DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Know: All of us will experience trials that can lead to depression and anxiety.
Think: Rest in the assurance that God is always with me and will help me cope with depression and anxiety.
Do: Follow biblical guidelines and examples about how to properly address depression and anxiety.
READ: LISTEN TO GOD
Read 1 Kings 19; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 5:7; Revelation 21:4. Unfortunately far too many people have struggled with depression and anxiety in silence. Those who read the Bible will find a lot of information about these issues and guidance for how to address these problems.
PRAY: TALK TO GOD
Keep looking to and trusting Christ when struggling with anxiety or depression. Pray that you and your family will find peace that God will guide you through difficult trials.
DO: WALK WITH GOD
OPTION 1: As Christians, we will have trials in our lives, some of which can bring about depression and anxiety. During these trying times, we need to cry out to God to use our weaknesses to bring Him glory and help us to grow in Him. Bake a cake with your children. Talk to them about how delicious the cake will be when it is finished, but how all the ingredients by themselves don’t necessarily taste yummy. Have them taste test some flour or oil. Explain to them that these ingredients represent the hard times in our lives, like depression and anxiety, but God can use them for something good, like a cake!
OPTION 2: Have your family take the following true or false quiz (taken from Edward Moody’s First Aid for Your Emotional Hurts—Depression).
1. Depression is rare; few people suffer from it. (False. Depression impacts 10 to 25 percent of all women and 5 to 12 percent of all men at some point.)
2. Successful people don’t struggle from depression. (False. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mother Teresa all suffered from depression.)
3. Spiritually sound people do not suffer from depression. (False. Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon all suffered from depression.)
4. Depression only impacts the individual who is depressed. (False. 50 percent of all depressed individuals also experience chronic marital roblems. In one study 59 percent of children who had depressed parents and grandparents also experienced depression.)
5. There is little that can be done for depressed people. (False. The research indicates that friends and family can be very effective in helping someone who is depressed.)
Today your child learned the people on the island were very kind to Paul and the other people. Paul was putting wood on a fire when a poisonous snake bit him. But God was with Paul and he was unharmed. The people on the island thought Paul was a god. Paul knew it was God because God Is With Us All the Time.
Today your student studied the biblical example of Naomi during the extremely difficult time in her life when she experienced the loss of not only her husband, but also her two sons. As she struggled with many different emotions and changes in her life, she was reminded God was always with her. She learned to turn to and put her trust in God, and your student was challenged to do the same.
Teen depression is rampant. Today’s lesson was a good opportunity for your teen to see appropriate biblical ways to address depression by studying the experience of Elijah. Ask your student to review the steps that helped Elijah come out of the cave and return to effective ministry. This is a good opportunity to follow up with your teen about symptoms of depression and anxiety. Find a checklist (https://www.interactiontalks.com/teendepression-checklist/ or https://drgrantmullen.com/q-a-forums/am-i-normal/depression-self-test/ or others) and work through it together. This may also help your son or daughter recognize a friend’s difficulties with depression. Since teen suicides continue to climb and since the holidays are often a trigger for them, also review what your student should do if a friend threatens suicide. Do whatever you can to keep the communication doors open for your young person. Encourage your family to be aware of the needs of others especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.