I see I posted twice yesterday.
But the whole “thought my kitten was lost” really had me frazzled. I thought I had everything in order and the post entitled “why overreacting doesn’t help depression” hadn’t even been edited. I’ve since corrected it. It was a post from a few years ago that I thought bared repeating. I hope you found it helpful.
So because it did publish I felt I should continue the theme. The truth is that depression isn’t for “sissies”. What is interesting about those that suffer from depression is that it’s almost never the “bad”, “mean” or “shallow” person that experiences depression. You have to be kind of a “deep-thinking” person, a sensitive person to suffer this mental illness. And “mental illness” doesn’t always mean what we think it means. Depression is an “illness” that involves the “mind”, therefore it’s a mental illness. What is the matter with our society that we still don’t understand this?
My heart aches for anyone who suffers depression and/or anxiety. It’s horrible. And I think more people suffer from the disorder than don’t. But there is still such a stigma that many people never talk about it. Instead, they stand at the edge of a precipice never knowing when they are going to fall in the pit. That feeling of impending doom clouds their very existence and life becomes shrouded with fear and dread.
You would almost prefer to fall in the pit rather than standing at the edge worried that any minute you might drop into the dark hole and disappear.
(I realize this isn’t a photo of a “pit” but they were all too scary-looking so I chose this cliff instead. Same concept though, right?)
It’s like feeling dead inside but pretending to be alive. The effort of trying to act like everyone else is almost more than you can bear.
I get it.
If I thought I was heading there again, honestly, I would be terrified.
For a little while.
“Why for only a little while?” you ask.
Because while I have a history of depression, I also have a longer history of recovery. I’ve learned a lot from my battles. Mostly, that God will get me through if I cooperate.
Would he get me to the other side anyway? Probably. But it would take a lot longer and if I were rescued every time, I don’t develop the skill set necessary to keep me from succumbing the next time.
I’m never one to tell anyone that all one has to do when faced with depression is to trust God and just like a magic Genie, everything will get better. While God can heal instantly and he often does, it’s no guarantee.
Besides, we develop a great deal of resilience when we cooperate with God instead of letting God do all the work.
My understanding of God’s dealings with people throughout Scripture is that cooperating with God is always God’s first choice. It’s kind of like God wants us to have a stake in our own growth. It has been proven time and again that people who have a vested interest in something appreciate it more. I think God created in us the desire to claim some responsibility for our own lives.
When Moses balked at God’s command to speak to Pharoah because he didn’t think he could (for whatever reason and the jury is out on that reason), God said that Aaron could be his mouthpiece. How much personal growth did Moses give up right then? I would say, a lot.
So if you are on that precipice, you don’t have to fall in. I have no idea the faith walk of any of my “followers” so I can’t really give you steps 1-10 to keep you afloat. I can only tell you what I do.
I will try to share more tomorrow but here’s a preliminary list (in no order) without much detail:
- I pray and read Scripture.
- I exercise. If I’m struggling with a current depressive episode, I might walk longer and/or more than once a day.
- I stay distracted. If you are employed, this is easier. If not, just start moving and doing something, anything, and that will spur you on some more. This is very hard when you’re feeling down. Do it anyway.
- I should’ve started with this: Make your bed. I’ve been saying that much longer than the recent hype over the commencement speech of the same title and the subsequent book.
- Talk to someone today with your “voice” not your fingers.
- Avoid negative people.
- Don’t go to bed tonight without having accomplished something. (See # 3)
- Keep up with your personal grooming. You should look in the mirror and feel somewhat better by the image you see.)
That was a very cursory list.
Apparently, I’m on a roll, so I’ll try to keep this up for the rest of the week.
It’s hard for me to write about depression when I’m not actively experiencing an episode. But it’s also hard if I am.
Anyway, God bless and have a good day.
(PS. You can always check out my menu under the heading “depression”. I have lots of material there that you might find helpful.)