By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
While working as a psychologist and counselor, I often heard doctors say depression was the common cold of mental disorders. They cited genetic, chemical, and environmental causes for depression and indicated that stress could trigger depression if a person inherited a genetic potential for the condition. Depression does run in families.
How Does the Spirit Of Depression Affect Us? The A-B-C Series on Ancestral Influences #depression #hope #encouragement Click To Tweet
We are indeed part of the Kingdom of God when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We are spiritually changed. However, we still have our personalities and are still Christians with emotional baggage. As we have seen many times, Christians can be depressed. We can renounce depression and ask the Lord to heal our emotional wounds.
Some forms of depression may be a consequence of sin, but not all depression. We can inherit a tendency for depression. The enemy can take advantage of this tendency and attack these families because they are more vulnerable to this condition. Remember, Satan uses lies, fear, and intimidation to kill, steal, and destroy. He works to get us to believe that we are spiritually weak and deserving of condemnation.
There are many stories in the Bible of men with deep faith who likely battled depression, including King David, Elijah, and Job. In Psalm 13:1-2, David writes: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Depression disrupts relationships. The enemy wants to keep us isolated from each other and God.
To exacerbate the situation, people who are depressed have difficulty concentrating and find it difficult to pray, worship, and read the Bible. Well-meaning friends and family may tell them they need to do these disciplines to combat depression. This advice adds to their feelings of worthlessness, condemnation, and failure.
Careless statements by other Christians have caused unnecessary suffering in Christians who have depression. One of our former pastors told the congregation that he used to advise people who said they were depressed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. He believed depression was a spiritual weakness and indicated that the person needed more faith and time spent praying and reading the Bible. He held that belief until he suffered from clinical depression for the first time in his fifties. He gave a public apology to the church and asked for forgiveness for hurting anyone with his previous advice.
The person with depression has added guilt when they condemn themselves because they cannot snap out of it. I was one of those people thirty years ago. I erroneously believed that I should not be depressed because I was a psychologist and should know how to snap out of the agitation and anxiety I experienced. I later realized that I probably allowed a spirit of pride to influence me when I held on to that belief.
I could not fathom how could I be depressed. I thought people who were depressed typically were fatigued, slept a lot, gained weight, and cried frequently. That was not me! At that time, I could not sleep more than three or four hours at night before waking up anxious and shaking. Anxiety overwhelmed me during the day causing problems with concentrating. A decreased desire to eat led to weight loss. I focused on trying to keep the intense anxiety at bay and did not realize I suffered from agitated depression.
I learned that symptoms of depression could include:
I felt ashamed when it became apparent that I qualified for a diagnosis of depression. No one in my family admitted to having depression. Mental conditions were not discussed. When I sought help, the doctor asked me if I would take insulin if I had diabetes. When said I would take it if that was the recommended treatment, he then asked why I was hesitant to take medication to treat depression. He then reminded me that, although I was not aware of anyone in my family who was formally diagnosed with depression, several members self-medicated with alcohol, drugs, and food as a way to cope and live with an undiagnosed mood disorder. This definitely was a spirit working in my bloodline.
I don’t know when depression first impacted my lineage, especially since this was never discussed. Admitting depression or any mental illness was considered shameful. Fortunately, medication for a season did alleviate my symptoms and helped me recover spiritually. Years later, I received inner healing prayer, and the Lord revealed more to me about the root of depression.
What thoughts do you have regarding the spirit of depression?
Be sure to share them in our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion.
We are all stronger when we learn from each other. Looking forward to your input.