I want to start this post off by saying that there is no “prescription” for “how to overcome depression”. The recovery from depression is different for everyone. But there are some things that seem common between most people and things that were a huge help to me. So, I have decided to “talk” through a few of those things in hopes that someone out there may find similar help from some of these things.
First, let me tell you that there is nothing, nothing, nothing you did to cause clinical depression. It is a chemical imbalance in your brain. There may be contributing factors, but the cause is something biological. Nor, do I believe that depression is a sign that you are “not a good Christian” or that “God is punishing you”. The Bible just does not teach that.
A few things that can help ward off the recurrence of depression and help in the recovery process are:
- ensure good social support – a strong support system can work for you in a couple of ways
- they can help identify when your mood is dropping before it “bottoms out”
- they can assist with your care and help be a sounding board for you
- they help you know you are loved and cared for when intrusive thoughts tell you otherwise (help you combat the lies with truth)
- get sufficient rest/sleep – this one is self-explanatory, but one thing to note is that sometimes depressed individuals aren’t actually getting quality sleep though they may be getting plenty of it
- cut down on less important responsibilities, but do NOT give up things that feed your soul
- delegate what you can, when you can
- maintain quality time with friends, hobbies, etc…the things that make you feel alive
- get timely mental health care
- this means counseling and medical care
- the sooner you reach out, the better and more likely you will stave off a deeper depression
Now, let’s get practical…
When I was in the recovery process, some things that really helped me were:
- taking my thoughts captive
- you know that those intrusive thoughts only make things worse
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
- pray about the thought
- tell someone about it – the thought only has power over you as long as it is secret
- think on something pleasant (Philippians 4:8)
- make a playlist of music that spoke to me in this season and edified me
- spend time in the Bible
- the only way to combat lies is with truth
- monitor my expectations
- “expectations are pre-meditated miseries” ~ unknown
- your expectations, or holding on hard to your expectations of yourself, your life, etc, sets you up for failure; expectations are not bad, as long as you are realistic and flexible with them
- know the truth that you are not alone
- 1 in every 5 Americans has first hand experience with depression, bipolar disorder, or another mood disorder
- setting up something for myself to do each day and doing it
- no matter that I didn’t FEEL like it, or didn’t really want to, I made myself do things I used to enjoy, get out, see friends, etc.
- set a routine up and followed it
- having a basic routine is key and when I mean basic, I mean BASIC
- get out of bed, shower, brush teeth, put on clean clothes, etc.
These are just a few of the things that helped me. The more practical ones. Out of my season of depression, I have written over 130 individual devotionals. I do hope one day to get them compiled and published. My heart hurts for those who are in this darkness and struggling for a glimpse of light. I have been there. And I would be lying to say that every day is a good day since. But the days are much better, brighter. And I can embrace the hope that I could, at that time, only name.