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Learning from Depression

Lacy M. Camp

I think depression gets a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s helpful to plan your death or feel stuck in the depths for weeks on end. But depression can be a time of insight.

Think about it. Mountains don’t exist without valleys. Depression is a part of the rhythm of our life. It is a natural time to reflect. Even Jesus felt depressed when Peter denied him and Judas betrayed him, when he accused God of abandoning him on the cross. We all experience times when we feel alone, betrayed by friends or family unsure of ourselves and our abilities, out of control of our lives, or sad over the loss of a dream, a loved one, a relationship.

Read Psalm 42:5–11.

So how do we learn from depression? Conventional wisdom says to stay busy. At some point that may be good, but it can prevent us from examining ourselves. The first and most important step is to acknowledge the pain and face it. This part takes time because it really hurts. A second step is to find someone we can talk to who is unconditionally accepting of us, won’t try to talk us out of our feelings, and will encourage us to find our own solutions. We can do this with friends, family, significant adults, counselors, or God. In this process, our hurts can be healed. We learn to accept ourselves as both good and limited, let go of what we can’t change, and grow.

And isn’t that what life is all about?

 

REFLECT: Do you see times of depression as a part of the rhythm of life?

—from devozine (November/December 1996). Copyright © 1996 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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