Last week I shared an initial post about my experiences with depression. If you missed it, read it here. I felt there was so much to say about this topic, so I’m back for part 2 today 🙂 I am a very practical girl and always want to know the actions steps involved in things. Something that is very important to me is avoiding overspiritualizing things. It’s actually a huge pet peeve of mine when things are overspiritualized. With that in mind, it was heavy on my heart to share some concrete manifestations of my depression as well as some successful strategies that work for me to combat it. I do this in faith that this post will help at least one other person experience some relief from their depression.
Letting Go of Old Ideas
I had many misconceptions about depression based on my own ideas and misinformation given to me by others. Educating myself about depression was extremely important. I began reading material from reputable sources in the mental health field. I started asking God to help me be open and willing to hear and embrace the truth and discard any old ideas that no longer served me. It’s amazing how humans tend to cling to the familiar even when it hurts us and resist change when it is for our betterment. I really struggled with this around my depression.
It took me a LONG time to be completely willing to accept that clinical depression is a disease just like asthma or even cancer. These ailments cannot be treated without medical attention. Why did I think that I could beat depression on my own? Because I thought I had caused it, I blamed myself (hello guilt and shame). Most people with asthma or cancer do not blame themselves for their condition and they easily accept the medical treatment prescribed by their doctor. So if my clinical depression is a disease just like these others, then why did I resist the prescribed treatment for so long? Why was I experiencing massive amounts of guilt and shame? I avoided admitting to myself and others that I was depressed and certainly didn’t tell anyone that I used medication as part of my treatment plan.
I believed the LIE that if I was strong, tough and spiritual enough, I could beat this thing on my own. Only the weak, pathetic and baby Christians were the ones who needed medication because they couldn’t handle it otherwise. It took awhile to let this go and sometimes it comes back to me, but now I slay it with the truth.
What Depression Looks Like for Me
- Extreme fatigue
- Unmotivated to do things
- Disinterested in things that I usually enjoy
- Body aches and weakness
- Feeling emotionally flat, numb or frozen
- Isolating from others physically and emotionally, not sharing my feelings or my truth
- Feeling far from God and struggling to connect with Him
- Becoming easily overwhelmed with life and routine tasks/responsibilities
- A feeling of heaviness
The difference between sadness, grief and even deep sorrow is that these symptoms hang on for a long period of time despite my best efforts to eliminate them.
Practical Ways I Combat Depression
- Daily quiet times including prayer and meditation (morning, evening & throughout the day)
- Meditating on Scripture
- Talking with others daily about where I’m at physically, emotionally and spiritually
- Having accountability partners who will speak the truth in love
- Health & Life Coaching
- Check in with my doctor regularly (about 4 times a year)
- Medication & Supplementations
- 12 step recovery
- Getting enough sleep (for me that is at least 8-9 hours at night & napping sometimes)
- Movement (4-5 days a week, preferably early in the day)
- Yoga & Stretching
- Not overscheduling myself
- Prioritizing my self-care very high on my list
- Evaluating my thoughts and weeding out the true from the false
- Accepting myself for exactly where I am (being gentle & talking lovingly to myself – what would I say to or do for a friend in the same situation?)
- Daily vitamins
- Light therapy (Make sure the light has 10,000 Lux)
- Essential Oils (I use doTerra products, primarily lavender, wild orange, lemon and frankincense for depression.
- Getting outside daily
- Getting as much natural light as possible
- Deep breathing and really feeling into my body
- Support groups
- Visit somewhere warm with a lot of sunshine
- Practice gratitude
- Adjust my expectations
- Listen to and respect what my body is telling me
All of these things help me tremendously with my depression, but they do not completely relieve me of the disease. Some days and seasons are better than others and my quality of life has definitely improved. I keep walking in faith, doing my best to make wise choices and do the next right thing with what is in front of me.
If you are looking to speak to someone about any mental health challenges you face, please contact me. This is completely confidential and I would be honored to connect with you!
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If you missed the first two posts in the Silent Killer series, check them out: