Does the Bible talk about depression? This is such a great and important question to ask, especially now. Depression is extremely high in young adults from 18-30. CDC ‘s latest studies show that 40% of young adults are experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms. Depression is a very complicated issue and it can get taboo to talk about. For some reason this feels especially taboo to talk about in Christian circles. We believe that after we are saved by Christ there is no reason to feel hopeless, which is true, but also false. We always have hope because Christ conquered death, however, we are still in a process and evil is still a part of our lives here on earth. A believer isn’t exempt from experiencing a loved one passing away, a family tragedy, a marriage ending, infertility, loneliness, losing a job… have I missed anything? These things still happen to the Christ follower. Consequently, depression does appear in the Christian’s life.
The first book of the Bible that comes to mind for me as a mental-health-therapist-in-training is in the book of Psalm. David is pretty open with his emotions with God and consequently us. David is described as a man after God’s own heart and David would say to himself, “why so downcast oh my soul?”. David wrote around 73 chapters of the book of Psalm.
Let me tell you about Psalm 102. This Psalm speaks to those who are afflicted spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Read through this chapter in Psalm and see how the writer talks about the symptoms of their depression. Bones burning like a furnace is a symptom of depression. Many who are experiencing any level of emotional stress experience an unusual amount of body aches. The phrase, “heart being struck down like grass and has withered” is a beautiful image to a really hard reality that happens during seasons of emotional distress/ depression. Another symptom of depression is mentioned in verse 4 and in verse 9. They forget to eat, another symptom of depression. Weight gain or weight loss is another symptom. Verse 7 talks about lying awake at night, yes a symptom of depression. That’s five major symptoms of depression in one chapter.
In verse 18 the psalmist writes down the purpose of this psalm, “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners,” (Psalm 102:18-20).
This Psalm was literally written for you and I to hear. When we are feeling afflicted, stuck, and depressed we can call out to God with our raw emotion. I wanted to share this Psalm with you, not to make you discouraged, but to show you that God’s word does talk about depression. You can come to God with your discouragement, sadness, lack of hope, faithlessness, hurt, disappointment… and yes your depression. And don’t miss that this Psalm ends in hope which is very typical of the way Psalms is written. The Psalmist usually points the reader upwards towards God, because again, you can totally trust God with your emotions.
If you’re experiencing depression during this hard season I would encourage you to first talk to God and second talk to a close friend about experiencing any of the symptoms I have mentioned above. Bring someone into your emotions. You’ll be surprised how much this helps. If you don’t feel like you have someone to share with I am a huge fan of Christian Mental Health Counseling. I myself have gone to see a counselor during hard seasons. This might be a first step towards healing.
God communicates His love for you through the Bible. He desires to fill your life with Hope, love, and strength that comes from faith in Who He is. Read through the Psalms and allow His love to fill you with Hope. Depression doesn’t need to be hidden. Be honest with needing help. David was.
Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/depression
Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, June 24–30, 2020. (2020, August 13). Retrieved October 06, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm
Wehrenberg, M. (2011). The 10 best-ever depression management techniques: Understanding how your brain makes you depressed & what you can do to change it. New York: W.W. Norton &.