Understanding The Valley Of Depression When Coping with Chronic Illness

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

For most people suffering chronic health problems depression is no stranger. Many illnesses bring with them secondary depression. This affliction is not something people are comfortable talking about. We admire those who go through life with a cheerful disposition, and positive thinking is almost a religion. Being depressed is unacceptable and something to be avoided at all costs, but what if it can’t be avoided?

I have gone through many periods of very dark depression. I’m not talking about a “blue mood” or a bit of melancholy, but about walking around with your head inside a very dark cloud, being stopped in your tracks by a force that can bring you to your knees with the weight of darkness. There are levels of depression, from a sad mood to a case of major depression and at its worst it is a terribly oppressive force.

With major depression medication and/or counselling may be necessary. It is a serious illness in its own right. Secondary depression accompanies various afflictions and draws its strength from the weight of other oppressive illnesses. With either of these depressions it is a good idea to seek medical advice and counselling, but I believe we are also to take our difficulties to the Lord and find help and strength and recovery in Him.

In this world we face many challenges, sometimes the afflictions and challenges of life can get us down. Sometimes our affliction is depression. It is not through a lack of personal strength or lack of moral strength that people are stricken with depression. I believe it is just another malady of living in this broken world and within these broken bodies. Sometimes our brains are also affected by disease and sometimes chronic health struggles can open us up to depression.

If you are suffering from depression, for whatever reason, I would encourage you to get help, medical help, counselling, go to family members and friends who can help and encourage you, and as always, with every problem and challenge, go to the Lord and ask for His help, but whatever you do, do not suffer depression alone.

Prayer: Dear Lord, when we are in the dark valley of depression, take our hand and lead us back into the light. Amen.

About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. The Lord has led him through the valley of depression.

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Have you ever been depressed? What are some of the things that helped you through your depression?

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6 thoughts on “Understanding The Valley Of Depression When Coping with Chronic Illness

  1. This has to be one of the best explanations of depression I have seen, especially in relation to other illnesses. I have been dealing with severe depression for over a year now. There are times when I feel like I am being swallowed in to a dark black pit. It is on those occasions that I ask my husband to pray over me. He has an incredible gift that way and always manages to lift me out of that deep, dark pit. The enemy will find ways to deceive us and I firmly believe that depression is one of those ways. While I have sought medical help and remedies to help me cope, I do strongly believe that we must, I must, continue come before God seeking His light to lift me out of the darkness. I must constantly remind myself that God has a great plan for my life, not in spite of my pain but made perfect because of my pain!

  2. It’s sometimes hard, as a Christian, to accept depression. After all we ‘should’ be better off than the rest of the world. I’ve taken anti-depressants off and on during my lifetime. My recent bout with an episode had me taking them for 18 months. In September I decided I didn’t want to take them anymore. I’m really struggling with the nasty, dark beast however. There are those who would consider medication a crutch. I must admit that I do, in fact, feel very weak for not being able to muscle through.

  3. Thank you for speaking the total truth through your encouraging message. What a gift this article is for all of us who spend our days living with chronic illness and depression! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  4. I have experienced sudden depression that seems like an outright evil attack, and depression that seems to roll in slowly like a fog. Both make it impossible to see clearly and feel very very heavy. I so appreciate this post and the hope it offers regarding depression, without medicalizing or minimizing the reality of its effect on many, Christian and otherwise. Let us be more open and not struggle alone in these great times of need.

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