Facts on depression

By Focus on the Family Canada

We receive a lot of calls from pastors who struggle with depression. Here are some common symptoms of depression, plus guidance on what to do if you suspect depression has invaded your life.

Common symptoms of depression

  • Feelings of discouragement or sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing or remembering
  • Unusual fatigue and lethargy
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Depression can exhibit different symptoms in males and females

For example, men may tend to:

  • Become angry and irritable
  • Turn to sports, TV, sexual activities or alcohol to mask feelings
  • Feel embarrassed and fearful of depression
  • Want to maintain a strong, male image
  • Have a problem-solver approach to depression

If you think you may be depressed…

  • Visit your family physician. He/she can determine physical and emotional causes of your depression and talk with you about anti-depressants or other relevant medication.
  • Make an appointment with a counsellor. If you need a referral to a Christian counsellor, please call us at 1.888.525.3749.
  • Share your burden with an individual or two that you are close with – a fellow pastor, your spouse, a good friend. Ask them to pray for you.
  • Consider whether you need to take a sabbatical. Many pastors who struggle with depression find that time off work can be helpful.
  • Learn about self care and depression.
  • Rest. Take a Sabbath day each week and get 8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Eat fresh and healthy food, in smaller portions. Exercise for 15 minutes each day – a walk around your neighbourhood will do wonders in increasing your endorphin levels.
  • Be patient. Just as it took time to become depressed, it will take time to feel yourself again.
  • Let the Lord minister to you. Read the Psalms or other favourite Scriptures. Ask Him to help you – even if it is just a simple one-sentence prayer that you whisper throughout your day.
  • Call us at Clergy Care. We offer a listening ear, encouragement, referrals and consultation: 1.888.5.CLERGY.