October 11, 2017

I am a Christian, so Why am I so depressed?

By
Mike Rose

This is the title of a book my friend, Beth Bush, gave me over a year ago. It came at a most-needed time as I was in the throes of a major depression.  The book was written by a man who gave his life to Christian counseling and was on the faculty of The Masters College and Seminary in California. He wrote from his own journey through debilitating depression that took him out of the mainstream of life and ministry for several years. The insights gained were helpful in easing my suffering, giving me a boost that kept me going for another year and a half. Ultimately however, because I did not get treatment, my condition returned with a vengeance. One thing I discovered is that depression is an equal opportunity malady.  It strikes Christians and non-Christians alike. Knowing Jesus does not give one immunity to mental and emotional challenges, but it does give hope!

During my time away I read a book that helped me understand what I was going through and how to better combat a disease that is at epidemic proportions. Unmasking Male Depressionis a book every man, and the women who love them, ought to read. As the title advertises, the focus is on men specifically. This begs the question… isn’t all depression the same?  Research says no!  Men and women experience and react to depression quite differently. Of course a blog cannot deal with the topic exhaustively, but I’ll make mention of a few uniquenesses of male depression.  Dr. Archibald Hart, Professor of Psychology and former Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, created a comparative list that helps us here:

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Just as men and women are different physically, so we are different emotionally. This means that conditions such as depression occur and elicit unique characteristics in men and women respectively.

Now the reason I write about this is because women are twice as likely to seek and receive help than men are. That means there are a lot of men and their families that are needlessly suffering. How many men miss out on a mutually satisfying marriage, close relation with their children or productivity in their careers because they are in the grips of male depression? Admitting that you may be suffering from depression and seeking help does not mean you are weak; it means that you need help. And thank God, help is available! There are Biblical counselors, Christian practitioners of psychology and psychiatry…and there are many new and safe treatments that can help us heal and live healthier lives.

I am a man who has suffered from male depression. There is no shame, no blame; it’s just part of living in a fallen world. But Christ has overcome the world. Through Him there is spiritual and emotional healing. Furthermore, The Father has given us physicians, medications, treatments and therapies that help our physical bodies cope with disease and the ravages of aging. I encourage anyone who is suffering, to seek help. If you would like to talk with someone who has been through it and understands, I would be happy to help.

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