How Temperament Can Cause Depression

I have battled depression for three years, and before that spent 7 years counseling others through depression.

The term depression encompasses many terms today including:

  • despondency
  • unhappiness
  • doom
  • death
  • sadness
  • dejection
  • grief
  • dissatisfaction
  • despair
  • bereavement
  • disappointment
  • the blues

People can feel or experience a varying degree of each of these things.  While depression is a complicated condition it is not one that is beyond God’s ability to help or heal.

One cause of depression can be a person’s temperament.  God made each of us differently. We each have our own particular characteristics, virtues, failures, weaknesses and bad habits.  We are each given similar characteristics, but have them in varying degrees.

This means that some people may have a personality make up or temperament that makes them prone to depression.  When we become Christians we do become a new recreation, but our core characteristics do not change.  We are essentially the same person we were before.  God will mold our personality to become more like Him, but we will still carry the same personality traits.

This might not shock you but it does me.  I am not the mouthy 20 something that my husband married, but my mouth is still there.  God has changed and conformed it but it rears its ugly head from time to time.  I have always been a worrier and control freak and still struggle with those things.  I am getting better as time goes by, but I have yet to quit worrying and desiring to control.

And depression?

Well I am prone to get down from time to time.  It’s my default reaction to life when I can’t control it.  I slip into the depression spiral and go down and down.  The more out of control life gets and the more I realize I can’t control it the more I want to slip into Marcy’s dark pit.

Some people, by their very nature, are apprehensive, nervous or frightened.  Some are prone to sadness, seriousness and depression.  Many of the great saints battled depression or bouts with melancholy.  It’s not something we need to be ashamed of.  I think its helps though to understand that some of us by default are prone to this condition.

Consider this:

  • The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, struggled with depression.  Spurgeon would cry for no reason.  He believed that his depression was causeless and could not be reasoned with. Spurgeon believed that his depression served as a thorn in his side, gave unexpected power to his ministry, and was a prophetic signal that a great blessing was going to come to his ministry.
  • David of the Bible was depressed.  He stopped eating, lost weight, his health deteriorated, and he groaned.
  • Elijah got depressed.  In fact in 1 Kings 19 he asks to die.  That is a pretty serious depression.  It took an angel to get him up.  Yet his story gives us hope.  God did not forsake him because he was down, in fact the Lord passed by him (1 Kings 19:11).

In the days of old they would refer to someone as suffering from melancholy.  It was a part of their personality.  They were prone to react in this way in life.  I think we can be prone too.  Our temperaments can make us prone to sadness, the blues, and despair.  We can be certain that God is molding and changing our tendency to react in that way.  We can rely on Him to get us out of it.

For me an understanding that my personality is prone to depression, getting down or a case of the blues helps me deal with it.  If I am prone to react to life in this way then I can look for what triggers my depression, and I can prepare for it.  Perhaps I will always be prone to depression, but at least I can minimize it when it happens.

If you are suffering from depression take heart.  With Christ we can say,

“We are afflicted in everyday, but not crushed, perplexed, but no despairing; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9

If you need help with depression here are some resources that might help:

  1. Association of Biblical Counseling
  2. CCEF
  3. Depression Articles
  4. Spiritual Depression Book by M. Jones

These are a few resources that can help you with depression.  If you suffer from depression you are not alone.  I pray you can find the help and encouragement you need to get through each day.

Marcy Pedersen



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