As a pharmacist – I am very keenly aware that millions of people are taking prescriptions to help with depression, anxiety, and a wide range of emotional and mental disorders. These disorders can be very life-altering and make living a productive life difficult. Sometimes people can be completely paralyzed by these conditions and I am SO thankful that we have medications that can help many people have a much better quality of life. I do want to be sure people who are taking anti-depresants and anti-psychotics are aware that many of these drugs MUST be taken daily. If a patient misses even one or two days of some of these medications, they can have “rebound depression” (like having a nervous breakdown), major stomach problems, severe headaches and even suicidal thoughts. So please do not EVER stop taking these drugs suddenly or without your doctor’s help. If you have questions about your medication, your medical conditions or medical issues, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.
SOME CAUSES OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY:
- Some people inherit a predisposition to mental disorders and conditions. Many of these things run in families. But there is also the fact that children grow up around adults with these kinds of problems so they also learn to react to life in similar ways to the parents who raised them.
- There is situational depression or anxiety – the death of a loved one, a major disagreement with a friend, the loss of a job, a very stressful situation, a natural disaster, tragedies and the like can cause depression and anxiety in anyone.
- People who suffered sexual, physical and verbal abuse can have depression, anxiety and a wide variety of other mental and emotional illnesses as they try to deal with the trauma they endured.
- Children of divorce – even when they are adults – may suffer from depression and anxiety years later.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Sleep deprivation, illness, exhaustion, etc can cause great emotional and mental stress.
- Brain chemistry problems, low blood sugar, illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, low oxygen levels (altitude sickness), estrogen level changes (pregnancy, postpartum, PMS, menopause) and neurological issues.
- Side effects of some medications.
- Disobedience to God’s Word, sin, idolatry, trying to control things that only other people or God can control, living in fear instead of faith, or not having God’s Spirit will invariably cause depression, guilt, shame and anxiety.
- demonic oppression/possession
In medicine today, we tend to separate organs and body systems and even emotions and the soul from the brain and body in the way we think about things. But the truth is, our body/mind/soul is all connected.
If I think an anxious thought in my mind – my body reacts by producing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones). If I am constantly thinking anxious, worried and fearful thoughts, I bathe my entire body in these chemicals that affect my immune system, causes insomnia, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, a higher heart rate, stomach ulcers, heart attacks, increased sensitivity to pain, increased body fat accumulation around the belly (which increases the risk of diabetes), migraines, lower levels of serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter) irritability and a lot of other medical problems. Our bodies are designed to live by faith. Even if our faith isn’t in Jesus – our bodies are designed to be healthier when we live in faith instead of fear and worry. Of course, when my faith is in Christ, that is the best situation!
If I think about things I am thankful for and good things in my mind – I am blessed. My body reacts by NOT producing stress hormones (if my body is working properly). My immune system is boosted. I DON’T tend to get all those maladies that are caused by stress hormones. My neurotransmitters in my brain increase serotonin (making me feel happier), I sleep better, and I am overall much healthier and happier.
God designed our bodies to be blessed when we live by faith and to be cursed (His blessings are withdrawn) when we don’t trust Him.
DRUGS CAN’T COVER UP THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN OR SPIRITUAL SEPARATION FROM GOD
I am going to now focus solely on spiritual causes of depression and anxiety. This section does not cover all forms of depression and anxiety, but I think we often gloss over spiritual causes of these conditions to our detriment. Here I am only talking about depression, shame, guilt and anxiety associated with disobedience to God’s Word and sin.
***** There are many forms of mental illness that do not fall under this category. I am not attempting to diagnose or treat anyone with a medical condition. If you are suffering from emotional or mental problems that are affecting your ability to function and get along with others – please see your doctor! If you are taking medications for an emotional/mental problem – PLEASE do NOT stop taking your medication without consulting with your doctor!
If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety or depression, I pray that you might examine your own spirit and soul by the light of God’s Word and see if it’s possible you may have grieved God’s Spirit. This is what I did and it is why I personally had so much anxiety and fear for many years. If you have, then it will take repentance to God to have His Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit restored to you – love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
Sometimes we have anxiety and depression because we are living in sin and we are filled with guilt, shame or anxiety because of that sin.
- Maybe we refuse to forgive someone, despite the commands of Christ that we must forgive others or God will not forgive us (Matthew 6).
- Maybe there is a feud going on in the family and there is constant conflict and drama – and we have allowed a HUGE root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts – giving Satan a stronghold in our souls.
- Maybe we live with constant resentment and anger – possibly for many years.
- Maybe we are living in an immoral situation and we are racked with guilt and anxiety. If I am living in sin, there is no medication that will alleviate my anxiety and depression and restore God’s peace to me. I will suffer the consequences of broken fellowship with God because of my sin – so I won’t have His power available in my life. God will not allow me to enjoy His sweet presence and fellowship and the gift of His Spirit if I am clinging to sin. I will also suffer the lack of spiritual fellowship with other people because of my sin against God. And I will suffer emotionally with anxiety and depression because I am cherishing sin in my heart. I may suffer physical consequences like unwanted pregnancy or STDs if I sin against my body and against God by committing sexual immorality.
- Maybe I have an addiction to a drug/alcohol/behavior and I am filled with anxiety because I am idolizing that thing and idols cannot satisfy – only fellowship with God can bring true contentment, peace, joy, hope, satisfaction and abundant life.
- Maybe I trust SELF instead of God. That is idolatry.
- Maybe happiness and feelings and good emotions are my idols. Maybe I put those things above Christ in my heart. God will never let me experience His peace and joy if I put anything above Him.
- Maybe I have marriage, having a man, my boyfriend, having children, having a nice house, beauty, wealth, thinness, etc… above God in my heart. Again, that is idolatry.
If I am living in sin – there is no anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug that can erase the God-given consequences of my sin. No prescription can take away my guilt. No drug can remove my shame. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away the stain of my guilt. And to have that kind of clean heart, I have to turn away from my sinful life and walk to Christ – abandoning my sin, and embracing Him and His will for me. I have to give up control over my life and give that to Christ. I have to trust Him to make me right with God and realize that I can’t earn the right to be in a right relationship with God.
- All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.
- The wages (paycheck) of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
- For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Daddy.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8:12-17
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
GOD’S PRESCRIPTION FOR JOY
First, we must repent – turn from our sin and turn to Christ, apologizing to God and agreeing with Him that what we were doing was wrong and was sin in His eyes.
Then we can receive His forgiveness! I John 1:9.
Then we yield to Him as LORD of our lives and seek to honor, please, love and obey Him above all else!
Here are some if God’s commands for us:
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:17-20
Finally brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE – if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY – think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8
Now, your assignment is – think about these verses from Philippians 4. And think about your life and relationship with a significant other if you have one – in relation to these verses.
Please ask God to show you the good in your situation and THINK ON THOSE THINGS. This will mean, if you have thoughts that do not line up with these things, you need to trash them and refocus on things that honor and please God. This is part of how we “capture all of our thoughts for Christ.”
As we learn to find ALL of our contentment in Christ alone, laying down our own desires and expectations, we learn to experience the supernatural peace and joy of Christ. That is my goal for all of us!
RELATED – these will help you so much if you have not read them yet, to learn to live in the peace and joy of Christ