Depression. Ten letters, but sometimes from the way it is handled in Christian circles, you would think it had four.
I am not talking about sadness, because we all realize there are times to mourn. I am talking about the emotional withdrawal that is lasting and often without emotional cause. There CAN be physical causes for depression and usually there are. As a brother or sister, it is important to recognize it can happen, even to those who love the Lord. Be gentle with each other. If you are in the pit, it is hard. Thoughts can run away and before you know it, you feel like you are spiraling out of control. I, in no way, have all the answers, but having been through some of it, I can tell you what I found immensely helpful.
First, realize there is, more often then not, a physical component.
If someone had a giant rock on their foot, you would never think, they are not trusting God…or how weak they are…or they just need to get a grip and buck it up. You would obviously realize they need to move the rock and they will feel much better physically and emotionally. Since I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, I am just going to focus this article on what physically helps and what some physical causes may be.
Are you sleeping? Anxiety and depression often run hand in hand, with anxiety keeping you awake and depression running your days. Fatigue is nothing to be minimized. If you are not sleeping, first, understand that you will eventually sleep. Attitude can make a big difference in how you claim the promise that God gives His beloved sleep can take the pressure off you as the hours tic away. Waking up often throughout the night can leave you unrested, grouchy and touchy. Also, it is a tough call, whether or not to nap, since sometimes it prohibits further sleep the next night. If you can take melatonin or dream water or even ZzzQuil, for a temporary solution, do so. Sometimes, when I know I am up for the night, rather than just lie there, I get a jump on tomorrow and my kids wake up to smelling eggplant parmesan and sauce ready for the next day. 🙂 Regardless of what you try, lack of sleep can make it difficult to just “snap out of it.” Seek a solutions to your lack of sleep, because there really is one.
Don’t forget basic care of yourself. Eat regularly. Get dressed in your day clothes. Properly groom yourself. Make your bed and do your dishes. Try a little exercise. These are just the basics, but these little things are what healthy minds do. Make a habit of healthy choices and saying no to what you feel like doing.
If you are going through a physical illness, whether fleeting or chronic, be gentle with yourself. Your mind is affected, also. I liken it to a mental “injury” and treat my mind as I would an injured leg or foot. Owning Philippians 4:8 cannot be understated. Thoughts can run away with you and no one needs the roller coaster from your own lying mind. (I usually don’t get past the “is it true?” portion of the verse, when my mind goes into this mode.) You may find yourself overly consumed with your own problems, and the problems do exist, but remember, God is bigger! Focus on His character, because He is merciful, faithful and kind. It helps.
Be careful of what you input into your brain. This can be television shows that create stress. Our bodies create the same “stress” chemicals whether we are actually in the anxious event or watching someone else in it. I find I can sometimes watch The Andy Griffith Show but Matlock is too stressful when I am in duress. It can also be important to choose wisely who you spend time with. Be careful what you listen to. Encouraging songs are paramount. Here is my well of songs that I draw from….Run to the Cross, There is Hope, I Have Been Blessed, The Shepherd, The Anchor Holds, About the Cross, It’s Through the Blood , I Stand Redeemed, The Value of One, All Along, Justified. Listen and sing along!
Realize that EVERYTHING has its season. Feelings and situations change. Endure and hang on. God gives comfort. Most of the trails in life, EVERYONE walks through with God, only. Even your dearest friend on earth cannot comfort you the way He can. Are you asking the right one to comfort you?
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. – Deuteronomy 31:6
Joyfully serving her Saviour in her blessed position of wife and mother, Dr. Michelle Zarrillo has a unique perspective on health related issues. As a working chiropractor and an avid reader, she has many opportunities to practice that which she learns. Educating her children at home and discovering their special needs has further challenged her to examine the connection between the physical, mental and spiritual realms of the human nature. Her passion for healthier living and her quest for the Creator’s ways of healing keep her pressing forward in search of truth.