How to Stay Afloat in the Depths of Depression: Part 2

girl looking at ocean

 

{This week, I bring you my battle plan. Living the depressed life can be demoralizing; I know all too well the debilitating drain. But we must not give up the fight–there is hope for us, sisters. It’s all about scrupulous self-care. Read on, and be well. XOXO, Leslie}

The Good Fight

Roughly 1 in 4 of us women is bound to navigate depression’s waters at some point in our lifetime. So we’d best wise up and start amassing artillery for the battle. We must resolve to FIGHT depression’s undercurrent daily, covering ourselves with the armor of God’s truth, and taking up our shield of self-care. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/mental_health_disorders/mental_health_disorder_statistics_85,P00753/

Like Abraham.

As Abraham waited on God to cut the covenant with him in Genesis 15, he protected his carefully-prepared sacrifice, driving away the hungry birds of prey that swooped down to devour the fleshy offering. We must similarly shoo away negative thought patterns sent to prey on our joy; that haunt us with the intent to sink us. [Click here for Scriptures and quotes designed to impede the downward spiral] And similarly safeguard ourselves from depressive attack, taking a multi-faceted approach that I will outline here. (Disclaimer: I am far from consistently achieving a perfect 10 in all of these areas…it’s about daily striving).

It grieves me when I encounter women suffering depression who attack their affliction from only a couple of fronts—or worse—simply by popping a pill and expecting a miracle. Of course our Creator is capable of such a feat, but I believe He desires us to wholeheartedly own our health, and in as balanced a way as possible, steward the bodies He’s given us to the best of our ability.

Treatment

We’ve touched on this topic a lot during this blog series. This is because it’s imperative: just like someone with a heart condition or diabetes, a person with chemical depression needs medication or natural supplements to bridge the gap where their bodies are deficient. To help them function; to help them thrive. There are a variety of effective options in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Most commonly utilized are medications (anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, best prescribed by a psychiatrist) and natural supplements. Some with mild depression even find relief through the use of acupuncture and essential oils.

Any treatment regimen should be paired with counseling, or psychotherapy, however. This work (which can be hard work, but worthy and fruit-bearing) equips the depressed person with the tools to approach and process life with a healthy mindset. Your local church is a great resource for locating counselors in your area. [Click here to read a post on depression from a counselor’s perspective.]

Balance is the Key

After (prayerfully) selecting your chosen method of treatment for depression, it’s wise to adopt a balanced mindset. A balance of all things is of paramount importance to health maintenance. Just as a balanced diet is crucial, we need a variety of ingredients in our lives to be healthy individuals.

Too much of any one thing can lead to mental staleness (think the comatose feeling you get after a Netflix marathon), whereas changes of scenery, seasons and activities foster a sound outlook. The healthy life is composed of rhythms: quiet time. Activity. Work. Rest. Activity. Recreation. Work. Rest. Or whatever sequence happens to work best for your temperament, or fits your particular life circumstances.

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Rest

Hand in hand with rhythms comes rest. Integral, absolutely necessary to a healthy psyche, and something we women desperately need. An essential ingredient in the rhythmic life is the Sabbath, patterned for us by our Creator Himself in the world’s inaugural week. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)

Commonly deficient in those of us living with depression is the elusive J-word: JOY. We must do whatever we can to shore up, nurture and safeguard our joy.

I believe rest and particularly, the Sabbath, is key in this pursuit of greater joy. Scripture says: “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13-14

The use here of the word “breaking” implies a breaking from convention—from the natural flow of things, as God purposed them from the world’s beginning. Why then, would we not do everything in our power to preserve this divine rhythm in our week? Our Creator wired us to need it. He wired us to want it.

“The Sabbath isn’t merely a time to be observed; it’s a time to be preserved…The observer remembers to rest. The preserver rests to remember—to remember that it’s all about God…She spends one day a week letting the fresh wind of God’s rest blow through her, cleaning out all she’s been taking in during the week with a purifying soul exhale.” Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued Devotional (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2012), 187.

{Check the blog tomorrow for How to Stay Afloat in the Depths of Depression: Part 3}


Depression Series

{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.

 

 

2 thoughts on “How to Stay Afloat in the Depths of Depression: Part 2

  1. Love the Saboth counsel. Been working on that this year. I feel so much more refreshed on Monday when I honor it plus I feel like my time multiplies!!

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