When depression hits, it affects your whole being (body, soul, and spirit). Depression affects your body, but also your soul. Your soul is your personality (your mind, will, and emotions). God encourages us to seek Him for healing and health. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Often people who are depressed have difficulty expressing their feelings in a healthy way. A common cause of depression is buried feelings as a result of loss or past hurts. Ignored or denied feelings won’t go away. They are buried alive, deep inside your soul, where they fester and create an infection that produces poison in your body. That is why it is vital to face your feelings. Bring your heartache and hurts, your anxiety and anger, your fear and frustration to Jesus. Pour out your heart to Him and receive His comfort. He alone understands the depth of your pain. The Bible assures us that …“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16)
Anniversary depression is a yearly, recurring depression related to the anniversary date of a traumatic event. Triggered by painful memories, this involuntary, emotional reaction lasts only for a limited period of time. Many women dive into a depression each year around the anniversary of the abortion of their child or the anniversary of placing their child into another home for adoption. Widowed men and women can have anniversary depression around the date of their mate’s death.
The Bible speaks of being mired in the pain from the past, but also offers the hope of how to get unstuck! We have the choice to change our focus. “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:19–23)
How to deal with Anniversary Depression:
- Understand that your depression is rooted in a real loss from your past and that what you are experiencing is not uncommon.
- Acknowledge your emotions. Write out all painful memories and process them with a helpful person you can trust.
- Release your pain to the Lord and receive His comfort and healing. You might pray: “Lord, You know the pain I’ve felt over (List each hurt, each failure, and each person associated with the pain – be specific.). I now release all this pain into Your hands. Set me free in my soul and spirit. Thank You for wanting to heal me and make me whole. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.”
- Anticipate any upcoming anniversary and plan ahead for ways to counter possible depression. For instance, plan a trip with someone or arrange a social event so you will not be alone and so your mind will be focused on something other than the past event.
- Turn your anniversary date into an occasion that will produce new, positive memories by serving others in a meaningful way.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)