Losing faith in God depression 

In this article we will discuss, if people with depression can lose faith, how does depression and faith go together, understand depression and it’s symptoms,how having faith may help people and how to get better.

Does depression affect your faith?

Yes, it can. Depression has a wide range of symptoms, and everyone will have a different experience with it. Some of the significant symptoms to take note of here, are the loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy before, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

A person with depression may feel empty for days and may feel like there is no meaning left anymore in life.  They may have difficulty getting out of bed, going to work or going to college. A person with depression loses their motivation to get anything done. 

When one is experiencing all these symptoms for a long period of time, it is likely for them to feel as if they are losing their faith. 

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental and physical condition that affects both men and women. It’s neither a character problem nor a spiritual flaw. It’s a condition.

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread and significant medical condition that has a negative impact on how you feel, think, and behave. It is also, thankfully, treatable. Depression produces unhappiness and/or a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities. It can cause a slew of mental and physical issues, as well as a reduction in your capacity to operate at work and at home.

The symptoms of depression may vary from person to person, but here are some symptoms that are experienced by depressed people 

  • Sadness or a gloomy state of mind
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in previously liked activities
  • Appetite changes – weight loss or increase that isn’t connected to dieting
  • Sleeping problems or sleeping too much
  • Increased weariness or a loss of energy
  • Increased involuntary physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, and hand wringing) or slower movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or remorseful
  • Thinking, concentrating, or making decisions are difficult.
  • Suicide or death thoughts

Learn more about depression and it’s symptoms here 

Depression and faith 

People of faith frequently grapple with how to respond to depression. Do devoted people suffer from depression? Is religion beneficial or detrimental in the fight against depression?

Depression affects persons of religion in the same way that any other disease does, because it is a disease that affects the brain’s ability to process emotions and regulate stress. The good news is that studies suggest that faith is extremely effective in both preventing and healing from depression in the majority of situations.

The emotional well-being of nearly 100,000 women was examined in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Religion and Health. They discovered that women who attended church on a weekly basis (regardless of denomination) were 56 percent more positive than women who did not attend church at all. They were also substantially less prone to get depressed and to have a cynical or hostile attitude on life than their non-churched peers as a result of this.

Another study published in the journal Depression Research and Treatment examined over 500 research that looked at the relationship between faith and depression. In a meta-analysis undertaken by the researchers, it was discovered that those who identify as spiritual or religious are 60% less likely than the overall population to develop depression. 

When spiritual or religious persons get sad, they are less likely to become severely depressed, have a significantly better reaction to treatment, and recover more quickly than those who do not have an active faith life, according to the same study.

The role faith can play in the healing process 

Religious practises have been demonstrated to provide a significant social benefit, according to research. Ken Pargament, a psychologist, is a specialist on religion and coping, having published over 200 papers and two breakthrough books on the issue. Pargament identifies five paths that allow people to engage with the healing power of faith in his book “The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice.”

The first is about having supporting relationships.  For example,people who go to church on a regular basis generally say they have stronger support networks than those who don’t. Regular churchgoers are given more opportunity to engage with others, to check in with one another, and to offer early help when difficulties arise. 

Religious people are also encouraged to serve others on a daily basis. According to research, looking for ways to make a difference in other people’s lives can enhance our mood and make us feel more capable of dealing with our own challenges.

The second way faith helps people cope is by assisting them in finding purpose in their suffering. In his personal experience and studies of persons who survived concentration camps, psychiatrist Victor Frankl observed that the human being appears to be capable of withstanding practically any degree of hardship, even unthinkable anguish, provided they can find meaning in it.

 Even when a person’s issues are difficult to fix, religion can help them perceive suffering as a chance for personal progress. Hope is facilitated by this capacity for meaning-making. I feel there is a reason to work toward a brighter tomorrow if I can hold on to the greater picture even when I am suffering.

 The third way in which faith helps is that faith encourages regular religious activities, which is a third way faith aids emotional healing. Rituals have a profound stabilising effect, according to psychologist Barbara Fiese’s research. Depression frequently interferes with a person’s ability to keep a normal daily routine.

 Participation in charitable service, personal prayer, and study are all examples of spiritual habits and character-building activities that religious religion strongly encourages. It also significantly discourages people from abandoning these routines during difficult times. 

People of faith have external motives to maintain their grounding rituals and routines, even if they would prefer to abandon them.

Fourth, religion aids in the discovery, preservation, and replication of sacred moments. Regardless of one’s level of personal faith, everyone has “aha” moments: moments when we are enthralled by beauty, inspired by excellence, or transformed by spontaneous sensations of calm and rightness. 

Whereas nonbelievers may appreciate these moments as one-time events, religion encourages people to delve deeper into their meaning and significance.

Simple exercises like keeping a gratitude journal or thanking people for the little things they do throughout the day, according to psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, significantly increase a person’s “happiness set-point” — that is, the normal level of happiness that people experience and/or tend to return to within a few months of experiencing either a major blessings

 Religion encourages people to express thankfulness by reminding them to praise and thank God for both large and small blessings.

Finally, the fifth way in which faith helps is coping. Coping is aided by religious faith, which helps people connect the dots of their life’s storey. This capacity allows individuals to recollect how they dealt with previous crises with God’s support.

 People of faith are more prone to think about what God could be attempting to teach them via good and terrible situations rather than considering each crisis as an isolated event. This allows them to approach new problems with a toolkit full of critical lessons, insights, and resources learned along the road.

Now let’s look at another explanation as to why you may be losing your faith. 

Spiritual depression

Another perspective to look at why you may be losing your faith is spiritual depression. Spiritual depression is characterised by a decrease in spiritual vigour and joy. Spiritual depression can include the following:

  • losing touch with your faith
  • “forgetting” God, or struggling to find time for spiritual study
  • focusing more on past mistakes than changes you might make to do better in the future
  • a general sense of unhappiness or melancholy

If you’re suffering from spiritual depression, your religious leader might advise you to pray or seek God. However, many of the symptoms of spiritual depression can also be signs of a depressive condition, which may be difficult to treat without the help of a mental health professional.

Signs that you’re suffering from spiritual depression

While there is no universally accepted list of indicators of spiritual depression, persons who are experiencing it frequently report feeling alienated or cut off from God.

You may be confused or frustrated about your religion, unable to communicate with God, or believing that God no longer hears your prayers.

Some of the signs may include :

  • Having a hard time finding joy in worship.
  • Retreating from your religious community 
  • You’ve lost interest in your normal religious activities, or you’re only doing them out of obligation.
  • Feeling as if religious pursuits are meaningless
  • Unable to find solace in prayer
  • A pessimistic or unfavourable attitude toward God or religion
  • Doubting or questioning your faith
  • A feeling of spiritual despondency or hopelessness

Learn more about spiritual depression here 

Getting help

Whatever the reason might be, for you losing your faith, getting help is very essential. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to fight every battle on your own. 

Trying to figure out what’s causing your spiritual depression will help you start making changes that will help you feel less stressed and uncertain.

Be aware, however, that understanding the source of spiritual depression is not always simple or even attainable. Several causes can contribute to these feelings. Without any identifiable reasons or triggers, major depression can develop (or worsen).

Regardless, you can fight to overcome spiritual depression even if you don’t know what’s causing it.

Keep in mind, however, that depression can have a significant influence on general health, and symptoms often continue without professional help. In other words, prayer and spiritual study may not be enough to alleviate your distress.

When spiritual investigation fails to lead to a deeper knowledge or alleviation from symptoms, it’s time to seek professional help.

Connecting with a healthcare expert is usually the best option when any symptoms, such as depression or spiritual problems, begin to affect:

  • duties on a daily basis
  • motivation and vigour
  • Personal relationships
  • physical well-being

Spiritual unrest can be alleviated by reconnecting with your faith and improving your relationship with God.

Depression, on the other hand, cannot be treated solely via prayer. Without professional help, depression symptoms will most likely persist or worsen.

Conclusion

In this article we discussed if one can lose faith in God due to depression, faith and depression, what is depression, how faith may help in the healing processes, what is spiritual depression and how to get help. 

FAQs

What happens when you lose your faith in God?

Even the most steadfast faith, though, can be brittle. Our basic identity can be obliterated if our belief system is attacked. In either case, losing our faith is likely to be a terrible experience, leading to depression, loneliness, or anger.

What causes Losing faith in God?

Some people may lose faith because they disagree with religion teachings on current concerns, or because the doctrine lacks compelling evidence, no longer makes sense to them, or doesn’t add together.

How do you keep your faith?

How To Keep Your Faith Up—Even When Life Is Difficult

  1. Pray. Ask God, the universe, or whatever higher force you believe in for the strength to love to your full potential.
  2. Be generous to others. 
  3. Get inspired.
  4. Surround yourself with people you admire.
  5. Get the ball rolling first thing in the morning.

How does religion affect depression?

Devout persons are shown to have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a greater ability to manage stress, according to a number of studies. According to studies, certain religious activities may even modify the brain in a way that improves mental health.

References:

https://www.osvnews.com/amp/2020/01/24/depression-and-faith-do-they-go-together/
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/impact-spirituality.pdf
https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/spiritual-depression#takeaway

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