Hi, Jim Daly here. Today's culture deeply needs help, but in times like these, the light of Christ can shine even brighter.
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Check out the podcast at RefocusWithJimDaly.com or wherever you get your podcasts. Hope comes when there's a plan. So every day, we're going to build a plan. Every day, I'm going to feel a little more hope because I'm building a plan. That's Dr. Gregory Jantz sharing insights about depression and how you can find recovery and even joy after going through depression. And he's with us again today on Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us.
Your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, I think listening last time, what really struck me, Dr. Jantz mentioned that one in four people in this country, I'm not sure about Canada and some of the other countries we err in, but here in the US, one in four people suffer from depression. That's a lot of people.
I mean, if you look at it, it's going to be over 80 million people. And so either we will be suffering from it ourselves or someone in our family or someone very close to us or many people in our circle of influence. So our purpose here today on day two is to continue the discussion with Dr. Jantz, give you more firepower in battling with this issue of depression yourself or equipping somebody to get help and to do better. That's the whole goal here at Focus. And we want to walk in that journey with you. So get a hold of us.
Don't suffer in silence. We're here. We want to help. Our generous donors have supplied enough resource to allow a counseling area. We've got, you know, 20, 22 counselors and they can give you a call back and talk with you about where you're at, your story, pray with you and provide additional resources to help you. So I'm looking forward to today's conversation.
It's going to be good. And we're just a phone call away. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY or stop by the website where you can learn more about the book from Dr. Gregory Jantz called Healing Depression for Life. And the details are in the program notes. Let me note that Dr. Jantz is the founder of the Center, A Place of Hope in Edmonds, Washington. It's been recognized as a top 10 facility in the U.S. for the treatment of depression. Dr. Jantz, welcome back. So good to be here on this topic. And I'm so glad you mentioned the counselors right up front because today can be the day that a person reaches out for themselves or for a loved one. And that's really what I want to inspire today. Take some action.
Yeah, which is so good. And even for the Christians, you know, in that space, let's start there. There can be a lot of guilt being a Christian and suffering with depression because you can't figure out why. If God loves me, why do I have this? Why aren't I whole? Why aren't I healed?
You may have that in your mind. Well, I should be living the victorious life and yet I'm struggling. Well, we have some good examples in scriptures of those who struggled. So the struggle is real, but it's nothing new. But right now we are seeing record numbers of individuals seeking help for depression like we've never seen before. It's so amazing. Your approach to this issue of depression, chronic stress, anxiety, you use a whole body, a whole person approach. I just want people to hear that philosophy. Sure.
How does it go? For us? And it was the early 80s. OK. Yes.
And we began to look at traditional psychology did not have very many good answers. Can I just say that? Sure. OK.
But when we mix our faith and biblical truths and we begin to look at the whole person. For example, I could be suffering from anxiety, but I may have a low thyroid. I may have hormonal issues, male or female.
I may have a medical issue that is contributing to my anxiety or depression. Sure. Well, I could do a lot of things and be misdirected until I get those issues addressed. So that's why we really do believe in the whole person approach. Right.
And applying God's truth. Yeah. It's so good. Last time we touched on this.
And if you missed last time, go back and listen to it on your smartphone or get the download at our website or go to YouTube and check it out. But I didn't get as specific on this with exercise. I found this fascinating. There was a University of Toronto study that it went for 26 years and they found that exercise has about the same effect on depression as medication. Yes.
OK, that's a stunner. Oh, I know. For mild to moderate depression. OK, we look at depression on the continuum. There's mild depression. We all go through some things and after a month we kind of pull out of it. But it can go to moderate with more symptoms to the far end where there's a lot of red lights going off and I feel I could be better if I wasn't even alive.
That's severe depression. And so we know for a lot of us, OK, this comes back to the basic self-care. If I do begin to apply the principles of whole person care and one of those is the physical side and movement and exercise. By the way, the word exercise is not necessarily a real popular word for most because you always feel like I'm not doing it enough or, you know, you got to go all out. So I'm just saying maybe use the word movement, get moving again. Right. And to do that consistently over time, it will make a difference. Now, don't do just that. It's like I don't like using a singular approach, like don't think just one magic pill is going to cure at all.
OK, I want you to keep adding and adding to the whole person. Dr. Jans, why does exercise and movement help? What's at work there?
OK, a couple of things that happen. There's a chemical in our brain called dopamine and you've all heard of endorphins. And we have these chemicals that over time. So our body manufactures serotonin in our in our gut. Their gut is referred to as the second brain.
Isn't that interesting? And so there's a highway between the gut and the brain. It's called the vagus nerve. And everything you make in the gut travels to the brain through the vagus nerve and supplies the brain with the chemicals it needs to feel good.
Exercise, now diet is too, but exercise is a big part of that production of those chemicals in our gut. Now, I made it really simple, but that's what happens. Yeah, I love in the book, you even mentioned 1 Corinthians 3 16. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?
OK, now you put more shame on me. But I mean, that is true. There's where scripture lines up with science, meaning take care of the body God has given you. And it is amazing how resilient we really are.
It really is. So you go, well, I haven't done this for years. It probably won't make a difference. Well, no, let's make progress every day. Say, OK, for the next 30 days. I am going to increase my movement. I OK, I'll go out for that 20, 30 minute walk and keep yourself a little log.
Just keep a little log and begin and then say, OK, I'm going to do my water. Now, again, this is basic self-care, but it's probably slid a bit in your life. And we just want to reignite some self-care because now you're going to start to feel a little better. And we're going to start to do some other things after that.
Yeah. So like that you mentioned in the book, a woman, a client, you gave her the name Gina. I'm sure you changed her name, but she went from a pretty depressed situation and began to exercise.
And you saw amazing results. Well, what happens over time now, she also was a person that had a long standing chronic stress. And you have kids with challenges and and you feel like, oh, man, am I overwhelmed? And typically we're the last person to take care of ourselves. Right. And we've got to put that oxygen mask on first.
Remember. So so you've got to get yourself the oxygen you need, which we're talking about some basic self-care. And again, don't isolate or do it alone.
Find maybe it's going to be a walking companion, but begin to pair with others who can be of support in your life and give it the time it takes. Right. You see, depression probably help happen slowly over time. And so we're going to get you back.
It will happen. And if there's things that need to be addressed physiologically in your body or medication, we're going to get all that. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I so appreciate what you started with yesterday, which is hope.
Yes. Stay hopeful. And that can be hard when you're in a pit. Well, I remember hope comes when there's a plan. So we're just going to every day we're going to build a plan every day. I'm going to feel a little more hope because I'm building a plan.
Yeah, so true. Sleep. Sleep plays a role. OK, so, you know, sleep for me. I don't know about you, John. This has changed over my lifetime.
Yes. I used to sleep so fast and so long. I had great sleep. And then as I got older, you know, I go to sleep pretty quickly. But then I wake up like three or four in the morning, a little more restless. But speak to the sleep cycle and especially when you're in a state of chronic stress or depression.
Right. When we're under these states of depression or anxiety. And what we're finding right now is more and more are waking up during the night. Your heart's pounding. You feel wide awake. Maybe you're in a cold sweat and you go, what is going on? And you were woken up by anxiety during the night.
Your body just kind of woke you up. That's not uncommon, but it disrupts your sleep cycles. Right. So chronic stress over time will shorten usually and create very fragmented sleep stages. So that should be an indication for you if you experience that, that maybe there's more here.
Right. I need to check out if I have a hard time falling asleep, if I'm waking up off and on through the night. And when I say off and on, if you're waking up more than twice in the evening and not going back to sleep, that's probably an issue. So I remember from my sleep research days and I really became interested in sleep and mental health. And we know they do go together.
Right. I can create an anxious brain by improper sleep cycles or not getting enough sleep. So there, I mean, find a way to get a good night's sleep consistently.
Let me just say that takes some practice. Sometimes we have to change our circadian rhythms by going to bed at the same time. We need to have what I call a good sleep hygiene, the routine of going to bed. What are we putting in our brain before we go to sleep? Are you on technology up to the minute you crawl in bed?
You know, we need to look at those things. I'm laughing because the boys now tease me because I go to bed like nine or nine thirty and I wake up about five thirty. But they're like, OK, it's dad's bedtime. The news just ended. So you've got to tolerate a little harassment. But that's OK. That's fine. Let me ask you, Greg, you speak about a guy named Peter who struggled with depression and the link between that and his technology addition. OK, so focus. We get a lot of responses from parents who are dealing with technology addiction with their teens, their preteens.
So how did Peter's story unfold and what was going on? Right. So with Peter, technology addiction. And that's a word that might disturb some.
You mean addiction? Well, here's what we find when clients come to see us and we're a facility where people come and stay. One of the things we do is initially take away everything with a screen.
OK. Most of our clients by day three are irritable, have a little bit of sweaty palms. The heart rates up and they're saying, you know, I forgot to send out that last email. Can I please have my whatever back, you know, or I've got to check something because our dependency on that technology is so strong. So I actually see people with withdrawal symptoms and they get quite irritable from their smartphone. Yes.
Oh, my. So I'll give you my phone. Yeah, I could care less. And here's what with our youth. We're over digitizing their brain. That's so true. So there's a digitized brain.
It becomes dull. The brain is growing and developing for the male brain up to about age 25. So we've overstimulated the brain with a lot of technology in a way that the brain wasn't really designed for. And I have to tell you, as a parent, early on, I made some mistakes. I have two sons and we probably did expose them to I thought it'd be a lot of fun. Get ahead on some learning.
So we probably did overexpose to too much technology. We've got to have boundaries around this in our families and as adults. And we're going to get to those solutions in a minute. And we're talking to adults who have boundaries because awkwardly, I'm going to say, check the show notes for details about Dr. Jan. Don't be addicted to it.
Right. And his book, Healing Depression for Life. The personalized approach that offers new hope for lasting relief. We've got copies of that here. And then Jim mentioned earlier that we have counselors here. If you're struggling with depression or you know somebody and it's a real trial or you're coming up short in terms of how to help them, give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family. We're stopped by the Web site. As I said, the links are in the show notes picking up on that technology because, again, so many parents are in this trap. It's a big frustration.
And we don't know what to do. And it really works well on an airplane with your kids. But how do we modulate this in a way that keeps everybody in a healthy place?
Yes. So we need to figure out what are our family values and boundaries around technology. Your kids are younger. Simple things like don't have screens in the bedrooms.
I'm going to be engaged in what they're interested in. You know, another one, if I could add, Jean did this wonderfully. Never at the dinner table.
It had to be left on the counter. So when you're with somebody, really be with. Yeah, I thought it I thought it was really good.
I was surprised we were able to pull that off. Now, there's another thing you can add to that. If you you can have what we call a digital dinner, one night, one night a week.
Allow them to bring their devices to table because this is their opportunity to show you as a parent. Oh, that's good. Anything that. What are you guys doing? What are your friends into? Hey, what's the latest, coolest app?
Have them show you, engage in their world briefly. That is really good. Let's touch on the issue of medication. Yes. Because again, this is very touchy for many people in the in the Christian faith. And, you know, again, last time we talked about it, where you have something going on with your body. You have high blood pressure, you have diabetes, you have something that's been diagnosed and you get a prescription.
And you begin to use that medication to control that issue with an organ of your body, your pancreas, your kidney, whatever it might be. We don't really put much doubt into that. But when it comes to mental health. Right.
We do. We you know, Christians feel guilty that they have to be on an antidepressant. What does that say about me? I'm not spiritual enough. The Lord doesn't love me enough.
All these things begin to spin in our minds as a health care professional. What do you say to that? Let's just play that out.
That Christian that has that deep conviction that, Lord, I don't want to be on this. Help me. And yet they need to be at least temporarily. Oh, sure.
And I'm Jim, I'm so glad you asked this question, because it's something that we really do need to understand. So there are in the advancements that have been made in medications. I'm going to tell you, I have seen times where I know a medication properly prescribed and used has saved a person's life. I know it has.
There you go. And it is a bridge a lot of times so that you can feel better in order to address other things you need to. It may be that in your body's chemistry, some things are off. For some, it's a short time. But we need to allow the gift at times. I'm going to call it a gift because I've seen it pull a person out of desperation and despair where they felt suicidal. I've seen them pull out of that and be able to function and do other things they need to do.
And it's so important to have a holistic perspective on this. That's right. Just make sure it's not the only thing you do. If you think, hey, I'm just going to take this pill.
Everything's going to be great. No. Do other things as well. Because it's not that you're having a shortage of medication in your life. You may need that.
But what else needs to be addressed? Yeah. Well, those are always good questions. And again, sometimes people need help from professionals, a counselor, a Christian counselor, to ask those right questions.
That's right. And this could be the day that you say, okay, I'm going to do something now, today. Let's move back to your story with depression. You share how your relationship with God made a big difference in your recovery from depression.
How did God's story play out in your own depression experience? Well, for me, I felt like I had missed my life calling. I felt like I need to do something different. And I was beyond burned out. I was living with chronic stress. I was not practicing good self-care.
The things I was telling my clients, again, this was years ago, I wasn't able to do for myself. And so for me, it had to be a confirmation from the Lord, no, I really felt I need to adjust how I'm living my life so that I can fulfill my calling. And once I got that clear, I've probably been more passionate than ever before because I really believe that part of my calling is to help save lives. Yeah.
That's not a bad call for everybody, right? So right. That's what we should all be about, helping save people's lives and helping people move toward the Lord. I know there's a way out. And for me, it was the Lord dealing with things in my life that I also need to realign, but allowing God to speak with me and giving the time for that healing and recovery so that I could come out stronger than ever before.
Yeah. Dr. Jans, this is a delicate question, but I think it needs to be asked. I'd love to hear your opinion on this, but sometimes church could be a very isolating place because we have expectations of ourselves and of others. It's kind of like, how are you doing? Doing great, doing fine. Everything's wonderful when it's not.
How do we as Christians congregating together in church and how do pastors who are listening create an environment where someone can come in and say, yeah, I'm not doing well? And it's okay to say that. Yes. And the church to be a safe place for us to do that.
Right. That you don't have to pretend. No, you don't have to pretend. It's kind of like, come as you are, literally. And God may have something very special for you in that church service. Sometimes we go because, or we don't go because I don't feel good.
Nobody's going to understand. And you keep yourself away or you go, I'll just watch online. Well, you need to go and be there. Participate.
And participate. There may be a word for you in worship. There may be a word for you through God speaking through the pastor. But go, I want you to be with people versus the tendency to move away.
Yeah, it's so true. If you were to, I mean, again, if you look at the statistics, one in four people dealing with depression. Yes. And you're a pastor of a church. That's a pretty big group of people to minister to. Right.
You know, over 80 million people. What would a church that is friendly toward people struggling with depression look like? What does the characteristic of the church look like? So you're going to feel probably what I'll call love and acceptance. A church where you may feel a lot of judgment. Sometimes people will describe, well, they told me there must be some hidden sin in my life.
That's why I'm suffering. You know, and the person may say, I've confessed everything I know of, right? And so there could be the misappropriation sometimes of Scripture that can be a little bit confusing. But a church is going to look like a place that's going to receive you. They're going to believe in God's healing for you. You're going to have people that are going to pray with you. And here's the key, walk alongside and be in relationship. So many churches have great groups you can be a part of.
Get engaged. Yeah, I love that. And I love the idea of pastors targeting this issue.
Because again, it's so prevalent in the culture right now. And to give them, replace that spirit of fear with a spirit of power and boldness in Christ. That's a good goal. Absolutely.
Let's flip it on the other end. How do people suffering from chronic stress and depression benefit from serving in the church? Not taking, but serving. There reaches a point in your recovery where you will feel like, okay, it's time for me. It'll be a natural progression where I feel gratitude.
I feel that it's time for me to give to others. I move from being self-absorbed. See, depression self-absorbs me.
I can't really see beyond myself. As I walk through healing, I begin to see the needs of others. I begin to have empathy towards others. I begin to want to do something to help others. And this is a beautiful process. And you will experience gratitude.
Part of gratitude is I start to feel optimistic. I want to be of help to others. And you will be of help. What you walk through will help others.
Yeah. You know, Dr. Jantz, right at the end here, I think this is the right place to close our two-day discussion. And, you know, again, with everything that you've learned, a PhD in psychology and application in your practices.
And I know you own several clinics. I mean, that's a lot of experience that you're getting. But when it comes down to it, the benefit of having faith in Christ, which is far more important than all those other things I mentioned with all due respect. But faith in Christ being the foundation to change your life.
It is. And we know, keep the faith up because the faith is how you're going to be made well. Do not abandon your faith. You may feel unlovable. You may feel like God is so far away.
It may not even seem like a reality. But I want to encourage you today. Keep your faith. And Lord Jesus, show me what I need to do to experience healing. But faith will be the cornerstone for your lifelong recovery. Yeah. For that person struggling that maybe has not made that commitment.
They're in your office. You've probably had many people like that. What does that dialogue for you sound like when you're encouraging someone who doesn't know the Lord to start there? Yes. Well, it may be how about just giving God a fair chance in your life. Yeah.
Right? No, it's a good question. You've tried a lot of other things. Let's see what difference this could be. And let's look at an opportunity where you could accept God, accept Christ into your life as an opportunity for a turning point. Let's see. Let's just give God a fair chance.
Yeah, I think it's so good. I think the follow-up there is those people with brokenness that don't know the Lord, whether it's drug addiction, pornography, and maybe people that do know the Lord that are trapped in these addictions too. It may be sexual issues, sexual orientation issues. You know, whenever you're in those communities talking about solutions, man, the Lord is for everybody. And the reach of God is long and far. Nobody is beyond His reach.
No matter what your behavior, He loves you and He cares about you. And that really can be made real. And you can experience that. Well, let's start there. If you're in that spot, get ahold of us. We'd love to share who Jesus is with you. And that's part of our mission here at Focus on the Family. In addition to that, we care about you and your soul and your body, as Dr. Jantz has talked about. We want to get his book into your hands, Healing Depression for Life.
And I can't even imagine a better equation, a better transaction for you than that one. And if you need this book, get ahold of us. If you can make a gift of any amount, we'll send it to you as our way in saying thank you for being part of the ministry. If you can't afford it, we'll get it into your hands and trust that others will take care of the expense of that.
The point is, get help. And we do have Caring Christian Counselors we've mentioned throughout the two days here. Get in touch with us. They will schedule a time to call you back and they'll hear your story, provide some insight, resources, pray with you, and hopefully get you on a path toward healing, which is our goal for you. Yeah, they can also help you connect with somebody locally in your own area.
Our team is available. Just give us a call. 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459. Or stop by the show notes for links to connect with our counselors to find out more about Dr. Jantz's book, Healing Depression for Life, to donate, and most importantly, to learn what it is to have life with Jesus Christ.
Again, our number 800, the letter A in the word family. Dr. Jantz, thank you for being with us. It's been really, really good. Thank you. I am so glad we can talk about depression. And there really is hope. There is hope.
Thank you. And next time, you'll hear from Liz Curtis-Higgs about the biblical account of the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine at the request of his mother. See, that's the way it is with miracles.
Only God really knows, and he asks us to trust him. And that's hard, because we want to know exactly how did that happen. In fact, we spend a lot of energy looking at the miracles of the Bible and trying to make them make sense scientifically, realistically, and they're miracles, friends. Sometimes they're just miraculous. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family.
I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. What? Whit must go into parenting mode. Are you jealous or something? Because I...
Okay, that's enough. Buck and Jules hit a rough patch. Why are you so mad?
Because it's none of your business. And Renee's friendship with Whit faces its biggest test. Oh, I cannae believe Mr. Whitaker is being so stubborn and unreasonable, Cog.
This is a scientific breakthrough of monumental proportions, and he is crushing it. So, yes, it's time to buckle up in Album 74. Available now on the Adventures in Odyssey Club CD and download. Find out more at adventuresinodyssey.com
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