One of the major symptoms of depression is withdrawal from meaningful relationships. Isolating ourselves and being alone with our negative thoughts will only contribute to the downward spiral. You may feel like you want to be alone, but you need to stay connected to God and in contact with the right people. We absolutely need God, and we necessarily need each other. Wrong associations and relationships, however, will only pull you down. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Depression is often precipitated by the loss of a relationship. Anybody who has suffered from a lifestyle depression for any length of time will likely have one or more people that they need to forgive, and some that they need to be reconciled with. Jesus said, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23,24). If you need to forgive someone else, go to God, but if you have offended or hurt someone else, then go to that person and seek their forgiveness and make restitution if appropriate. You will have little mental peace if you don’t.

A frog was frolicking with his friends when another frog rubbed him the wrong way. Straying off from the pack he hopped into a rut in the road. Two days later he was still stuck in the rut. Some old friends came bouncing by and encouraged him to hop out of the rut, but he remained stuck in the rut. Two days later the friends saw him hopping around the pasture and they asked what brought about the change. The frog said, “A Mack truck came along and I had to get out of there!” Sometimes we need someone or something to shake us out of our lethargy.

Dr. Neil

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