Some people are apprehensive of seeking medical help when they suffer from severe or prolonged depression as they did not want to be put on medications due to the side-effects of medications. Some may not want a diagnosis by the Doctor or Psychiatrist.
For a long time, I didn’t want to seek professional or medical helps. Partly because I didn’t know or didn’t think my condition is a medical illness. Partly also because I believe as a Christian I should weather the episodes by looking to God and waiting on Him alone. I often searched my heart and find many past sins which I may have committed unknowingly. I saw my own pride, self-centredness, selfishness, unbelief and other sins. I prayed and asked for God's forgiveness over and over again. But often no amount of soul searching or repentance bring about deliverance. It is often 3 to 6 months later, or sometimes longer, that I began to get better and more functional. Whenever I am better, I will be very cheerful and happy most of the time, more creative, more energetic and more talkative, and more productive in my work and service for the Lord.
It was during a very severe relapse of clinical depression in Dec 2006, through the encouragement of my former employer (who is my good friend) and my 2 colleagues, that I was led to seek medical help as I was extremely suicidal and could not cope with my work and life. Thank God that by His mercies I reacted well towards the medication. After a week of being on an anti-depressant (fluoxetine or common brand name Prozac), I began to feel better. I was more functional and able to continue with my work. I did experience some side-effects of the medications such as dry mouth, constant waking up in the night, etc but I got over them after sometime.
The anti-depressant didn't cure me. It only lifted me up to a more functional level so that I can make use of other helps to get better. I was able once again to read the Bible and pray, and found comfort in God's Words. These I could not experience when I was going through severe depression as my thoughts and feelings are flat, I have difficulties concentrating in reading and I could hardly absorb what I read. Thank God that medication did lift me up to a level that I can benefit from spiritual means.
From thereon, I went for counselling to manage my thoughts and understand what I was going through and what might help. I also go for regular walk and make use of other coping means.
Through this experience, I began to read and do my own research in order to understand depression. In my experiences thus far, it is most important to find a good doctor/physician/psychiatrist.