While holidays are intended to be a fun and special time to get together and celebrate with family and friends, sometimes they can be stressful and depressing for many.
Holidays are often moments to gather. However, loneliness, lack of hope, and sadness are part of the season as well, even if you are a follower of Christ. These negative emotions such as sadness, irritability, fear, anxiety, and worry are becoming a normal way of living for many. Experiencing a prolonged state of sadness and loneliness may signal depression.
Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by the presence of sadness. It brings loss of interest in doing what we usually enjoy, loss of pleasure, feelings of guilt or lack of self-esteem, sleep or appetite disorders, feelings of fatigue and lack of concentration. Also, it affects physical health, such as unexplained tiredness, increased frustration, and even back pain or stomach cramps. If left untreated, it increases the risk of alcoholism, domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
As a man, Jesus experienced all the feelings we experience. However, there is no documentation that he was ever depressed. He did feel lonely, but always remembered that His Father was by His side. In John 16:32 He said, “See that the hour is coming, and it is already here, when you will be scattered, and each one will go to his own house and they will leave me alone. However, I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Jesus recognized that the root of his feelings was the difficult situation he was facing.
This suggests that we should get honest about the negative feelings and emotions contributing to our depression. In order to heal both our mental and physical hurt, it’s essential to identify its roots. Some roots of depression may be:
- Mind: thoughts or lies of the enemy that cause us to take offense and believe we’re being rejected
- Heart: feelings of bitterness and resentment, disappointment in others or ourselves
- Actions: situations of anger or fights, insults, perceptions of how others should have acted
- Behavior: self-pity, self-compassion, unforgiveness
Your auto-evaluation is key, and don’t be afraid to look for professional help. Start by asking yourself about the state of your mind and heart, as this will inform the state of your actions and behavior. Some outcomes could be that you are struggling to forgive someone who hurt you, or to forgive yourself, or you are still angry or disappointed about something or someone.
Consider this equation: Rejection + Bitterness + Commiseration = Depression
There are ways to heal from depression. Here are some ideas:
- Always seek God’s help. Ephesians 5: 19-20 “Encourage one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and praise the Lord with your heart, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of Jesus Christ”.
- Choose who you spend time with. Deut. 20: 8 “If any of you is fearful or cowardly, let him return home, lest he also discourage his brothers.”
- Seek help and company of people with wisdom. Church is one strong option.
- Seek opportunities to help others, at church and in the community. Aim to serve without asking to be served.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is something integral to Christians; as believers we are supposed to forgive each other as God forgives us.
It can be very hard to put forth the effort to move on. However, if you stop fighting with yourself and others and focus on listening to the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit telling you how wonderful you are and how much God loves you, it will make a great difference.