Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some Thoughts on Depression

Hello Dear Ones!

(I have edited this to clarify some thoughts. Might not have succeeded!)  :O)

I hesitate to even write this post because I'm certainly not a therapist of any kind. I'm not really even an "overcomer." But so far I'm a survivor, so I guess I'll let that be reason enough. However, another reason I'm sharing my thoughts on depression is that I know it is rampant among us these days. Perhaps it will be just a wee bit comforting for some of my readers to know they are not alone. It's also my earnest prayer that I don't offend or hurt anyone through this post.

First of all, depression runs in my family. For some of us it's very much a chemical imbalance and medication is a must. For myself, it's a bent toward being pessimistic, often full of self-pity, and at times "mopey." I would say mine is largely self-induced; however, over the last couple years there have been two or three days, for just an hour or two, that I have had an intense sinking feeling for no reason ... a sudden onset of profound sadness. I am hoping and praying that feeling doesn't start occurring more frequently. But if we need meds, we need meds, and we take them. We have to in order to even out the playing field before we even begin to deal with an upset, frustration, or pity party in our lives. So please know that I am in no way discouraging taking medication or seeking treatment or counseling for depression, by whatever words that follow.

As we all have, I've pondered life quite a bit (which doesn't really help, but more on that later). I believed for years that a fun, happy life was surely just around the corner. And of course, some periods were better than others. But the general trend was that what I wished for my life wasn't happening. (To be brutally honest here, probably a lot of my frustration and depression had to do with being financially-challenged. I blamed much on lack of money and lack of material things.) So I grew to think that Satan was messing with my blessings, and if I just had enough faith and hung in there sufficiently long, my blessings would rain down on me.

But now I consider the possibility that it hasn't been Satan "ruining" my life, at least not any more than anything else in this world is ruined by him, which of course is a lot. I think some of my difficulties might be, could possibly be ... God. Well, His doing in the sense that He allows them. For my own good, for my education, for my refinement, for my preparation. (In fact, over the course of my life there's been a time or two or three that I've been so wildly unsuccessful that I've begun to believe it had to be a God thing. Plus, looking back, I can see that being unsuccessful at attaining that something or other turned out to be the best outcome for me.)

So let's face it. Notwithstanding Ephesians 6:12, between Satan being an evil poop and God being a loving father, yet firm disciplinarian, there are unlimited trials and burdens at their disposal. The Devil sends a trial, but God uses that trial for good. On the other hand, God allows a battle or a burden to test or refine us, and that old crafty Satan tries to commandeer it for his benefit and our defeat. It's a jungle out there: It's as if ordeals were growing on trees.

For consideration: The Book of Job, of course; Satan has asked to sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31); believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position (James 1:9); the Galileans and the eighteen in Siloam in Luke 13 were not worse sinners than anyone else; "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:16); the man was born blind to demonstrate the power of God (John 9:3 TLB). I've especially found it enlightening that "the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor (Luke 7:22). What?! No miraculous money for us poor folk?! (Shows what's important to God, and should be to us, doesn't it!)

(I'm probably not able to explain my thoughts clearly enough. I'm not blaming God! I'm saying that He's ultimately in charge of ordeals, therefore there must be benefit to us by going through them.) For all of us on this planet, those nasty ordeals are not all that easy to avoid or escape. We've all got them. And that's the other factor ... us. In conjunction with who we trust, our own actions affect what happens to us.

Let's see. Oh yes, so the particular trial/burden/ordeal I was talking about is depression. Having acknowledged that ordeals are widespread (and there's no denying that they can be horrific), and that if we need meds we should take them, for what it's worth, here's my take on how to deal with depression:

Lift your chin up.

Take your position.

Ready. Set.


Storm the stronghold and subdue it!

Uh, but how? Well, for starters, don't take "it" (depression) lying down. Literally. Remember, we're the third factor. God is waiting on and counting on our participation. A family member used to work at a nursing home and has told me about ADLs: Activities of Daily Living. That's brushing your teeth, making the bed, combing your hair, feeding the dog or kitty, and so on. The big goal was to help the residents perform their ADLs. That's because ADLs are extremely important, especially if one is depressed. Not only do they extend life, they are life-giving.

Whatever there is to do or whatever there is that you normally like to do, make yourself, force yourself, to do a little of it. My thing in recent months has been that when I catch myself sitting on the couch moping and going over my grievances, I get up and wash some silverware. Even if it's only a few pieces. (I don't have a dishwasher and dirty silverware increases exponentially!) While I'm doing that, I give myself a pep talk and start realigning my thoughts to what God would want me to think. He wants me to be cheerful, to count my blessings (be thankful), to fix my thoughts on Jesus, even to go and sin no more (and He was very displeased with the whining Israelites in the wilderness which is another reason to change my thinking). I know that because that's all in the Bible, the book in which God teaches me how to live and cope with ordeals. 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness [action] has genius, power, and magic in it!

Then a funny thing happens. I begin to feel better. I think that maybe I'll go knit a couple rows on the dishcloth I'm making. Then I remember I need to wash my work clothes. I turn on the radio to Christian music and maybe know the song and sing along. I decide to dust my piano. Next I prepare a couple things for quick access on my lunch hour. Hmm, a cup of coffee sounds good. I'm back on the couch while I drink it. But now I'm relaxing and thinking lovely, beneficial thoughts. (You also might want to read this post from my sidebar entitled When You Need a Break from Life.) My depression is on hold for awhile and for as often as I participate in a version of this scenario. And in my life, this plays out as needed over and over and over again because I'm choosing it to.

Why? Well, I've got numerous posts on my sidebar where I share my thinking on how beneficial it is to be in control of our thoughts and not be controlled by negativity. Jesus bore the cross without complaint. I don't think many of us will be like Jesus to that degree in this life, but I believe God wants us to try. 

The world is in constant flux. Others might seem to be having better lives and more fun. They are simply at a different point on the continuum of human existence. Besides, things are not always as they appear. In this life we definitely have ordeals, one of which could be depression. We are tested, often to our limits of endurance. Yet God says we won't go through more than we can bear. So if we're still here, we can bear "it." As it is said, He'll either bring us through the trial or lift us out of it. 

The Lord has things for us to do and learn and battles for us to fight. The only free ride we get is the one Jesus paid for. We're here to serve at His good pleasure, to learn to do His will, and to come to know that we benefit by doing so.

We can be pitiful or we can be powerful.
Joyce Meyer

Just make sure you have Jesus.

Blessings to you and yours,


  1. I think you expressed your thoughts very well. A good encouragement to keep on keeping on while trusting and resting in Jesus.
    Dianne L.

    1. I thank you for your kind encouragement, Dianne! Have a delightful week, Bess


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