An old legend tells of an angel who was sent by God to inform Satan that all the methods he uses to defeat God’s children would be taken from him. The devil pleaded to be allowed to keep just one. “Let me retain depression,” he begged.
The angel, thinking this is a modest request, agreed. “Good!” the devil exclaimed, as he laughed to himself. “In that one gift, I have secured all.”
In his book Depression, What It Is and What to Do About It, Roger Barrett describes this condition as: “a miserable, wretched experience that leaves you exhausted, uninvolved, and in deep, hopeless despair. There seems to be absolutely nowhere to turn and not one single thing you can do to escape these horrible feelings. You feel doomed, trapped, and at the end of your rope… It’s awful!”
Depression. This is the next stage of the emotional condition one enters through when he experiences a loss.
Hi! We’ve been dealing with the subject matter of “Dealing with Layoffs” and a few days ago, we talked about the different emotional stages one enters through. We first started with the stage of mourning. A grieving for a loss. But after that the situation drifts into that of bargaining. An attempt to negotiate. And then it leads to anger. Explosive, dangerous and destructive.
After anger comes depression. Now this is a dangerous stage. Suddenly the world turns silent. The birds lose its music and the stars lose its sparkle. Food becomes tasteless and nights become sleepless. The world becomes dry and life becomes a drag.
Memories come back. The days you used to enjoy. Now they’re gone. It seems like Barbara’s Streisand’s song Memories of the way it used to be keeps ringing in your ear.
Well this is what happens when you fail to get out of the rut.
There is a loss. For others the life of a loved one, for me my briefcase with all my valuables in it, for you perhaps your job. You’ve experienced denial, you bargained and negotiated. You got angry and now you’re feeling depressed. Not very safe a condition I would say.
Depression is a condition of prolonged sadness, marked by feelings of hopelessness and an inability to think clearly. Depressed persons are apt to think, “I’m worthless. I’m a failure. I can’t handle stress. There’s no hope. I’ll never feel better again.”
But do you know that even godly people in the bible were not exempted from this condition? Elijah is a case in point. After being on the mountaintop, he experienced a great letdown. He had won a stunning victory over the prophets of Baal and had run 17 miles in the strength of the Lord. Then he learned that Jezebel had vowed to kill him. Fear gripped his heart, and he fled for his life. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, he gave in to feelings of worthlessness and despair.
The Lord was gentle, however. He left Elijah rest, fed him, and strengthened him for the next leg of the journey. But Elijah’s sadness continued. So the Lord assured him of His presence. He then gave him a companion, Elisha, and a new task to perform. God knows all about depression. The record of Elijah shows us that feelings of utter aloneness do not mean that God has abandoned us. They only block our awareness of His presence. Those who wait helplessly on Him may feel hopeless. But they never are.
Do not be alone. Look for friends but may I remind you to look for those who have a positive outlook in life. Those whose faith in Christ is strong are over-comers because of the Hope they have in their hearts.
In my own times of depression – I look to the left and I look to the right and I see nothing but gloom and darkness. But when I look up I get a sense of reassurance that there’s no need for me to be down.
After depression comes Acceptance – which is the last stage of the emotional conditions one goes through whenever a loss is experienced.