|   Log In

Inspiration

How Do I Talk About My Depression?

Feelings of depression take on different forms. Sometimes we feel overwhelmingly down, but it is short-lived, for a day or two, perhaps caused by environmental or situational factors. I think this is a part of life for all of us.

The other form is the medical and mental health diagnosis of depression, which is often caused by some mixture of biological, environmental and psychological factors, and can require medical and/or professional treatment. It can affect us for seasons of life, or throughout life.

My guess is that nearly all of us have experienced the first kind—some form of depressed feelings.

The last time I experienced this, I was traveling on one of my speaking tours. Staying in hotels by myself is extremely lonely for me, and when the lighting in my room is dim, it becomes overwhelming. One day, I suddenly felt like I was going crazy…like I couldn’t function, was irrationally sad and lonely, and couldn’t focus on anything. Interestingly enough, that was caused by my environment—dim lighting and being alone.

For some odd reason, I felt so lethargic that I didn’t want to leave my room, even though I felt like it was making me crazy. Eventually I found the motivation to go work on my laptop at a coffee shop filled with people (so I wasn’t alone) and with good lighting (because that helps me). I felt better as long as I wasn’t in my room.

That was an example of a short-lived, environmentally caused feeling of depression. But I believe what I found applies to all forms of depression:

Depression wants to cut you off from the very thing that will help.

When depression is overwhelming, we often want to sink backward into ourselves and hide. We want to isolate ourselves, so we don’t have to talk about the feelings. Even if we are with people, we want to cover up the feelings of depression so no one knows.

But the very thing that will begin to help is sharing your struggle with someone you trust, and building honest relationships.

 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

 

Now let me clarify: Depression is NOT a sin. Sometimes well-meaning people say hurtful things like “Just trust in God more and you won’t feel depressed” or “If you feel depressed, you’re sinning.” Um, NOT TRUE. It’s just not that simple. Medical depression is actually an illness of the brain, and I think we all face feelings of depression from time to time.

However, the principle of James 5:16 applies here: When we share our struggles with a fellow brother or sister in Christ, and pray with them, it has healing power. It doesn’t take away your depression immediately, but it gives you strength and courage. Here’s what I mean.

When I struggled with an eating disorder, I found that just bringing it into the light of a trusted relationship broke a little bit of its hold on me. It didn’t make everything better immediately, but it gave me the courage and “support system” (a group of people who were encouraging me) to start down the road toward healing.

So how can you talk about your depression?

1. Find someone you trust to talk with. I would recommend an adult, simply because they have far more wisdom than our peers do, and they can help you figure out the best course of action to take. Some ideas: a parent or another one of your relatives, a friend’s parent, teacher, school counselor, doctor, pastor or youth leader.

It can be tempting to think, “Oh, it’s not a big enough deal. I don’t need to bother anyone.” That is not true! If you’re really struggling, then you need to share the struggle with someone. You are worth it!

2. Talk in a private place. Find a place where you feel comfortable and safe, not where everyone is going to overhear your conversation. You may need to schedule a time to meet with the adult in a safe place.

3. Try to describe what you’re feeling the best you can. Give examples of days when you’ve felt down, and the specific thoughts you’ve had. This will help the adult understand what’s going on.

4. Ask them if they have any suggestions. Maybe they know someone else you should talk with or have resources that can help. Maybe they can pray with you and encourage you.

5. If your depression is really bad, seek professional help. There may be medications that can help, or professional counseling. Those can be powerful ways of helping.

Remember: You are not alone!

Literally millions of people live with depression, and countless more face short periods of feeling depressed. Find someone to share the struggle with. You can do it!

Note: The information expressed in this article is not medical advice, nor it is professional counseling advice. Depression routinely requires medical or professional advice. Don’t hesitate to seek those things out.

Image: Lightstock | Image 1:27

POST A COMMENT

You must be logged in to post a comment.

7 Comments

  1. Keerthi

    Posted by Keerthi on June 4, 2017 at 20:16

    What if I don’t have anyone to talk to 🙁

  2. USGIRL95

    Posted by USGIRL95 on February 5, 2017 at 21:01

    What bout Bipolar?? depression is seirous biran illness, so is Bipolar, a lot of teens don’t tell their parents they ‘ve Bipolar or depression they end up killing overselves, its the voices inside their heads telling them to do it, they re giving into the voices, I’m a survivor or susdical attempts., its not a joke, ‘d like to see a subject on Bipolar!!!!! + Autism, ADHD, autistic people struggle finding a church that’s accepting of them,
    I don’t assume depression isn’t an issue, it is , an issue, friend of mine has it, can become really bad,. there people ”ve real bad panic attacks, that leads them to the ER, lets be friends with them., be long suffering them,

  3. ani9874

    Posted by ani9874 on April 10, 2016 at 16:03

    Okay, so you said to talk to tell someone. You mentioned parents or another relative, parents of friends, teacher, school counselor, doctor, pastor, or youth leader. I get a little scared on telling an adult about what I’m going through, fearing that my mom will find out. I’ve been talking to my older sister or friends instead (don’t worry, these friends are really reliable), and they seem to help. Does that work? Or is there a problem with talking to a fellow peer?

    (Great post, by the way! It’s still hard to explain exactly what I’m going through without spilling out too much!)

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by HisPrincessWarior on October 9, 2015 at 07:58

    THIS QUOTE RIGHT HERE:
    “Now let me clarify: Depression is NOT a sin. Sometimes well-meaning people say hurtful things like “Just trust in God more and you won’t feel depressed” or “If you feel depressed, you’re sinning.” Um, NOT TRUE. It’s just not that simple. Medical depression is actually an illness of the brain, and I think we all face feelings of depression from time to time.”
    I. COULD. HUG. YOU.
    THANK YOU.
    I haven’t even read the rest yet. 😉 It’s just that I have been in a church were the pastor preached that from the pulpit (or at least made it known that was HIS belief from the pulpit) and it is one of my pet peeves. Some ppl, sure; but most? NO! They CAN’T help it! So THANK YOU!

    • TiffanyDawn

      Posted by TiffanyDawn on October 28, 2015 at 12:39

      Oh, and I would hug you back! I know, I’ve heard that too, and it drives me crazy!

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by bulldog2016 on October 7, 2015 at 17:51

    Yes!! Talking to someone is super important! I myself suffer from what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, ironically) and I get feelings of depression right around this time of year that last all through winter. Mine is attributed to lack of natural vitamins from sunlight, because when it is cold I HATE being outside and my overall health suffers because of it.
    I’m able to manage it now because I know what it is and what’s causing it. But depression isn’t always seasonal, and it’s EXTREMELY important to talk to someone about your feelings because if you don’t, you’ll never get the help you need. Yours might be a simple fix due to an imbalance like mine, or yours might be much more severe and require therapy or medications. But I promise you, no matter how doubtful or anxious you feel about getting help, the people who truly want to help you will not judge you for asking for help.
    And remember, continue to PRAY every step of the way. God is a great listener, but sometimes it’s okay to admit you need people too.

    • TiffanyDawn

      Posted by TiffanyDawn on October 28, 2015 at 12:40

      Yes — thank you for sharing these thoughts! That is so true. And when we know it’s coming and can mentally prepare, in a case like SAD, it helps so much. We can have a plan of action!