Depression is a subject that gets a lot of ink in today's world.
Many turn to drugs and a host of other avenues to fight the pressures of today.
I would not direct anyone from following the advice of their doctor. However, I do suggest turning to one's faith for great emotional support.
I have recently become aware that not only did one of our nation's most celebrated presidents, Abraham Lincoln, fight depression but, according to my research, his method of fighting his negative feelings was in reading the Bible.
One man, Joshua Wolf Shenk, an essayist, author, and creative strategist based in New York City, gives Lincoln's depression credit for his great achievements. We can all learn from a man who turned his weakness into strength.
"Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a 'character issue' -- that is, as a political liability. His condition was indeed a character issue: It gave him the tools to save the nation," Shenk states.
An account by Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Lincoln's dressmaker, tells of Lincoln turning to the Bible at a weak moment in his life.
Keckley once told of watching the president drag himself into the room where she was fitting the first lady.
"His step was slow and heavy, and his face sad," Keckley is reported as saying, on the website hopefaithprayer.com, in an article titled "Lincoln Turned to the Bible to Manage His Depression."
"Like a tired child. he threw himself upon a sofa, and shaded his eyes with his hands. He was a complete picture of dejection."
The article states that the president had just returned from receiving the darkest of news from the war department.
Lincoln is reported to have started to read a small Bible.
"A quarter of an hour passed," Keckley is reported as remembering, "and on glancing at the sofa the face of the president seemed more cheerful. The dejected look was gone; in fact, the countenance was lighted up with new resolution and hope."
Wanting to see what he was reading, Keckley reportedly pretended she had dropped something and went behind where Lincoln was sitting so she could look over his shoulder. It was the Book of Job.
There are a number of Bible Scriptures used by pastors and counselors designed to help those who suffer from depression. Here are a few:
* "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things," reads Philippians 4:8 in the New International Version.
* And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed," reads Deuteronomy 31:8 in the King James Bible "Authorized Version," Cambridge Edition.
* "He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye," reads Deuteronomy 32:10 in the New American Standard Bible.
* "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles," reads Psalms 34:7 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Service to others also is a suggestion often given by faith leaders to combat depression.
"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others," is a well-known quote by Gandhi.
"You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give," he wrote.
As a reporter covering religion at the Standard-Examiner, I am well aware that the churches in our area do a wide range of service projects every single day of the year.
Those wishing to find some service they can perform need only check with one of hundreds of area churches.
Those wishing to receive help for what troubles them, also need only to reach out to the area's faith community. Of the many faith leaders I've met, none have said they would turn away anyone in need, no matter what their troubles may be.