. Somehow, I knew he was going to battle
because of something I had done. I knew he would return,
but the cost would be enormous. I also knew he didn't
think twice about fighting for me, because I was precious
to him. After this vision, I could no longer hold on to
the deep feeling that God had abandoned me.
In a third vision, the Lord assured me that he always
battles for me. I saw him as a warrior-his face like
flint, but love in his eyes. He wore a plumed Greek
helmet. Nothing was said, but l knew in that moment that
when he bares his strong right arm on my behalf, he will
not draw it back. I know that I know that I know he is
there to catch me when I fall.
Yes, Jesus saved me front the darkness, but it still took
some time to get really free. The Lord brought two good
doctors into my life who, over a period of three years.
put my body back together by restoring vital minerals and
vitamins, which also helped to reverse my emotional
Defeating depression is an ongoing process. Some-times it
will come up from behind and lean on me like an old
friend, inviting me to indulge. I have to make choices,
to know my limits. I still need to take vitamins; I have
to exercise; I have to be careful not to run up a sleep
deficit. My husband and I have to nurture each other-to
tend the garden of each other's spirit. But the Lord is
moment by moment his eternal covenant of love for me.
Psalm 44:24-26 NAS - Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and
forget our affliction and our oppression? For Our soul
has sunk down into the dust, our body cleaves to the
earth. Rise up, be our help.
Psalm 88:1-8 -0 Lord, the God who saves me, day and night
I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn
your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my
life draws near the grave. I am counted among those who
go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I
am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the
grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from
your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the
darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have
overwhelmed me with all your waves. You have taken from
me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape.
Proverbs 25:20 - Like one who takes away a garment on a
cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who
sings songs to a heavy heart.
Lamentations 3:6-9 - He has made me dwell in
darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I
cannot escape; he has weighed me down With
chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts
out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked,
Luke 5:17-20 - One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and
teachers of the law, who had come from every village of
Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there.
And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the
sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and
tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus
. . Jesus seeing their faith, he said, "Friend, your
sins are forgiven."
Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with
those who mourn.
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Last Updated Tuesday June7, 2011. 22:09:35