Depression Survival Guide: Part 1

stormy sea boat

{Sometimes you just need a LIFELINE. Through my years in the darkness I’ve compiled a list of go-to Scriptures, quotes and perspectives to bolster me in depression’s deep waters. When you’re caught in the undercurrent, grab on. Realign yourself with Truth. Reclaim YOU.}

We are women; the finishing touch of God’s creation, and it’s good to be us. And sometimes, not so good. Because hand in hand with the exquisite beauty God wove into our makeup, comes a complicated tangle of emotions that can sometimes seem impossible to navigate.

This might be news to you, sweet sister, but there is Divine recourse when our feelings set us reeling–we don’t have to admit defeat, allowing them to drag us to depression’s depths. And we don’t have to be held hostage by our hormones. There is hope for us women…even in the throes of a depressive deluge, even during that time of the month.

Whether it’s clinical depression and its sidekick, anxiety, that’s haunting you, or a monthly recurrence (a.k.a. PMS), I’m throwing you a lifeline—a strategy for when your emotions threaten to tank you. Because no treatment or self-care strategy is fail-proof, and because we have an enemy, we’re bound to have dark days.

So let’s tackle this affliction head on–slaying our symptoms and syndrome with Scripture…

YOUR LIFELINE:

I. STOP Spiraling. Perform a Refresh/Restart.

When you’re having a depressive episode, press pause. Fix your gaze on the Author and Perfecter of your faith, yielding to His peace. I call this “reticent refocusing”, because it requires deliberately halting one’s runaway train thoughts, quieting ourselves, and redirecting our gaze upward.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

  1. Refocus on your Maker by sitting in His presence for at least five minutes, with no motive other than to be (in His presence), still (yourself), and know (that He is God). This is an effective antidote to anxiety, as well as depression.
  2. “In the quiet, God lifts us up to a more rational place. When we are in the heat of a tangled mess, crazy emotions drag us down into a pit of hopelessness. The only way out of the pit is to make the choice to stop digging deeper and turn to God for a solution.” Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued Devotional (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2012), 183.
  • The Peace Piece in the Depression Puzzle. I find this piece to be transformative; key to impeding the downward spiral.
  1. Through my years of struggle, I’ve concluded that peace is a choice—even in the midst of a dark, dank plunge [that dreaded, dark plunging place]. Jesus says we already have His peace: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:7 (ESV) So we don’t need to pray for it or plead for it. We have simply to embrace it: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NIV, emphasis mine)                                                                                                                                                           
  2. Even if you don’t feel like it, shift your thoughts to God’s blessings and force yourself to give transformative thanks. When we focus on Christ, we cannot help but be helped–peace, thankfulness and joy come naturally. Priscilla Shirer says, “Gratitude activates peace.” Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God (Nashville: Lifeway, 2015), 111. List your blessings (perhaps in a gratitude journal)…and let them flood your heart with His perspective. Thankfulness is an antidote to despondency: “You rest in the fact that He gives you the faith to give Him thanks in every circumstance. Dwelling on things that are pure and true and honorable and excellent, etc. results in a peace that passes all understanding.” –Carol Selander, MS, LPC
  • Practice binding and loosing. Exercise your power as a believer by prayerfully binding the enemy’s schemes and loosing God’s gifts. Bind the “D words” in your world: dejection, discontent, depression, and despondency. Loose joy, peace, hope, perspective, gratitude, wisdom, etc.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (NIV)

 

II. Recognize the fault in feelings.

Lysa TerKeurst says, “Feelings are indicators, not dictators.” Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued Devotional (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2012), 40. We cannot, must not rely on them because they’re not fact—they’re fickle; subject to change. Instead, we must place our confidence in the One that is unchanging–our steadfast Rock, our soul’s Anchor: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

  • Fact-Faith-Feeling Train:

FACT (engine)—FAITH (coal car)—FEELING (caboose)

“Put your FAITH in the FACT. Don’t rely on your feelings—rely on what you already have: peace and freedom [in Christ].” -Carol Selander, MS, LPC

Ask yourself:

  1. What are the facts?
  2. In Whom are you putting your faith?
  3. Feelings bring up the rear.

“I‘ve discovered that my identity and worth in God keeps me from getting too caught up in feelings of failure, incompetence, or mediocrity. Living in the solid and unchanging reality of my worth in God supports me…” -Carol Selander, MS, LPC (excerpted from her website, www.northcherrycreekcc.org)

  • Don’t let your emotions shipwreck you.
  1. “You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with Me, your Peace. A long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens…there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on me, the One who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of my design.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 16.
  1. “On days like this, I have to stand on what I know to be true instead of being whisked away in a sea of emotion. Here are three things I’m preaching to myself this morning:             -I’m not a slave to my feelings. I’m the boss of them.                                                                                        -Just because I’ve had a few bad moments this morning, doesn’t make me a bad person.         -This too shall pass. In the meantime, the best thing for me is to position my heart in a place where I can experience God.” Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued Devotional (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2012), 30.
  1. “As children of God, we do not have to be derailed by the way we feel. Our God is greater. Give Him your heart.” Beth Moore, David: Seeking a Heart Like His (Nashville: LifeWay, 2010), 46.
  1. “Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakness, My child. Actually, it draws me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion—My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been. Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me to bless you richly through it.” Sara Young, Jesus Calling (Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 235.

{Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the Depression Survival Guide. Blessings and xoxo, Leslie}


final depression series pic{Navigating Depression: What Every Woman Needs to Know} is a month-long blog series devoted to the disorder. Read stories of women who have traversed its stormy seas. Receive encouragement and be equipped for your own battle against the darkness. Garner understanding, bleeding empathy for afflicted loved ones.

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