Thursday, January 7, 2016

4 Tips For Fighting Depression

Some of you reading this may currently be in a season of depression. Others of you may have gone through and conquered a season. Whether you are clinically depressed or weighed down by the struggles of life, here are some of my personal ways that get me through seasons of depression. 

Now note this: I am not a professional, I am not a doctor, or a psychologist or anyone along those lines. If you are prescribed any form of medication by a professional I STRONLGY recommend that you continue to take it. I am not sitting here telling you to stop taking prescribed medicine. These tips are my own personal opinions and are not and should not be used in place of antidepressants and such.

Now, for a little backstory…

I have gone through seasons of depression. This past year and a half has been a prime example of those seasons. As those close to me know, I moved back home with my parents after two years of being away at college. I go from being surrounded by awesome friends and an awesome ministry group to nada. All of it is two hours away and sadly my beat up, old 1985 Olds just couldn’t make the drive. I had my family but, I was still alone. And I’m sure you can imagine, given the title of this post, what happened next. I started down my season of depression. Quite frankly, I still don’t feel that I am completely through it. And honestly, I really don’t feel like I am experienced enough to give tips and advice on this subject. But, Jesus doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. So enough backstory, here are four tips on how I fight depression:

I Journal

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.” Psalm 94:18

I’ve talked about before how I journal. And I’m not kidding when I say it really, really helps me through. If anyone ever picks up and starts reading any one of my journals they will probably think that I am nuts. Why? Because journaling for me is a conversation with God. One sentence I’ll write “God, what should I do about my lack of hours at work?” Then the next sentence will be, “But I’m so tired of staying up that late.” So, I am behind journaling 100% but, I understand that journaling is not for everyone. You just need to find the equivalent of that, or as I call it, your outlet. You can read my post about outlets here.

I DON’T take a trip down memory lane

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

It’s easy when you are feeling depressed to gravitate towards anything that reminds you of the “good times.” For me that would be looking at photos from my freshman year of college. While I truly cherish these moments and the people that I shared them with, it just makes me think of how much I am missing out on by being here…and not there. Then I start thinking about how I’m going to jump in the car RIGHT NOW and go and visit… but then I remember I have to be at work in thirty minutes… and then I remember how frustrated I was that one shift three months, two weeks and four days ago… you get the picture. It’s just a giant snowball effect. Then to add to that, when I go to look at those pictures in a better time, I’m kinda reminded of this snowball effect. Then those pictures become something I avoid, rather than cherish like I should.

I work on a project

“I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

Everyone knows that I am a pretty crafty person. I have more yarn and fabric remnants than clothes in my room. When I have that dark feeling that is associated with depression come over me, I will sometimes grab a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and crochet the day away. Once I get my mind focused on doing something productive, such as getting to that scarf I started four months ago, there is no room for those dark feelings. I’ve accomplished something. And I think we all can agree that feeling accomplished is a great feeling. What’s even better is when I give that brand new scarf to one of my eleven-year-old brothers and their face lights up at the sight of a new orange and navy scarf to match their favorite football team!

I make someone’s day

“He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me…” Psalm 55:18

Going off of tip number three, one of the best feelings in the world in my opinion is the feeling you get when you have made someone happy. Whether that is writing a blog post that really touches someone’s heart, helping my grandma carry a laundry basket up the stairs, or filling up my cat’s food dish when its empty. It feels good to know you have helped someone in some way. Every night my mom falls asleep on the couch. She is a fourth grade teacher, so some days are veryyyyyy long. In my family, we have bad knees and sensitive feet. She always asks my brothers to rub her feet because they hurt so bad. But they are seventeen, eleven and eleven...yeah. I have made it my personal mission to every night rub her feet. I don’t do it suck up to her; I don’t do it for attention or to prove a point. I do it because I know it makes my hardworking mom feels ten times better. She’s my mom. Why wouldn’t I do it for her?

So, it’s not a lot but I hope this helps. Depression is a serious, exhausting and overwhelming season to be in. But, remember this, you are breathing. You are alive. You are not alone! As long as you wake up every morning you have purpose! God has a plan for each and every one of us. Including you! Yes, I know it’s too much at times. Yes I know that it seems like there is no end. But trust me, there is! Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who STRENGTHENS me.” Don’t give up! You are STRONG and you WILL get through this season! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Imagine yourself at the end and you look back through all that you have overcome, trust me it will be worth it.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way...” Deuteronomy 8:2

“The pain you have been feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” 
Romans 8:18

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