Dark Night of the Soul – Dealing With Depression

Three great prophets of God in the Old Testament suffered from depression from time to time and in fact three of them actually asked God to end their lives. Moses, Elijah and Jonah all asked God to end their lives. They are no different than Christians today who suffer from weariness of the soul, mind and body. What are the signs and symptoms of Clinical Depression? What creates depression and how can it be treated? As a former Mental Health Case Manager, I have experienced the many signs and symptoms that are associated with depression. Everyone gets depressed from time to time, but the problem is when you stay depressed for long periods of time.

Here is a list of signs and symptoms of Clinical Depression that should be taken seriously.

Mental or physical exhaustion almost all of the time
Inability to sleep
Lack of concentration
Constant dejection
Feelings of worthlessness
Appetite issues (over or under eating)
Constant irritation or anger
Lack of sexual desire
Loss of energy
Loss of interest in your or their hobbies
Quick loss of temper
Lashing out at people
A tendency of being short with people
Punishing yourself or themselves
A mild or constant state of sadness
Not talking with anyone, or being unusually quiet around others
Sitting all night after work in front of the TV

If you have checked off several of these, it may be time to see your doctor.

Here are some major causes for depression:

Loss of a job
Death of a spouse or child
Hectic, fast-paced lifestyle
A steady diet of fast food
A harried schedule
A constantly ringing Blackberry

If you have experienced three or more of these, then you could be at risk of suffering from depression.

Here are ways that you can fight depression:

Establish proper boundaries in your schedule, allowing sufficient down time
Eat three properly nutritious meals a day
Take one day off per week from anything work related
Consistent rest
Relational stimulation like mentoring or time with friends (TV doesn't count)

See a doctor if these things do not lesson your depression.

* Almost everyone goes through depression at one time or another, but most people come out of it. If you or someone you know stays in severe depression for weeks or months, this is a warning sign that you or someone you know needs professional help. Seek it now. Depression is not a character weakness but it could simply be too much going on, too many difficult issues you've gone through or it could be a simple brain chemical imbalance. These are all treatable.

* Never ignore signs of wanting to hurt yourself or thinking suicidal thoughts. See a doctor, even if you think it's not Clinical Depression. Your doctor is trained to give you help or refer you to a counselor if need be.

This article should not take the place of a proper medical evaluation for Clinical Depression. If you have feelings of sucide or long-lasting depression, see your doctor immediately. This article should not be used to self-diagnose Clinical Depression nor should it be used to treat it.  The best advice I can give you is that if you have several of these signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment immediately.

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