Note: These pages are written from a Christian pastoral
perspective and are not intended to replace personal, one to counseling.
Users are advised to consult with an appropriate doctor/s prior to following
various suggestions in these pages. User of these pages indemnifies
Pastor Macinta and Macinta ministries from any adverse results of following,
or not following, the advise on all these pages.
Note: These pages are written from a Christian pastoral perspective and are not intended to replace personal, one to counseling. Users are advised to consult with an appropriate doctor/s prior to following various suggestions in these pages. User of these pages indemnifies Pastor Macinta and Macinta ministries from any adverse results of following, or not following, the advise on all these pages.
Here's a bunch of additional things to help you overcome depression. It is a big list, so just pick a few at a time to use. As your mental health improves, and it will, do more of them.
Even as a Christian, I myself have suffered from Major Depression, but God has helped me to learn some things I wish to pass on to you.
Please keep in mind that you may not improve unless you have taken the main cure , and have sincerely followed many of the main steps there.
At this point, I highly recommend the following procedure:
Although we are really spirit creatures, for now we are inside a body that has been tainted with sin. We must minister to the whole person for whole health. The beaker on top at the left represents the idea that the total cure for mental illness is a combination of factors, because we are spiritual and physical creatures.
IF YOU ARE TAKING MEDICATION FOR YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS, DO NOT STOP TAKING IT UNTIL YOU KNOW YOU ARE CURED AND A DOCTOR SAYS YOU ARE CURED.
IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE CURED, BUT YOUR DOCTOR SAYS YOU ARE NOT, THEN SEEK OUT A SECOND AND THIRD OPINION FROM ANOTHER/ OTHER DOCTORS.
Praise God Anyhow
This can be a real toughie, especially for those who suffer from depression. It goes against our human nature, which has been corrupted by sin. If we feel sad, depressed, etc., we most certainly are not wanting to do something which is the exact opposite - worship God. Yet, if we make the effort, and Praise God Anyhow, a special Biblical principle comes into play. It is "crucifying the flesh." In Galatians 2:20 we see that if we truly believe in Jesus, and truly love Him, we are crucified with Christ. In the Greek it is actually "co-crucified." Also, Paul in his epistles uses another word, "mortify" ("put off" in KJV).
THIS IS A MAJOR KEY! The moment we tell our old nature to STOP and command our entire being to Do The Right thing, we take a very powerful step! I urge you to have Jesus help you take control of your entire being.
REMEMBER, you are body, soul, and spirit. Until one comes to know Christ in a personal way, one may think they are in charge, but in reality their body and soul are in charge, and they, in turn, are directed by, sadly to say, satan (Scriptures indicate there is no middle ground here. It's either God or satan). Do you think this is weird? Well, have you ever ordered yourself to get up out of bed or to be quiet? In fact, the Bible points out that we can command ourselves either for the good (Psalm 103:1) or for the bad (Luke 12:19).
So let's do it! Praise God Anyhow! Yes it is hard to do, but look at it this way - a weightlifter will not get anywhere unless he forces himself to lift the weights to the point where he can barely do it. One does not become a great baseball player, pianist, or whatever, unless they make an effort to accomplish greater things all the time.
While in Bible School as a young Christian, I became irritated after awhile because other Christians acted like praise was a panacea for our problems. In fact, I had this attitude until the mid 80's. Somewhere along the line, I tried it. I praised God anyhow while depressed, and kept it up. The sense of depression lifted. Indeed, it returned again, but God prompted me to worship. As I kept doing this, I gained more and more spiritual strength all of the time.
It may have started when, while pastoring in Flintstone, MD, I was very concerned about the church bills. At times, I would be bringing to God the all the problems of the church along with my own personal problems. Prayer is good, but it needs to be accompanied by praise and worship. It came to a head one day when I was downstairs crying before God about the bills. All of a sudden, I sensed god saying basically "STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! DIDN'T I BRING YOU THROUGH THE FIRST YEAR OF YOUR SALVATION? [1970 - involved in one car accident, had to tell my unsaved Roman Catholic mother that I was going to go to Bible School, was mugged, left home to go to Bible School. etc., etc.] IF I BROUGHT YOU THROUGH THAT FIRST YEAR, AND THE NEXT YEAR, AND THE NEXT, AND SO ON, I'LL BRING YOU THROUGH THE FUTURE ONES." I got the message. From then on I forced myself to praise God when the "chips are down" or when I would sense that my depression may want to come back.
Praise and Worship are vitally important for the Christian. As mentioned in the main cure, we can group worship and praise in the following manner:
PRAISING GOD FOR WHO HE IS - This is a sure way to help overcome depression. First of all, it takes our minds off of ourselves, our problems, and others, and focuses our minds directly and only upon God. Secondly, unlike our own lives or circumstances, God just doesn't change! Stop and think of this one. The realm of medicine constantly changes. Science textbooks change. Religions change. BUT GOD DOES NOT CHANGE! One thing that may trigger periods of depression is the constant change of people, circumstances, etc. around us. Try praising God this way:
Thank You God for Your unchanging mercies.
Thank You Father for Your grace and forgiveness to me.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, Who is, and is to come.
WORSHIPPING GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE - This transfers your thoughts from what seems lacking in your life to the loving providence of God. Really think of what God has done for you. You may ask, like what? Thank Him for anything you have. Thank Him for all the times you had a safe trip going somewhere, for all the times He protected you from danger, and even for the times you don't know about. If you are honest with yourself and God, you can think of hundreds of things that God has done for you. If we can see how God has helped us in the past, then this will help us to see and to know that God will help us in the future.
WORSHIPPING GOD FOR WHAT HE WILL DO - Be careful here not to focus upon your problems, but simply upon God being able to help and guide you.
Do it now. Tell God you love Him. Lift your hands, feel love towards God. Sing to God (it does not matter whether you think you can sing or not, or you know for a fact that you can't carry a tune), - He loves to hear your voice in praise.
Praising God will not make your problems go away, but it will clear your mind, push back the forces of Satan, and gives you added inner strength.
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Talk To God
That is, pray! You do not have to use "Thee" or "Thou" unless you really want to. You do not have to kneel. You can pray with your eyes open. You can pray out loud or quietly. So you can pray anytime, anywhere.
NOW A VERY IMPORTANT POINT - If you have trouble overcoming depression, you may be harboring unforgiveness toward someone. You will not be completely cured from depression until you forgive others, just as God forgave you. When we harbor unforgiveness, we are acting in God's place. God is the only one to take vengeance. If you feel that you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone, please refer to Let Yourself Forgive Others under The Forgiveness Factor.
I think of this pattern as a form of a sandwich! I will explain more below.
The Word of God says that we are to mingle our supplications with thanksgiving and praise. That's what I call a good prayer sandwich!
I will not elaborate here on the topic of prayer: I need the room to finish this topic on depression. However, let me briefly explain it this way. Before you mention a need to God in prayer, think of what qualities He has that corresponds to that need, and praise God in that area first.
For example, if you are going to ask for a healing, praise God first that He is the Great Physician. Someone's marriage quite shaky? Praise God first that He is the God of peace and reconciliation. Quote Malachi 2:18 where it points out that God hates divorce. And remember that whatever you are praying about, after you ask, thank God.
NOTE: - You MUST follow the sandwich idea (praise - ask - thank) otherwise you will end up worried and depressed while you are praying! This would happen to me until I wised up, and obeyed the Scripture by mingling my requests with praise and thanksgiving (Php 4:6).
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Let God Talk To You!
God basically speaks in three ways, by our conscience, by His Holy Spirit, and by the Scriptures.
Everyone has a conscience. I know that some people act like they do not have one, but they still do - yet it is very warp. Serial killers. rapists, and people like Hitler have consciences, but their conscience is terribly warped by sin. Our conscience is a very important part of us but it can only operate at its' best if the person is saved and in tune with God's Holy Spirit. We need to look at our conscience as a lower level of guidance and correction that needs to be aligned with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures.
So the next level is the Holy Spirit. Remember we are really spirit creatures responding to the unseen spirit world. God's Holy Spirit works in conjunction with our conscience to guide and correct. Before one becomes a Christian, when they are tempted with a sin, their conscience may bother them. Once a person gets saved, becomes a Christian, in my opinion the Holy Spirit speaks up when we are tempted and we get a warning at least 10 times greater than what we used to get before we were saved. Before I was saved, when I was a child, I would shoplift. My conscience bothered me, but I brushed it off, hardening my conscience just a little bit more. Now that I have Jesus in my heart, if I simply dwell on the thought of stealing, or taking revenge, or you name the sin, the Holy Spirit is quick to send warning bells!
Yet the Holy Spirit is here for much more than just warnings! While in prayer, pause at times to wait just a little for a reply from His Spirit. He may tell you to correct something, or give you encouragement, guidance, etc. I simply love those days when "stuff happens" that I did not plan and it advances His kingdom. I get a whim to go here or there with tracts or go visit someone or whatever. Your life can be absolutely exciting if guided by the Holy Spirit. Tell God you are all His and ask God to guide you. YOU CAN HAVE A BLAST! Advance His Kingdom today! I will give more information under "Mental Helps."
As far as hearing God, we sense what He tells us in our minds and our hearts. If you get a whim or urge to do right, that's a very good possibility that God is speaking to you.
One more thing about the Holy Spirit - if you worship God, focusing in on God alone, you will eventually feel the presence of God! The overwhelming, abundant presence of God!
The third level is the most important one, the foundational one - The Holy Scriptures, The Bible. It is imperative that young Christian read some of the Gospels and dig into 1 John. The Bible is the instruction book we are to follow. Both what our conscience tells us and what we think the Holy Spirit is telling us must line up with the Word of God or forget it. God will not tell you to rob a bank. He will not tell you to divorce and go marry someone else. What God says, He means!
You might say "C'mon pastor, the Bible is written by people and interpreted by people in different ways in different churches. How do I know what is right?" My favorite way to answer this is as follows: 1 - READ IT FOR YOURSELF! 2 - Believe all of what the Bible says (or just throw the Book out and prepare yourself for hell) and . . .
3 -Go look at a stop sign. It says stop, doesn't it? It means a full stop, not a rolling stop, nor does it mean to treat it as a yield sign. If I treat the situation with anything less than a full stop, I may just receive a little reminder from a police officer as to what that sign means, or, worse yet, have an accident resulting in injury or even death. So the Bible tells us to be in church, to praise God, do not remarry once you have divorced, be honest in all you do, do not flirt if you are married (unless its' with your spouse!), do your best on the job, etc.
But, again the Bible is more than guidance and correction. It is very food for your spirit. Treat it as something sweet to eat, chock full of energy for you! Psalms has strength and encouragement, Proverbs has plenty of wisdom and the Gospels tell us about the life of Jesus which we need to follow.
And that brings us to this thought. Always ask yourself What Would Jesus Do? If Jesus would do what you want to do then do it! If He wouldn't do it then don't do it! Can you see Jesus sitting down to enjoy a soap opera, listening to filthy lyrics on a headset, or, you name it? If you are a child of God, decide to do what Jesus would do.
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Not many of us do and, in reality, we just cannot be perfect in this area for at least two reasons:
1 - The standards set by health professionals in our government keep changing. For years I have heard and was warned that salt is no good for you, -eliminate all salt. Now they say salt for most people is OK. Not too long ago they said, "eliminate fat from the diet." Now I'm hearing "keep some fat in or face certain types of cancer." (This page was composed in July 1998 so only God knows what we are going to hear in the future).
Our foods, for the most part are messed up. We have depleted nutrients from the soil around the world and have thrown in a host of chemicals.
IT IS BECAUSE OF THESE REASONS THAT I RECOMMEND FOOD SUPPLEMENTS AS MENTIONED BELOW!
Before leaving this section, I need to point this out. Do not undereat nor overeat. The former deprives you of the needed carbohydrates to maintain your energy, and the latter places more stress on your body, saps your strength, and may lower your self-esteem.
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Return To Index
Of course you know you need vitamins, amino acids, minerals, etc. Here, I will concentrate on the main ones that help fight mental depression (viz., THE B-COMPLEX, TRYPTOPHAN, CALCIUM, VITAMIN C, IRON).
Before I start, why natural? Why not synthetic vitamins? In my opinion, our natural bodies need natural nutrition, not synthetic. As a child I was given a well-known brand name of synthetic vitamins. By the age of 7, I was myopic (at 7), nervous, depressed, and probably had hints of arthritis dragging this stuff into my adult years. After I married Dorcas, I started taking natural supplements of mediocre quality (do you know that, at the present , a company can advertise their supplements as natural if they are only 10% natural???). Until 1979, I was taking B-COMPLEX from a well-known "natural" company, and then someone introduced my wife to SHAKLEE supplements. I tried their B-COMPLEX. Amazing results!!! My nerves were calm. A little less depression. We had some of the other B-COMPLEX left so I decided to finish the bottle. My nerves went downhill. Immediately I switched back to SHAKLEE and have stuck with them ever since that time.
First make sure you have the whole B-COMPLEX and properly balanced. Check the label for Biotin. Many vitamin companies diminish or completely eliminate Biotin. It costs too much!!! Get the highest percentage of natural possible. See if you can top this (from a SHAKLEE B-COMPLEX label)...
We must have protein. We must have amino acids. Here's what I am taking from SHAKLEE [this protein should not be used by infants under one year of age without consulting a physician].
I often say, if it was not for the Lord and the Shaklee I take, I'd be a nervous wreck. When my nerves are shaky, for the physical/ mental side of my being, I consume some B-COMPLEX and PROTEIN (for tryptophan). It works very well.
IRON - indispensable! Without it, we can feel run-down, fueling the festering mess of depression. I take a SHAKLEE multivitamin at least twice a day that contains iron.
HERBAL - ST. JOHN'S WART - SHAKLEE has a product called "Moodlift" containing this herb.
VITAMIN E for better circulation and anti-oxidant action.
Calcium and Vitamin C
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One of the things that God showed me while suffering from depression was that I was physically inactive. This presents a problem for the entire being, - body, soul and spirit. Proper activity/ exercise enhances the use of any nutrients we may have and helps us to stay mentally alert.
Many times, when someone suffers from depression, they just do not feel like doing a thing. I've been there friend. You're tired. Things bother you. We mope and do little activity. This further drags us down and eventually our depression is deeper.
Take the plunge and start exercising. (Check with a physician first.) It may be best to begin an exercise program gradually at first. WALKING has been noted as great exercise. If you know Christ as your Savior, you can couple your walking/ running/ jogging/ bicycling with praise and prayer for your community, witnessing, tract distribution, and so on. Walk to work, to the store, etc.
Many times I have been "taken-a-back" when trouble came like bananas. One time I was facing many problems including the fact that our car was broken down. I had to hitchhike to work which, at that time was 15 miles away. I started feeling a little sad, but as I started off toward route 50 at a quick pace, I started singing praises to God, "I Will Sing Of The Mercies Of The Lord Forever", marching to the tune. The obedience to God's Word in praising God, coupled with the logical use of exercise rendered blessings from God. I began to feel stronger and realized that these things will pass. That was around 1992. If that had been in 1972 or 82, I would have been muddled in depression. But Our God is the Good Shepherd of the sheep, and wants us to have life abundantly. It is definitely not His plan for us to suffer from depression.
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God showed this to me a few years ago- AREN'T YOU MORE APT TO GET DEPRESSED WHEN YOU ARE TIRED??? OF COURSE! Then rest, but rest for the right amount of time. When I suffered from major depression I used to get up late, staying in bed for extra time. No Good! When I finally did get up, I still stayed in my sleepwear for sometime. No Good! I just don't do that anymore. I awake, wash, groom, pop my blessed contacts, get dressed for any work and start doing something.
Trouble sleeping? Read the Bible. The Psalms are soothing. While pastoring in Flintstone MD, I received a call about 1AM one night that a senior citizen from my Assembly who was in the hospital could not sleep because she thought she was going to die. I zipped over there, prayed with her, and started reading from Psalm 1. By the time I got to Psalm 7 she was sawing logs!
Trouble sleeping? Take valerian root, B-COMPLEX, Calcium. Throw out your sleeping pills. Go natural.
Trouble sleeping? (Because of noise?) Turn on a Christian radio station, Christian music, or innocent music like the rain forest or ocean type.
Trouble sleeping? Might be the mattress. Get a new one, or use your head to modify your present situation.
If you cannot get enough sleep at the right times then take a nap, but don't over do it. The shortest naps seem to work the best for me. If I go pass an hour or two, it tends to rob me of the sleep I need that night.
Reduce and eventually eliminate caffeine. (Ouch! I steppeth on my own toes here). I personally notice that caffeine can build up in some people.
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Medicine is OK, but I feel that the natural way is the better way to go as much as you can.
NATUROPATHY - If you live in a state that allows naturopathic doctors to practice, go to them.
CHIROPRACTIC - I have tried this and I vote for it.
OMIT Yoga - Concentrate on Jesus instead. Practice of yoga can have a negative effect upon your spiritual well being.
Go To Rx 3
The Main Cure
Back To The Start Of "Let's Overcome Depression"