People from all walks of life seem to be haunted by the black dog.
That’s what Winston Churchill called depression, something that troubled
him for many years. Today it appears that this disorder is reaching epidemic
proportions world wide and the figures quoted are disturbing. People with the
comforts of life are no less likely to have the problem — they seem to
be even more prone to it!
Thinking and feeling
How we think and
how we feel are locked together. The inner life of many is shrouded in gloom,
like encroaching darkness on a wintry day. The enjoyment of life has vacated
the scene. Nothing seems worthwhile. Thoughts surround you and doubts about
relationships take a firm hold. What can such a person do? Anti-life feelings
Much depression stems from a chemical imbalance and requires medication.
Sufferers should be encouraged to gain medical help.
There is no need to feel ashamed to admit a problem of this nature.
Some of the great achievers of history have
been afflicted by it.
There is an almost endless
range of reasons why people feel sad. Loss of job, loss of reputation, of
money, of health, of spouse, of children, of self-esteem can be blamed. With
others, it dates back to bad childhood experiences or undue tension or stress.
Feelings can be worsened if a person dwells on tragic occurrences reported in
the media, sad movies or melancholy music.
Perhaps the most common lack is in the area of relationships. We were meant to
have close ties with loved ones and friends. The more we withdraw into our own
shell, the smaller our chance of overcoming depression. Even closely relating
to one other person is beneficial.
The most important relationship
us with the capacity to relate to Him. That capacity has been lost but it can
be regained. So much of the time, people are shutting Him out — the very
one they need most. God avoidance is getting people nowhere, just further into
frustration and a sense of hopelessness.
One writer has described depression as sitting in a locked cage, feeling
totally unable to escape. But the same authority claims that the key to the
lock is in the hand of the depressed, unused because of unwillingness rather
Aching, empty, searching hearts could be filled with hope and the joy of
acceptance if — and here is the inescapable condition — we were
related to God as our loving, caring, Father. We can be so filled through
Christ whose love for us led Him to give His life for us.
An encounter with the Saviour unlocks the door to a new life. He said,
‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no-one comes to the Father
except through me’
(John chapter 14, verse 6).