Depression, taking one step at a time out of the darkness.

I have been sharing my own journey with depression in hopes someone is helped and encouraged.

It was in my understanding of the relationship between depression and anger that I started to learn how to identify what was happening in my mind. The third massive step came from my understanding of the relationship between depression and expectations. It was in the understanding of the expectations in my mind that I could start to make allowances for painful truths I had pushed deep down. 

Here’s how that understanding grew in my mind: 

  • I had an over-idealized view of what my reality could and should be like.  
  • When I look back now it is clear now that when my expectations didn’t become a reality I would start to drift into depression. 
  • I considered my value to be driven by my performance. 
  • My depression had come from my expectations or hopes as a child that didn’t become a reality. 
  • To avoid depressions trap I had to understand and accept that life isn’t perfect. I had to identify the myths about my life. 
  • I learned that I had looked for contentment from external sources. Thinking contentment comes from my world being what I want it to be and looking to others to do what only God can do. If others can’t do for me what I want them to do doesn’t mean that I am worthless or useless. 
  • I can’t get rid of depression forever. I may be more susceptible to depression, from the impact of rejections and misunderstandings. 
  • I need to learn about the patterns of my depression. 
  • I found I rose and fell based on how others responded to me. If I was encouraged, supported, understood, and cared for I felt good. But when those things didn’t come I would drift into depression. I learned that only God was perfect and everyone else would fail me, as I would fail them in some way and some point in our lives. 

A summary so far: 

  1. Be courageous and let someone in. 
  2. Depression is often anger turned inward.
  3. Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 

Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 

Do you resonate with any of those 3 statements? If so, it might be important to take the next step. This step was as hard for me as the first step. My counselor friend suggested considering medication. My face must have revealed my heart as he recommended medication. I thought to myself “Am I that bad in this battle and so weak in my efforts to break free that I need medicine?”. I wrestled for a long time with this step. I thought it wasn’t medicine I needed but more faith. Eventually I shared this perception with my friend. He then asked me a hard question. If I have strep throat, is that a sign of weakness and a sign that my faith is weak? Is having strep a test of my faith, and if I had stronger faith would the strep disappear? Sometimes taking medicine for depression is just the same as taking medicines for other medical needs. I had never thought about that before. So here’s what I learned about medical help for depression: 

  1. Be open minded as you consider the medical aspects of depression. If your car’s engine warning light comes on you don’t think twice about bothering a mechanic you get it fixed. Do the same with your chemical levels. Sometimes we all just need a little help.  
  2. Depression can happen for a number of reasons and all avenues need to be considered for treatment, help and support. 
  3. Medication can help with emotional management.  
  4. Here are some physiological signs that medication should be considered: erratic sleep; excessive pessimism; easily led to crying; moodiness; significant change in weight; decreased sex drive; decreased motivation; poor concentration and thoughts of self harm. At various times I had experienced all of these symptoms. 
  5. Depression is sometimes caused because emotional health is depleted. 

Sometimes we all just need a little help

Can I encourage you with these first steps. Pray that God would help you manage your depression. Depression is deep and doesn’t usually just disappear. As I said in my previous blog I want to write these blogs to be a caring pastor and if I can pray for you please email me at:  caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

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