Our approach for providing Christian counseling for depression in men is similar in most ways to what we do with women. However, the bible defines different roles for men and women and the different sources of depression must be addressed.
Women are typically much more vocal than men about their need for help with depression. They are generally better at getting in touch with their emotions while men will try to deny their emotions, shield theirs and hide them from others.
Men will tend to get angry, look for someone (or something) else to blame and feel a general restlessness that is hard for them to explain. Some, because of a different temperament, may not allow the anger to lash outwards but will try to self-medicate by alcohol or immersion in sports, the internet, television or some other distraction.
Our experience is that depression in Christian men can be traced back one or both of these issues:
- An unhealthy reaction to stress
- Generational / bloodline patterns
Christian men, who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior, should have a different worldview and that is why we make the distinction versus men in general. Let us consider each in turn.
Dealing With Fear and Walking in Faith So We Do Not Get Overwhelmed
Life is stressful. We view stress as an external force. Dictionary.com says that stress is a “physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another” (emphasis added). Situations will come against us, but fear, a negative response, does not have to be the result.
Sources of stress for men include work, marital / relationship problems, financial challenges, health issues, and responsibilities in general. Men are called to be the leaders and providers in their homes. If they perceive themselves as falling short in one or more of the areas above then they are challenged to succumb to fear or respond in faith.
Children of God are to walk by faith and not in fear. David verbalized his resolve in Psalm 23 when he said that even though he was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he would purpose to not fear evil (v. 4).
Helping people to walk by faith and not by sight is an important task of pastors and counselors, and this can help a person not be overwhelmed and succumb to depression. We try to help people prepare and be positioned to win spiritual mind battles so they can live victoriously. There are many aspects to this battle: meditating on the Word of God, speaking it out, taking negative thoughts captive and focusing on thankfulness rather than lack are just a few of the key elements.
Getting Free From Generational Strongholds of Depression
Jesus became a curse for us (Gal 3:13) and broke the power of all generational curses on our bloodline. However, the demonic spirit behind depression (and others) can still be operating in that person, and deliverance is the remedy!
The majority of men that we see with strong depression tell us that it has been in their bloodline also. If somebody gets depressed, it does not necessarily mean they have a demon. However, persistent depression after repeated prayer, counsel and ministry are evidences (not proofs) that a demonic stronghold may be the source of the problem. Psychotropic medications are viewed by most as a band-aid at best and not a satisfactory solution.
Demons cannot be counseled out of people; they must be driven out, and this should be viewed as a viable option for men (and women) who cannot get free from chronic depression.
Jesus has made provision that we are to have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10)! Don’t stay trapped in the pit of depression; there is a better way and you should keep seeking help until you find it! Let us know if we can be of help.