Dealing with Depression Prov. 25:28 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This is a personal testimony about dealing with depression – I offer it because there may be something about the way that I dealt with depression in my own life that might be helpful to you – by no means am I suggesting that the way I had to deal with depression is the way that you will have to deal with it. I was determined that I wouldn’t use therapy or medication, but some people may need one or the other.
The first thing I had to do was realize that I had a problem with depression – I used to look at isolated cases of anger or disappointment or unmet expectations and think, “these people have a problem” – no I had a problem and they couldn’t fix it.
I had to admit to my wife that I had a problem with depression – she had to know that I knew that I had a problem – that way when things got out of whack I could identify the trouble and not blame her for causing things she didn’t cause. Thankfully, she’s as stable as a corner post – acting like a Chihuahua on a leash couldn’t get her to budge.
I had to examine every instance of depression and identify all the contributing factors that I could identify – these factors included lack of sleep, stress, brooding, anger, perfectionism [pride], guilt or shame over a recent sin or a past sin, fear [anxiety], loneliness, or a cycle or an instance of just being in a bad mood – and these factors might have been a contributing cause even if they happened 3-4 days or even a week before.
I had to address each contributing factor one by one and do something about them – I had to deal with them like moving a pyramid, one stone at a time.
- Seriously change my diet – eliminate sugar and highly refined carbs,
- Set up a better sleep schedule [in bed by 10:00-10:30],
- Quit talking about serious matters after 9:00pm – adrenaline would kick in,
- Examine all the contributing factors to stress in my life and deal with each one [caffeine, overloaded lists, failure to trust God with my schedule, speeding, inadequate rest],
- Add chamomile tea before bed, melatonin, and white noise while I sleep,
- Take a brisk walk each day and maintain adequate exercise,
- Check instances of brooding over a matter [the people you are conversing with when you are brooding aren’t in the room], better off to use the time praying,
- Deal with things about which I would become angry at the outset before saying or doing something regrettable and admit that an angry response to anything was all my doing and not the result of someone else’s actions,
- Leave the vengeance to God, if there is something against which I might retaliate,
- Monitor anger and at the first sign something is beginning to agitate me, stop and say, “I’m beginning to get mad; we need to stop until I calm down”
- Realize the depth of my wife’s love and not react to the “way” that she says something, no matter the tone – listen for content and ask questions for clarification,
- Deal with all fear – fear of man, fear of consequences, fear of reproach, fear of the future – all this had to be diverted to the fear of God [confidence and power 2 Tim 1:7]
- Deal with my thoughts – Phil 4:8
- Find contentment in everything as it is – Heb 13:5
I had to pray, read my Bible, and rejoice in the Lord – all these are necessary spiritual things – I was doing them but needed to rest more in them.
I had to deal with sin in my life – regret, shame and guilt are huge contributing factors and stopping the things about which you feel guilty is the way to stop the cycle.
I had to add back good things to replace bad things – and I had to unplug when it was not time to be serious.
Conclusion: this is a very personal testimony that might offer some hope and some pointers to you if you or someone you know is dealing with depression – it took me lots of time, diligence and the grace of God to get through it and all of these things that I have learned to do, I must continue.