Depression is something that I’ve battled since my teen years. It’s been a constant companion and sometimes I’m not even aware that it’s draped its arms about my neck. Again.
A day with depression is rather bleak. It starts out with a yearning to go back to sleep but knowing the kids need me. It weighs heavy, pushing the tears against the back of my eyes until they start pouring out. The words of prayer barely pass my lips – they feel stuck to the roof of my mouth. Then finally I stand at the kitchen sink, with my hands on my temples, tears streaming down my face, frozen with indecision. The guilt feeds the despair.
But in the midst of what I described above there are some coping mechanisms I’ve learned along the way and I’d love to share them with you. My prayer is that God can take what I’ve learned through these many years fighting and perhaps help one of you who may be caught in the fog of depression.
Don’t stop reading. This isn’t a cliché or a quick fix. During times of depression we desperately need our Savior and we often don’t realize how much.
There have been may times when I couldn’t utter any words or if I did, they came out sounding like,
“God, you have to live through me and be my strength because I’ve got nothing.”
Pray Scripture back to Him as well. Sometimes it may be more of a “Please help me to trust You and not to lean on my own understanding”, sort of prayer.
Listen to music. Good, Christ-centered music.
Worship is generally the last thing on my mind when I’m depressed. More often than not, I’m in a fog and can’t focus. By letting others worship for you – joining with them in song, when the music has left your heart – that can help lift you out of the pit. Pandora is great for this because you can choose the ‘artist’ station and their music and music similar to their style will play.
Light a Candle
There is something about seeing a candle lit and the fragrance it produces that does my heart good. Maybe it’s the light or the beauty of its simplicity. I don’t know. Try it though. This one may surprise you.
(I have a favorite soy-based candle but don’t want to put affiliate links in this post. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know where I got mine. )
Right now I’m enjoying our front porch. A moment ago a butterfly was dancing on the breeze and I just saw our resident skink, Clive, skitter across the steps. Being outside makes you slow down a little bit. If we can slow down enough to see and appreciate God’s beautiful creation, we are lead to the door of His Grace. The same Grace that pulls us out of the pit, cleans us up, and breathes love into our weary souls.
Do something for someone else.
This one can be difficult, but I think that it, in turn, can be really helpful. When I’m frozen at the sink with tears streaming down my face, it’s hard enough for me to function, let alone start praying for others.
But, what if we can take a moment to send a message to a friend asking them how their day is? We may see a little light.
This may look like setting a reminder on your calendar to send them a note. It may just be dropping a card in the mail. Whatever it is, God will use it to build both of you up.
These aren’t earthshattering suggestions, but I pray that at least one thing I’ve learned will help you. I firmly believe that the Enemy uses our brokenness, our bent for depression to keep us from the Father’s work. So many times when I finally contact that friend, I find out she was fighting at the same time.
Please don’t think that you are alone in this fight. Depression may be something we will never be without. But you know what?
You are not alone! He’s with you and He’s got this.
I’m praying for you, friend.