Helping Others Is God’s Prescription for Depression

One of our most popular blog pages is Scriptures Against Depression. Despair and heaviness is everywhere. It is in the news and it seems to be in the air. Last year, there were over 33,000 suicides in the United States. This is tragic, especially since there is a known cure.

God is the best answer to depression, not pills. Pharmaceuticals (e.g. Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Paxil, Celexa, etc.) only mask the effects of depression; the issues remain. Read the following from Wikipedia about medication survey results:

In the published literature, anti-depressants had 94% success in treating depression. In the withheld literature, they had below 50% success. Combined, all studies showed 51% efficacy – only two points better than that of a placebo.

I am not recommending that you get off of your medication, and I am not against medical professionals. They are doing all they can. We are all in this fight together. What I am saying, is that earthly things can go only so deep. Most of our issues run much deeper. Pills can bring temporary relief but then can also mask the problem. God’s involvement goes to the heart of the issue. Only the power of God can change you on the outside and also change you deep down on the inside. He can work in our surroundings and in your heart.

I am not recommending that you get off of your medication, and I am not against medical professionals.

I am not against any form of help, be it medicine, professionals, friends, or whatever. Use everything available. There is no shame in receiving any kind of help. Helping others is just another tool in your belt. Use it.

Depression is the ‘feeling’ of hopelessness, and the simple cure for hopelessness is hope. God is the author and source of hope, so He is the one and only true antidepressant. Again, use everything at your disposal to get your head above water so you can catch your breath. Only, use that breath to also find something firm under the surface, something that you can stand on. God is there and only He can effectively support you forever. His ways are the only true long-term cure.

Each day I concentrate on three things: trust God, clean house (morally), and help others. Jared Akers

The Bible shows us the mind and ways of God. God does not want you to just manage your depression, He wants you to be totally free from depression. Believing the Bible releases His presence and power. However, one must also act on the scriptures to see His hand move – to make depression leave for good. Knowing hope on a legal level is fine, but experiencing hope firsthand is quite another thing. Feeling His approval and the joy of giving will change you forever.

Helping and serving others will do the following for you:
  • It will help you to get your attention off of your own problems. Sometimes we get in such a hole that we can’t see anything else, or find the way out. Helping others works to break this cycle, and opens our vision. It gives perspective, shows that your problems are not insurmountable.
  • In helping to heal other’s wounds, yours will heal much quicker. The love and compassion you show to others in your time of pain will come back to you in healing and joy.
  • Helping others will once again reveal your true self worth. It will show you that you do have value and that you can make a difference. We all seek this; it was planted in our hearts by God.
  • The appreciation you will feel from those you help will bring joy and fulfillment to your heart. Our hearts long for fulfillment and only by serving can we best find it.
  • You will find that you aren’t the only one with problems. We know this intellectually, but seeing it first hand is healing. Sometimes we feel like we have been singled out for pain. We are not that special. It comes to all. Receive healing as you work to heal others. Do something; get out.
  • The ‘feeling’ you get from easing someone else’s pain and stress, sometimes called “helper’s high”, can give you a mood boost.

Isaiah Chapter 58 provides information about how to get out of darkness and despair. The answer is simple – serve others less fortunate than you. If you do this you will find help. Let’s read:

Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

Repentance and even fasting is a first step in breaking destructive cycles. A humble heart of repentance brings God’s presence. Fasting weakens the desires and strongholds of one’s mind and flesh.

Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:7

Helping the poor and helpless is your door to recovery. Find someone who cannot pay you back, and give them something that everyone can give – love and acceptance. And if you can afford more than that, give it. Give out of your need. God will bless it. This verse says that when you shelter and help another person, you are also sheltering and helping yourself.

Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8

As you help others, the light of God’s hope and a sense of His joy will flow into your life. Your recovery will come faster than you think. The original language that is translated ‘recovery’ in this verse speaks of the healing of one’s scars. The Bible is telling us that as we labor to heal others, our scars will heal. It is a promise from the God. Believe it.

Now go out. You will have to make yourself, but do it. Take a risk; love someone. God says He will protect you. Not everyone will accept your help, but He promises to guard your heart. Keep going and don’t stop loving them. Do exactly what you would want others to do for you. Do for them what you need, and in so doing you will help yourself.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, Isaiah 58:9

Stop blaming others. Unforgiveness will destroy you. It does no harm to the other person(s). Let go and start loving others, and watch God show up. He will come to you and say, ‘Here I am, what do you need?’ Imagine how that would change your life. Allow yourself to imagine it and then go out and do it.

And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. Isaiah 58:10

Once you decide to satisfy others, God will satisfy you. Light will pour back into your life. Darkness will flee. Your depression will disappear as a shadow in the midday sun. It is possible, believe it and act on it.

And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

Keep it up, and He will walk with you and be your personal guide. He will satisfy your hearts desires. It really does not matter what the conditions are around you. He will strengthen you and water you. You will become a fountain for all those around you. The water you draw for them will nourish you.

A huge aspect of being hopeless is being purposeless. In the darkness of despair, one looses sight of one’s capabilities. Find your purpose in God and you’ll regain your hope. You were made to have value, and you release your value when you value others, and you value others by serving them. In helping others light comes. Your purpose is found in finding your appointed service in God. Through the act of giving to others, God will give to you. You’ll regain your value as a person. We were made to do this.

Serving others may not be the only answer but it is part of the answer, and maybe it is the part that will activate your big answer. Go out, take a risk, help someone and then believe you will get better. Go ahead and believe for the sunshine again. It is out there. We love you.

Helping others is your door to recovery.
Helping others helps you.
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Comments 102

  1. Kay

    Dearest Anna – I am so sorry, I wish there were magic words that would help you. I’m sure you’ve heard everything before. I just urge you to keep trying although I know how difficult it can be to get out of the pit and of course the pit does not have room for anyone else, so how can someone reach you to help, right? Do you have loved ones who care for you through whom you can seek new medical doctors and treatments? Can they or you commit yourself to a new facility? There’s a reason why we are always urged to ‘keep trying’ – our solution might be at the very next spot we try. I do not know how you can control your thoughts, I suffer ‘night demons’ but am sure they are nothing compared to yours. You must feel so very alone, it breaks my heart. Does your pastor visit you? if not, get him there!
    When my daughter was overwhelmed by life and felt no purpose left for her, luckily I was able to get her to the hospital, and she later told me that when she awoke and saw the look on my face it made her resolve to never to try that again. You need to see that look on someone’s face. It is on the face of Jesus, you know that. I can understand how your faith is suffering, I am so impressed that you have held it so dearly, just please keep it, let the face of God overshadow your demons and conquer them. But meanwhile, get help, please! With love and blessings, Kay

  2. Anna

    I have struggled with Bipolar and depression all my life. I used to be able to control my out burts and now I can’t. I have been in mental hospitals, overdosed, and have tried sucide a number amount of times. I try to bring myself to ask God for help but I feel like my cries to him are just words being ignored. Don’t get me wrong I love God and I am thankful for the things he has done in my life. But lately my Bipolar and depression are getting the best of me again and the medications aren’t working anymore. It’s like when one thing goes wrong be it with my health or just something in life it’s a train wreck that just keeps blocking my way. I can’t help but to sometimes question my own faith. Even though Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” I can’t bring myself to believe it anymore. My depression is killing my hope and faith. I don’t pray anymore because I feel there is no point. I don’t go to church anymore because why sit there and listen when I have NOTHING to give. I am slowly losing it my nervous breakdown is right on the edge I currently feel numb to everything, my thoughts are all I have left right now and they are horrible thoughts! I am lost.

    1. David

      Dear Anna,
      I have suffered with depression, and I know that it is not nice. I was feeling spiritually very low, and I found the following video-link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejXniemAyOc by Norm Rasmussen, who talks about “When you feel like God has let you down”, and I found this link VERY helpful. Please watch and persevere with the video all the way through to the end. I hope that it helps you Anna. I will be praying for you.
      Best wishes,
      David

  3. Kay

    Dear Joey & Rex – I did not mean to say that God and all He offers is not available to everyone, I was saying that as for me if, when I am in doubt or despair and feel alone in the cold, I imagine that God is with me, and I can act that way – until it feels true! I do feel that’s a better way than to keep walking into the darkness and give in to hopelessness, don’t you? It is unfortunate that the scenario can keep repeating but hopefully each time the darkness of alone is slightly less, the cold just a bit less biting, and the way back slightly shorter.
    We are each on our own journey and whatever steps we follow on the way are acceptable to God. As for the evil we encounter along the way, that is Satan who is alive and unfortunately well, and as part of our journey we must constantly strive to defeat him. Amen?

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