We all feel blue at times. Occasionally, we may be sad for quite a while, especially when everything around us seems to be going wrong. Being depressed is more than that.
And, right now, you or someone you know is dealing with depression.
A person I care a great deal about is depressed. I know friends who have faced this battle, and some who have kids who are struggling. And there was a time, years ago, when I felt almost overwhelmed by my circumstances, at times close to hopeless. The dark of night was the worst.
When you are dealing with depression, your world seems bleak, and you have a hard time feeling good about anything. You lay in bed, huddled under a blanket of sadness, because the simplest task seems insurmountable. You don’t want to feel that way. You just do. Sometimes, this may become clinical depression, which is a medical condition as well as an emotional one.
Most people don’t understand. Secretly, they wonder why you can’t snap out of it, while they unconsciously pride themselves on their own willpower. They mean well, but “How can I help you fix this?” and “I just want you to be happy!” don’t address what you are feeling deep inside.
Unfortunately, there is no magic antidote for depression, no self-help tips that will automatically fix everything. But, you can feel better, and even clinical depression can be treated. No matter how bad it seems, there are things you can do that will help.
Dealing with Depression
It will take a holistic approach to get better because depression affects many aspects of your life. These include areas that are personal, relational, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and even medical. You can have a positive future—a normal life. But you have to get there one day at a time.
Across those areas of your life, how do you tend to act when depression comes along? Instead, how should you choose to respond in order to feel better?
You remain paralyzed – Instead, choose to stay active and face your problems.
- Get out of bed and get into motion, knowing that the first step is the hardest.
- Have a list of to do’s, take them one at a time, and celebrate each step.
- Go to the gym or join a yoga class. If nothing else, take a walk.
- Take steps to address your problems; many negative situations get worse if you avoid them.
- Pick one area and take a positive action to address it. Do anything, but do something.
- Don’t make the situation worse, e.g. alcohol—a depressant—won’t solve anything.
You isolate yourself – Instead, choose to reach out to other people.
- Get help. See a counselor, just as you would visit a doctor if you had the flu.
- We all have issues, not just you, so don’t worry what people may think.
- Get around positive people, those who will support you with no judgment.
- Do something to serve others, one of the best ways you can begin to feel better.
You become self-absorbed – Instead, choose to work on healthy self-awareness.
- Fight the lies of negative self-talk haunting you and replace them with positive thoughts.
- Face the mistakes you have made, ask God for forgiveness, accept it, and move on.
- Don’t play the victim. The world is not out to get you, so do what you can to get better.
- Avoid obsessing on your problems. Start thinking of others rather than only yourself.
You dwell in hopelessness – Instead, choose to rebuild a positive point of view.
- Adjust your perspective to see the bigger picture: life, truly, is not all bad.
- Accept trials as temporary, and see them as an opportunity for growth.
- Thought by thought, work to develop a hopeful vision of the future.
- Count your blessings and write them down. Then, savor them, one at a time.
- If you have to, fake it till you make it and begin acting the way you want to feel.
You begin to doubt God – Instead, choose to hold onto your faith.
- When you hit bottom, it’s often a good time to surrender, so go all the way.
- The best thing you can do to begin healing is to give yourself over to God’s will.
- Instead of only praying for God to fix you, ask him for the faith to get through.
- Spend time every day in prayer, meditation, and the Bible.
- Make the decision to trust God’s promises, such as:
“The Lord your God is with you. He will take great delight in you.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“If God is for us, who can be against us? In all these things we are more than conquerors. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.” (from Romans 8:31-39)
Depression is often associated with personal problems and negative circumstances in your life. You will feel better if you talk to people who have been through what you are facing and read about how to deal with issues and brokenness.
Becoming whole again will take time, but adopting a holistic approach and taking positive steps will help. You can make it through one day at a time, and you will slowly realize you feel better. Above all, trust God’s promises. That hope—that certainty—is your lifeline, so hold on tightly.
Question: Who do you know that is dealing with depression, and how can you be there for them?
Action: Just for today, pick the items above that fit your situation; then, do those things.