14.8 million American adults suffer from depression. These are just the ones that report it, so just imagine the number of those who are struggling in silence. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Research says that depression is more prevalent in women than men, but my suspicion is that women are more willing to admit it than men. Here is what I do know – if you are struggling YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I have struggled with depression in the past and there are times when I will have an episode. I hate it! I wish that I could wish it away, pray it away, fight it away – but I can’t. Depression is serious. It is real. Yes, it is a sickness, but there is a way to make sure that depression is not a plague! I want to share some encouragement and some tips for those who struggle with this and some things that I have found helpful in this journey.
1. Get familiar with your triggers. – Identify what may start a depressive episode. Is it your diet? Is it stress? Is it anxiety? Is it a certain time of the year? Take note of when you feel most depressed.
2. Admit it to someone. – Resist the urge to isolate yourself. As soon as you start feeling depressed – tell someone. I have found that reaching out to a trusted few has been huge for me. They are familiar with my struggle and offer support and encouragement to get me back on track. REACH OUT! Even if it is to just one person. This is a step toward freedom.
3. Don’t trust your emotions. – When dealing with depression your emotions will tell you that everything is horrible, miserable, doom and gloom. It is NOT true. Part of the sickness of depression is that your emotions are not entirely trustworthy! Go back to Numbers 2 and 3.
4. Stay sober. – When struggling with depression, don’t try to hide it or drown it. The healthiest thing to do is face it. People intoxicate themselves with work, relationships, drugs, alcohol, sex, hobbies – anything to numb the pain of reality.
5. Get help – real help. – Sometimes friends and family can’t help you. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to the experts. One man explained it like this, “Some families have people who can fix cars, but when they come against a problem they can’t solve, they send family members to the experts.” It’s the same with depression. There is no shame in seeing a professional counselor, therapist, or doctor. Don’t suffer unnecessarily.
You are not a bad person. You are not a bad Christian. There is hope for you! There is help for you.
The apostle Paul said, ” Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Depression is my thorn. It is my reminder that I MUST rely on God and that His grace is sufficient for me. I can’t rescue myself from depression! But in my weakness I can still choose to worship. I can choose to praise. I can choose to read His word. It doesn’t make everything magically better, but it heals my perspective and makes my eyes see the many things to be grateful for. It gives me a way of escape! Have you made Jesus your choice – even in the struggle? You can’t pray depression away – but you can experience Jesus by praying through! Choose hope!
Pray with me:
I am coming to you for hope. Please enlighten me to see your hand at work in all situations. When I am depressed let me turn to You and members of the body of Christ for help. In my darkest times let Your word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Place Christians in my path that will point me to worship and praise you in spite of my emotions. Thank you for being greater and stronger than any problem that I will ever face. You are awesome and you are able to rescue me! I am Yours! You are mine!
In Jesus’ name,
Leave a comment: What has been helpful to you in the battle with sadness or depression? What resources, books, or scriptures would you recommend to someone who struggles with depression?
***I am not a healthcare professional. If you realize that you are experiencing depression, please consult with your doctor and/or mental health professional.***
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Here are some resources to help you along the way. As a matter of disclosure, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation.
- Lord I Just Want to Be Happy by Leslie Vernick
- You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado
- Depression Prevention by Leslie Vernick – free PDF; Picking Yourself Up After Failure by Leslie Vernick – free PDF; Suicide Assessment and Intervention; Peace by Tony Evans – free E-book; Bible Verses to help you overcome depression.