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How to Unashamedly Treat Your Depression While Strengthening Your Faith

 

How to Unashamedly Treat Your Depression

While Strengthening Your Faith

By Chanel Belle

Distributed by Shakespir

Copyright ©2016 C Squared Entertainment, LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

 

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I want to take this opportunity to give you a better idea of who I am and explain why I am an advocate for mental health and how my relationship with Jesus is the only reason I’m alive and able to share my testimony and the lessons God has taught me.

 

Although I had a very privileged childhood (thank you to my parents), I suffered from depression from a very young age. I have spent the latter half of my life battling it and only recently have I began to discover peace and healing.

 

I was born into a family of believers. My great grandfather was the Southern Regional Bishop during the 1980s and 1990s. He baptized me when I was 3 years old. Religion became a big part of my life through education as well. I attended a religious school from 4th to 12th grade.

 

Notice I said “religion” became a big part of my life, not a relationship with Jesus Christ—there is a difference. Despite my apparent “birthright” of strong faith, I suffered from low self-esteem, body image issues, a need for validation, as well as issues with abandonment, rejection, and fear, for many years.

 

I can remember being about 8 years old when I really started writing and keeping a journal. Writing became an escape for me. I recorded every single thought and feeling that crossed my mind. I also began doing my own personal bible study at home and writing devotions and prayers. If no one else, I knew I could be raw and vulnerable with Jesus and with myself.

 

Years passed and life happened. I left my family and moved from Wisconsin to Texas for college. My parents almost divorced. I entered a serious relationship and became the mother of 2 sons. My biological father died 7 days after I gave birth to my oldest son. A year later my grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and a year after that, he died. The following year, I lost my house, my car and was unable to work.

 

Given my mental condition, these situations were extremely difficult for me to cope with back to back. Over the past year, my depression reached an all time low. BUT! I’ve never felt closer to Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So let me ask you this: Do any of these statements sound familiar?

 

As a sufferer of depression, hearing the Voice of God in the midst of all the noise in my mind has been something I’ve struggled with for years.

 

I wish I could talk to the people in my life about how I feel, but when I’ve tried in the past, they just belittled me or discredited my feelings.

 

I’ve felt completely alone at times, even when surrounded by friends and loved ones, because I’m ashamed I struggle with this.

 

If yes, this eBook is for YOU.

 

Is it ok if we spend about 20 minutes together?

 

Over the course of several weeks I listened to and read hours of podcasts, books and articles written by church leaders, Christian thought-leaders and Christian experts.

 

What I discovered was shocking. The consistent message I found was this: “Clinical depression is a myth. If you’re depressed, you’re simply sad and angry at God…most likely due to past sins.” Finding that so many influential people in the church had this stance on a DISEASE that affects 350 million people was not just saddening, but infuriating.

 

Here’s the truth…

 

There are 9 different forms of depression, with “Major Depressive Disorder” (also known as “Clinical Depression”) being the most severe. MDD is diagnosed by a professional and sometimes requires medication.

 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is most likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

 

You see, depression has developed a horrible reputation. In the Christian community, people suffering from depression tend to be frowned upon and viewed as having lackluster faith. In the church, leaders often tell sufferers to simply make the choice to be happy. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

 

Many believers have dealt with the pain of depression, including Evangelist and Gospel icon, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Pastor Lisa Osteen-Comes of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX—both of whom dealt with Major Depressive Disorder and even suicidal thoughts at one point.

 

 

Can you guess who else dealt with depression?

 

JESUS. The Son of God and Savior of the World.

 

In the Amplified version of Luke 22:39-44, it says this:

 

“And He came out and went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples also followed Him.

 

And when He came to the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not [at all] enter into temptation.

 

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed,

 

Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.

 

And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit.

 

And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground.”

 

If someone’s anxiety level or mental anguish causes their body to begin sweating blood, that is the manifestation of depression plain and simple. It is rare, but this is a real medical condition called Hematohidrosis (or Hematidrosis) caused by fear and/or (in Jesus’ case) intense mental contemplation.

 

If you need a bit more evidence…

 

Here’s Hebrews 4:15, also in the Amplified version:

 

“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.”

 

There were several key phrases there: “a shared feeling” and “in every respect.”

 

Why are those phrases important? They literally mean any and every emotion you have ever felt, Jesus himself experienced it as well.

 

If you’re anything like me, you took heart in those scriptures. To know the One in whom we receive salvation literally felt the unbearable pain of depression, to know He experienced anxiety and mental anguish and exhaustion—that provides a level of comfort not easily found. These verses help us understand we are not alone in our struggle.

 

They also let us know three important things:

 

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Depression is not a sin or a punishment for sinning.

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Depression does not mean you are a weak-minded person.

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Depression does not disqualify you from being in ministry or sharing the goodness of God.

 

In reading the verses in Luke and Hebrews, it is very important to note the primary difference between Jesus dealing with depression and each of us: even in mental agony, Jesus remained sinless and perfect.

 

Where Jesus was able to say “not my will Father, always yours” we may still seek a way out of what we perceive to be pain. Where Jesus prayed more intensely, we may choose to lay and cry and allow negative thoughts to run wild.

 

In knowing Jesus was able to do these things because He was perfect, it should aide us in feeling more at ease and less ashamed when seeking medical assistance for depression. Jesus was 100% man but more importantly, He is 100% God. Sometimes we must stop and remember one thing:

 

God is God and we are not.

 

Our brains and personalities are not supernatural as was Jesus’. Medications designed to treat depression and anxiety may be very helpful for some of us.

 

Of the antidepressants available, most work equally well to relieve depression. In prescribing the one best for you, your doctor may consider several factors specific to you, such as: your particular symptoms, possible side effects, whether it worked for a close relative, interactions with other medications you may take, other health conditions you may have and cost/healthcare coverage.

 

If you’ve never tried to treat your depression with medication, you will find there will be a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, patience is key.

 

With some medications, you can take the full dosage immediately, with others you may need to gradually increase your dose and allow six weeks or more before the medication is fully effective. Most importantly, it is imperative antidepressants be taken consistently and at the correct dose. Some antidepressants may cause a sudden worsening of depression symptoms if they are stopped abruptly.

 

For many people, combining an antidepressant with counseling is extremely helpful. I personally recommend seeking out a Christian counselor, as they will be able to advise you in ways that align with God’s Word. They will also be able to pray for you one on one and provide you with scriptures that directly correlate to your specific situation.

 

Medication and/or therapy will be a great start, and if you’ve already started down the path of healing, kudos to you my friend! Ensuring you have a support system will be important as well. Family, friends, a support group, an online group, a life group with your church, whomever it may be, make sure you have people in your corner.

 

In my battle with depression, often times I went at it alone. Trying to explain what I was struggling with to my family and friends seemed next to impossible. Depression can be extremely taxing on an intimate relationship or marriage as well. Only recently did I begin suggesting certain articles or books to my loved ones so they could get a better idea of what I was going through and how to be there for me. I’ve put together a small list of suggestions that help people struggling with depression. Feel free to share this list with the important people in your life.

 

DO

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Be patient

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Listen (give credibility to their feelings)

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Show grace

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Pray for/with your loved one

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Show affection

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Encourage activity

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Offer to attend counseling with your loved one

 

DON’T

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Be critical or judgmental

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Take everything personally

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Tell them to “Just Snap Out of It” (remember, a person does not WANT to be depressed, after all, it is mental torture)

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Tell them to “Think Positively” (again, if it were that easy, the person wouldn’t be depressed right? Most of the time a depressed person literally can NOT think positively)

*
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Expect medication to solve everything

 

For your journey of healing and recovery my friends, I have one more suggestion:

 

Continuously and consistently seek God’s face and read His Word.

 

“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].” Hebrews 4:16 AMPC

###

AFTERWORD

 

It is my prayer you were blessed by what you read. If so, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?

 

It would be my honor and my privilege to continue on this journey of healing with you. Although God has allowed me to experience severe pain, he kept His promise and worked it out for my good. I, in turn, would like to share His love and the lessons I learned with you.

 

I offer one on one prayer and bible study sessions

via Skype, FaceTime or Teleconference.

 

If you would like to learn:

 

How to consistently seek God’s face

How to create a deeper prayer life

How to effectively study the Bible

How to hear God’s voice during a depressive episode

How to encounter Jesus in the midst of suicidal thoughts

How to embrace God’s unconditional love

How to experience joy in painful situations

 

Send an email to [email protected] with your Full Name, preferred chat method, and study session topic(s) of your choice.

 

You are also encouraged to send an email with any questions, comments, your testimony, or feedback about this eBook!

 

About the Author:

Chanel Belle is an Author, Poet, Mental Health Advocate, Serial Entrepreneur, Activist, Feminist and Philanthropist. She is also a Believer in Christ, Mother, Music Fiend, Lover of Wine, Semi Health Nut, and Milwaukee, WI Native. She has struggled with depression for most of her life, but God has stayed by her side. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, doing iPhone photography, and attending Beyoncé concerts.

 

Connect with Chanel Belle on her website: www.officialchanelbelle.tumblr.com

 

For daily inspiration and to chat with me online, follow me on Tumblr, Facebook, Periscope and/or Instagram: @OfficialChanelBelle

 

 

God Bless You

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Biswas, Saugato […] “A Curious Case of Sweating Blood” Indian Journal of Dermatology November 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827523/ Assessed August 21, 2016

 

Goldberg, Joseph “Types of Depression” Web MD, October 13, 2014 http://www.m.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types Assessed on August 21, 2016

 

MacInnes, Carolyn “How to Help When Your Spouse is Depressed” Focus on the Family 2003 [+ http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/depression/how-to-help-when-your-spouse-is-depressed+] Assessed August 21, 2016

 

Patton, C M “7 Things NOT to Say to a Depressed Christian” Credo House Blog: Reclaiming the Mind February 24, 2015 [+ http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2015/02/7-things-not-to-say-to-a-depressed-christian%E2%80%A8/+] Assessed August 21, 2016

 

UpChurch, John “Did Jesus Battle Depression?” Crosswalk April 10, 2015 [+ http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/did-jesus-battle-depression.html+] Assessed August 21, 2016

 

Mayo Clinic Staff “Antidepressants: Selecting One that’s Right for You” Mayo Clinic November 25, 2014 [+ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/antidepressants/art-20046273?pg=1+] Assessed August 21, 2016

 

“Depression” National Institute of Mental Health May 2016 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml Assessed on August 21, 2016

 


How to Unashamedly Treat Your Depression While Strengthening Your Faith

Using personal experience, biblical truth and medical facts, Chanel Belle explores the stigma of being a Christian suffering from depression and offers a fresh perspective on how to maintain and strengthen your faith without feeling guilty for seeking medical attention and assistance for your depression. In HOW TO UNASHAMEDLY TREAT YOUR DEPRESSION WHILE STRENGTHENING YOUR FAITH you will learn: The real causes of depression What major biblical figure suffered from depression 3 important things the Bible teaches us about depression Benefits of antidepressants and Christian counseling Do's and Dont's of interacting with people suffering from depression Downloading or requesting the book gives you access to a one-on-one resource for support, prayer, and bible study ***Disclaimer: Chanel Belle is not a psychologist and does not have any medical training. The books and writings offered by this author are not to be used as a substitute for actual Christian counseling.

  • ISBN: 9781370863341
  • Author: Chanel Belle
  • Published: 2016-09-18 01:20:08
  • Words: 2315
How to Unashamedly Treat Your Depression While Strengthening Your Faith How to Unashamedly Treat Your Depression While Strengthening Your Faith