Depression: Spiritual vs. Mental


I recently published an article on my blog, “Faithfulness in Depression” where I discussed how God was faithful to me throughout a deep depression I experienced even though I lacked the motivation and the interest in having my quiet time with Him. Some people in the Christian community would say that I was experiencing a spiritual setback. That there was some sin in my life that I had not dealt with by asking Him for forgiveness and because of this, a great chasm was growing between me and the Lord. It supposedly resulted in me being ashamed or afraid to meet with Him because of this unconfessed sin. This is why, some would explain, I was depressed and not having my quiet times. Others would say I was possessed with a demon. I can assure you that a spiritual setback is not what I was experiencing nor was my body the home of a demon these past five months.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a disorder of the brain. The Institute also states that MRIs have shown that the brains of people with depression even look different from the brains of people without depression. (

The brain is an organ of the body just like all the other organs. When the brain becomes ill, the brain needs treatment similar to the other organs of the body. If the pancreas does not make enough insulin then diabetic medication is needed to help with this process. If the heart is not working as it should, then tests are run and appropriate medication may be prescribed. If the brain is not working properly then it needs proper medicine and therapy in order to help it function.

From November to March, I had been in a downward spiral into an all-encompassing depression. To help with this, my psychiatrist adjusted one of my medications which in the end had no effect on my depression. I wanted to get to the bottom to determine when this depression started. I thought that maybe there was something that triggered the sudden drop in my mood. I went home and analyzed my mood diary.

I discovered in November, my doctor began decreasing one of my other medications since he thought it was aggravating my irritability and my rage. Shortly after that change, I began developing depression symptoms. Each time he decreased the medicine, the symptoms got worse and more pronounced. You are probably wondering why I did not catch this earlier. Bipolar is a very complex disorder. I had a number of symptoms we were working at attempting to get under control. All of my focus was on watching for symptoms of irritability and rage, not symptoms of depression.

Once I brought this discovery to his attention, my psychiatrist began increasing my medication he had begun adjusting in November. I have already noticed a difference. I have had more motivation and energy along with growing interest in activities I used to find pleasurable. My time with God is increasing and becoming more regular.

As you can see, my depression was triggered by an imbalance of chemicals in my brain. If this depression was purely about my faith in God or my personal relationship with Jesus, then a change in my medication would not have had as a dramatic effect on me as it has.

My body was not a host for a demon, either. I have accepted Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. When I made that decision, the Holy Spirit of God took up residence in my heart (Acts 2:38, Romans 8:9). Since that day, my body has become the temple of the Spirit of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16).

God knows me (Psalm 139:1). He even has the hairs on my head counted (Luke 12:7). He knows that I have bipolar and that if it were not for the depression, I would be spending time with Him. He knows my love for Him did not change since He knows my heart. My brain just did not get the help that it so desperately needed in order to function properly.

The medical profession is still in the dark when it comes to the brain. We have a long way to go in order to learn more about this fascinating organ of the body. What we do know, is that mental illness is real and it needs to be treated properly. If you or a loved one knows someone who has symptoms of a mental illness, please seek help.