Forgetfulness Caused by Depression


Zhang Jing had just come to faith in Jesus Christ. Her life was full of joy, peace and purpose. Though she missed her husband, even after being deceased for a year, she no longer had the emptiness in her life. That emptiness was replaced by her newfound joy and peace. However, she was concerned about her son. Before Zhang Jing’s husband died their son had been a good student. Now he was struggling in school and had been for the past year since the time of her husband’s death. She had expected this but things were not getting better. She was concerned about her son. She was wondering if her son was depressed. However, he still did well in sports and played with his friends when he had time. Plus, he had always told jokes and even was doing this now. So she wondered what was going on with his school work. Was there other problems? 

Zhang Jing decided to go to her son’s school to talk with the Principle and his teachers.  Zhang Jing met with her son’s teachers. They told him that they believed that he was a good student and had good ability. However, they also thought that he was forgetting things and appeared to be easily distracted. This was not characteristic of him. Otherwise he played well and worked well with his classmates and was not in any trouble of which they were aware. They wondered if it was related to his father’s death or another medical problem. The Principle and teacher suggested she take him to the Pediatrician at the hospital first to see if there was a medical problem causing his forgetfulness.

Zhang Jing went with her son and the doctor took the history, examined her son and then took some blood tests, just like when she had recently gone. When they returned several days latter to discuss the test results the doctor told Zhang Jing and her son that his exam and blood test results were all normal. The doctor told Zhang Jing that her son probably had the same problem she had, that is depression. Zhang Jing told her that he was not tired like she was. The doctor told her this did not matter.

The doctor told Zhang Jing and her son that depression can effect a person’s physical functioning in other ways.  Depressed people tend to worry more about their health.  They tend to notice various aches and pains and to fear physical illness more than non-depressed persons.   

The doctor went on to tell Zhang Jin that our thinking also tends to be affected by depression.  Some people report that they have much more difficulty making decisions when depressed.  Others say that they just can’t think clearly and that their thinking feels distracted or fuzzy.  Finally, some people report that they are more forgetful when depressed.  The combination of the symptom of decreased energy and motivation and the symptom of thinking problems can cause the depressed person significant difficulties in school or work.  Many times, students will experience a drop in grades when they become depressed.  This may be the first symptom that is noticed by family and friends.  The student then feels a sense of failure or pressure to perform better and these feelings tend to worsen the depression even more.

Zhang Jing and her son were amazed that is just what was happening in school with his grades. The doctor went onto tell Zhang Jing and her son the following about depression. He said that this generally proved true regardless of how old the person was.

The doctor told Zhang Jing and her son that depression has a major impact on our perceptions.  A depressed person feels that everything is darker and more negative than it really is.  They see the worst in every situation and expect the worst when thinking about their future.  They perceive that others are being negative about them, even when they are not.  They also tend to be much more negative about themselves.  They have many self-critical thoughts and their self-esteem tends to be quite low. 

The doctor asked Zhang Jing’s son if this is how he felt and Zhang Jing’s son said he often did. He felt that since he was distracted in his thinking and could not focus well that he grades dropped and then he thought he was not a good student. The doctor assured Zhang Jing’s son that he was a good student and he could overcome his problems. He stated that he should talk with his teacher’s about ways he could listen better and then work on exercising more, which is one thing he had stopped since his father had died. He used to exercise a lot. Zhang Jing and her son left the office encouraged. The doctor told them to return in a month if they were not improving.

As they left the doctor’s office Zhang Jing wondered if Jesus Christ could be the solution for her son’s depression as he had been for hers. She had certainly appreciated her doctor’s input but she realized that Jesus Christ had made the main and most important improvement in her life. She started to talk to her son about Jesus Christ. She had read in the Bible about whole families coming to faith in Christ. The Bible said, 'After the jailor prayed to accept Christ his family did the same as well (the book of Acts).'  She prayed to Jesus to give her the opportunity to share about Jesus with her son.

Several days later her son asked her why she was so much happier. Zhang Jing was so excited; here was the opportunity she had waited for. She told him that she had received the person of Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord. Zhang Jing then told her son that he had given her life, joy and peace she had never known before. Initially her son wanted to think she was crazy. But he at 17 years old had to admit that her life had dramatically changed. She was happier than he had ever know seen her even before his father had died. So he was very interested in this. Plus she was much nicer and patient to him than before.

Zhang Jing told her son that a friend of hers had given here a Bible and shared with her the following verse from the Bible, ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3.16).’ She told her son that by receiving Jesus Christ as her Savior he had given her a new life. She showed him this verse in the Bible, ‘if any person is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away, new things have come (II Corinthians 5.17).’  Zhang Jing told her son she was a new creation in Jesus Christ and he had forgiven her of all of the things she had done wrong and as a result she had peace with God through Jesus Christ.  Zhang Jing asked her son if he would be interested in meeting the friend, and her husband, who had shared with her about Jesus Christ?  Her son was interested because he was interested in having the same peace and meaning in his life that his mother now had.

The next day Zhang Jing met with their friends. The husband of Zhang Jing’s friend had studied a lot about depression since his wife had experienced it. He told Zhang Jing and her son the following.

Yes, it is true that depression can be an illness and cause symptoms such as being distracted in your thinking.  It is also true that depression can be treated by medicines and counseling.  Sometimes, however, depression can be the result of feeling that life has no purpose, feeling that you are unloved or feeling that you are not of valuable.  Many people are depressed because they have never heard the wonderful news about God’s love for them and about Jesus Christ.  You see, the creator of the universe loves each and every person so much that He sent his son, Jesus, to earth as a human being to die as a sacrifice for us.  We are not perfect ourselves.  We may try to be the best we can be or to reach a higher state of consciousness, but we can never be good enough to go to heaven and live with God after we die.  God knew that we could never do it, so he sent his beloved son, Jesus, to earth as a baby.   He grew into manhood without ever committing a sin or wrong action.  He then willingly let himself be killed on a cross as a sacrifice for our wrongs.  He let soldiers drive nails into his hands and feet and died on that cross for you and me.  He could have stopped it at any time, but He couldn’t stand the thought of spending forever in heaven without you, so He chose to die, willingly.  Then, to prove that he had the power to overcome death, He came back to life three days later, and was seen by several hundred people.  In the Bible, it says that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in him, would not die but would have everlasting life (John 3.16).’ This was the same verse his mother had told him about.  God loved the world that much.  The world includes all of us, every person.

Zhang Jing’s son, whose name was Wang Bing was very interested in this. He was most interested because he had never heard an adult man talk with such love, patience and a desire to care for another person.

This man went on to say, now, if the God of the entire universe loves each person enough to send His son, and if that son, Jesus, loved us enough to willingly die for us, doesn’t that make each one of us pretty valuable?  If the God of the universe wants a personal relationship with you, doesn’t that give your life a purpose?  All we have to do is believe that Jesus is God’s son and that He died for us and arose from the grave and ask God to forgive us of our sins.  Then God will forgive our sins and we will go to heaven after we die.  While we live, however, we are to learn more about God and His ways.  You see, our relationship with God gives us value and a purpose for our lives.  Once we have accepted Jesus, we are told to tell other people about His love for them so that they also can have life, value and purpose.  Once a person understands that Jesus, God’s perfect son, died for them, they cannot help but feel thankful and happy.  Once a person has a relationship with God, life takes on a different meaning.  Wang Bing wanted to have this relationship so his life would have a different meaning. He asked how he could have this new life in Jesus Christ.

Wang Bing’s mother showed him the same verse she had read just before she believed in Jesus Christ as her Savior. Zhang Jing read to Wang Bing this verse, ‘that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10.9).  She explained that if you believe that Jesus died on the cross for all of your sins and wrongdoings you would not have to responsible for them, which is what ‘confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord means and then believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead,’ showed he had triumphed over the ultimate enemy of man, death, by raising Christ from the dead.  If you believe and do these things you will be saved. If you believed this then God will save you from your sins then he will give you a new life now and forevermore.

Wang Bing wanted to believe this. Zhang Jing then asked Wang Bing to pray the following prayer after her, ‘Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I know that I am sinful person and that I need you to forgive me from my sins. I believe that you died on the Cross for my sins and I believe that after dying for my sins and being buried you rose from the dead to show your victory over sin and death. I ask you to come into my life and be my Savior. Thank you, Amen.’

Wang Bing really believed what he prayed. After he prayed he, like his mother had an immediate joy and peace he had not known before in his life. He and his mother and their two friends all hugged, cried and laughed with joy. After he was hugged by his mother’s friends he realized that he had never been hugged so warmly by anyone. His father, though he loved him, never hugged him so warmly.

During the coming days, weeks and months, Wang Bing’s lack of concentration and distraction went away. His grades improved and his attitude to school improved a lot. His life was filled with a joy only Jesus Christ can give.