Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression.

 Disclaimer:  As a pastoral counselor, I am not licensed by the state of California. I have been specially trained to understand and treat mental, emotional, and relational problems. I embrace a Christian worldview and my technique and interventions involve practices consistent with a spiritual perspective. The information below is presented as suggestions for dealing with depression, and are not meant to properly diagnose or treat depression.

 NOTICE: INDIVIDUALS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP FROM A MEDICAL PRACTIONER AND OR A QUALIFIED THERAPIST.

IF YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING TAKING YOUR OWN LIFE, YOU ARE URGED TO SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.




In the article below you will read that in order to demolish a stronghold of depression cognitively, seven steps have been outlined: 1. Focus on the facts, not on the feelings; 2. Stop comparing; 3. Take responsibility; 4. Verify assumptions; 5. Take care of physical needs; 6. Talk out frustrations; 7. Reprogram thinking with the truth.  These steps are fully explained in the article below.

I would like to jump to the bottom line and in a couple of paragraphs give you some suggestions for dealing with depression. Everyone gets depressed from time to time. There is a tool called the Beck Inventory that is a self-administered test to assess your mood. There are no right or wrong answers, just how you are feeling when you make the inventory. Take the inventory now if you’re feeling depressed. Simply circle the number in front of the statement that best describes how you are feeling right now.

            1.   0    I do not feel sad.
                  1    I feel sad.
                  2    I am sad all the time and I cannot snap out of it.
                  3    I am so sad or unhappy that I can’t stand it.

            2.   0    I am not particularly discouraged about the future.
                  1    I feel discouraged about the future.
                  2    I feel I have nothing to look forward to.
                  3    I feel that the future is hopeless and that things cannot improve.

            3.   0    I do not feel like a failure.
                  1    I feel I have failed more than the average person.
                  2    As I look back on my life, all I can see is a lot of failures.
                  3   I feel I am a complete failure as a person.

            4.   0    I get as much satisfaction out of things as I used to.
                  1    I don't enjoy things the way I used to.
                  2    I don't get real satisfaction out of anything anymore.
                  3    I am dissatisfied or bored with everything.

            5.   0    I don't feel particularly guilty.
                  1    I feel guilty a good part of the time.
                  2    I feel quite guilty most of the time.
      3    I feel guilty all of the time.

            6.   0    I don't feel I am being punished.
                  1    I feel I may be punished.
                  2    I expect to be punished.
                  3    I feel I am being punished.

            7.   0    I don't feel disappointed in myself.
                  1    I am disappointed in myself.
                  2    I am disgusted with myself.
                  3    I hate myself.

8.   0    I don't feel I am worse than anybody else.
                  1    I am critical of myself for my weaknesses or mistakes.
                  2    I blame myself all the time for my faults.
                  3    I blame myself for everything bad that happens.

            9.   0    I don't have any thoughts of killing myself.
                  1    I have thoughts of killing myself, but I would not carry them out.
                  2    I would like to kill myself.
                  3    I would kill myself if I had the chance.

            10. 0    I don't cry any more than usual.
                  1    I cry more now than I used to.
                  2    I cry all the time now.
                  3    I used to be able to cry, but now I can't even cry even though I want to.

            11. 0    I am no more irritated by things than I ever am.
                  1    I am slightly more irritated now than usual.
                  2    I am quite annoyed or irritated a good deal of the time.
                  3    I feel irritated all the time now.

            12. 0    I have not lost interest in other people.
                  1    I am less interested in other people than I used to be.
                  2    I have lost most of my interest in other people.
                  3    I have lost all of my interest in other people.

            13. 0    I make decisions about as well as I ever could.
                  1    I put off making decisions more than I used to.
                  2    I have greater difficulty in making decisions than before.
                  3    I can't make decisions at all anymore.

            14. 0    I don't feel that I look any worse than I used to.
                  1    I am worried that I am looking old or unattractive.
            2    I feel that there are permanent changes in my appearance that make me look unattractive.
                  3    I believe that I look ugly.

            15. 0    I can work about as well as before.
                  1    It takes an extra effort to get started at doing something.
                  2    I have to push myself very hard to do anything.
                  3    I can't do any work at all.

            16. 0    I can sleep as well as usual.
                  1    I don't sleep as well as I used to.
            2    I wake up 1-2 hours earlier than usual and find it hard to get back to sleep.
            3    I wake up several hours earlier than I used to and cannot get back to sleep.

            17. 0    I don't get tired more than usual.
                  1    I get tired more easily than I used to.
                  2    I get tired from doing almost anything.
                  3    I am too tired to do anything.

            18. 0    My appetite is no worse than usual.
                  1    My appetite is not as good as it used to be.
                  2    My appetite is much worse now.
                  3    I have no appetite at all anymore.

            19. 0    I haven't lost much weight, if any, lately.
                  1    I have lost more than five pounds.
                  2    I have lost more than ten pounds.
                  3    I have lost more than fifteen pounds.

20. 0   I am no more worried about my health than usual.
            1   I am worried about physical problems such as aches or pains, or upset stomach, or constipation.
            2    I am very worried about physical problems and it's hard to think of much else.
            3    I am so worried about my physical problems that I cannot think about anything else.

            21. 0    I have not noticed any recent change in my interest in sex.
                  1    I am less interested in sex than I used to be.
                  2    I am much less interested in sex now.
                  3    I have lost interest in sex completely.

Having circled the number in front of the statement that best describes the mood you are in at present, total those numbers. A score of ten or above is an indication of being depressed. A score of forty or more, you need help. Don’t try to deal with your depression on your own.



If you determine that you are depressed, as you are waiting for your medical practitioner's appointment, follow “Prescription for Depression” (I do not know to whom to credit this Prescription). The selected readings from the Psalms are purposely chosen to assist you in understanding your current situation from a “heavenly” perspective. I suggest that you read these Psalms in a version/translation of the Bible that you are most comfortable with. Four times a day you are to read two of the selected Psalms. Don’t skip. Take your time, it’s not a race, you want to soak your thoughts with the situations the writer finds himself in, his feelings, his faith and his hope.

Read Psalms
Breakfast         Lunch              Supper             Before Bed
Day 1                          6 & 13             18 & 23           25 & 27           31 & 32
Day 2                          34 & 37           38 & 39           40 & 42           43 & 46
Day 3                          51 & 55           57 & 62           63 & 69           71 & 73
Day 4                          77 & 84           86 & 90          91 & 94          95 & 103
Day 5                          104&107         110&116         118&121         123&124
Day 6                          130&138         139&141         142&143         146&147

Use the Beck Inventory so that you can track your mood.

Follow the “Prescription for Depression” then reassess your mood by taking another Beck Inventory.

The third exercise to call to your attention is from the seventh step “Reprogram Your Thinking With The Truth.” This involves acquiring new core beliefs specifically concerning one’s self. Dr. Neil T. Anderson asserts that one’s self-identity is vital for emotional and spiritual well-being. (Anderson, N., 1990). Anderson has created a list of identity statements based on scripture that are true for every believer entitled “Who I Am In Christ.” Read aloud these statements at least once a day as you wait for your doctor/therapist appointment. You will discover that God has a higher opinion of you than you have of yourself, adopting these truths about yourself may have a positive effect on your mood.
Who I Am in Christ
I Am Accepted
John 1:12               I am God’s child.
John 15:15             I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1           I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17            I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 6:20            I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Cor. 12:27          I am a member of Christ’s Body.
Ephesians1:1         I am a saint.
Ephesians1:5         I have been adopted as God’s child.
Ephesians2:18       I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:14               I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Col. 2:10               I am complete in Christ.
I Am Secure
Romans 8:1-2        I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28         I am assured that all things work together for good.
Romans 8:31-34    I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35-39    I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor. 1:21-22       I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Phil. 1:6                 I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected.
Phil. 3:20               I am a citizen of heaven.
Col. 3:3                 I am hidden with Christ in God.
2 Tim. 1:7              I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Hebrews 4:16        I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18            I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I Am Significant
Matthew 5:13-14  I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1, 5           I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
John 15:16             I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8                 I am a personal witness of Christ.
1 Cor. 3:16            I am God’s temple.
2 Cor. 5:17-21       I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Cor. 6:1              I am God’s coworker (see 1 Cor. 3:9).
Ephesians2:6         I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians2:10       I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians3:12       I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Phil. 4:13               I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

You don’t have to live with depression. You can overcome it. You can demolish it. Your current situation will change. You can get free. The above-mentioned exercises can elevate your mood. If they do not alleviate your depression please get professional help with your situation.


Demolishing Strongholds of Depression

Depression like anxiety is multifaceted. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) depression is referred to as a mood disorder. Diagnoses for depression come in four general categories: Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
A major depressive disorder is a disabling episode of depression where the individual is noticeably not interacting as expected in one’s environment. Severe incidents of the major depressive disorder are often popularly associated with what is commonly called a “nervous breakdown.” An individual has great difficulty functioning, he or she has difficulty even getting out of bed. Less severe incidences are accompanied by fatigue, a disruption in one’s sleep pattern, lack of concentration, diminished interest or pleasure from various activities, fluctuating body weight (5% a month), and a melancholy that is pessimistic. One’s self-ideation is critical and criticizing, fostering a sense of worthlessness or inadequacy. Often such ideation is accompanied by suicidal thoughts. It is quite ordinary for a person to experience a major depressive episode in response to a loss.
            A dysthymic disorder involves all the same symptoms of a major depressive episode with the exception that these symptoms are long-term and are debilitating not disabling. By long-term, it is meant that one is dealing with “the blues” more days than not over a two-year period. Feelings of guilt, irritability, anger, brooding, a loss of joy and pleasure that decreases productivity or effectiveness are one’s constant companion.
            Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. A person is suffering from a major depression (let us suggest one week in duration) and gradually mood is elevated into a manic stage (again hypothetically lasting one week) followed by a sinking back down into a depressive episode. A manic episode is the polar opposite of a depressive episode. Grandiosity, euphoria and decreased need for sleep are symptomatic for the “happy” manic. The dark side of a manic episode involves irritability, hostile comments, and angry outbursts. A person that is manic is excessive. At the apex of the depressive and manic cycle, a person is prevented from “normal” functionality.
When a depression does not fit in one of the previous three categories or the because of inadequate or confusing information concerning the depression it is diagnosed as Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. There are specifiers that accompany this diagnosis, for example, postpartum depression or seasonal depression that describe the character of the depression or the suspected cause of the depression.
The Prophet Elijah experienced a major depressive episode. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. "I have had enough, Lord," he prayed. "Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors" (1 Kings 19:4 (NCV). It is estimated that between 35-40 million Americans will suffer from a major depressive episode sometime in their lives (Strock, 1994). Christians are not exempt.
Dr. Aaron Beck developed a self-test that indicates an individual’s present experience of depressed mood (Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock & Erbaugh, 1961). The self-test requires that an individual circle the number next to the statement that best describes the way he or she feels at the present moment for each of the 21 sets of statements.

            1.   0    I do not feel sad.
                  1    I feel sad.
                  2    I am sad all the time and I cannot snap out of it.
                  3    I am so sad or unhappy that I can’t stand it.

            2.   0    I am not particularly discouraged about the future.
                  1    I feel discouraged about the future.
                  2    I feel I have nothing to look forward to.
                  3    I feel that the future is hopeless and that things cannot improve.

            3.   0    I do not feel like a failure.
                  1    I feel I have failed more than the average person.
                  2    As I look back on my life, all I can see is a lot of failures.
                  3   I feel I am a complete failure as a person.

            4.   0    I get as much satisfaction out of things as I used to.
                  1    I don't enjoy things the way I used to.
                  2    I don't get real satisfaction out of anything anymore.
                  3    I am dissatisfied or bored with everything.

            5.   0    I don't feel particularly guilty.
                  1    I feel guilty a good part of the time.
                  2    I feel quite guilty most of the time.
      3    I feel guilty all of the time.

            6.   0    I don't feel I am being punished.
                  1    I feel I may be punished.
                  2    I expect to be punished.
                  3    I feel I am being punished.

            7.   0    I don't feel disappointed in myself.
                  1    I am disappointed in myself.
                  2    I am disgusted with myself.
                  3    I hate myself.

8.   0    I don't feel I am worse than anybody else.
                  1    I am critical of myself for my weaknesses or mistakes.
                  2    I blame myself all the time for my faults.
                  3    I blame myself for everything bad that happens.

            9.   0    I don't have any thoughts of killing myself.
                  1    I have thoughts of killing myself, but I would not carry them out.
                  2    I would like to kill myself.
                  3    I would kill myself if I had the chance.

            10. 0    I don't cry any more than usual.
                  1    I cry more now than I used to.
                  2    I cry all the time now.
                  3    I used to be able to cry, but now I can't even cry even though I want to.

            11. 0    I am no more irritated by things than I ever am.
                  1    I am slightly more irritated now than usual.
                  2    I am quite annoyed or irritated a good deal of the time.
                  3    I feel irritated all the time now.

            12. 0    I have not lost interest in other people.
                  1    I am less interested in other people than I used to be.
                  2    I have lost most of my interest in other people.
                  3    I have lost all of my interest in other people.

            13. 0    I make decisions about as well as I ever could.
                  1    I put off making decisions more than I used to.
                  2    I have greater difficulty in making decisions than before.
                  3    I can't make decisions at all anymore.

            14. 0    I don't feel that I look any worse than I used to.
                  1    I am worried that I am looking old or unattractive.
            2    I feel that there are permanent changes in my appearance that make me look unattractive.
                  3    I believe that I look ugly.

            15. 0    I can work about as well as before.
                  1    It takes an extra effort to get started at doing something.
                  2    I have to push myself very hard to do anything.
                  3    I can't do any work at all.

            16. 0    I can sleep as well as usual.
                  1    I don't sleep as well as I used to.
            2    I wake up 1-2 hours earlier than usual and find it hard to get back to sleep.
            3    I wake up several hours earlier than I used to and cannot get back to sleep.

            17. 0    I don't get tired more than usual.
                  1    I get tired more easily than I used to.
                  2    I get tired from doing almost anything.
                  3    I am too tired to do anything.

            18. 0    My appetite is no worse than usual.
                  1    My appetite is not as good as it used to be.
                  2    My appetite is much worse now.
                  3    I have no appetite at all anymore.

            19. 0    I haven't lost much weight, if any, lately.
                  1    I have lost more than five pounds.
                  2    I have lost more than ten pounds.
                  3    I have lost more than fifteen pounds.

20. 0   I am no more worried about my health than usual.
            1   I am worried about physical problems such as aches or pains, or upset stomach, or constipation.
            2    I am very worried about physical problems and it's hard to think of much else.
            3    I am so worried about my physical problems that I cannot think about anything else.

            21. 0    I have not noticed any recent change in my interest in sex.
                  1    I am less interested in sex than I used to be.
                  2    I am much less interested in sex now.
                  3    I have lost interest in sex completely.

Having responded to all 21 sets of statements the individual is to total the value of the circled statements. According to Dr. Gary Groth-Marnat, the total score indicates one’s current mood.

Below 4 = Possible denial of depression, faking good; this is below usual scores
for normal.

05 - 09 These ups and downs are considered normal
10 - 18 Mild to moderate depression
19 - 29 Moderate to severe depression
30 - 63 Severe depression

            Over 40 = This is significantly above even severely depressed persons, suggesting
            possible exaggeration of depression; Significant levels of depression are still
            possible (Groth-Marnat, 1990).

The weekly results of the Beck Depression Inventory serve as a gauge for tracking an individual’s mood.
Feeling depressed is a symptom that something is out of kilter in one’s physical body or his or hers psychospiritual life or a combination of both. Depression is an emotional signal that something is wrong. According to Dr. Edmund Bourne, “Depression arises from feeling in the grip of a condition over which you have no control or that you are powerless to change”(Bourne, 1995). There are physiological reasons for depression. (Endocrine imbalance, electrolyte disturbances, viral infections, biogenic amine imbalances, hormonal changes, hypoglycemia, can all be medical reasons for depression.  Just being overly fatigued or overly stressed can cause depression.) There are spiritual/emotional reasons for depression. Very often spiritual/emotional issues result in physiological problems. That is why it is imperative that a person experiencing depression consults their medical doctor. There are various medications that are effective in addressing the physiological causes of depression. (SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most popular medications for treating depression: Citalopram (Celexa), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine (Luvox). Paroxetine (Paxil) and Sertraline (Zoloft). Often SSRI is used in combination with other mood-altering drugs such as Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Mirtazapine (Remeron) or Venlafaxine (Effexor) as well as the Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s), the Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s) and the Heterocyclic antidepressants like Nefazodone (Serzone). This is only a small sample of the arsenal of anti-depression medications available. All these prescription drugs require medical supervision.) Medication plugs the hole in an individual’s “emotional tank” so that there is emotional energy to deal with what has caused the depression. Medications alleviate the symptoms of a depression but do not generally address the cause of the depression.
The complexity of depression makes it impossible to develop a “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan. But there are a number of generalities that may be applicable in the quest to demolish a stronghold of depression.
The first area of inquiry when dealing with a person of faith suffering from depression is examining the integrity of his or her “walk.” The discontinuity between belief and practice can be the source of depression. Recall that sin is any practice or behavior that deters, damages or destroys right relationships. When significant relationships are in disarray and hope of reconciliation wanes, melancholy can develop into a depressive episode. Conviction about one’s behavior can quickly develop into inappropriate guilt or shame that negatively skews one’s prospects of change in the future. Denying a problem exists, or denying one’s responsibility in bringing about reconciliation can facilitate a lifestyle of depression. When an individual volitionally transgresses what he or she acknowledges as God’s will the symptom of this dysfunction can be depression. It is therefore imperative to establish an individual as having a “clear conscience.”
Focusing on the cognitive reasons for depression, faulty reasoning is to be examined. As previously stated “strongholds” are thoughts that have a stranglehold on one’s cognition. Therefore faulty thinking can be a cause of depression. Examining the major depressive episode that Elijah experienced identifies five presumptions that helped to create his depression.
Focus On The Facts, Not On The Feelings
It must be noted that Elijah has just experienced an extremely stressful event even though it was counted as a victorious event. It is very normal for one to experience a lowering of his or her mood after accomplishing some goal, “the lull after elation.” "I have had enough, Lord," he prayed" (1 Kings 19:1-4 (NCV). The first faulty presumption is that Elijah focused on his feelings rather than on the facts.  This inadequate thought can be stated as “if I feel it, it must be true.” Because Elijah felt like a failure, he assumed he was a failure. That thought began the spiral downward into depression. Thoughts are incredibly powerful. Scripture teaches that an individual can change his or her entire life by changing the way he or she thinks. “Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect” (Romans 12:2 (NCV).
Dr. Aaron Beck instructs us to take the faulty thought and replace it with a realistic thought. The scripture doesn't teach one to get in touch with his or her feelings, but rather to get in touch with the truth because it’s the truth that sets a soul free. The first step in demolishing the stronghold of depression is to: Focus On The Facts, Not On The Feelings.
Stop Comparing
Next, Elijah began comparing himself to others. "…I am no better than my ancestors" (1 Kings 19:4 (NCV). In his current state of mind, the Prophet set up an arbitrary and artificial external measurement for success and then determined that he was not perfectly successful. The arbitrary comparison is seeking to motivate oneself through criticism and condemnation. It as if the individual is shaming his or her self into being what the person thinks he or she ought to be. “I should, I ought, I must” dominates one’s thinking. A failure to “should, ought or must” reinforces one’s negative thoughts and hastens the descent into depression.
The faulty principle is comparing oneself to others and criticizing oneself. Self-evaluation can be a good thing but only when it is done against a reliable standard. Indiscriminate comparison to others and criticizing self leads to depression. The scripture instructs: “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV). The second step in demolishing the stronghold of depression is to: Stop Comparing and Criticizing 
Take Responsibility
Elijah’s next mental error is a failure to enforce boundaries. He blames himself for the irresponsibility of others. “There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword" (1 Kings 19:9-10 (NIV). Whenever an individual assumes a responsibility that God never intended for him or her, the responsibility rapidly becomes too heavy a burden to carry and which can lead to depression. By assuming responsibility Elijah violated a relational boundary. Boundaries define who a person is. Invading another person’s boundary causes a minor identity confusion. In this instance Elijah blamed himself for the choices of others, Elijah felt guilty. Inappropriate guilt is a contributing factor that deepens a depression.  One must remember that: a person can provide the opportunity for others to make right choices, but the decision is theirs to make. Step three for demolishing the stronghold of depression is: Take Responsibility Only for Self.
Verify Your Assumptions
Catastrophizing was Elijah’s next mistaken thought. “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too" (1 Kings 19:10 (NIV). Elijah exaggerates the negative. Thus everything appears rather bleak. From his viewpoint, nobody is on his side. There is no one who understands, no one even cares, and there is no one to help him. He has further confirmed this hypothesis by being withdrawn from another human contact. But God has a bigger perspective and tells Elijah: "Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18 (NIV). Elijah needed to do reality testing. He needed to test his assumptions before believing them to be true. Step four in demolishing strongholds of depression: Verify Your Assumptions.
Elijah’s train of faulty thinking has arrived at a state of profound depression. He has focused on his feelings rather than on the facts, compared himself to others and thus criticized himself; he blames himself for the choices of others and exaggerates the negative. In his confusion, Elijah ponders suicide as the only answer to his predicament. Suicide is never the answer. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Persistent thoughts of suicide are a clarion alarm for a person to seek immediate professional help. There are solutions to every problem. There is help for depression.
Take Care Of Physical Needs
Continuing with the story of Elijah’s depression reveals God’s intervention. God’s remedy for Elijah’s depression is rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation and reprogramming. “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So he got up and ate and drank” (1 Kings 19:5-8 (NIV). Step Five for demolishing the stronghold of depression: Take Care Of Your Physical Needs. Proper diet, rest, relaxation and physical exercise are all part of overcoming depression.
Talk Out Your Frustration
Next God allows Elijah to vent his frustrations. From this story, one can discover six things that were troubling Elijah. He is afraid and angry; he’s dealing with a bout of low self-esteem, a load of guilt, and is troubled by anxiety and he is lonely. One must give voice to his or her emotions.  Denying those emotional feelings fuels a depression. Voicing one’s emotions is called: catharsis -- a cleaning out, a venting of all the things that have been pushed down inside. Step Six in demolishing the stronghold of depression is: Talk Your Frustrations Out. An individual can talk out his or her frustrations to God in prayer, use a journal and write out the pain and then discuss the hurt with a confidant. There is healing power in a listening ear. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16 (NIV). Confession in this context is just a conversation about one’s inner emotional state.
Reprogram Your Thinking
God’s reprogramming of Elijah’s thinking involves presenting to him a new
perspective. “The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah" (1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)? Again this is what Dr. Clinton and Ohlschlager refer to as a “heavenly reframe.”
            The source of the following “Prescription for Depression” remains anonymous. The selected readings are purposely chosen to assist an individual in understanding his or her current situation from a “heavenly” perspective.
Read Psalms
Breakfast         Lunch              Supper             Before Bed
Day 1                          6 & 13             18 & 23           25 & 27           31 & 32
Day 2                          34 & 37           38 & 39           40 & 42           43 & 46
Day 3                          51 & 55           57 & 62           63 & 69           71 & 73
Day 4                          77 & 84           86 & 90          91 & 94          95 & 103
Day 5                          104&107         110&116         118&121         123&124
Day 6                          130&138         139&141         142&143         146&147

These particular Psalms form a journey from despair to hope. Hope is a powerful weapon for demolishing Strongholds of Depression.
The seventh step for demolishing strongholds of depression: Reprogram Your Thinking With The Truth. This involves acquiring new core beliefs specifically concerning one’s self. Dr. Neil T. Anderson asserts that one’s self-identity is vital for emotional and spiritual well-being. (Anderson, N., 1990). Anderson has created a list of identity statements based on scripture that are true for every believer entitled “Who I Am In Christ.”
Who I Am in Christ
I Am Accepted
John 1:12               I am God’s child.
John 15:15             I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1           I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17            I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 6:20            I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Cor. 12:27          I am a member of Christ’s Body.
Ephesians1:1         I am a saint.
Ephesians1:5         I have been adopted as God’s child.
Ephesians2:18       I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:14               I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Col. 2:10               I am complete in Christ.
I Am Secure
Romans 8:1-2        I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28         I am assured that all things work together for good.
Romans 8:31-34    I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35-39    I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor. 1:21-22       I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Phil. 1:6                 I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected.
Phil. 3:20               I am a citizen of heaven.
Col. 3:3                 I am hidden with Christ in God.
2 Tim. 1:7              I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Hebrews 4:16        I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18            I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I Am Significant
Matthew 5:13-14  I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1, 5           I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
John 15:16             I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8                 I am a personal witness of Christ.
1 Cor. 3:16            I am God’s temple.
2 Cor. 5:17-21       I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Cor. 6:1              I am God’s coworker (see 1 Cor. 3:9).
Ephesians2:6         I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians2:10       I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians3:12       I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Phil. 4:13               I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(ibid.).

Dr. Anderson believes, “The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity” (ibid.). This, of course, is precisely what Aaron Beck advocates, change an individual’s thinking and his or her behavior will change accordingly. In addition to “Who I Am In Christ” Anderson offers a supplemental list to designed to reinforce the first.
I have been justified—completely forgiven and made righteous (Romans 5:1). I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule over my life (Romans 6:1-6). I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1). I have been placed into Christ by God’s doing (1 Cor. 1:30). I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God (1 Cor. 2:12). I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). I have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing our inheritance to come (2 Cor. 1:21; Ephesians1:13, 14). Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). I have been made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life (Galatians 2:20). I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians1:3). I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and am without blame before Him (Ephesians1:4). I was predestined—determined by God—to be adopted as God’s son (Ephesians1:5). I have been redeemed and forgiven, and I am a recipient of His lavish grace (Ephesians1:17)  I have been made alive together with Christ (Ephesians2:5). I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians2:6). I have direct access to God through the Spirit (Ephesians2:18). I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence (Ephesians3:12). I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13). I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Col. 1:14). Christ Himself is in me (Col. 1:27). I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built in Him (Col. 2:7). I have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). I have been spiritually circumcised (Col. 2:11). I have been buried, raised and made alive with Christ (Col. 2:12, 13). I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is now my life (Col. 3:1-4). I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7). I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5). Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother (Hebrews 2:11). I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) (ibid.).
         
The point must again be reiterated that truth becomes existential through encounter. Simply memorizing the various statements are insufficient for reprogramming one’s core beliefs.  It is through the practice of the spiritual disciplines that one encounters God. In the event, one becomes convinced that these truths are true for him or her and the truth about him or her, thus reprogramming his or her core beliefs.
To demolish a stronghold of depression cognitively, seven steps have been
outlined: 1. Focus on the facts, not on the feelings; 2. Stop comparing; 3. Take responsibility; 4. Verify assumptions; 5. Take care of physical needs; 6. Talk out frustrations; 7. Reprogram thinking with the truth. 
            The third area of inquiry when dealing with long-term depression in believers has already been introduced in Chapter 7 dealing with Bonding and the last chapter on Anxiety. Human beings by design require intimate connections with others. The difficulty arising from bonding issues and attachment style issues can trap an individual in isolation. Depression is an expression of loneliness. Dr. Lita Singer on numerous occasions lecturing her students in cognitive behavioral therapy has stated that anxiety and depression are the “flip side of the same coin.” Dr. Singer understands that the roots of these emotional states are the same; a person’s uniqueness determines whether he or she will display signs of anxiety or depression. Therefore from a relational standpoint, the treatment plan outlined in Chapter 7 (the seven courage’s) and 14 (the five steps) can be adapted to individuals dealing with depression. The goal of therapy in this instance is to help the depressed person reconnect with God, self, and others.
Summary

            A stronghold of depression can be demolished. Discerning the cause of the depression is imperative. The root issues determine the course of treatment. Biological reasons for long-term depression must be ruled out. The use of anti-depression medications may be necessary to elevate an individual’s mood such that he or she has the emotional energy to confront his or her depression. Discrepancies in lifestyle must be addressed as one can become depressed due to a failure to conduct the affairs of his or her life in accordance with his or her understanding of God’s will. One may inquire as to the level of commitment an individual has to practicing the spiritual disciplines. Core beliefs about one’s self and one’s future may have to be challenged and reprogrammed with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. Relational therapy dealing with attachment issues and reconnecting with others may prove to be the tools necessary to demolish a stronghold of depression. Two things are certain: first, there is a reason for the depression; and second, God does not want believers to live a life of depression as his or her constant companion. Discovering the reason for the depression and seeking God’s assistance in overcoming the depression is how strongholds of depression are demolished.
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