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Old 03-21-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
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Waffles93 HB User
Religious and Depressed

I consider myself a strong Christian, having been raised in church and embracing the faith in my daily life. I pray several times a day, read the Bible regularly, and try to be active in my church. I am having a lot of trouble with understanding how I can be a good Christian and be so deeply depressed. I also feel that my negative and antisocial thoughts are certainly not Christlike. However, when I am in good spirits I feel that I can be a loving, compassionate person. I don't know if I'm being punished for something, if I'm being tested, or if I somehow have strayed from God's will.

 
Old 03-21-2007, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: Religious and Depressed

I have a friend (nope not moi) who is in the same position that you are in except that she is bipolar. She has so much stress and she prays very much for wisdom and guidance. She too has asked if she is being punished for something. It is hard for me to say either she is or isn't because well I am not God as I am sure you can see. Anyway one day she says to me totally out of the blue that maybe it isn't about being tested or lack of faith or to see if her faith is strong enough but maybe so that she can help others who are in the same situation. I thought it was a good way of looking at it. That her trials and hard times would help her to be compassionate and helpful perhaps to those who might not have someone to talk to that understands how they feel. Maybe it is something like that for you? I don't know but it is a thought. I do know that we are here for a reason even if we can't always see it. So maybe it is a part of it though it hurts to go through it. And somehow I think that you can be deeply spiritual or religious and still be depressed. Depression for some is a chemical thing (bipolar as well and that is kind of what i am aiming at) rather then making God angry. That's just kind of how I have seen it with others and myself. I hope it helps you in some way.

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Old 03-21-2007, 06:35 PM   #3
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Re: Religious and Depressed

It sounds like some of your depression might be coming from being depressed. That is, you are getting depressed about being depressed which is compounding the problem. You are only human, and humans can get depressed for any number of reasons. It has nothing to do with being Christian, or any religion for that matter. It has to do with being human. If you acknowledge that now and then people get depressed, now and then we get angry, sad, jealous, tired, worried, scared, anxious....then it's ok. Give yourself the freedom to feel these emotions; don't block them or view them as bad. If, with that attitude, depression remains, then at least it's depression and not depression about being depressed. Then you can take steps to address that real depression. Make sense?

 
Old 03-21-2007, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: Religious and Depressed

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Originally Posted by firenice View Post
It sounds like some of your depression might be coming from being depressed. That is, you are getting depressed about being depressed which is compounding the problem. You are only human, and humans can get depressed for any number of reasons. It has nothing to do with being Christian, or any religion for that matter. It has to do with being human. If you acknowledge that now and then people get depressed, now and then we get angry, sad, jealous, tired, worried, scared, anxious....then it's ok. Give yourself the freedom to feel these emotions; don't block them or view them as bad. If, with that attitude, depression remains, then at least it's depression and not depression about being depressed. Then you can take steps to address that real depression. Make sense?
I think you might be right about me being depressed about being depressed. I always feel that I have to qualify all of my thoughts and behavior as positive/negative, good/bad, holy/evil. It's still very difficult for me to accept who I am, because I am extremely frustrated with my condition.

 
Old 03-21-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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Re: Religious and Depressed

i too used to wonder how i can be the way i am and a christian too. of course i blamed it on lack of faith and all that other stuff. i decided that this is the way i am and God loves me anyway. we all have crosses to bear and this condition is one of mine. there is a hereditary component in my family and i am one of the lucky ones that got this. i believe that the hardships i have gone through have made me a more able to empathise with others who are going through the same things. so God bless and keep the faith.

 
Old 03-21-2007, 10:33 PM   #6
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wholegrain HB User
Re: Religious and Depressed

Christians get colds, strokes, broken limbs, panic attacks, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes...why isn't it also okay for them to get depression?

 
Old 03-22-2007, 12:40 AM   #7
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Re: Religious and Depressed

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Originally Posted by wholegrain View Post
Christians get colds, strokes, broken limbs, panic attacks, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes...why isn't it also okay for them to get depression?
Your point is well-taken, Wholegrain!
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:59 AM   #8
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firenice HB User
Re: Religious and Depressed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waffles93 View Post
I think you might be right about me being depressed about being depressed. I always feel that I have to qualify all of my thoughts and behavior as positive/negative, good/bad, holy/evil. It's still very difficult for me to accept who I am, because I am extremely frustrated with my condition.
You "have to" qualify your thoughts? - Or is it that you are choosing to. The choice may be subconscious and automatic but I do believe it is much more a choice than a coercion. And is it really something you "always" do? Every moment of every day? Is there not some time during some day when you forget your condition? Your use of "have to" and "always" suggests that your thinking is classic cognitively irrational. I would suggest you do a net search on cognitive behavior therapy and rational emotive therapy and read up a bit on it. It's a very effective approach to deal with depression. There is plenty of free information on the net and some good books are available.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 05:02 AM   #9
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Re: Religious and Depressed

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Originally Posted by marian100 View Post
i believe that the hardships i have gone through have made me a more able to empathise with others who are going through the same things. so God bless and keep the faith.
hi waffles,

i don't believe in an angry God! i used to, but don't anymore. i wasn't even religious until this depression got so bad that i thought i had nowhere else to turn to anymore. anyway, i truly believe what marian said (quoted above). also, emeraldeyes' story got my attention, and it's pretty much what i'm going to say as well.

we all have hardships. why? because we're not perfect--nobody is, are we? we don't like the pain these hardships come with, i mean, who in the world likes pain? and we ask God to take it away, and we pray and we cry, and we pray some more (think of "the son of God" who prayed to have his "cup" taken away, but it didn't happen). but, like marian said, i think God allows us to go through these trials to learn something about this world of ours (a world that has much more than its share of suffering and brokenness), so that by learning, we may then grow wiser, more mature, and go out there and hopefully help others in need--those just like us...maybe be more compassionate towards them when there is nobody around to show them compassion, more understanding when nobody understands, more "healing" when it seems nobody can heal....

please don't think you've done any more wrong than the person next door, or are paying for something, etc. we are all an this planet to learn something, however, it's not neccessarily by sitting in a classroom, or by hitting the jack-pot where the learning REALLY happens. someone said that out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, and that the most massive characters are seared with scars.

we're all in it together, waffles.
may you be blessed!
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:45 AM   #10
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Re: Religious and Depressed

Hi Waffles, this is a very interesting subject to me. I know and have known many very religious people who haven't gotten the proper psychological help that they need in order to get beyond their mental and emotional issues. It seems to me that they feel that God should take care of everything and this is all that they need. I really disagree with this. If you have mental and emotional issues you need the correct interventions not just prayer. Why wouldn't God want us to help each other? If some of us on God's earth have figured out how the God given mind and emotions work then I am sure that God would want these folks to help others. It is the same with other medical care. There are not many Christians who refuse medical care and just pray so why don't these same Christians receive proper psychological care.

 
Old 03-22-2007, 05:30 PM   #11
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Re: Religious and Depressed

Hi Waffles,
I think all the other posters have made some really really good points, I agree with all of them!
Talking about suffering and religion is a big big topic.......tough one to understand.
But it is true that just because you are a Christian, does not unfortunately exempt you from pain, whether its physical or mental. Pain is for humans as someone said.
Can I share something from my experience....
My family and I have always went to church, we used to go regularly, not anymore, we have just fallen off the path so to speak.
Anyways though, about 6 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time....the night of her surgery she was at home resting, and I was sitting beside her on her bed. At that point in time, we were getting ready for her to start radiation treatments, medication, etc. My uncle also at the time was dying of a brain tumor (he did pass away right after my moms radiation). Also, my aunt in New Zealand was going through lung cancer and an uncle in England had throat cancer. (we've had even more of this happen since this story, but I wont go on about that). Anyways, suffice to say, I was sitting on the bed, just wondering why on earth this was happening and why God was allowing it to happen. We were good decent people, we went to church, we loved each other, why all this suffering? My mom also suffers from severe depression.
I happened to look over to the night table and my dad's bible was sitting there...not sure why at that minute I picked it up but I opened it and there was this pamphlet in it with some bible verses. (wish I could remember them right now). It talked about why people suffer.....and although we struggle to understand it, the bible says it's because you are "chosen" to go through struggles as a way of bringing others to God. if you think about it, when people get ill, alot of times they and their loved ones will start to pray and look to God for help. I know it may seem hard to understand but I think I do get this. It is as if you are meant to be an example of how to deal with hardship while being an example of God. It also talks of Jesus and how he suffered also for the benefit of others......so in our human way, we all suffer......and through that, although its so hard, we do in fact bring help to others, whether it's spiritually or even just by what we're doing here, helping each other.......Look how many people are being helped here and look at how much goodness is shared on this board by people who are opening their hearts to each other. That is after all a true nature of Christianity is loving your brothers and sisters.... I really believe that pamphlet was just there for me that day just for me to understand this....
Please dont question yourself or your spirituality because you are depressed. Instead, I'm sure God would want you to use your personal experience to reach out to others and offer them comfort. And at the same time, dont be afraid to reach out yourself.

God bless,
Carsam

 
Old 03-23-2007, 10:21 AM   #12
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Re: Religious and Depressed

I am also going through depression/anxiety and a Christian. I have low self esteem so I felt like I deserved all of it and didn't even want to help myself at times. Finally I just got tired of it and decided to do something about it. I see a counselor at my school (I'm in college) and also take Cymbalta. I feel a lot better so far but I'm still working on it. One thing that REALLY helped me a lot is a book that my mom recommended to me. She was going through similar things. It's "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen. I don't know if you have seen him on TV or heard of him. The book really puts things in a new perspective and I always feel better after reading some of it. I'm about 1/3 of the way through. It gives you a way to look at life and make you know you deserve good things and why God wants you to have those good things. You should look into it.. it's actually been more helpful to me than seeing a counselor!

 
Old 03-23-2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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Re: Religious and Depressed

Quote:
Originally Posted by tUrRrRa View Post
"Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen. The book really puts things in a new perspective and I always feel better after reading some of it. ... It gives you a way to look at life and make you know you deserve good things and why God wants you to have those good things. You should look into it.. it's actually been more helpful to me than seeing a counselor!
hi turra,
i've also read that book and found it very, very good! he's very motivational!! just found out he's going to tour the uk soon....osteen, that is...

have a good one!
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:45 AM   #14
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Re: Religious and Depressed

Interesting topic, it really hits home. I had a bad depression spell that lasted most of 2006. I went to a church near work and prayed every morning, but my prayers went unanswered. Recently my therapist and I talked about this. He said I should try going back to church, and I said I felt God had abandoned and betrayed me when I needed Him most. For me to go to church would feel like I asked my best friend for a dollar when I was starving and they turned me away empty handed. The ultimate betrayal.

I'm trying to take my therapist's advice by getting back into church slowly. I've gone once or twice, but not regularly. I'm also trying to read some Christian books.

Deep down I know it was depression and not God abandoning me. It's taking me time to rebuild my trust in God, but I'm trying.

 
Old 03-24-2007, 08:30 AM   #15
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Re: Religious and Depressed

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Originally Posted by MariaBB View Post
I went to a church near work and prayed every morning, but my prayers went unanswered.
Maria, you found a good, helpful therapist and you found this website. Couldn't this be your prayers being answered? I don't think that God just solves your problems for you. I think that you can be led to solving the problems for yourself. I also feel that other people are always involved.

Last edited by Sannah; 03-24-2007 at 08:32 AM.

 
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