Last week hubby was talking with me and one of the ladies in our church who is a counselor, in preparation for last week’s message on depression – getting ideas, etc.
Meloney used this awesome illustration of "The Well". She said that some people are so far down in the well that they cannot see the light, they cannot imagine a way out and they have no hope. Those people need medication to help them begin to come up out of the well – to begin to see the light before other methods of treatment for depression will begin to work.
That was me. I honestly don’t think that I could have pulled out of the depression without medication. I know there is some controversy in Christian circles about medication for mental issues (don’t even get me started on Tom Cruise), but I don’t see how it’s any different than someone suffering from cancer. God has gifted individuals with skills to make amazing medical advancements. Who are we not to use every tool provided?
Along with the medication my doctor told me to start seeing a counselor which I did for a period of about 6 months. I did a lot of journaling during that time, a lot of examining of all the things going on in my life and I really did re-prioritize a lot of stuff.
A couple of other things that I either used at the time or have learned since then that help (besides prayer):
1. Exercise – I am bad about staying disciplined in this area but when I exercise regularly I feel so much better about myself, my energy level is up and research has shown a direct link between exercise and depression. It raises the seratonin levels in the brain which is what anti-depressants do as well.
2. Get Involved/Stay Involved – For me, I was already involved in other things when the depression hit. I was a church nursery coordinator, we hosted a home team, etc. My natural tendency was to pull back and withdraw from those things. But it was the times where I was doing something for someone else (especially the nursery) that I would forget about myself and the issues I was dealing with. So if you’re not involved in helping other people somehow, do it.
This is not to be confused with doing too much. I also pulled out of some less important things.
3. Journal – Specifically I did a lot of journaling about things I had to be grateful for – even small things. When I was worn out and overwhelmed with doing the umpteenth load of laundry I would stop and say "God, thank you for providing nice clothes for my family…and a washing machine and dryer."
4. Talk About It – Reach out to those around you and let them know what is going on in your life. Your true friends will not judge you or turn their back on you. They may not know exactly what to do or what to say but just having people around you that can help carry the burden is a huge thing.
5. Worship Music – Music has always been a big part of my life and I love finding a song that I really connect with. There are so many great praise and worship songs out there. Tomorrow I’ll post a list of songs that have especially spoken to me.
If you’ve gone through depression and have other things that helped you, please share them.