Depression, don’t take it lightly.
For the afflicted…and those who care.
When depression barged in last Sunday, my perception of hope for the new semester began to cave-in. All December long, no depression. I handed in final papers, sat exams; no depression. Day before I am to return to school in January, depression shows up.
I cried, felt sorry for myself, wished life was different, felt sorry for myself, cried, wished life was different and it occurred to me then that I had some options. With depression, options are seemingly few and far between with the desire to “not exist” appearing most inviting. So, realizing I had options in itself is evidence of God’s healing in my life with respect to the experience of depression.
So this past Sunday, I foresaw options:
A) Keep the curtains closed, stay in bed and cry (while trying to convince myself that it would pass quickly- not typical of depressive episodes)
B) Keep the curtains closed stay in bed, cry and ask God “Why?” (He knows everything so if He just tells me why I get depressed, I’ll feel better- probably not)
C) Keep the curtains closed, stand up, cry, pray to God about my feelings of depression and ask Him “why?” (I need to tell God how I am feeling and on that basis He will take away the pain and tell me why I get depressed, that will solve everything- not a chance- I do however need to talk to God about everything so I can grow in my relationship with Him)
D) Keep the curtains closed, stay in bed, talk to God about how I am feeling and read aloud messages from God (in the Bible) about how to fight and deal with depression
Choices A through most of C (certainly without the clincher in D) could potentially prolong depression, with A having the greatest potential to do so. That’s not my opinion, it’s fact. Isolating yourself in a darkened room, projecting negative thoughts on the future, crying over the past and finding a way to blame someone and of course yourself for your plight is a sure way to remain depressed (I know this sounds harsh but I am MAD at depression right now. Intent on exposing the lies it brings).
What I am about to share next, which I alluded to in the post right before this one has nothing to do with me but everything to do with the Word and Person of God.
His Word is (the Bible) is chock-full of power, it is, I believe, the most potent remedy for depression.
So I did something I’ve never done (in quite this way):
I didn’t get up, “who said you have to be upright to read God’s Word and have Him intervene”? Truth be told, I didn’t have the strength to stand and hoped my posture wouldn’t offend God (that’s legalism talking).
I didn’t open the curtains. Although literature on how to combat depression encourages spending time in the sunlight, I somehow felt safer in the dark and it wouldn’t affect God’s ability to hear me and honor His Word. (That said, If you can get out into the sun when you are depressed, definitely do so, and declare God’s word there too!)
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. Psalm 138:2 http://biblehub.com/psalms/138-2.htm
Kindle in hand I opened my browser and entered “scriptures to fight depression”. Clicked on the first link that appeared (http://hopefaithprayer.com/scriptures/against-depression/) and through my tears and cracked up voice began (audibly):
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
I then headed over to the section on “Scriptures Against Hopelessness” http://hopefaithprayer.com/scriptures/against-hopelessness/
My life depended then, depends now and will always depend on those and all of God’s Word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy3:16 http://biblehub.com/2_timothy/3-16.htm
In short order, I was able to stand and go to the kitchen (that means facing other people) to get a drink. In “depression time” that step so soon after initial onset of symptoms is monumental.
For the years that I have struggled with bipolar disorder, the periods of depression (as opposed to mania when I am less coherent) were primarily spent crying, isolating myself, catastrophizing about the future, having my medication altered, detailing my feelings of anger to my pdoc, being consoled by my family and friends, having my pastors and church family pray for and with me (even declaring some of those same depression fighting scriptures over me as I cried) and finally, my squeezing out prayers and if at all, casually reading God’s word kinda sorta hoping things would change.
Without discounting the importance of the abovementioned (because I have an amazing support team and believe “mere” reading of God’s Word to be helpful in itself), I am happy to say that this most recent period of depression culminated (yup, ended; although I didn’t experience an immediate reprieve of all depressive symptoms) in my decision- in the midst of overwhelmingly sad feelings and thoughts- to believe God on the following:
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 http://biblehub.com/isaiah/55-11.htm
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 http://biblehub.com/numbers/23-19.htm
CHANGE was on its way!
I would either begin to see my depressive feelings and thoughts differently or the chemicals in my brain would get in line- my circumstances were about to be ALTERED!
When? I didn’t know but that time with God gave me what I needed to put one foot in front of the other.
It’s not that I don’t believe God normally but that using my voice to speak His Word in that instant and on days after defied the depression-ridden feelings and thoughts and served to convince my soul of where the power resided i.e. in God and not in the illness.
What a relief!
You can have similar results no matter the mountain.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 http://biblehub.com/romans/10-9.htm
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6 http://biblehub.com/luke/17-6.htm
P.S I also checked in with my doctor.