Depression is probably one of the worst symptoms a person can experience because it colours everything with a negative tone so that you have a hard time seeing what is good. Without depression, you can be creative in coming up with alternative solutions to problems and you have the drive to do so because you can see the good that will come out of it. However, depression takes away that optimism, creativity, and drive by telling you lies such as ‘There is no point’, ‘No one cares anyway’, ‘Life is not worth living like ‘this’’, ‘I’m just a burden’, and the list could go on and on.
It’s important to remember that depression is a liar because it’s so easy to believe those lies and the feelings that we have since they are so powerful. If we forget the fact that depressions lies, however, we will get stuck in the cycle of depression and negativity without being able to see the big picture and the broader truth surrounding our reality – and being stuck in depression is a horrible place to be!
Having experienced depression quite regularly and sometimes quite severely over the last few years, I understand that it’s not something you can just ‘snap out of’ by ‘thinking positive’ or other things that are actually helpful towards dealing with depression. However, no matter how hard it is, you do have a choice – to stay stuck or to move forward. Even if the steps you make forward are small, each step you make in the right direction is a step away from being stuck in depression. So while there is no ‘quick fix’ and, for some, depression will be a constant companion to some degree or another, I believe that being proactive in moving in the right direction is helpful regardless and we can all see improvement, whether that’s a ‘full recovery’ or reducing the severity.
The question is how to do that! When you feel so hopeless that you can barely cope with getting through the day, adding things you’re ‘supposed to do’ (even to feel better) can be a challenge. What I ended up doing for myself, and have shared below, was to write myself a letter that I would read whenever I felt discouraged or depressed. So that means, all I need to do when I’m in ‘that place’ is to remember to go and look at that letter which will then guide me towards having a more sound mind, greater peace and calmness, and the ability to make it through until I can start functioning better again.
Note: While this has been written from a Christian perspective, there are some aspects that can be applied and be helpful regardless of your beliefs.[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”Download the Depression Letter template” txt_align=”center” color=”juicy-pink”]Finding this article helpful?
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Listen to audio sermons, podcasts, or audio book – a great podcast to subscribe to is Your Daily Drive with Rick Thomas. Check out his really helpful website too – RickThomas.net
Read over verses of encouragement & truth (see some below)
Read the Psalms – write out what God says about Himself
Read over attributes of God
Read over promises of God
Read a good book or watch a good movie to distract me until I can focus on something more positive
REMEMBER THE TRUTH
Remember that what I’m thinking/feeling right now is probably not truth – certainly not the most accurate reflection of truth. I probably feel a lot worse about ‘it’ than ‘it’ really is and I shouldn’t make any major decisions while feeling like this.
If something really is bothering me – deal with it when I can think clearly enough to handle it appropriately – not now while my emotions are high and all over the place. It’s unlikely that it has to be dealt with immediately – even if it feels like it! The best thing to do right now is be quiet, relax, let my mind rest, and get my focus on God where I will find peace and comfort.
Remember that it’s a lie that I’m always supposed to feel okay and, if I’m not, then I’m not thinking biblically or doing what’s necessary, etc. Sometimes it is what it is. Accept this as God’s offer for me to draw closer to Him than I might otherwise have done.
REMEMBER THE CROSS
It doesn’t matter how bad things get, Christ is there for me. He knew me before I was born and He died for me! He’s not going to leave me alone now. Even if I feel alone due to real or perceived rejection from others, He will never reject me. He knows what it feels like to be rejected. He knows what it is like to feel misunderstood. He knows what it is like to endure pain. He knows what it is like to be tempted to cave into ‘giving up’ and not following through on God’s plan for His life. Despite so much opposition, He found comfort and strength to face the cross because God strengthened Him and He was able to see the end result – victory!
I have the promise of this same comfort & strength and Christ being with me through this time. He also promises me ultimate victory and eternal life (without the entanglements of sin and a failing body)!
How Jesus fought despondency (Mat 26:37-39; Heb 12:2)
– He chose some close friends to be with him
– He opened his soul to them
– He asked for their intercession and partnership in the battle
– He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer
– He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God
– He fixed his eyes on the glorious future grace that awaited him on the other side of the cross
REMEMBER MY PURPOSE
My purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. God had a plan for my life before I was even born. All my days were numbered before one of them came to be. He alone has the right to say when my days here are up – that’s not my decision. I want to run faithfully to the end where I can receive the welcome ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. Even if everything falls apart ‘humanly speaking’, I can still glorify God with how I handle those times.
What’s the worst that can happen? If God is for me, then who can be against me? I am to be faithful in my love for Him and in my witness for Him. Anything else is extra. If those things don’t work out and I’ve done my best to make them work, then let it go. God will prosper that which He wants to prosper. If it doesn’t work out, then He’s got something else in mind that will be even better than I can imagine – even if it seems impossible to imagine how that could be the case when things seem to be crumbling around me and in me.
FOCUS ON WHAT I ‘CAN’ DO
– I can still honour God with my response and attitude – no matter what happens!
REMEMBER OTHER PEOPLE’S SUFFERING AND THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS/LEGACY
REMEMBER GOD’S TIMING IS OFTEN DIFFERENT FROM OURS
Eg. My business may take longer to make a profit than I initially hoped. Just because things haven’t worked out YET doesn’t mean they are wrong! It means persevering and enduring! It will happen in God’s PERFECT timing if it is indeed God’s will!
My role is to do what I can EACH DAY and not worry about how quickly things happen – whether that’s finding an answer to your symptoms, a treatment, relationship reconciliation, business/work ventures, etc.
Despite health issues, there’s a lot I CAN still do
I do have a good church with good teaching, & friendships (I can listen to sermons online if I can’t make it to church)
I can still use my mind most of the time – just accept those times when I can’t as ‘rest days’ from God and don’t try to force it.
VERSES of ENCOURAGEMENT
For I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
2 Cor 4:17
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
1 Pet 5:7
Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you: he will never let the righteous fall.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy – think on these things!
2 Thess 2:16-17
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in ever good deed and word.
My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night. Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.
1 Tim 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith.
Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him for the help of his presence.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
1 Timothy 6:6
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
God will present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach – if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
Do not fear what you are about to suffer… be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
We desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realise the full assurance of hope until the end.
Behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.
It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
1 Thess 5:24
Faithful is He who calls you, and He will bring it to pass.
You Never Let Go – Matt Redman
Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Sovereign Over Us – Michael W Smith
Amazing Grace – Michael W Smith
Oh God of Mine – Rita Springer
All Who Are Thirsty – Vineyard Music[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
I hope you have found this article helpful. I’ve included most of the ‘letter’ above but there are a few more helpful tips in the ‘Depression Letter’ template, which you can download and adapt for free below. Remember that, whatever it is you’re facing, if you’re a believer, God is FOR you and He is ALWAYS with you. Keep looking up and pressing on xx
Finally, please leave your thoughts in the comments below and engage with others in the Facebook group – How do you deal with depression? What have you found helpful? Let’s share and encourage one another with what can be one of the most disabling aspects of an illness.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”Download the Depression Letter template” txt_align=”center” color=”juicy-pink”]Finding this article helpful?
Download the FREE template that contains additional helps and suggestions to adapt for your own use…[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]