Depression. If we’re honest, most of us experience it—those dark places that try to claim us. If you’ve lived any length of time, you know the view from your exciting mountaintop will inevitably be replaced by a stint in a depressing valley.
That’s the ebb and flow of life. We try to control it, but sometimes the best we can do is focus on moving through the darkness so we can climb that hill again for a glimpse of nirvana.
It’s happened through the years. King David dealt with depression. In some of his psalms, he shares the most beautiful songs of heartache and fear and loss. Even Mother Teresa dealt with the heartache of depression. She wrote of her depression in her journals—of not being lovable enough for God.
It give me hope to see I stand in good company when it comes to depression. I face it more than I’d like to admit. When I find myself entering that emotional valley, I know I have to do a few things:
- Acknowledge its presence – trying to hide from depression will only make it last longer. I’ve learned to accept it as a real issue.
- Spend time in prayer – prayer and meditation (me talking to God and then listening to Him) conditions my heart and lays the foundation for healing.
- Share my findings with my husband – the worst thing in the world would be if my husband thought he was the cause for my “moodiness”. When I get depressed, I tend to sleep more and talk less. When this starts happening I need to let him know that he isn’t the problem. When I’m open with him, he knows I trust him. It’s easier for him, then, to offer me the space I need and he knows I will come out of this place as soon as I can.
- Talk with a trusted friend – I am fortunate enough to have a trusted friend of the same sex that I can express my deepest and darkest secrets. I know I can share at a level of honesty where I know I’ll never be judged nor this person will ever hold my words against me. If you don’t have a friend like this, look now. Don’t wait until you’re in your valley to find someone to trust. Your judgment might not be as good as you need.
- Trust in Knowledge instead of Feelings – this is the time when focusing on Truth is paramount. I pick truths that I know I can trust. They need to be rock-solid. They’re the bet-my-life-on truths. The sun comes up in the eastern sky. That kind of truth. I find these truths in scripture. Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” or 1 Peter 1:6, “… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” These are two of my favorites. Use these or find your own.
Depression—dark places—finds us all sooner or later. It’s up to us to find our way back out. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like there’s no light at the end of your tunnel. I promise you, there is.