quite happy in my life, content in almost every area. I have never contemplated
suicide... never even close. I rejected Buddhism for this one reason; the
premise of the religion is that life sucks. My life is awesome. Yours can
Most people that are in this state you are in will stay in it because the answer is so obvious and easy, but the people in this state find it distasteful and unrealistic. I ask that you take a moment to push away your preconceived notions about existence. If you want to change, something is going to have to change, and I'm going to do my best to identify what needs to change. Try it out! It might work for you.
A quick note on diagnosis... Emotions are a complicated issue. If it was simple, you wouldn't need our help. If it was easy, there wouldn't be so many depressed smart people. We know our brains produce chemicals that can bring us into euphoric states, and that same brain can produce chemicals that can remove us from our sense of drive and purpose. We may find that we had unmet expectations that change our emotional state, and we might also find that unexpected joys change our state as well. Sometimes these emotions are stable. Sometimes they are in flux. Because they are so very complicated, so VERY complicated, you can't expect me, you, or any professional to spot the problem after reading a short paragraph about your current state of existence. You may need new perspective, or rest, or, as the song says, "We can all use a little change." If you don't find an answer from someone who is trying to help you, please don't be angry with us. We're trying to help. Instead, try to be thankful. "Don't tell me what to do!" is not as good as, "Thank you for your advice." So be prepared to change your perspective. Be ready to think differently. Your brain already produces all the chemicals you need to live in a perpetual state of joy. And though drugs are often necessary to get your bearings, most people on the internet and in life who are feeling down do not need to visit a professional or take drugs. They need a sounding board. In short, they need to learn how to take advice. And if that doesn't work, take my advice... see a professional.
Another consideration is that if you think that everyone hates you, that everyone is about to stab you in the back, that you will never be happy again, one of two things are probably true. Either you are in a really broken community, where people really are out to get you, nobody loves you, etc., or, more likely, you have a little bit of an imbalance. It could be a chemical imbalance (which is often treatable), a perspective imbalance, a spiritual imbalance. If you read the definition and description of "paranoia" and agree with it, I recommend you see a professional. If you can't imagine ever being happy again, that nobody loves you, and you have people helping you, giving you food, time, encouragement, you may be depressed. Go to a professional. If you hear voices that are not your thoughts, see a professional. It could be that taking a pill every day will make you less paranoid, less depressed, less afraid. It could be another solution (see transfered evil below). Someone is willing to help you. They went to college and studied so they could help you. Let people help you. Finally, consider this. Regardless of your cause, depression affects the people around you. Click.
I'm assuming here that your depression is long-term and not situational. If your depression is situational, find someone to grieve with. Get a hug. It will pass. Keep a broad scope; keep an eye on the end goal. This world has been spinning for a very long time, and there will be a happy conclusion to the matter. It has been foretold. I'm also assuming that you are reading this to get some ideas of what you can try. When you finish a meal and still find yourself hungry, chances are that you need to eat a variety of fruits and veggies to see if what your missing is somewhere in the mix. Most people don't start with a nutritionist, but at a grocery store, and, likewise, I am assuming here that you are not a long-suffering, special case depression. Sick people need a doctor, and it's often necessary for even a doctor to see another doctor about his own body. You have to open yourself to the possibility that this will not be cured without a professional sounding board. Nobody is expert in everything. Wisdom is found with many counselors. But for most of us, helpful tips may be found here.
Where depression is not:
· It's not in your location. I have lived in more places than I care to count, and I've found that there's contentment to be found even in unnaturally hostile places. Changing locations probably won't fix you.
· It's not in your job. My job is nothing at all to brag about. I have a lower-middle class income with an 8-5, never a hope of being made into something more important. I don't need to be more important, and whether it happens or not, I don't care. I know people without jobs that are perfectly blissful.
· It's not in what you own. A couple months ago, I wanted nothing more than a new computer. Now here I sit, typing on my new computer and I find that I still have desires for things that I don't have. I'm thinking about my really old phone. My camera barely works, and I'm about to go on a camping trip. Sometimes I take things away from my son. He instantly responds, "You don't love me!" Now, how can he say that? Of course I love him. Of course he knows it. So how can he say it? Focus in on his focus. Yep - there it is. His focus is the problem. His situation consists of having something he wants taken away, and though he has a million other things he could use to satisfy his impulses or boredom, it's the one thing that he wants that gets him upset. It limits his ability to see rational truths (such as that I love him). Yes, you too could use a little adjusting where it comes to your perspective. People in poverty are often full of joy.
· It is not in what others have done to you. Your mom and your dad don't make you. He may influence your decisions, but the decision is yours. It would be like a guy offering you $20k to kill his wife. You can say that he made you do it, but it really is your own fault. He's not making you depressed. You're letting yourself get depressed as a result of what he did. What I'm trying to tell you is that you need to take the blame for it. Don't blame other people. Is the guy who wanted his wife dead guilty? Yes! But you can deal with others as soon as you get your own act together. Blame cripples people. I know people like me who have terrible family connections who are quite happy for the same reasons I am. I know people with terminal illness and pain, and they are still happy. ** See below for information on transferred evil. **
· It's not in your lack of pleasure. Pleasure is deceptive, because it feels good for a short time. It brings you out of your depression for an hour or two, so some people get the idea that prolonged exposure to pleasure will result in permanent pleasure. It won't. Masking the pain this way leads to destructive behaviors.
· Unless it's the direct cause, it won't go away with romance. I mean, yes, it will go away for a little while when she's around, but then it will come back. She may break your heart and then you'll have even more depression. It will go in this cycle until you realize that she cannot take your depression. What can is getting a proper perspective on the things that cause you grief. You have to see that your parents are flawed. They are you, just a little older. And if you don't want to make their mistakes, you'll emulate what they do well and reject the actions in your life that lead to their failures. The fact is, my generation did worse than my father's generation at marriage relationships. The next generation is doing even worse than mine. If you don't do your relationships right, they end in divorce. See the failure in others and turn it into your own success. Don't do things like kiss girls that you're not engaged (or married!) to, don't be alone with them where the chance of intercourse is possible. These things lead to babies, and they are completely selfish until you're married. Become traditional in your values. Our predecessors were much less depressed than we are, and it's mostly because they followed the example of Jesus. (click - you can be content without a spouse.)
Some valid reasons:
Romantic relationships give us all trouble. Don't pick a mean person for a spouse. If you already have a mean person for a spouse, get some people around you who can build you up and help you to see your situation more clearly. If you're broken up, learn how to be nice to them. Change them by kindness. If you're getting divorced, let this be a lesson to you for your future. Never pick a guy because you want a baby. Never pick a girl because she's pretty. Those are reasons, but they are secondary. And NEVER be impulsive about romance. Keep your head in the game. Your romantic juices will stop flowing, and then what will you have? People are always nicer to you when they're trying to win your hand in marriage - or worse, to win your womb for pleasure. Even when it's hard, try to love the one you're with. Think of their good before your own good.
Parent child relationships have gone awry. This is a valid reason to be depressed, and the best thing you can do for it is to get good advice from good people. Remember love. These conflicts generally resolve themselves when you've been apart for a little while.
You have no (good) friends. Go to church! People there are often genuinely caring, and they will look after you. When people find themselves at church and depressed, it's generally because the rest of the congregation is not enfolding or you're not listening. If you hear Jesus' words and *put them into practice*, your house will be built upon a rock (Mt. 7). Jesus taught us to lay down our lives and live for God and others. So do it! And if the church you attend doesn't have people who lead by example, find another church. Good churches still do exist.
I don't believe you:
If you know you have depression, but you don't think I have the answer (maybe it seems to you that I have a chemical imbalance in the positive direction), what do you have to lose in trying this method out? I have been depressed before for weeks at a time, and when I implement this method, it always works to bring me out of it. I'm not completely ignorant of the feeling, and I speak here as an experienced overcomer of depression.
You may object that I have only had two weeks of "depression" and never have had a clinical diagnosis. My answer to that is, for one, not all depression has the same cause. It may be that ten people who have been clinically depressed could never help you because your source is not the same as theirs was. It is nice to be comforted through depression, to have someone who knows what it's like be there with you, but it is far better to overcome it. People who are in depression don't have successful solutions. For two, you are absolutely right. I have never had long term depression. You are free to laugh at me and my stupidity. I welcome it with a smile on my face. All I ask is that if you don't find healing with my advice that you keep looking for an answer. There are people in your position that have overcome depression. Find them and find out how they did it. The best place you can go to get a list of those kinds of people is at a professional's office. You may not like hearing that. They really aren't that scary once you get to know them. If you can't find healing on your own, see a professional counselor.
If that wasn't enough for you, this article says much of what I do here.
We've defined the problems. Ready for the answer? Well, the solutions are as diverse as the problems:
· Stop being focused on yourself. If you want to save your life, you will lose it.
· Make the pleasure of others your main goal in life. It can't be only one person, or even one group (your kids or spouse, for example), because that's called codependency. It needs to be a lifestyle. Be kind without expectation of anything in return. Forgive their debts. Do their dishes. Feel their pain instead of your own.
· The whole self-esteem movement is wrong. "It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got." (click) You shouldn't artificially inflate your self-image. You shouldn't cultivate pride. What you should do is see yourself accurately. You don't beat yourself up for something you can't do when you can do it. That's false humility. It's all about accuracy. You can't say that you're not potty trained, because you are, and you shouldn't get a big head over being potty trained either. Just know what you can do and what you can't. And, here's the key, when you find that you can't do something, adjust your view of yourself. If you can almost do it, looking to the future, keep that view of yourself. If you can no longer do it, looking to the past, accept that about yourself. Accuracy is very important in keeping yourself out of stress and depression. If you know where 100% is, you can rightly keep yourself at a reasonable 80% pace. If you do too much, you get stressed and burnt out. If you do too little, you get bored and condescending. Once you've adjusted your expectations of yourself to be accurate, keep adjusting. You will not be the same person in a year (let alone a month), and you should constantly see your growth as well as your withering.
· Be a part of something bigger than yourself. You can join a relief organization or start a charity. Join a flash mob organization. If you don't find that you are useful for something more lasting than your own simple life, you will never be content.
· Be thankful. Thank people with sincerity. Thank God without falsehood. And you don't have to be fake about it. If you aren't used to it, you can start out with small things that you really are happy to have. Coffee. A warm blanket and a couch. A/C. The more you practice thankfulness, the more it will define your character.
· Be moral. There is a direct link between depression and evil. Sexual deviancy makes people depressed. The spouse is depressed. The kids are depressed. It makes me depressed, for cryin' out loud. Homosexuals are more depressed. Atheists are too. (click, click, click) "In 2005, a study of youth between the ages of 10 and 17 concluded that there is a significant relationship between frequent porn use and feelings of loneliness and major depression." (click, click) And you know that if you keep lying, stealing, pranking, etc. that people will like you less. So manage your behavior. Sometimes if your hand makes you sin, you have to cut it off. (Mt. 5:30) But whose hand has ever made them sin? It's your desires that cause you to sin, isn't it? So you know what feeds your desire. Cut off the food supply. If it's TV, turn it off. If it's beer, buy a shirt: "If you let me buy beer, you're a horrible person." No excuses!
in the value of life. If you think life is meaningless, how can you
possibly find meaning? Decide to believe that there's value in existence.
You may simply hate yourself. You may hate your actions. You may hate your situation. If this is true, get good friends who can speak into your life. Expose your life to them and accept their perspective on your life. Choose to believe what they say about you. There may indeed be something about you that needs to change. There may not be. If you're depressed, you're probably not seeing yourself with a proper perspective. Get some outside perspective.
· Get chemically balanced.
o Sometimes people don't eat veggies. Sometimes they only eat veggies. Your body can only use what it takes in, so if you're hungry for something, and it's not addictive, or you don't already have too much of it in your diet, eat it. How is your digestion? Does your stuff come out solid? (I know this seems like a probing question, but it's relevant.) Some of the depression symptoms are actually the result of unbalanced gut bacteria. You may need to cut out dairy and take some probiotics. See Dr. Axe's site (draxe.com) for information on that. Also look at this video. I don't agree with everything in it, but it will give you some things to think about.
o Get exercise. Your body needs it.
o Get rest. If you never sleep, you start to lose hope. You stop caring. That includes nightly sleep and vacations - weekly, monthly, and annually.
o Some people need medication. Don't be afraid to use it as a last resort.
If you only do one or two of these things, that's the return you'll get. Diversify your investment. If you want to be truly happy, do them all.
~ I saved the best advice for last. ~
the one thing that people seem to reject before they consider it, because it
really is the change that they have already decided won't work, but it does
work! It has worked. It's the secret to everything!! You have to devote
yourself to God. God made us. He has the answer to depression.
Many depressed people feel that God is not a desirable companion. The God they have been exposed to may not be, but the God I know is a wonderful person. Let me help you reason through to a proper perspective of the nature of God. Let's just start with the assumption that God is not evil, because if an all powerful evil was in charge, you'd have nothing to complain about... lol. He'd just zap you for fun. So God has to be good. We can't think he's anything like Zeus - moody and imperfect, because that would mean that God is not immortal or eternal. He's still learning, thus He was made or created with less understanding than He has. So He's eternal and good. That means the fault lies in us. There are some who would say that God puts us through terrible evils because He wants to teach us. I don't see that as a good way to teach, because I've seen movies and read books. It's easier to learn from parables than from personal pain. God is not evil. So we assume all around that God is good. He has to be good. There is no benefit to us or anyone to believe otherwise.
I'm also going to assume your God is the one referred to in the Bible. It's the most popular version of God. If you're talking about Islam or something, ya. I can see why you think God is evil. Just rid yourself of that idea of God. Our God is good. So, why would He make something like hell? There are many reasons to think He might. Some say God has to punish evil. I don't think that this is the case. I know God can forgive evil. Some say it's just separation and darkness. I think some of that is true. If you can ignore evil, or store it and expel it, it's better than thinking about it all the time. Some see hell as a kind of purgatory, where your evil is burned off of you and whatever is left is taken to heaven. Some say hell burns for a while and then uses all of its fuel, and the souls therein are annihilated. I personally think that they're either expelled, like filth from a body and ignored, or they are annihilated, or God waits for them to turn and eventually forgives when they do. I don't see any of these as evil, because, frankly, we choose our destination by our loyalties and the way we live our lives. Even if you thought God had it all wrong, you could still live a good life. That's up to you. You want to make the world a better place, show God how it's done! I bet you won't even come close to the kind of good God gives out.
Sometimes the solution is physical. Sometimes it's mental. Sometimes it's spiritual. See more below at Transferred Evil.
But we know that a person can't create faith out of thin air. We have to cultivate it. You have to find answers for the nagging philosophical questions. I point you to two sources. One is others who are on this same journey (a good church); the other is the Bible. There are objections to both options, but there are great counters to every argument. The counter-arguments are found in the two sources. It goes in this nice little circle until you make your final choice for or against religion. That's where my site can help you. (History proves that Noah is our common ancestor.)
There's some really good reasons to think that Jesus was God's son and that the Bible is true. The first thing you have to accept is that the major premise of science, that the only knowledge you can have is through experimentation, is false. You have to accept anecdotal evidence from personal experiences sometimes. If someone says they love you, you have to accept it even if you can't test it in a lab. That said, you have to accept that miracles (or events that defy the laws of nature) can happen. Rest assured, anyone can deny this, and you can find any excuse for miracles. (E.g., the disciples stole the body of Jesus.) If that one didn't stick, there would be something else.) In accepting those things, Creation becomes believable. You can't recreate that event - it was a one time deal. The plagues of Egypt were a one time deal. The list goes on. Once you accept that, you can move on to whether the Bible is trustworthy (because, let's face it, the other religions all have fatal flaws - atheism is meaningless and depressing, etc.). Jesus quoted from Moses extensively. He quoted from the other prophets. Genesis (Moses) pointed to Jesus. The names from Adam to Noah have meanings. It forms a sentence. "Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest." This is one of hundreds of fulfilled prophesies. I also point to Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. You can find sites that deal with this topic in detail, and I don't have to go into it here. Jesus also read the prophets word for word, paying attention to every detail. (Mark 12:27) And if you ever find "contradictions" in scripture, rest assured, I have read thousands of them, and I have been able to reconcile them all to my satisfaction. Some will say God made evil, but the answer is that He didn't make evil, he made choice, and He defined evil. He allowed evil because it would have been a greater evil to destroy Eve without letting her be redeemed. And Eve was real, there's tons of evidence for that. Christians have been documented as being gleeful while being burned at the stake. Being burned may not be a desirable trait, but being happy through it should be.
Man appointed mortal sorrow... Depression is foretold.
Ian McCormack - Atheist's death scenario
Don Piper - Persistence through pain
Perspective on Addiction
Suicide because of depression.
7 things to do that will make you happier
Morals defined - read through ch. 7. I'm going to ask you to look at these chapters before you make a determination on them. Prejudice kills people and keeps them from eating Cracker Jacks.
Don't read Matthew 5-7 once and make a judgment. Read it through a dozen times. Then take each line one by one. Learn it. Memorize it. And read about what it is that makes the foundation of sand. Put it into practice. No, seriously, do the stuff. This will change your life. If you do it and it doesn't work, I'll give you your money back. Feel free to keep blaming God. Blame me. If you never try, there's only one guy to blame. To quote Mr. Monk, "You'll thank me later."
Ever hear of selling your soul to the devil? They make movies about it where the guy with the guitar wants to be awesome at guitar, so he sells his soul to the devil to get the skill in return. He has women and happiness. But he's bound to eternal damnation in exchange. Those movies are rubbish! Nobody who sells their soul to the devil (or the works of the devil) are ever happy. They find despair and grief. They have no hope in spite of their skills. I'm not asking you to sell your soul to the devil. But I am asking you to sell your soul. Give everything you have to the service of Jesus. Anyone can do this, even if they have already sold their soul. God has purchase power for souls, and He already paid the price - all you have to do is make the choice. No, your past sin is not a disqualifier. Repent (meaning turn away from your old ways, and condemn them so you won't be condemned with them), and God can forgive you. Yes, be a follower who will have peace and a smile while being burned at the stake. Devote yourself to the service of God, and you will find happiness.
One final thought. God doesn't want you to be depressed. God can miraculously heal you of your depression. He can fill the void in your heart and soul. I've seen that happen too. Take a step of faith toward Him, and He will run to you! Ask him, and He can heal you! (James 4:2) You don't have to have a manufactured high self-esteem. You are dirt. But God loves the dirt that He breathes his life into. (click, click)
Demons are real, and they often have to be resisted and cast out. I have many examples of this in my own life, but they won't convince you. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Sometimes you have to keep resisting, because the temptations keep coming back. Sometimes you need others to pray for you, and the demons will leave on Jesus' authority.
This may change the way you view depression just a little bit. Instead of thinking that you have a brain disorder stemming from abuse, this is what you need to see. You have spiritual battles happening around you all the time. Instead of thinking your brain was broken as a result of rape or bad parenting, think that demons who were with your rapist were communicated to you when you felt hatred for him.
Now this might seem to you like it's going into a delusion, but I assure you, I'm perfectly sane, and this is how I see the world. Some of the best, most rational people I know think this way, and we have lots of evidence to prove it. It's a whole other world that takes years and years to understand. If all of the world is completely material, no gods, ghosts, demons, UFOs, etc., we become decomposed corpses, and nothing we believed about it will matter to us in 500 years anyway. We have all experienced the irrational fear that comes upon us in the dark. We just get better at ignoring it as we get older. Ask any kid under 10, and they will confirm that there are sometimes monsters in the closet. I just happen to have the experience of driving them out of my home in Jesus' name. The choice we have here is to ignore the irrational fear, the voices in our heads, the pain and depression, or we can be completely rid of them, with a genuine love to replace them. Delusion or not, this mindset has made me very happy. What's more, I actually believe it to be true. It is a belief based in experiential fact. Some of the material solutions like drugs will mask the symptoms, but they rarely fix the problem. The problem is much deeper. Until you learn to deal with this stuff in spiritual terms, it will probably never go away.
Do you want to see evidence that this happens? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Consider this case. Watch this movie. Read the Bible - especially the book of John. Luke 10:17-20 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” But those won't convince you in the way firsthand experience does. Start walking in this stuff and see it for yourself. Get prayer, receive the Holy Spirit, and God can change your life.
Ridding yourself of Demons...
Here's the good news, demons can be gone completely from your life. Spiritual warfare is easy!! I had a particular addiction, and I'm pretty sure it was demonic. My wife had depression. We both did what I'm going to tell you about, and the demons are gone.
How did they get there? Someone in your life probably taught you the way of evil. He probably had a lot of demons dumping on him, and he abused you. When people open themselves up to sinful kinds of lifestyles, they come in. If you become bitter at someone who wronged you, instead of pitying them and hoping for the perpetrator's best, they come in. You have been exposed to too much evil. You need to get yourself out of it as much as you can to limit the influence as much as possible. Stop doing bad things, and I'll tell you what right and wrong are in a minute.
you have one of two options. You can hate the people who did those evil things
to you, even blaming God for other people's evil - or for not stepping in. Or
you can love the people who did those things to you, love God in spite of the
evil that was done to you, and do your best to step in when other people are
being hurt. I've seen it a hundred times. The people who are abused don't learn
how to be different, so they end up being exactly the same as those who
committed crimes against them. You have to learn to live your life differently,
no matter what other people are doing to you. You may or may not be able to
influence other people, but you can change yourself. Your depression will go if
you learn to live for others, especially to live for your Father in Heaven, as Jesus
did. Jesus forgave the people who hung him on the cross. Can you do that?
This is something you have to be proactive in. For one, you have to resist the temptation to be bad. You also have to start doing good. Once you do that, half the demons will leave right away. They hate to be resisted in that way. Thirdly, and this is the most important, you have to switch sides. There are two sides in this battle. The side of selfishness and the side of others focused love. You stop living for yourself, and start living for love. I'm not talking sexual lust, or emotional manipulation... love. Thinking of the other person's good before your own. The camp has a leader, and that is Jesus Christ. Demons fear his name, and they flee at his authority. They won't leave because you're anything special, but because they're afraid of what God will do if they don't. If you're following Jesus' example, that makes you a Christian, and Christians have authority to drive out demons. Give yourself over to Jesus, and you will be healed. Live your life by prayer, worship, and submission to God's plan for your life.
1 Sa. 16:23 "Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him." Listen to worship music. (click, click, click)
If you find any success in trying what I recommend, but there are still things there, you will find healing with time and communion with other believers. Can someone help? Yes, indeed. You will need to find a Pentecostal church that believes the Bible. They believe in the power and authority of Jesus' name. I recommend Vineyard church. If you search Google maps in your area, maybe it will come up. Go there and ask for prayer of one of the pastors. Count the cost. Freedom from your current life in exchange for contentedness in life. I liked the trade. You may like it too.
If you haven't read the things above, don't read this first. The vast majority of reasons for depression are found in the advice I give above. This section is specifically for those who have put all the above into practice and still need help.
For Christians who are depressed...
We cannot accept that long-term depression is a part of God's perfect design. I believe that God created sadness (the emotion). I believe He uses it to shape us up, to conform us to what we ought to be, but we cannot accept that such a terrible situation is God's plan for anyone's life as a whole. He promises eternal bliss because that is His plan for us. If you are depressed, God's probably trying to get your attention. Make it your goal to find out what He's saying through it.
Shame is normal. It's only normal because we all sin. I wish it were not normal, because that would mean there is no sin. Read Ezekiel 18. No, don't keep reading this. Read Ezekiel 18 and come back to this. The obvious answer to habitual shame is to stop the habitual sin. Of course, that's harder than it sounds. Remember what I said above about cutting off your hand. If there's a trigger for your habitual sin, avoid it like the plague. With time and effort, I've been able to get rid of all the habitual sin in my life that brings me shame. I pray that you are given the fortitude to work your way out of your habitual sin. Take a listen to this song: click
Shame can also be abnormal. One time I was at an event where the speaker asked "the children" to come up. It's not uncommon at such an event to have children come forward, so my wife and I both let our children go forward. It turns out that the event was for a special set of trained children, and I felt shame wash over me as they were allowed to stand there instead of being sent back to us, to be allowed to look like they didn't know what they were doing. Being head of my family, I was responsible to keep them from that shame, but I failed them. I know intellectually that this is an abnormal kind of shame. The kids didn't know anything was wrong, and my wife got over it almost immediately, but I still feel it as I think about it. I believe this kind of shame is abnormal - a spiritual oppression. There are two things you can do with this. You can pray about it and you can ignore it. With time, shame related to past behaviors can go. Mentally crippled people feel no shame, and nobody expects them to. Let your past mistakes go. Feel the shame and reject the actions, and take the steps to prevent it from ever happening again. The measure of your shame is likely to be the measure of your future avoidance of those actions. Chances are, people aren't as ashamed of you as you are of yourself, and most people should feel more shame about their mistakes than they do. Learn to praise God for shame, as it's a tool we can use to become more perfect in our actions. 2 Cor. 7:9-10: "I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. […] Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
Great men have had great bouts of great depression. King David writes extensively about his own depression. Martin Luther has been the topic of many papers regarding his depression. Take captive your thoughts, and do what I recommend above. You might be being subject to a Job-like testing of your quality. Praise God for the opportunity to prove yourself. Praise God that the devil has taken such an interest in you. May you come through your ordeal stronger and wiser than you were before.
Lastly, some of our sadness comes from our own view of the world. If you find yourself dwelling on things that make you sad, think happy thoughts. Sure, our world is degrading by the day, but it just gets us one day closer to the heavenly take-over. Rejoice. I've said to be happy, so now you have to do it! Remember what it says in Nehemiah 8 (click) "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve." Joy is a choice you make, my friend. Don't worry. Be happy.
Why did God make the Devil?
You're a little devil, aren't you? I know, compared to the devil, you're a saint, but compared to God, you're gum on a shoe. You're spit in a $4 beverage. God made the Devil for the same reason He made you. And the devil went bad for all the same reasons you did. It comes down to this one word: selfishness. You wouldn't be asking this question if it weren't for selfishness. If you've ever seen Star Trek DS9 or read Harry Potter (don't watch the movies, read the books), I have two examples for you. One is the Weyoun character of DS9. He was selfish in every way until it came to his gods. Then he was completely selfless. If you're not like that guy toward God, you are thinking of yourself, and you are selfish enough not to be able to stand in judgment of Him. If you have read Harry Potter, the house elves are also a great example of a selfless lifestyle. Again, if you're not like a house elf, you're selfish. You are a source of evil in this world. You're so quick to judge the devil, but the only thing stopping you from being the devil is that you sometimes have selfless moments. The degree to which you give up your personal agenda for the sake of others, that is the degree to which you become like God. If you want to achieve the lofty goal of being like God, the promise given from the Serpent to Eve, you will have to give up on serving yourself. (Luke 17:33)
But that didn't really answer the question. Why did God make the devil? Because God had good plans for the Devil, plans to prosper him and not to harm him. But the devil went his own way. God gave the Devil choice, and the Devil chose to be evil. Do not follow his example.
Why does God allow suffering?
This is a very popular question, and there are many angles you can come at it from, but I like the slippery slope angle. Just how much is too much food? Should you have eaten one less bite? Ten less? How much is too much food? How much is too much light? How much is too much noise? Food, light, and sound are all good things, and it's still possible to have too much of all three. But we can't identify exactly how much is too much, can we? When does purple become blue? It's too fuzzy to tell. How much is too much evil? Is it the lie you told last week? Is it the slaughter of half the population as part of a science experiment? I think we'll all agree that it's somewhere in between. So we understand why God didn't annihilate Eve the moment she ate the fruit. We get it that God didn't zap them both when Adam ate it. But some of us wonder why Cain was allowed to kill his brother. Surely murder is too far. It is, darnit! But God is more merciful than that. He sees the future, and He knows that he will forgive murderers (i.e. king David) and liars (like you and me).
But just like the question with the Devil, that didn't answer the question. Why does God allow evil? God allows us to make choices. We choose evil. And if He didn't let it happen, it wouldn't be a choice at all. Could you imagine, bubble wrap everyone - no sharp edges; make all the terrible choices you want, and nothing will happen to you. So God does allow evil as a result of allowing choice. Choice is not an evil, but a gift. Use it wisely.