We receive a lot of calls from pastors who struggle with depression. Below are symptoms of depression and 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 (see below for resource suggestions).
- 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 the Clergy Care Network. We offer a listening ear, encouragement, referrals and consultation - 1.888.5.CLERGY.