Hi, Jim Daly here. Today's culture deeply needs help, but in times like these, the light of Christ can shine even brighter. So be encouraged to share his light in this broken world. Listen to the Refocus with Jim Daly Podcast. Without time limitations, I'll have deep, heartfelt discussions with fascinating guests who will encourage you to share God's grace, truth, and love.
Check out the podcast at RefocusWithJimDaly.com or wherever you get your podcasts. The despair is you're hearing our voices today. The despair could be great. You may feel very despondent. Don't give up. You will not regret it.
Stay in the game. Dr. Gregory Jantz joins us today on Focus on the Family offering insights into how to heal from depression. And I do hope you'll stay with us because we hear from so many people who are dealing with depression themselves or a friend or a family member has it. I'm John Fuller, your host as Focus President and author, Jim Daly. John, Dr. Jantz has been with us before at Focus on the Family and we're so grateful to have him back. You know, now more than ever, so many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other things. And this is Dr. Jantz's specialty, helping families to thrive in Christ is Focus's goal for every family.
And we want to address these hard issues so that people are better equipped to get in that place of shalom, of God's peace, experiencing it and living it. So I'm looking forward to today's program. He's experienced the darkness himself about going through depression, so not only is he a mental health professional, but he's also experienced himself.
I think that brings a lot of credibility. Yeah, and professionally, Dr. Jantz is the founder of The Center, A Place of Hope in Edmonds, Washington. It's a renowned treatment center for depression and he's written some 45 books. One that really captures a lot of what we're talking about today is called Healing Depression for Life, the personalized approach that offers new hope for lasting relief.
Details about the book and our guests are in the program notes. Dr. Jantz, welcome back to Focus. So good to have you here. It is so good to be here and I always want to begin by saying there's hope.
That's good. That's where there's hope there's a future. That's what the scripture is all about. I mean I wish people that didn't know the Lord understood that and would at least be curious enough to embrace it and I think it's important right from the beginning here because some people are uneasy when we talk about mental health issues and somehow it fits a different category for some people like diabetes or some body issue. People are comfortable talking about that and medicines that can be used to treat those things, but when it comes to mental health, it tends to be a little more of a taboo subject, particularly for Christians.
It is and let's just be really bold with this today. We know that depression and I know the word is not even a fun word, but depression and anxiety have a stronghold on many and we need to talk about how do you get out of that. Yeah, for sure. Also I want to you know kind of give you the opportunity right from the beginning here when you're melding psychology and your faith in Christ, speak to that and how you know it's like the scientists of old, Newton discovering gravity because he believed he had a faith in Christ or Louis Pasteur or any of those great scientists that had a I would suggest a better well-roundedness when it came to theology and psychology and other things that they would study, but these were typically men and women of faith. Absolutely and without faith as the foundation with as you're looking in this topic of psychology or counseling, without that as the foundation, you can go down the wrong path.
Let me just say that. Yeah, but it is possible to see in psychology God's design for the human brain. I mean absolutely and we're told that we can have a sound mind and we'll talk about that. Well how about fear not? Yeah and fear not.
I mean another one. So the scripture really does delve into these issues. We may not notice it right as a medical connection, but often it is right?
Yes. Okay, let's get to it. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2020, I want to make sure I got that date right, I think they estimated and even the new information now is like one in four people are dealing with depression. If I understand that correctly, that could be over 80 million people in this country.
Jim, let's say that again, one out of four. That means that you know somebody, if it's not you, we're all touched by somebody in the struggle with depression. We all know someone and those numbers have risen exponentially since COVID, since post-pandemic and we're seeing those numbers continue to increase right now. Yeah maybe since cable news too, right? I mean everything is fear, everything is falling apart. And it is true that right now the number one diagnosis in our country and many others is anxiety followed by depression. Yeah. And we're seeing the addiction rates have skyrocketed. Anytime addiction rates go up, depression and anxiety will go up as well.
Wow, that's interesting. Let me start because I think for people viewing us on YouTube and listening to the broadcast or the podcast, wherever this is going to be, your personal journey brings a lot of validity to this. You're not just some scientist who's looking at this from afar, you've gone through it. I know what it's like to walk through the despair and the despondency. Those two words, despair and despondency. I've been there, I know what it's like and I also know what it's like to get out of it. And I know you need a plan and that's when we see hope when we have a plan. And though it was many years ago for me, I remember what I went through and I think it gave me a special empathy and care and compassion when I see others suffering because I know there's a way out.
Yeah, describe it though. I mean I feel like for me I've always been buoyant. I've always, even I think you would call it resiliency.
But being an orphan kid, I just got up every day and said, okay, I got to put my left foot in front of my right foot. I didn't feel like I had a choice to be sad. It's like I just got to go.
And so I've never really experienced that. That depression, what does that feel like? And we need to look at depression because it can come from a lot of different sources.
And as we look at this today, that's why we've got to look at the whole person, how God designed us. What's it feel like? It's the person in the morning who you're trying to get out of bed and you go, ah, I don't even know if I can make it through this day. And it takes all your energy to function. You probably notice it's hard to make a decision. You might've had a restless night of sleep. You feel like, man, my appetite's way off.
I'm either not eating or I'm eating all the time. And you're looking for a way of escape. And maybe you've already tried a lot of things. You go, well, I've done this, I've done that, but it seems like nothing has worked.
And you still have, I'll use the word oppression. You still have this heaviness over you. And you began to wonder, well, what's wrong with me? You may even say to yourself, I'm a Christian and I shouldn't be having this trouble. And you may be struggling with that. Especially when you feel like you've done everything I know to do, and I'm still struggling.
Yeah. In the book, you talk about three deadly emotions, blocking progress for those suffering from depression. Let's nail those down. What are those three deadly emotions?
We always want to cover all the bases. So emotionally, I want to look at three potentially deadly emotions. One is anger. Maybe another word for anger could be resentment, unforgiveness, hurt. Hurt's a good word for anger. And maybe I haven't even realized I've internalized all this hurt and internalizing that hurt. I have found myself full of bitterness and I don't even realize that's what's happened.
Okay. So that could be anger and hurt. Then there's fear. Maybe I grew up in a family where there was a lot of intimidation or fear, and I learned how to be an anxious person. Or perhaps I have something going on in my body that's putting out a lot of anxiety. So it's a physical issue, but anxiety paralyzes the brain and it makes it hard for us to make a decision. When I'm anxious, my self doubt is high.
I can't seem to make a decision. I don't feel worthy. I probably don't feel loved. So that's anger, fear.
The last one is guilt. Now, another word for guilt here could be shame. I really believe there's something defective about me. Something is wrong with me. I feel shameful.
I feel like ultimately God can't even love me. And that affects all my relationships. Let me make sure that we understand that clearly because when it comes to guilt, there is a healthy guilt. There's a healthy guilt.
And I want to make sure we differentiate. We don't want to ignore that. That's the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
You're moving in the wrong direction and you shouldn't be doing those things that you're doing. That's a good guilt. That's a good guilt, Jim. And we need to respond to that and seek forgiveness, seek the remedy of asking somebody for forgiveness. But we're talking about a false guilt or a shame that says, I just believe there's something really wrong with me and I'm always going to be this way.
Well, shame. And I think it's so important for people to understand this, especially in their relationship with Christ. God does not shame us, in my opinion. I mean, I don't see anything in scripture where it's shaming. It's a desire to love us and to move us to a healthier place.
Right. Give us an example of what shame, you know, you mentioned that, but person who internalizes that shame, what does that sound like in our? Well, if I internalize shame, I'm going to probably be depressed.
I'm going to be anxious. And if I've internalized shame, maybe I've been able to go so far in life, but my relationships just are not where I know they could be. I may struggle with intimacy. If I have a lot of shame, it may be hard for me to trust people. Shame is like an invisible block between me and other people because I can't really have the real relationship I'd like to have.
Yeah. You worked with a man named Andrew who dealt with those three deadly emotions, um, share about his journey, uh, that led him to healing. Well, one of the deadly emotions there was the motion of ultimately unforgiveness. So shame unforgiveness and having this intense anger and not really understanding that that's, what's the core. You see, I believe with the whole person approach and with Andrew, we had to get down to what was the core issues that he has been facing his whole life and his whole struggle with, with depression.
Now, one of those happened to been, uh, really ultimately hurt, uh, shame in his life. And that had to be addressed. But, you know, we do need to look at the whole person. If I live that way for a long time, I've got to change how I think I have to renew my thinking as well.
Yeah. And maybe I haven't taken good care of myself physically. So I've got to change how I care for myself. Uh, so when you have healing from depression and Andrew had this, it is a process of healing in all areas of your life. It'll start in one area emotionally, but it's going to have a ripple effect in other areas of your life.
Oh, which is so good. You also, this wasn't in the book, but, uh, you mentioned to our producer, uh, something about silent depression and how it's damaging marriages today. Oh, I really do want to speak to this. Silent depression, silent depression in our marriages. What we're seeing now is perhaps one person, a spouse has been suffering for a long time and it's affected intimacy. Uh, there's emotional isolation. There's a pulling away in the relationship. And maybe it was subtle, maybe it was sneaky over time. And before you know it, there seems to be great distance, but we've never really understood what the spouse, the one we love so much has been suffering from is depression. So we've never really called it what it is.
I'm just saying, well, there's been a silent depression. It's been affecting the marriage in ways. So we just want to shed some light on that in that context though, you know, for the wife who is listening right now, or maybe the husband, right? They may have a gnawing sense that it might exist in me or in my spouse. What is a kind of a checklist to identify it and validate it?
Sure. One of the first things to look at it, am I moving away from my spouse, moving away from my loved ones? Am I emotionally isolating more and more? Would I rather spend my whole night engaged in technology or with my spouse, for example? What are my escapism behaviors? Am I developing a secret addiction?
That's a big one. What does that look like? It looks like maybe it's with food. I'm secretly eating, or maybe it's with alcohol. I'm starting to do some things that are kind of surprising myself, but I'm trying to keep it a secret. And it's just a way of self-medicating.
Yeah. Along those lines, Dr. Jans, my wife and I are kind of opposites in some respects. I tend to be a little more buoyant and sometimes she'll say, well, I'm sad, but is there anything wrong with that? And when she asked that for like the 15th time in the past few weeks, should I consider that depression or should I consider that she's just living in a space that I, like Jim, don't naturally go to? Well, sadness is used the word well, John, it's a season. And so we all may have a season of sadness and maybe there's some unfulfilled expectations or we're living in a difficult time and maybe there's relationships or even stress. So to go through a season of sadness is probably being a human being, right?
Well, yes, it is. Now we don't want to stay in sadness. We want to be careful that that doesn't transform into depression where I'm becoming more disabled in my emotions and in my functioning. Dr. Jans, you also have a story about a woman named Kelly who dealt with depression as a result of stress. I probably could relate to that one more so when, you know, usually work related, I feel more stress at work than I do at home.
Sure. But when, you know, there was a season years ago, I was under a lot of stress. Right. And I think I was leaning into depression, but I didn't know it. It may not be a label we use.
Right. But I was eating more. You know, I wasn't as, I just didn't feel as healthy. And I think emotionally I was just under a lot of pressure and I didn't realize it. Well, let's talk about chronic stress. Chronic stress for many. And by the way, post-pandemic, pre-pandemic, the whole season, we've all gone through chronic stress. This has affected all of us. It's kind of modern day life is chronic stress.
Yes. And so to now varying degrees, maybe you've been in a job or a situation where the stress is really intensified. Chronic stress over time, untreated, will cause us to have a physiological response of usually depression and anxiety. You know, our adrenal glands can only pump so much cortisol in our system before after a while, the body begins to go, I'm not doing well. We start to get messages and our body can create an internal depression or anxiety because of chronic stress. And then chronic stress can also cause us. And you said this so well, Jimmy. Well, I can turn to food or I can start to turn to other things just as a way to self-medicate or kind of try to escape from whatever's going on. Yeah. And I, the thing about it at that point, I would think with chronic stress, we're not even, the flags may not even be going off.
It's subtle. It just comes upon us. Well, and we just keep going when we have chronic stress.
That's what I did many years ago because my season of depression was a result of chronic stress, very poor self-care, I was not doing well caring for myself. Sleep is generally affected. I used to work in sleep research as well. And so we know right now we're seeing high numbers of folks with sleep disorders, sleep insomnia is high, sleep apnea numbers are high because once we're living in chronic stress, once we're living with depression and anxiety, it will affect our sleep.
Yeah. A practical point there is how do we control the controllables? What are those things we can do in the chronic stress phase that hopefully will catch our attention? And then we can do some things to put ourselves in a healthier place. Well, there's a couple of simple things I'd suggest doing right away. One is, do you remember the old fashioned three by five cards? Oh yeah. Okay. I have some. Okay.
They may be dusty. I still use these. In fact, this morning out of my jacket, I pull, I go, Oh, these are from before five years ago. So I want you to take a verse and maybe it's like second Timothy one seven for God has not given me make it personalize it a spirit of fear, but of power, love. And here's the key word sound mind, write that verse down, put that on that three by five card. And I want you to go outside 20 minutes, half hour. I want you to go for a walk and I want you to just start breathing outside.
I want you to pull that three by five card out and say God's word out loud, say that out loud and begin to do something to just renew your mind. Now it sounds really simple, but while you're doing that, I want you to take your water bottle with you. I want you to start drinking water under stress. We tend to drink less water when we're anxious, we drink less water, start drinking your water.
Again, we drink a lot of other things instead of things that are helpful. I want you to get moving, just that simple movement and getting outdoors. Now you will not feel like doing this. You're going to go, okay, that sounds good and you will not feel like doing it.
This is going to be a decision. Oh Lord God, help me get outside and do this. Help me start moving again. But also look at what else is going in my mouth nutritionally. Am I skipping breakfast? Am I not getting enough protein? What am I doing nutritionally? Okay, you got me on that one.
I did have an Aussie bite. They're very small and my cup of coffee. But it's the simple things that make a big difference over time. But when we're under chronic stress, we stop doing all those good things. I want to highlight the water intake because part of it, you know, sometimes we think this is a little wackery or whatever, but the body I saw like on a 176 pound person, I'm just taking that number as a number, but it's said that we need at that weight, you need about 88 ounces of water a day.
Here's the difference it makes. Water improves mood. Water improves concentration. Water improves blood pressure. There's a lot of reasons to drink the water and everything else that you're going to do. Water will help at work.
So we've got to go back. Don't replace it with soda. Well, it's like the gentleman I was talking to recently goes, I think I'm drinking about 12 cups of coffee a day. I go, okay. Now 12 cups is probably not a good idea.
You're going to feel anxious. Right. Right.
Was he drinking any water? Right. No. Yeah. Okay. Now we fall into those traps when we're under chronic stress.
Remember chronic stress is one of the pathways to depression. Yeah. Let's touch on forgiveness. Yes. That's another aspect of getting to a healthy place. What are the steps of forgiveness we can take to kind of overcome those toxic emotions?
Sure. Maybe I grew up in an environment where there was a lot of emotional abuse. Maybe there was an environment where there was a lot of comparisons. Why can't you be more like your sister? Look at her. And so it just taught you that you were not good enough.
You never could be good enough. Or maybe there was a tragic physical or sexual abuse, some form of abuse. So that then transferred into a lot of woundedness. And what I'm saying about forgiveness, and we've all heard messages on forgiveness, but I'm saying it's about setting you free.
It's a toxic emotion like shame. And we really wanted to begin to cleanse ourselves of that past hurt and pain. And I think forgiveness for a while will be a daily decision.
It's a decision. I'm not doing this for the other person. I'm doing this for me.
And I need, Lord God, help me do this. Help me make a decision to disconnect from that pain. Now I will always have the memories.
We don't forget what happens to us, but the power of those memories, you'll find over time with forgiveness and you will find God will do a work under forgiveness. And it could be a key to your healing. Yeah. You know, Greg, in that context, the I'm thinking of the person again, where you have confidence in who you are. I mean, the other word I would use there is comfortableness. And we don't need to, I would hope we don't feel guilty that we're comfortable with who we are. And that's a good place to be.
That's a healthy place to be. Right. Not cocky, not arrogant. Those are things that we don't want to be in the spirit of Christ, but comfortable that I'm okay with who I am. It's okay to have what I'll call a high self-regard. It's not an exaggerated sense of self-importance. It's not about being prideful, but I want you to enjoy the peace and joy that the Lord can provide. And with that, you can affect other people.
Yeah. With that, your gratitude is going to grow. You're going to feel more optimistic about your future. And so recovery from depression, I want to say, don't give up. Keep going.
There could, the despair as you're hearing our voices today, the despair could be great. You may feel very despondent. Don't give up.
You will not regret it. Stay in the game. Yeah. Well, that's a good encouragement. Let's talk about the power of prayer in that regard, because boy, all over the place now, even medical professionals, surgeons, doctors are talking about the power of prayer and they're seeing it, that it has an effect on people. Isn't that fascinating?
Yes. And so you may feel like, okay, Lord, I've already prayed and prayed to deliver me from this depression. I get that. Don't stop praying. Here's something to look at. Perhaps what I need to pray is Lord God, give me the wisdom.
Give me the insight. What is it that I need to address? What is it that I need to do to experience healing? Lord, just reveal that to me. Maybe what you could do is start a journal every day.
You're going to write it just a few sentences or a paragraph, but the prayer really is Lord God, give me the wisdom I need to really live in the healing that I know, I know you have for me. What am I missing in the whole person? Is there things that I haven't addressed? Is there physiological issues?
What do I need to address? And I would think, you know, I know people that have battled with depression and when the difficulties is, you know, that straight on approach, Lord, take this away from me. Right. And 10 years later, they're still there because they're kind of stuck in that spot where they're expecting the Lord simply to just do it.
And they're not doing what needs to be done in internally. Yes. And part of the danger is, well, Lord, you haven't delivered me.
You must not love me. You see, we start to add more shame. Right.
Exactly. So that's why I say just change the prayer up a little bit. There's answers, please, please stay in the game and Lord, just show me what I need to do.
Who do I need to talk to? Give me a new and fresh revelation so that I can really, and Lord, as I get healed, help me to be a good voice for others who are struggling. Well, and that we're winding in here, but I mean, that is part of the other, uh, antidote to this is how in you yourself personally, with your own struggles with depression and overcoming it and helping others, uh, finding that personal purpose to help other people who are struggling with depression.
I mean, that's a great thing. I'm passionate about helping people have recovery and healing. One is I know it's possible. I also know the depths of that despair as well. And that's why I say, do not give up.
God will promise God's word is true. You can have a sound mind. Uh, sometimes we're just missing, uh, certain pieces to the puzzle. So pretend depression's a thousand piece puzzle. Okay.
You've got a lot of pieces in there and maybe there's just a handful of pieces left. We're going to get the puzzle done. Yeah. And that, that is why we're doing what we're doing today.
That's right. And I just want to say again, we're going to come back. I want to ask you some more questions that fill out some of that, uh, mind, soul, and body approach that you're talking about. And you know, we're here for you. This is why focus on the family exists for 45 years, starting with Dr. Dobson.
I mean, we have wanted to stand in the gap with you. So get ahold of us. We have caring Christian counselors who can help. Uh, you can set up a phone call. They'll get back to you and talk with you about your situation. They'll pray with you and most likely provide resources for you to continue in the journey.
A wonderful place to start is with Dr. Janice's book, healing depression for life. There's a title for you, right? That's the goal.
How do you get to a better place? And that is what we want to help you with. So get in touch with us. If you can make a gift of any amount, we'll send it as our way of saying, thank you for being part of the ministry. If you can't afford it, we're going to get it into your hands anyway, and trust that others will take care of the cost of that because we believe you need this information.
Get ahold of us today. When you call 800, the letter a and the word family 800-232-6459. When you get in touch, donate as you can and request a copy of the book by Dr. Janice healing depression for life. It's an excellent resource for you. If you're struggling with depression or given the numbers that were discussed and how widespread this is, every one of us as believers in Christ should probably be having a copy of this. We should be familiar with it so we can reach out and help someone healing depression for life. Call us for your copy.
We have details as well in the show notes and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for focus on the family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we continue the conversation with Dr. Janice and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ. Wake up, work, kids, a minute with your spouse, sleep, repeat. It's not exactly the married life you dreamed of. It's fine, but you both deserve better than just fine. You deserve a focus on the family marriage getaway. Our all inclusive weekend getaways will give you a chance to reconnect and our team of biblically based counselors will help you learn how to prioritize each other. Make your marriage feel new again. Go to focusonthefamily.com slash getaway for dates and locations.
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