Two D-Words: Depression and Discouragement.


Click on audio player to hear podcast on “Discouragement or Depression”

This is an excerpt from the Curt Iles’ book,  The Mockingbird’s Song.

You can order copies as well as download the e-book at

My fifth book, The Mockingbird's Song, begins with a encouraging lesson from a singing mockingbird on a dark night of the soul.
My fifth book, The Mockingbird’s Song, begins with a encouraging lesson from a singing mockingbird on a dark night of the soul.


Finally, I want to mention the difference between discouragement and depression. Discouragement is something we all deal with. Life’s battles and trials cause us to have emotional scrapes and bruises. But discouragement goes away in a few days and we move on. Clinical depression doesn’t move on, but many times becomes worse if left untreated.

Here is an example: My first job was teaching and coaching high school basketball. I was fresh out of college and our team at Fairview High School was fresh out of players. To put it mildly, we were bad. That year we played thirty games. Our final record was 1-29. It was a long year. Many nights driving the team bus home after getting stomped by forty or more points, I would wonder if I was cut out for this. I was discouraged.

But after a night’s rest and some time to get refreshed, I was okay and ready to get back to practice with the boys. In fact, when that season ended, we began working right then on getting ready for the next year. You see, I was discouraged but I wasn’t depressed. I was able to bounce back and go on the offensive.

Long-term depression is not like that because it sucks the life and joy out of you. Instead of bouncing back and being recharged, you seem only to slip into a deeper darkness. In spite of your circumstances and any attempts “to be happy,” it seems to be impossible.

My 2000 train wreck was severe and devastating. It seemed as if everything I had ever believed was tossed in a washing machine and violently churned back and forth. It was a time of testing and despair that had been unmatched in my life up to this point.

However, with God’s help, the prayers of my friends and family, and good doctors and medications, I survived my train wreck. In fact, I came out of this “smashed emotional crash” of my life as a better man. The hard taskmaster of depression taught me many lessons that nothing else could have.

I routinely tell others that depression is a great teacher. It teaches us memorable things about ourselves and life around us. These tension-filled lessons are hard and extend us in ways we prefer not to be stretched. But the tough teacher of depression, just like any tribulation, has much to offer. The key is that we view any “train wreck times” of our lives as a classroom—an opportunity to learn and grow.

Your train wreck may be different than mine.  However, it does have something in common with my experience—a chance to learn, a chance to grow, and a chance to love.


All aboard! The train of learning and growing is taking passengers—even including those who have survived an earlier train wreck!



Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird


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