There are physical conditions that affect our thoughts and emotions.
Forming a thought, for example, is actually a physical event. Signals are passed along brain nerve cell pathways transmitting the information necessary to give us control of our thoughts. If the nerve cells are all communicating correctly, we have full control of our thoughts and moods. If they are malfunctioning in some way, then we lose control.
Like anything else in our body, nerve cells can malfunction so that we have difficulty controlling our thoughts and moods. These medical conditions are called mood disorders. The most common mood disorders are depression, anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how common, though, as we don’t have a physical test to determine who is having trouble controlling their thoughts.
We estimate that fifteen percent of the population has one of these disorders. The problem is that 80% of the people with mood disorders don’t realize they have a correctable condition, so they never get treated.
This means that there are a very large number of people trying to function normally while struggling with an undiagnosed and untreated mood disorder.
Growing up in the church, I didn’t think that Christians could get depressed as I had never heard it discussed. I heard the church pray about all kinds of illnesses that people were in hospital with, but they never mentioned depression. I just presumed that it didn’t happen to Christians.
The truth is that Christians suffer with depression just as frequently as anyone else, because it is a physical, medical disorder.
When someone suffers with depression, the most common outworking is that they are down, sad and anxious. Often when a Christian suffers with depression they have an added feeling of being overwhelmed with guilt and shame for being depressed. They feel like it shouldn’t be happening to them because they are supposed to be walking in victory.
By not talking about depression and how common it is, we have actually made things worse for those suffering with it.
It’s time we talk openly about depression and mood disorders. People with blurred vision are allowed to wear glasses without shame.
Mood disorders are just conditions with blurred thinking and there are medications that can correct and control it.
So how can we know if we have depression or a mood disorder? There is no medical test so we use a checklist of symptoms to compare to. You can find this checklist both in my book, Emotionally Free, or on my website, along with a description of the most common mood disorders and how they affect people.
We can use this checklist to compare ourselves to and if we realize enough of the symptoms are present in our life, we may want to talk to a doctor so that they know what our struggles are. Then a decision can be made with the doctor about possible treatment that can help alleviate the struggles and feelings that depression brings.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or spiritual immaturity. It’s just another common medical condition. If you have it, there is help for it!