Mental health professionals tell us that depression can be a result of an emotional or psychological problem, or it can have a physical connection. This week our friend, Fran, has just learned that her best friend at work, Louise, is going through some severe depression which is affecting her behavior quite noticeably.

When Fran finally confronted Louise, she admitted that she feels depressed, but wouldn’t talk about it any further. So tonight, after getting her kids ready for bed, Fran finally has time to make an uninterrupted call to Louise. She gets her voice mail. “Louise, it’s me and I really want to talk with you. Please, if you’re there, pick up.”

After a long pause, Louise picks up the phone. “Hi, Fran. Thank you for calling; I know you’re concerned, but really there’s nothing you can do. I’m just going through a depression, I guess. I’m sure it’s my fault. I need to get right with the Lord or something. . .”

“Wait a minute, Louise,” Fran says. “Where did you get this idea that depression is always an indication of a spiritual problem? Don’t you know it could be a chemical imbalance or something physical? Have you seen a doctor?”

“No,” Louise continues, “but I talked with one of the pastors at church and he seemed to think that all I needed was to read my Bible and pray more.”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that, but is he a health professional?” Fran asks.

“No. . .” Louise replies.

“Louise, you need to see a doctor and find out if there is some physical reason for your depression,” Fran encourages her.

Louise begins to cry. “Oh, Fran, I can’t tell you how awful I feel. I can’t sleep at night and I can’t concentrate at work. Sometimes I feel lightheaded and my heart starts pounding. I cry at the drop of a hat; I even cried at the office today in front of Andy. He thinks I’m crazy, I’m sure.”

“Oh, Louise,” Fran says, “I’m so sorry. Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner? How long have you been feeling this way?”

“It started about a month ago, but I just figured it would pass. I felt guilty because Christians aren’t supposed to be depressed, right?” Louise says.

“That’s ridiculous, Louise. Think of people in the Bible who showed signs of depression. There’s David singing the blues in the Psalms. And Job certainly was depressed. And what about Elijah? He wanted to die. Moses was so depressed he ran away for forty years. Louise, you need to find out what is causing you to feel this way, and that starts with a doctor,” Fran says.

What is the cause of Louise’s depression?