Five Keys to Beating Depression Webinar
What is Depression? Why does it seem to get worse over the winter months? Is there help or hope available if I find myself stuck in a downward spiral? In this webinar recording, Ted Witzig Jr. shares real hope and help to those who struggle with depression. He walks through five practical keys which all of us can engage in to help combat the effects of depression.
So welcome again to our webinar today. The topic today is five keys to beating depression and Ted Witzig is here with me. And, Matt Kaufman, like I said before, is in the background and I’m Arlan Miller. And we wanna have a conversation today about depression. And so Ted you’ve been working with depressed people and thinking about that concept for a long time. Tell us a little bit. What is depression?
Yep. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions out there. There are multiple kinds of depression when most people think of depression, they’re thinking of what’s called unipolar depression or clinical depression, where people have sad or depressed mood and loss of interest and things they normally find pleasurable.
And such like. There’s also bipolar depression where people have alternating periods of depressed mood along with mania, that’s being very accelerated. Then there’s things like seasonal affective disorder, which happen in the wintertime. And we’ll talk about that a little later. There are other kinds of depression that occur as well, but those are the main kinds, but how is it this way?
Is that sometimes depression is more biologically based, like in a case of a bipolar depression. Sometimes it’s situationally based. Sometimes people have gone through lots of things and it, and struggle. Sometimes it needs counseling. Sometimes medication.
There’s a variety of different ways and things that we do with depression. What we’re gonna talk about today is we’re gonna talk about ways to beat depression. And this is, these are true for regardless of what kind of depression somebody has, because these are lifestyle factors that help us to shift our mood in a healthy and godly way.
So what I heard you say there, Ted, is there’s several different types.
And each different type potentially has a little bit of a different approach as to how to address that.
Yep. And I think that’s really important is that even some of the listeners to this. One person might be listening saying, you know what, I’ve had chronic depression that’s been in the background for off and on for 20 years.
And somebody else may say, I just get depressed during, from November to March, and somebody else might say, yeah, we have a long family history of bipolar disorder. All above. Yeah.
I wanna drill in just a little bit there. Yes. Help me understand. What’s the difference between depression and someone who was just, I’m having an off day or having a, maybe a couple bad days.
Yep. It’s really important to understand that the depression, as we’re talking about here is a cluster of symptoms that sticks around for a while. So when somebody has just a depressed mood. Let’s say, you study for your chemistry exam and you think you need a B in order to pass a class and you got a D
chemistry makes most of us depressed for me.
Yes. So I think one of the things about it when your mood dips you may feel blue. Lot of times people say, oh, I feel so depressed. But actually when we’re talking about depression, we’re talking about a cluster of symptoms that sticks around. In general, for major depression, it has to be around for at least two weeks in order to be diagnosed in that way.
Okay. Moods fluctuate, they’re going up and down all the time. In general with a depressive episode, it’s going down and staying down or it may have some fluctuation, but we’re not talking about just something that changes quite a lot based in circumstances.
And that’s helpful. So you’re talking about a trend that continues over time, it’s a pattern of behavior and maybe not just a, sometimes circumstantial but that circumstantial, that then leads to an ongoing type trend. Yeah.
And I think one of the things is that, that it could, it can affect our thinking. Sure. How we think about things. It can affect how we feel about things and it can also affect how our physical body feels and how much activity we have. So thinking, feeling, and behavior.
Let me again, let’s focus on just one more point before we get into the main content. You hear a lot this time of year about seasonal affective disorder. Yeah. This is, I look outside the window right here. It’s a cloudy kind of rainy day. Tell us about that. Is seasonal affective disorder, why does it seem to ratchet up depression seem to ratchet up during this time of year during the winter months?
So about half the us population notices a decrease in their mood during the wintertime months that just inside grayer days things of that nature. A smaller group of people will actually develop clinical sense of depression during the late fall to spring time and in seasonal affective disorder is thought to be really correlated, with how much sunlight somebody has. And, oftentimes once somebody is established that they have a seasonal variation to their symptoms, we will add therapeutic light back into their, into their life because not all of us can, go live in Belize for the winter time.
You’re saying that could be maybe that’s a prescription there, right? Yeah. Two weeks in, in Florida, we’ll say Florida.
I might prescribe that for myself.
Let’s get into the content. If I heard you correctly earlier, Ted, we’re gonna talk about five keys or five things that pretty much anybody can do to be to, to beat depression or to at least move in the right direction. Yes. Is that how you would categorize it?
I would say that. And I would say for somebody who is depressed, these are things that can help in the beating of depression. For those, trying to keep depression at bay or trying to stay healthy, to not relapse, these are good things to do as well. And again what’s not gonna be covered today is things like getting counseling or, or just talking to so much about medication. Those may be really important things for individuals, but today we’re gonna be focused on these, these lifestyle matters.
And that’s probably an important distinction to make, right. That just because you do these five things doesn’t mean you’re gonna automatically be cured of depression at all times. There, there might be cases when you need other help and encouragement.
But these will move you in the right direction.
Okay. Okay. Let’s walk through there’s five here. We’ll walk through each one. Yep. And just think about the different, the different components with each one. So the first one that we have here is
exercise. And one of the things, and this is one of those topics that everybody knows, they’re supposed to get some regular exercise. Most people have heard from their physicians. You need to exercise and what I wanna say is for every client that I see that has a mood disorder or an anxiety disorder, I want them exercising. Now, does that mean that you have to go out and become a marathon runner? Absolutely not. They’re in fact, what’s most important is that you do something and that can be walking, or walking is a great way to do this. Riding on a bike either an indoor bike or an outdoor bike. And one of the things that I wanna say here is that depression and anxiety have both been shown to be helped by regular exercise. Currently the current guidelines that are out there, and again, you have to check with your doctor if yours is different, but the current guideline is about 150 minutes a week of exercise that comes out to about, depending on how you break it, 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. And, and again, that doesn’t have to be intense, but I will say this. That it is one thing that’s noted is that when people exercise, they experience a boost in their mood after doing the exercise, Most people are waiting until they feel like exercising.
Oh yeah. How’s that? How, yeah,
If you’re gonna wait until you feel like exercising,
I’ve still been waiting for that period.
You’re gonna be waiting a long time. Okay. Yeah. And so remember this what most people want to do. If you think of a train, they’re wanting the engine to be their feelings. Okay. I feel like exercising and then my behavior, the caboose, will come along after that. And we gotta flip that over. When we’re talking about working through something like depression or anxiety, our behavior has to be the engine. We have to get going first and you’re not gonna feel like getting going. And that’s where I like the concept of having an accountability buddy to exercise with, to go on that walk with, to meet in an exercise class with, because once we start to add these things together, once we start to add exercise plus social, exercise and social plus getting outta the house and going, we start adding beneficial things together. Most people, if you ask them after they are done exercising, they’ll say that they’re glad that they did. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. If you ask somebody before they exercise, do you feel like exercising? There are those rare people out there that do, but most people are gonna be like, oh, I don’t feel like it.
And so we wanna just stress that it’s not about becoming super fitness guru kind of thing. It’s walking around the block.
Yeah, so the current guideline’s 150 minutes a week. So that’s about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Yep. And any variety of things, is that what any targets there they’re looking at?
Do you know what? I would say? A couple of things. One is a lot of times people focus on getting their heart rate up a little bit. Some people like to run, some people that’s too hard in their joints, and so this is about moderate exercise here,
finding something that works for you yes. And making it into your schedule. That’s right. So if you don’t do it at 5:30 AM every day, it doesn’t mean you failed. That’s right. You can yeah. Pick it up at noon or in the evening or whatever.
And I would say it this way, you have to find something that fits with you. Okay. Your buddy, your brother-in-law, may do something very different. And stretching few little weights, going, using weight machine, all those things can be helpful, but I wanna say this last thing about this, and throughout this, you’ll see this. The things, anything that you do, that’s good for your physical heart, okay, is also good for your brain. Okay. And what we’re, what, and the things you do, that’s good for your brain is good for your physical heart. And we need to remember that things like exercise, we’re talking about it today, is being for mental health, reducing stress, anxiety, elevating the mood, but it’s also good for your physical body. And, those are, you’re meeting multiple goals at the same time. If people need some help identifying some options for exercise or things like that, the American Heart Association has a website you can go to. And they have sample exercises. There’s plenty of things that you can do in that regard. And there’s all kinds of information. But you don’t, in fact, you go right here, this is and type in exercise, type in fitness, and it’ll walk you right through some simple, different things that are helpful to do. Yeah. And different ages will need to do different things. Sure. Yeah, sure.
And we’re gonna try to include a link there, like you saw there on each of these slides just for further information, but I think that’s the key. I really appreciate what you shared there, Ted, is find something that works for you, but also realize the drag. Sometimes you have to think about the drag that you’re working against and the drag that you’re working against is gonna often be a natural feeling that I don’t wanna do this.
I don’t. And I’ll do it when I feel like it. Like you said, yes. Especially if we’re talking about a depressed type state,
No question. Remember with depression, one of the things that is oftentimes affected is somebody’s energy level, how much energy they have. And so it’s really very easy to be very sedentary sometimes to oversleep and things of that nature. So this is, you should not expect that you’re gonna go, oh, exercise, I’m really excited to exercise. I’m gonna get going. I’m more interested in, Hey, you know what, taking this, going up and down the stairs a couple times. Sure. Let’s just try to get that blood moving.
Yeah. So it doesn’t have to be, 150 minutes a week is the guideline, but it’d be better to start with 15 minutes a week than start with zero. Absolutely. Then work your way up. Absolutely. That’s very helpful. Let’s go into the next one. So the next one that we have here is diet, right? And it speaks to the idea how diet, what we take into our bodies, can affect our mood. That seems really simple. Yep. But speak to that a little bit more.
Yeah. Yeah. It seems really simple, but this is one of those things that in the United States today are people are all over the map on. I would just say it this way, that, again, depression sometimes affects people’s appetite. So some people when they’re depressed eat all the time and they gain weight. Other people when they’re depressed, they don’t have an appetite and they don’t eat. Same thing is true for anxiety. Some people are anxious eaters and sometimes people lose their appetite. So, what we’re trying to do here is to, again, this is just with exercise, we’re trying to make sure that your body has the raw materials that are gonna produce the healthy outcomes. I would also say this Arlan, the more biologically based somebody’s depression, so if they have, they’ve had chronic depressions over a period of their life or have bipolar depression, things like that, the more that they need to make sure that they’re including brain healthy living and a healthy diet is part of that.
I think it’s good for everybody, but there is no question that people, when they tend to be depressed, they oftentimes get into craving carbohydrates. Oh, sure. Okay. Sure. And so which perpetuates the problem which perpetuates things. So let’s say I’m, you know what, I used sugar and things like that, just to elevate my mood. Now, again, there’s nothing wrong. I love chocolate. And there’s, I’m not trying to tell you you gotta cut all these things out. What I’m trying to tell you is that your food intake matters because of, if you’re just swinging up and down with sugars and things of that nature, the problems with obesity and things like that obviously come into play here. And so what’s interesting is that more and more research is showing that diets that are rich in vegetables, nuts, fish, lean proteins, olive oil, complex carbohydrates would be things more again, your vegetables, sure, whole grains, things of that nature, that the more somebody’s diet is that way, the more that they have a lower risk of depression. It’s important to remember this, I’m not encouraging you to look at this and go, oh, hey, if I had some birthday cake that I’m gonna be depressed. That’s not what I’m talking about. But what, one of the things we see is that people are depressed care less about movement. They care less about social interactions. They care less about what they’re eating and they’re just sinking back. That one kind of diet called a Mediterranean diet, which isn’t a commercial diet out there it’s more of a it’s eating the things that are common in the Mediterranean parts of the world as vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, fish, olive oils. Again, you have to remember if you think about what the brain is made of. Okay. Your neurons, okay, that are in your body, are sheathed with a fatty layer. Okay. And that is those healthy fats from avocados from oil, from fish and nuts. That’s part of what helps all this to work. It also keeps you from doing these big swings with ups and downs of mood based on sugar and caffeine and things like that. Yeah. Again, I’m not telling you, you can’t have any sugar or caffeine. I’ve got my coffee right here. Yeah. But
it’s realizing the effect it can have on you.
It is. I was a teacher for a long time and I was always amazed. I used to have kids come in the afternoon and they were momentarily depressed to the point where almost you sometimes falling asleep type thing, right? Yeah. Yeah. And I’d ask him, what’d you have for lunch, and I’d get the they had a mountain Dew and a Snickers bar.
And then for the last food group, they had some ice cream. There you go. And that lasts for about 45 minutes, and then you have the natural effect of them that’s right. So that’s what you’re saying here, Ted, is think about the intake that’s going on there. Yep. And realizing the impact that can have on your mood and on your depression yes. And move in the right direction. Yes. It’s a both and type thing. Let’s move in the right direction.
It is. And I would encourage people to just think about adding some healthy choices in. It’s not about not about doing it perfectly, but again, what I wanna say is that as we’re thinking about overcoming depression, these are lifestyle things that help your brain, they help your heart and body, they’ll help your energy level, those kind of things.
And again, these are lifestyle measures that, that help on multiple fronts.
Sure. Sure. Okay. So let’s go onto the next one. Sure. So we did exercise. We’ve done diet. Now let’s go on to the next one and talk about healthy thinking. Yes. How do we control our thoughts? That’s a very scriptural type thing is bring your thoughts into captivity. So what does that mean in the context of depression?
Yes. So one of the things that is known is that people dealing with depression oftentimes just the negative thought stream is just piling up. I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. These people don’t want me around here, et cetera.
And so negative thinking comes up heavily. The Scripture says for, as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. That’s one of the Proverbs. And cultivating healthy thinking is it’s a process, but it’s one of the things that will help us with in this renewing of the process that we’re after spiritually, as well as healthy. It, as counselors ,helping people with their thinking is one of the things we do a lot.
And what I would say is, think about your thinking a lot, like your yard. Have you ever had to plant a dandelion? Yeah.
No. They seem to find their way.
No, you don’t have to plant weeds. They show up, you don’t have to ask your brain to come up with negative interpretations of things. It will.
Okay. So what we’re actually trying to do. Is cultivate healthy and godly thinking. And so the negative thoughts that, that pop up, what people with depression do is they take that, they take it seriously. So let’s say, you say, oh, you know what? I made a mistake. And so instead of just noticing, hey, I made a mistake, tomorrow’s a new day, I’m gonna go forward. It gets him in the path of, I’m a mistake forever. And those,
So it goes from the incidents and moving on from the incident to a character piece. Yes. That I am a mistake or this is a part of who I am. Yes. And I can’t shake that can’t get over that.
One of the things that’s known about people with depression is they have something called the fundamental attribution error.
What that means is the fundamental attribution error is that when you look at somebody else, if something bad happens to somebody else, you’ll say that was just a circumstance. Oh he, oh, he got a bad, grade it was just because of something else. But then when it’s about me, it means that I’m flawed at my character or my core. We have to watch out for that.
Perfectionistic thinking. Yeah. Define those. That course I was gonna ask perfectionism is when somebody’s standard is they have to hit a hundred percent and 99% and below is automatically a failure. So it’s all or nothing thinking. And so it accidentally looks at life in categories of I’ve either done perfectly or I’ve failed and much of life, much of life is in the good enough zone. Okay. And yeah, we wanna keep growing and doing well and those kind of things but what ends up happening is people end up creating laws and rules that, that function like the 11th, 12th, 14th, 500th commandment. Okay. And their thinking sounds very critical and judgemental.
What’s fascinating, when I talk to people who are depressed and they’re judging themselves and really down on themselves, I’ll say, Hey, imagine there’s one of your good friends is here in this chair next to you here. And they were going through the same thing. So they came to you and said, Hey, I’m feeling so depressed. What’s the first thing you would, based on what you said, you look at them and go, wow, are you a failure? Yeah, you’re a terrible mother. You’re a terrible Christian. You’re a, and my clients go, no, I would never say that to somebody. And I say, I know you would never say that to these other people. So why are you saying it to yourself?
Okay. So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to get our thinking to line up with the Scripture, the truths of Scripture. Depression, however, makes it feel like that the Scriptures that have some kind of hope or promise doesn’t apply to them. But what does apply to them is anything that could be any kind of judgment or things like that.
Sure. So we actually, we had to selectively interpret the Scripture a little bit there.
Yes. And that’s one of the things we really have to watch out for is that people with depression tend to see they look at the Scriptures, they see the negative and they or they over apply things that are negative.
And yeah. So you have this resource here. Okay. Yes. Truth talk. I’m gonna pop it open here. It’s I hear it referenced often on our website. Yes. So this is a picture of our website if you’re not familiar with it. And if you would go up here to the search bar and just type in truth talk it’d come up. Yes.
Or else you can, here’s the address itself right there, right? Yeah. Truth. The Ash talk. What is this resource and how is it helpful?
Truth talk is a script. Okay. It takes just a couple minutes to read and it is a healthy self talk. Script okay. And almost every sentence that’s in truth talk, you could put a Bible verse after.
Sure. But it’s just godly, healthy thinking. So what it is, it’s something that I have my clients read. I like them to read each morning. Like I said, it takes about three minutes to read. We also have an audio right there. Yeah. Here you can click on the audio and listen to it, but what it does is it is practicing healthy, godly, self talk. Now, remember I said, we never have to plant a dandelion, they just come. But if you want healthy, godly, self-talk, you have to practice it. You’ve never had a prize winning rosebush just show up in your yard. It’s had to be planted. It has to be fertilized, watered, pruned. If there’s mites, you have to spray those.
The whole concept is you cultivate healthy, godly thinking. And when you do that, it will bear a lot of good fruit.
So turn this into a little bit of a practice or a discipline. Again let’s be wiser. Let’s combine a couple things, right? What if you listen to this audio while you’re exercising, absolutely eating healthily. That’s the kind of thing, that we’re talking about here, it moves us in the right direction.
That’s right. Yeah. And the beautiful thing is that healthy, godly self-talk is gonna remind you true about the truths about God also and so that you’re going back and forth.
Sure. Yeah. Let’s go on to the next one then. I really appreciate that. Yeah. So social connection. Yeah. Okay. So how does this play out and how can we use relationships to encourage ourselves?
Individuals that are depressed, often tend to withdraw or to isolate themselves. And this is this oftentimes they feel just very that sometimes they feel inferior. Sometimes they feel like people don’t want ’em around or they’re or just maybe their thinking isn’t moving as fast. And so they feel like, I’m just gonna sound dumb in conversations and those kind of things. But one of the things we wanna do is we want to practice doing the opposite of what depression wants us to do.
Again, depression will want you to not move your body and exercise. It’ll want you to either oversleep or not move. It’s gonna want you to think the negative thoughts. It’s gonna want you to isolate. It’s gonna want you to believe that other people are just gonna judge you.
Yeah. So you bring in two terms here, mind reading and then feeling overwhelmed? Yes, I think we can understand that we can elaborate on feeling overwhelmed, but what about mind reading? What is mind reading?
Mind reading is when you picture in your mind what somebody else might be thinking of you, but always it’s negative. Okay. And so it’s like when a person walks into a room and two people are in there talking and then they get quiet.
Oh yeah. Oh, as soon as you walk in room they must be talking about me. Yeah. Yeah. Or it’s assuming. Oh, you know what? That person, they don’t want me here and it’s just filling in the gaps. These people think that I’m doing a bad job and it’s always adding the negative interpretation.
And it’s why it’s so important to have social connection, social supports so that we’re not alone. That’s one of the beautiful things about the body of believers and about families is we don’t have to go through life alone, even though sometimes life is hard.
It can even, it can provide that accountability and that check, check my thinking here. This is what I’m telling myself, or this is what I’m experiencing or walking through life. Yep. And you can provide, or someone else can provide that level setting that I think we can lose in the midst of the emotions.
Yeah. And because of our feelings of just maybe somebody says, oh, they just, and I’m just not a good enough Christian, or I’m not good enough this way or that way. Our adversary, Satan just wants to beat us up. Okay. And that’s where having a support person, accountability person is so helpful. And you think about that just to just both for making sure, like my, let’s say I was the depressed person you say, hey, let’s go on a walk, let’s talk or, hey, you know what, hey, sit with me at church this coming Sunday, let’s let’s go in together. And that’s a, really a beautiful thing. Because
And it’s lifting up the hands and kinda lifting up and encouraging. So you have this other one here, this idea of feeling overwhelmed, where sometimes just a simple step can seem really hard. Yes. But if you, but what’s the what’s Ecclesiates say? I mean to two are better, two, two are better than one. And so you can encourage each other just to, to take steps here and there.
Yeah. I would also say that one of the things that people who are dealing with depression will sometimes feel is like they don’t have anything to offer. Okay. And so sometimes I’ve gotten some of my clients and hey, what I want you to do is I want you to send one person a day an encouraging text. I’m depressed and I’m just no good. I said, you know what? You pick a Bible verse, send it to a friend and encourage ’em okay. You write a note to somebody and again, it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It doesn’t have to change the whole world. Just putting in some positives. It’s one step in the right direction. I, on that feeling overwhelmed. Yeah. One of the things I would remember specifically is sometimes it’s really important to break tasks into small pieces if you said, oh, my job is to clean the house.
Yeah. Okay. Yeah, actually that’s too big of a job. Okay. Or if you have a sink full of dishes, and I would say, okay, if you have a sink full of dishes, how do you clean a sink full of dishes? The answer to that is you pick up the first cup. Okay. We break it into smaller pieces. And once you pick up the first cup, then you rinse the first cup and then you wash the first cup and and you do those things.
And then, you go to the next one. When we do that, it helps to take things that are overwhelming and bring ’em into small pieces. And I would say that’s one of the things that helpers can do. We have a, you can search on your, on our website or other things we have go there. Yeah. We have a variety of resources that people can do. Want to click into depression and adults there, for example. Here’s the depression and adults page, and if you go down, there are things like how to help depression in women, depression in men, depression in the elderly, helping someone with depression.
We’ve got all kinds of tools that you can go to here. And there’s actually pages on helping teens as well. And so the concept, just knowing and just trying to be as understanding if you’ve never gone through a depression, that’s okay. You can still come alongside somebody just understand what they’re going through, as good as you can.
But I would say this that sometimes, let’s say somebody’s depressed enough that they’re having trouble getting their task done in their home. Okay. You know what, so I would say, Hey, you know what? That, let’s say it’s a young mother that’s dealing with depression. You know what they might need some help with very practical things. Help me figure out a meal to make, help me to figure out how to get my laundry done. But here’s the thing, what I would invite you to do, depending on how depressed they are is help ’em do it with me. Yeah. Do with me don’t instead, just do it for them instead of do it for me. Yeah. Do it with me. Okay. And then gradually as they’re doing better, back out gradually.
Because what we wanna do is just keep the person as involved as possible. Again, when somebody’s in a they’re in a severely depressed place, they’re gonna be need more support and encouragement and more helps, and then gradually backing out.
Sure. Sure. That’s really helpful. Let’s go to the last one here. Okay. So now we’re on spiritual grounding. Yes. Okay. This is a fifth component here to talk about. Yes. Talk to us here, Ted. How do we, what are some keys or some tips on grounding ourselves spiritually? Yes. That can really be helpful.
So first of all is to understand that God loves you, even when you’re in the middle of depression and God’s love is constant during those things.
Depression and our adversary, Satan, both love to just pummel people when they’re in the middle of depression. Sometimes depression, one of the symptoms of depression is called inappropriate guilt. And that is where people will have things from their past that have been forgiven and all those things.
It’ll just cycle it out, make ’em feel like they’re not forgiven or make ’em feel like God didn’t, doesn’t listen to their prayers or those kind of things. So what we wanna do is when we’re reading the Scripture and we’re, or we’re thinking about God, we need to remember what’s true over what it feels like is true.
Sometimes people say Ted, I know God’s love me. He loves me, but it doesn’t feel like he loves me. I’m always gonna say we’re gonna go with the truth. Over our emotions. I love to talk about emotions. I love emotions. I love to talk about emotions more than my wife likes to talk about emotions, but I’m gonna tell you this, when there is a difference between what is true and what our feelings feel like, we’re always gonna go with what’s true.
Okay. Feelings are not facts, they’re feelings and you know what somebody will say the Scripture promises me that God said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. That’s true. Even in depression, okay. Sometimes, and this is a good time to bring up what if somebody’s feeling depressed because they’ve gotten into some kind of sin in their life?
Sure. They’ve done wrong and those kind of things. So a couple things. Number one is that obviously, if somebody’s dealing with some kind of spiritual struggle or sin, we want ’em to deal with that. And that’s again, why having the, having people accountability, and encouragement and things of that nature.
But let’s remember something is that God is not wanting a person to stay stuck in feelings of unforgiveness . God is not a withholder of his forgiveness when somebody comes and confesses their sins, it says he’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Depression, however goes, yeah, you aren’t really forgiven.
God wouldn’t really forgive you. You’re not worthy of forgiveness. Who, which of us is worthy of forgiveness. Yeah. Yeah. That’s why we’re saved by grace. And that’s why God’s grace is so wonderful. Okay.
So sometimes you just need someone to help remind you of that. Is that what you’re saying then? I am. That this is a wedding of the social connection and spiritual grounding, but often you need that, those truth speakers. To speak into that.
Absolutely. I would also say if somebody is feeling like their depression is as a result of a, because of a spiritual issue, I’m gonna say it’s really important that you have other people involved in your situation. Because sometimes I work with people who are just dealing with clinical depression who have that symptom of inappropriate guilt, the guilt from the past coming up. It isn’t a problem with their spiritual life. In fact, I remember one time that an individual who was feeling like they were a spiritual failure.
And when I said, Hey, when’s the last time you’ve gotten a physical with some blood work? They hadn’t for a long time. I said go to your doctor, get a physical. Found out the person’s thyroid was way off kilter. Got that person on some thyroid medicine, their depression cleared up, and guess what? They didn’t feel like they were at odds with God anymore, either. And
So those things can be interwoven.
They can be interwoven tied together there. They can be interwoven. And that’s where I think it’s so important to have truth tellers in our lives to help us because otherwise we’ll be in our head going well I’m just a failure as a Christian. I’m not really saved. I’m not all these things and we need other people to help us to sort that out and yeah. Hey, you know what, if somebody’s feeling depressed because they’ve got a pornography addiction and they’re just not, they want to overcome. Yeah. I they’re gonna feel some of that conviction and those kind of things, but we need to remember that God loves it when we come to the light, he’s gonna help us through. He is the God of new beginnings. Sure. He is the God that, that is of fresh starts of fresh starts. Yeah. Depression and Satan is where you can’t be forgiven, you’re washed up forever.
There’s a simple phrase here that God’s love is constant in the midst of our struggle. It’s just a very powerful but simple phrase. So there’s a resource that I know is referenced a lot. Yeah. Comforting Scripture in times of depression and struggle. Yes. It’s on our website again. This is what it looks like when you pop it open here. How would you use this? What is this and how would you use this Ted?
So a couple things. First of all, what this is some sections of Scripture. It starts out with Psalm 40. So sometimes people say, oh, Ted, I’m just, I’m so depressed. I don’t even know how to pray or I just can’t even. I say, Hey, read Psalm 40 as a prayer to God. It has some other comforting Scriptures.
Just thoughts to remind us about the truth about God. And the thing to remember here is that when people are depressed, oftentimes. Their concentration is poor. Sure. And it can be hard just to focus. And so they’ll be trying to, figure out what the, what a prophecy in the end of Daniel is.
And I say no. When you’re in the middle of depression, We want to keep it simple. We want to keep it focused on Jesus loves me this I know. You find those comforting Scriptures and just keep rehearsing them. If you go to the top of this document. Yeah. Arlan, I have some bullet points there.
And when somebody’s depressed or overwhelmed, I oftentimes tell ’em just do what you can do. This isn’t the time to try to bite off more than you can chew. Keep it simple. We’re not trying to figure out the difficult passages in Scripture and it’s even okay to just keep going over and over again, the same passages because we need to remember that depression will make memorization and concentration difficult.
And this is a good place also for friends and family members, supporters to help. And that is, when somebody’s depressed, just pray with them. Remind them of some Scriptures. Again, it’s not pretending that the depression, if you pray, it’ll just go away instantaneously, but it is, it’s reminding them, Hey the Lord loves you. I love you. We’re gonna walk this through together.
Yeah. And so you can find this on our website. , there’s a part spot down here too, where you can print, you can get this, you click here and you opens up and you can print that off, cuz it’s, you’re not. Shouldn’t be expected to memorize it. No. Have it in front of you read it. Yep. Walk that through what you just shared there reminds me a direction I’d like to, just to think about here. So let’s say you have someone in your life that is depressed and that you know about, or you think they are, right? . How how do you bring help to that person?
Yeah. What are ways to, we’ve talked about several things. Maybe you don’t have that relationship where you can just pop over there and start cleaning their house with them. Yeah. Type thing. Yep. You’re more of an observer. What are some. Things moves in the right direction.
So one of the things that I’m gonna say is depending on what your relationship is with a person and how open they are all these things might change. And, but I do think that conversing with the person and asking how they’re doing sometimes people will be open to talking, at other times that they won’t and that’s understandable. But you know what, sometimes you may be the person to say, Hey, you know what I have, I noticed that you just haven’t quite been yourself.
You doing okay? Is there some way I can be an encouragement to you? Sometimes people are just waiting for somebody to ask, they don’t know what to do or they’re feeling overwhelmed. If your relationship with that person is such that you say, Hey, what can I? Let’s say that they say, yeah, I’ve been struggling with some depression or some anxiety. You can just say to them, Hey I’m gonna be praying for you. Is there some way that I can encourage you with this? Is that, can I and and depending on what that person’s needs are that could be everywhere from babysitting their kids when they go to a counseling appointment, to Hey, you know what, I’m no counselor, I understand that walking can. Helpful boost new let’s let’s walk and talk. And even if you don’t wanna talk about what’s going on with that, let’s Hey, let’s just walk and check out the leaves, and
cause I’m guessing just even that fact right there, just getting out and doing something, even if you’re not having touched on the idea of depression or anything like that, just the connection, the social piece. That’s a step in the right direction.
Yep. That’s positive. Do you know one of the things that they showed and this was in people who were older like sixty. I believe the study was for people who were older than 60, but it showed that going that getting outta the house, going to an exercise class. And so they were being social.
They were doing exercise. They were getting outta the house. That, those three things. Had an antidepressant effect for people. What it was doing, it was causing them to move. They were getting out of isolation, were exercising, and they had a social piece. They had some community. And again, it’s not necessarily the silver bullet, but it’s part of this overall package. Yeah.
Let’s this is a good kind of break here. I’m gonna, Matt, you’ve been listening in, you’ve been looking on the chat thing to see if has any questions. I’m gonna have you come on in here. Go ahead and show your screen if you want to. Do you have any questions have come up or any questions you, when you people register, they submit questions, things we haven’t covered that you think we should we talk through. And I also extend that invitation to those out there who are listening in, if you wanna be brave and then mute your mic here in just a second, feel free to ask us a question live. We’ll be glad to tackle it, but Matt first, what? Any thoughts?
Yeah, a couple questions. One, one Ted. And you talked about thinking mindfulness is a pretty common word right now. I think if you were to do a Google search in this, you’ll hear and read mindfulness and is, are we for that?
Are we against that? What does it look like? Yeah. And can you speak a little bit about mindfulness?
Sure. Mindfulness is a very popular topic right now. And I would say that mindfulness is very similar to when we talk about meditation. There are types of meditation that we say are wonderfully Christian, and we would say there’s type of meditation Buddhist meditation, things like that, that we wouldn’t do.
Mindfulness is similar. What we’re talking about in mindfulness is learning to not get up in our head and fight with our thoughts. Okay. And so let’s say somebody has the thought that you know I’m these people here don’t like me, they don’t want me. And so what ends up happening is they go up in their head and they start wrestling with this thought .They don’t like me. They don’t like me, but it’s probably because of this. And it was probably a year ago , I did this and they thought, oh, they don’t like me. And so they’re up here in their head. Fighting with their thinking, the more they’re up here fighting, okay, several things are gonna occur. The more depressed they feel, the more anxious and insecure they feel, and the more being up in their head like this, they are going to miss living the life that they want to live. What mindfulness means is paying attention to the present moment without fighting with it. Okay? And for example, if I have this thought up here that goes, oh, Matt, doesn’t like me Arlan doesn’t like. Mindfulness says I can unhook from this. And instead of fighting with that thought, I’m gonna get out of my head and into my life. I’m gonna, I’m gonna say, what that thought is not helpful to me. I’m gonna refocus myself onto things that are in my control that I can do something with.
That awareness piece of even identifying those thought patterns that are going on there.
Yeah, that’s right. So I would say that from the, from a biblical perspective, somebody paying attention to the present moment, that’s the five senses. That’s who you’re talking to. Those kind of things. That’s a good thing.
In fact, I think what it does is that it reminds us that we can focus on the fact that God’s gonna help us with this moment. We can deal with the present. What we oftentimes are struggling with is our mind wants to jump forward called future tripping and we feel anxious or our mind wants to go backwards and it wants to dredge and wants to pull up old stuff. And so mindfulness is let’s play a pitch to the pre present moment. Let’s get out of our head and into our life. Sure. And that’s how I would practice it. at least
Do you have another question, Matt?
Yeah, another couple questions regarding what I think, am I depressed? And the fear of that is this because we’re under a lot of stress you mentioned early on kind of a two week rule. But there are a lot of circumstances in our lives that linger for more than two weeks. I guess the question is how do I know if I’m depressed? And maybe. Fly the airplane up a little higher. Is it important that I know that I am and that I’ve got a term for it?
. Great question. Do you know what? There’s several ways for people to be able to identify this. First of all, we would invite listeners if somebody’s wondering if they are or somebody that they love is. You can call into ACCFS and we’re glad to talk to you or a loved one by phone, listen to what’s going on and then try to help you figure out next steps.
We get that with lots of different questions. My daughter, what she’s doing is that an eating disorder or is that a normal phase, is this depression or is that? Sometimes another thing that could be helpful is to take a symptom checklist on the ACCFS website and other websites.
But if you go to the ACCFS website, there are symptom checklists that you could take and it’ll ask you, do you feel this? And do you feel this? And, rate that from, and then it’ll help you understand where you’re where you would fall in that. I think the other thing though, that I wanna say is that, am I depressed or does it matter if I have a name for it?
Sometimes people are dealing with depression and they are so ashamed. They feel like, oh, you know what? This means. I’m bad. And I just wanna say that what we want to do is break through the shame barrier. Shame doesn’t help anybody. Okay. It gets in people’s way. And our adversary, Satan, tries to take advantage of it.
One of the best things we can do is have a just, if you’re dealing with something just to know it and to deal with it. Now, what we do with it, there’s a whole wide variety of things. Sometimes we’re gonna give you a workbook to go through. Other times, it’s gonna say, go, I think you ought, go and talk to your doctor. Other times, there, there could be a variety of things, so it’s not a one size fits all, but I would tell you this, there is a lot of needless suffering out there.
Needless suffering is suffering with symptoms and silence because of shame when it could be identified and dealt with. Okay. And you know what, that’s one of the things we have as a body of believers that we can do for each other is to have a, just have a no shame policy. Hey, if this if you know what, the last thing I would want, Matt is if you were struggling, okay, that you felt too ashamed to ask to just let us know so we could pray for it and help you. We would want that, doesn’t mean you have to open yourself up to every stranger out there tell your stuff privately to everybody. That’s not what I mean but you know what the thing is, we really, this is an opportunity to really fight for each other and to really care for one another. And what, if you had diabetes, we would not look at you as a Christian person and go, oh, you have diabetes. You’re a bad Christian. we go, you have diabetes, how can we help? What do you have to do to manage that?
Do you know what, if somebody has depression, we need to go and we need to help people see. This isn’t, we’re not gonna look at you as a bad Christian. We want to come alongside of you. We wanna help you live an overcoming life.
Sure. I think that’s helpful. And I think even the five ways of beating depression here really helps whether it’s depression or circumstances and stressors of other types.
We have a couple of chattings here, Ted, that I want to, I wanna turn your attention to. One person writes when someone needs help beyond friendship help, how do you refer someone to a family doctor or psychiatrist, psychologist, a counselor, that whole referral piece. Do I dare say this? We can imagine the situation.
Yeah. Yeah. So I think that if you, I’m gonna answer this question in the sense that let’s say that this person has talked, these two people have talked and this person says I’m depressed, but I’m trying to be a friend to them, but they’re not quite getting better.
I think one of the things to do is just to say, Hey, I care for you. And it just seems you’re continuing to struggle and I’m thinking about how can we support you this? And I wondered, have you talked to your doctor about this or could I help you find a counselor? I think one of the things is it feels like this big jump.
Okay. Oh no, I need to to go get treatment for this. If this was 1820, it’d be a big, this would be, we’d say it’s 20, 20 it’s 2020. It’s 2020. That means if we’re struggling with this, let’s go get some, let’s get some help. I know people get, get skittish about that sometimes. We can help you also find counselors in your area. On our website, we have a document called what to expect from counseling. We also have a document called what to expect from psychiatry to help people just understand what happens there?
Sure. They get comfortable with the idea.
I think that’s helpful. I’ll say something that I’ve done is I will comment on how I’ve been helped by counseling , and say, you know what? I was in a tough place and this is what’s, this is the advantages that I have found personally or near to my family. Yeah. It starts to break those things down and saying, Hey, I’m not sending you away I’m just having you come along with me so.
. And I think that’s an important thing when you’re making a referral. When you’re trying to help somebody get into counselor, you’re not. Hey, wow. I did friendship here for a while and this isn’t working, so I’m no longer your friend go see a counselor. No, it’s just saying, Hey, it’s a full thing we need to just take this up a notch and that’s a that’s very doable.
Ted real quick, cuz we have four minutes left. There was another question here has to do with our church family’s food culture which is not the Mediterranean diet if I understand it. I mean our church lunch tray doesn’t look Mediterranean diet at all. Yeah. And that really is difficult. It puts us at a, potluck we’re invited over. We wanna be thoughtful. We want to eat what’s before us. How do we navigate that.
Yep. So first of all we all have a family culture and then we have a church culture. There’s all different kinds of pieces there. And I, I get that, that, that can make it, that can make it difficult. The thing that I would highlight here, is, I’m not advocating for a thing that says you have to hold, I’m not advocating for any one specific diet plan that you must eat this, or must not eat that. I do think that it is important to think about for you as an individual, your body type, your needs, what it is that you need to do. Okay. And that’s gonna be different for two different people. And some people are gonna manage that through portion sizes. Some people are gonna manage that through after your lunch yeah. Through other things. And so you just have to, what I would say is you need to know your own body, your own needs.
And then and I would just encourage people to be sensitive, both directions. Sometimes people that have an issue with this will sometimes want to take, have a kind of a war on the culture. And sometimes other people say, Hey, this is what we do. Don’t you try to do something different, and just be kind and let people do what they need to.
And if I can make a comment on that too, Ted, my family had to be on a pretty strict diet. So I know what navigating that looks like and the difficulties, but we have found, I think, any more cultures, pretty acceptant of a variety of diets. It’s not uncommon for people to be gluten free, lactose intolerant, This is common and a lot of people are bringing a packet of lunch to church.
Yeah. Yeah, go ahead.
No, I just, and it’s great points, I wanna give a, we have a couple minutes. If anybody out there has a question they’d like to ask, I wanna give a chance here just to, if you chime in and share a question with us.
And if not, feel free to interrupt us, if not, we will try to bring this a little bit to a close at top of the hour here. Any last thoughts, Ted, that you wanna…
I just wanted to say that today in terms of talking through these things, we talked about a variety of general topics that can be helpful for any one individual. Some of these things are gonna be more important than another some working with a psychiatrist gonna be absolutely essential. For some, if that’s gonna be, that’s not gonna be essential. Some it’s gonna be the exercise is really key. Others, that’s gonna be really dealing with their thinking.
And it’s not a one size fits all, but I really would encourage you to explore what’s necessary to help you to beat depression to the best of your ability.
Thanks, Ted. Thanks for your time. Thanks for all of you joining us in the middle of the day here. As we walk through this very important topic of depression. Looking forward to having you join us on our upcoming webinars, we have a few more throughout this year.
Keep your eyes open to the email and onto our website. We’ll try to advertise those out. You can be aware of those events as they get closer. But again, thanks for joining us. Thanks for learning. And we pray for God’s continued blessings upon each and every one of you.