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What to Do When Feeling Depressed (and What Not to Do)

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It started when we were kids. We still deal with it in today. We fail to receive love, and we drag bruised emotions behind us for years, still aching for affirmation.

Before we know it, our attitude becomes: “Who will make me feel good today?” Oh, we won’t say that, but we seek it. The result? We get to feeling depressed.

What to Do When Feeling Depressed

(Photo by Photodune)

It’s not only relationships that challenge our joy. I remember reading about a woman who suffered from a disease of chronic fatigue. She decided to perform on herself the ancient procedure of trepanning—the cutting away a section of the scalp and drilling into the skull. After the operation she made a statement.

I was prone to occasional bouts of depression and felt something radical needed to be done.

When you’re feeling depressed—for whatever reason—and you need to do something, here’s what you can do.

And what you should never do.

Why You’re Feeling Depressed  

It’s always helpful to ask, Why am I feeling depressed? Sometimes the answer is obvious:

If it’s that last one . . .

When people disappoint us, we get frustrated and angry—and we begin feeling depressed. In fact, the majority of all depression finds its roots in unresolved anger.

Our life’s quest can quickly become trying to find a person or situation—or anything—that will make us feel good. That kind of unhealthy dependency makes us slaves of our circumstances—a sure recipe for disaster.

Every Person Will Fail You (Except One)

Everybody in your life will fail you to some degree.

  • Your parents
  • Your children
  • Your spouse
  • Your friends
  • Your pastor

And let me quickly add, you will also fail them. But you know the most humbling reality? You will fail yourself.

In this imperfect world, no person or circumstance can possibly produce the exact ingredients for your emotional stability and happiness.

It must come from elsewhere.

Only God Determines Your Value

When you’re feeling depressed because nobody seems to care or to value you, it’s essential to remember that only God gets to determine your worth.

And He says you have value to Him—great value. Jesus said it this way:

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? —Matthew 6:26

God values you

(Photo by Philipp Reiner, via Oomf)

Your worth and value are a gift given by God. It is not something you earn. He sees you so valuable He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins.

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. —Psalm 42:5

People are not God; they shouldn’t set your value. So, ask yourself:

  • What person in your life do you long for him or her to acknowledge your significance—before you will accept it yourself?
  • Who in your life have you allowed to play God?

Rather than depending on someone else to affirm your worth, cling to your value before God, even when another human chooses to ignore it.

When You’re Feeling Depressed

Sometimes you may have been feeling depressed for so long that you need the help of a professional Christian counselor. There’s nothing wrong with that—any more than a broken bone needs an MD. Nevertheless, you can begin to reshape your thinking today.

When someone rejects you—or when someone criticizes you—and you begin to doubt your worth as a person . . .

What not to do:

  • Don’t give that person the “authority” in your life to determine your worth. That’s God’s job.
  • Don’t try to convince them of your value by impressing them or by compromising your moral standards.

What to do:

  • Remind yourself that their evaluation of you fails to match what God thinks of you.
  • Rather than trying to convince them of your worth, cling instead to your value before God.

Only God gets to determine your value, and He says you have great worth to Him.

Tell me what you think: What helps you when you’re feeling depressed? To leave a comment, just click here.

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