Dealing with a kind of hopelessness and depression as of late.

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Jonathan95, May 1, 2019.

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  1. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello all. Like the title mentions, I feel pretty terrible. Prayers, advice, scripture, etc. Would be very much appreciated. If I could just write down a few of my thoughts here, it would be a good thing I believe.

    I'm 24 years of age. Currently jobless, due to my own stupidity it seems. I served coffee. And I saved money and I used that money to pay off my rent for the rest of summer. I was finding it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning and I was becoming irritable at work and I just wanted to be done with it.

    It got frustrating living without a plan, without ambition for something greater. Just waking up and going to work, at a job I hated mind you. No reason other than to survive. And now that I got a good chunk of rent paid for I couldnt motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning.

    And here I've been. Not making the best use of the time at home. Letting nyself waste away. Thoughts that I'd be better off dead than here doing nothing.

    I feel discontent with everything. Feel so very frustrated. Forgive me, it's difficult to form my thoughts into words perfectly. Just a lot of feelings of anger and despondency.

    Be anxious for nothing, yes I understand. Be content, enjoy the small blessings that God has given each and every day, be thankful and continue to pray. I know but I feel restless and not well at all.

    Your prayers are welcome. Thank you.
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Are you single? If you feel restless, why not get a TESOL certificate to teach English as a 2nd language and go live abroad for awhile.
  3. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    This is a great idea. ​
  4. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    As providence would have it, someone who used to attend my congregation before moving to England has written a blog post that may be of use to you on Headaches, heartache and healing. The reflections on the Psalms in Christian experience are particularly useful.

    Jonathan, as good Calvinists ascribing everything to sin is often our first port of call (and often for good reason). In your case, however, I get the impression that the situation is not as simple as that.

    I suspect that your inability to work is caused by depression rather than vice-versa.

    My own problems with depression as a 19 year old began because I was struggling with a job that I was not able to do well and, as someone who had left school at 16, felt as if I was wasting my life by not having gone to university.

    These situations are exceedingly difficult to cope with or to comprehend. When you are laid aside from productive work, you do wonder what is the point of having to keep on living. One point that @Afterthought made somewhere in another thread a while ago now really helped me. He said that we are often like children who want to play with electricity mains who get upset when their parents forbid them to do so. We often make the same mistake with God and forget that he knows what is best for us.

    As a note to everyone else, I would advise against making suggestions about "Why don't you do such and such?" when you do not know for definite if the person is capable of such things.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  5. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I've prayed for you for God to lift you out of this 'slough of despond,' and I've spent some time in it myself. As for advice, if you don't find a job, have nothing to occupy your time then exercise. Brisk walking is therapeutic, as well as a healthful pursuit that can produce a feeling of well being, and occupies time. Callisthenics also. They tone muscle which supports your skeletal frame, and this gives a feeling of well being too.

    More importantly praying yourself. Going through a very stressful period of a year, that ended well 6 months ago, I learned what Paul meant when he said 'pray without ceasing.' If 'all things work together for good, to them that love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose', I thought that perhaps my trials and tribulations were chastisement, or/and His working sanctification within me. It certainly brought me closer to Him.

    You mention being familiar with Philippines 4. Many nights I have been on my knees asking God to give me the gift of being content whether in want, or in abundance. Days suppressing anxiety by remembering our Lord's discourse on the 'birds of the air', the lillies of the field.'

    Then there is the adversary, the Devil. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God. Cast down imaginations. Use the 'Sword of the Spirit', the Holy Word of God to give yourself that Shield of Faith. Finally, if this is a passing period of depression I think most of us go through them.

    If it is long term 'clinical' type of thing perhaps you should see your pastor, your session. Depression literally killed my mother, and it was a long 20 year period of ups, downs, culminating in her death. So examine yourself and if you need help reach out for it.
  6. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you very much. Ill check out that blog post. And I'll go ahead and head to the nearest clinic and see if I can get this depression checked out. Thanks again.
  7. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    For those who have dealt with serious depression in your life, what are your thoughts on the link between anger and depression? I know that for myself, there is a definite link. Every time I’ve been depressed I believe anger has been behind it. It can be complex.

    Jonathan, praying for you, that the Lord will help you see and give you the strength to do.
  8. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Jeri I've seen depression defined as 'anger turned inward.' From my experience, for myself, and observing significant others, it is an apt description. I've also seen it described as the smallest package in the world. A person all wrapped up in themselves. This is why service, being involved in your church, donating time to disabled, nursing homes, can be therapeutic as well. Getting out of that smallest package.
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  9. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    It makes sense. A lot of times I feel as if im paralyzed by indecision, locked inside my own head with nothing but my thoughts. I'm really good at analyzing situations but sometimes it's too much. Same reason I hate buffets. Too many choices, just give me what I need to eat and I'm good.
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I am going to respectfully dissent from these conclusions and affirm that depression/melancholy is primarily a medical/mental health problem and should be treated as such. It may be the case that God inflicts depression on some angry people as a chastisement for their anger, but there is no necessary connection between the two things. It may also be the case that some depressed/melancholy people are more prone to the sin of unlawful anger than others, but, again, that does not mean that there is a necessary link between this sort of medical condition and being angry.

    I think that you are suffering from mental blocks. I do not know what the solution to such a problem is, so I would ask your physician for help. I likewise suffer from the same problem. I find it very difficult to organise or indeed do anything that is not related to academic work. If I even so much as do some work around the house (such as ironing or hoovering), it can leave me unable to function for hours. Also, someone asked me to e-mail him several weeks ago but I still have not got around to doing so owing to a mental block. Again, I am sorry that I cannot offer a solution to such a problem. It is not as simple as getting up and getting on with it.
  11. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah im the same way. I'll see if I can get checked out asap.
  12. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    When you begin to have thoughts like this, you have have fallen into a dark place. Please get help now. The many suggestions are good, but one thing at a time, and this is the priority.
  13. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    Anger can be a symptom of depression, and depression can be a consequence. Depression can be primary or secondary.
  14. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I recommend going to the nearest temp service and getting a job where you can work 40-50 hours a week. Idleness is a sin, and you'll be unhappy as long as you're idle.

    There's a lot more to depression than that, but it's a good starting point. I say this as someone who has struggled with depression off and on since a preteen.

    Get all the help you can, but as long as you're idle, it's not likely to do you much good.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  15. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Idleness is a sin, but it is not a sin to refrain from work if you are not reasonably capable of working. In fact, not to stop or cut down in such circumstances is violating the sixth commandment. Judging from the information we have here, this person may not be reasonably capable of working as a result of melancholy. It is difficult for us to say for definite as our knowledge of the person in question is limited to interaction on the internet, but I do not think that jumping to the conclusion that "you are in sin" is a good idea.

    Keep in mind that many of our forebears had to step down from ministry or take extended breaks from work owing to melancholy. Having said that, if it is a case of mild depression, which I do not think that it is in this case, one of the worst things that you can do is to stop working.
  16. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Also, judging by previous discussions of this nature I get the impression that many of us tend to conflate depression/melancholy with either spiritual desertion or a lack of assurance. Gisbertus Voetius has a useful discussion of the difference between these things on pp 38-40 of this book. (It is on sale at the minute, so all the more reason to buy it. Take a note of this free plug, @Reformed Bookworm.)
  17. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    In fact, here is a brief extract from Gibertus Voetius on the above subject.
  18. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    @Jonathan95, in view of @TylerRay's exhortation above, may I ask you how many hours you were working, on average, a week when you were serving coffee? It is possible that you may have had too much time on your hands? Of course, I recognise that that could not be the case at all and that the depression is totally unrelated to your working hours.
  19. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I worked anywhere between 80 and 103 hours biweekly. Understaffed so we pretty much had guaranteed overtime.
  20. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for your reply, Jonathan. Given that you were pretty busy, I think that we can exclude idleness as the cause of your depression.
  21. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Have you approached a pastor or elder at your local church? This board has much wisdom but in such cases, talking and and praying with someone seems invaluable.
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  22. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I have yes. As to how they responed, they let me know that they are praying for me. And that I should seek out a doctor. Which is what I am doing. Today I made an appointnent for Friday. I assure you, my congregation knows that I am struggling.
  23. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Ok. I just hope you weren’t passed on too quickly, for their sake too. If you should be in need of medicine, I get that, but it’s not as if one-on-one shepherding isn’t still a good idea.
  24. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    My wife and I are RNs and I worked as a counselor on a psych ward for the military for over 3 years after doing about the equivalent of a half a masters in counseling.

    Doctors very quickly go to medication. But Prozac and other meds have long-term impacts on the brain structure and may inhibit you from functioning normally without the meds. It might be needed, but maybe not. Many US docs hand out meds like candy.

    "In 2016, the medical journal Patient Preference and Adherence published a paper looking at what people taking antidepressants long-term had to say about the side effects that they've seen. Overall, they did say they were less depressed and had a better quality of life because of the drugs, but about 30 percent still said they had moderate or severe depression.

    The main side effects they complained about included:
    • Sexual problems (72 percent), including inability to reach orgasm (65 percent)
    • Weight gain (65 percent)
    • Feeling emotionally numb (65 percent)
    • Not feeling like themselves (54 percent)
    • Reduced positive feelings (46 percent)
    • Feeling as if they're addicted (43 percent)
    • Caring less about other people (36 percent)
    • Feeling suicidal (36 percent)"
    Read that again, 72% of people on depression meds report sexual side-effects and 65% an inability to orgasm. 65% report weight gain... these meds cause more harm than good in many cases. I would caution anyone (especially if they are married) not to take these meds.

    Try to raise your mood naturally first and do not neglect the physical and earthly things:

    1. Exercise: If you are out of shape, your body won't work (including your brain). Go jog or work out.
    2. Nature: nature raises your mood. Go jog or run in nature. Get some Vitamin N.
    3. Good food. Pleasant and nutritious food can help raise your mood. Not just nutritionally, but emotionally as well. Have a nice dinner with some red wine.
    4. Eat with friends: cultivate friendships and have social meals with them.
    5. Get sunlight.
    6. Get human affection: Are you single? Finding a spouse can help, physical touch and affection is good for the mood.
    7. Sleep: Make sure you sleep good.
    8. Vitamins: Some vitamins might help. Magnesium helps calm folks and aids sleep.
    9. Travel to new places or try new things: this seems to keep us excited and awakens our sense of wonder, curiosity, etc.

    Then there are more mental/emotional things you can do:

    A. Maybe you feel you are in a rut in a dead-end job. Can you change that?
    B. Maybe you are bored with your present circumstances. Can you change that. I was serious when I suggested learning TESOL and moving overseas to explore another country and teach. I'd be depressed, too, if I worked the same job for years that I didn't like with much overtime.
    C. How are your relationships? Do you have a girlfriend? Are you near family or friends? How social are you?
    D. You seem to have identified some of the causes of your depression yourself by stating that you don't go to work and sleep a lot and don't leave the apartment.

    I had a summer job I hated as a teen. It was at a nursing home dealing with old and dying people. The smells were bad, it was depressing, plus very hard work (lifting folks to help them all day). I worked one summer there, but the summer afterwards I went part-time instead of full-time and then PRN (calling in to ask for shifts)...and over time I just stopped calling in for shifts because I hated the job so badly and felt like a hamster running in a wheel and not getting anywhere but more tired. I did not get depressed, but I did spend some days bummed out thinking about going to work on a 12-hour shift the next day. When I quit the job, my mood lifted and I was glad to be free.
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  25. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    My man. I totally get where you're coming from. It's the fatigue though that's really stopping me from doing anything else. I would love to go out and do this and that and exercise and so on. Thing is, im tired. All the time. Despite the healthy meals, despite the kind of job, etc.

    The only rhing I know is that I feel terrible. And if a doctor is going to hand pills out like candy I mean, it is what it is. Maybe it'll help, maybe not. I don't know. But everyone is telling me to try. So I'm going to. But thank you for taking the time to write all of that out. I appreciate the concern and care you've put into your responses. Means a lot.
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If you are that fatigued, there might be an organic cause. Remove the physical cause and maybe the mood will lift.

    My situation: I've never been prone to depression. But last year I got my 23rd case of malaria and my liver, spleen, and gallbladder all swelled up. I felt so horrible that I could not do anything and could not even sleep due to pain. So I suffered a very deep depression. I also had a strange MRI (not sure why, maybe my malarial went cerebral or I had another parasite..they discovered other parasites as well). I took xanax for a month to sleep..and when I got off I had VERY strange thoughts.

    But as my physical health improved my mood and hopefullness also improved as well. We are one holistic being and bad physical health can lead to bad mental health.

    How is your physical health? What are you doing to maintain physical health?
  27. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't understand these questions. I have no clue how my physical health is. Feels normal. Hence, why i need to head over the the doc's office to check things out. Im the same as I always been. I'm not sick if that's what you're asking. This all seems besides the point.
  28. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    You don't have a clue about how your physical health is? Are you fat, skinny, strong weak? Do you sleep well? Can you walk up stairs without puffing? Do you have clear skin or acne? Do you break a sweat a few times a week (that is healthy)? You can be unhealthy without having a sickness... lot of folks eat junk food and lay about. This is very relevant. Physical health affects mental health and vice versa.
  29. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    You are not alone, I’ve been there... My 19 year old has been there and still has his days. He’s only working part time right now and I’m not pressuring him. Don’t get discouraged.God has a plan & purpose for you! You will be ok!
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  30. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    There is a huge link between anger and depression for me. My depression isn't chemically based it's situational depression. I become depressed when I'm not reading the Bible or praying as I should....basically when I'm not being obedient to God or when I'm off from work for one reason or another. I then become discontented with everything in my life which leads to anger and impatience. A lot of people have chemically based depression so you can't just tell them to shape up with God or get a job etc. But even people with chemically based depression having a solid foundation of faithfulness to God will help them versus not having that foundation at all.

    Another thing I'd like to mention which might help those who are fighting depression is adding Vitamin D to your diet (the liquid capsules). My sister's psych MD suggested it to her and it has done wonders for her and she fights severe depression. It may or may not help but there's no harm in trying it. Also, add a calcium.
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