It would be easy if I could say I’ve never experienced sadness; that I’ve never stayed up half the night crying; that I’ve never wished that I wasn’t born; that I have no insecurities and I’ve never felt unworthy or less than.
It would be easy, but it would also be a lie.
It took me a long time to admit to myself that everything wasn’t sunshine and roses like I was trying to portray to everyone. That the bigger the smile didn’t mean the lesser the pain. That it was okay to admit to not being okay – its actually best.
Some people think that as a christian you shouldn’t experience depression and that if you do, then maybe you aren’t “christian enough”. Or saved enough. Or love Jesus enough.
I remember the first time I experienced a bought of depression. I was 13 years old. At the time I just thought I was feeling extra moody. Maybe it was my period or maybe it was because the boy I liked didn’t like me back. It wasn’t until a few years later that I actually realized that those periods of darkness in my life was depression. And let me tell you, the realization sucked. I was so ashamed of myself. Like, how was it that a youth leader and member of the worship ministry team was experiencing depression.
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral’s Kiss
That self deprecation only made things worse. There was a point in time when I felt like a vampire in my house. I refused to go outside until it was time for me to put on my “face” and perform (at school and church). Most times I refused to eat. Breakfast was usually at 12 o’clock during the summers and I had everyone convinced that I was only eating that late because I’d just woken up. When in many cases I hadn’t ever gone to sleep. Then I started cutting. This was the best and worst. Best because it helped numb the pain that I couldn’t physically treat, and worse because it was the hardest to hide and I was physically battering my body.
You know that scripture that talks about our bodies being temples? I know that in the context it was talking about sex but everytime I heard it I felt sick to my stomach for the things I was doing to my body – God’s temple. And yet still, that just made things worse.
A depressed christian. It almost sounds taboo. And with the lack of conversation about this issue in church, you’d think it is. But its not. What it is though is heartbreaking and isolating. And its really hard to see your way out of it. It feels impossible to fight or overcome.
Over the years and through much prayer and study, I’ve come up with 8 steps that I use to help keep me in a happy space.
1. Write down one thing you’re grateful for everyday. Try not to repeat anything. Keep these points all in the same place like a gratitude journal/diary. You can make your own with a regular composition book or you can pick up one on amazon today that.
2. Journal! One of the things that usually causes us to spiral is internalizing everything – thinking and overthinking. It sends us in a rabbit hole of destructive thoughts. Writing down these feelings – unfiltered – is a great way to get them out of your head and heart.
3. Do devotionals geared toward overcoming depression. Here are a few of my favourite devotionals on the YouVersion app.
4. Listen to spiritually uplifting music. This doesn’t only have to be gospel, as long as its speaking a positive message into your life you’re on the write track. (Let me know if you would like a post where I share my Feel Good youtube playlist with you guys)
5. Pray daily that God would deliver you and help you to see the beauty of life and the wonder that he made in you. It might also be a good idea to enter into a period of fasting so that you can be completely devoted to prayer for this issue. It truly helped me.
6. Get a list of scriptures that uplift your heart and remind you of God’s goodness and display them somewhere you will see them often (everyday if possible). Stay tuned for next week’s post where I share a list of scriptures I find encouraging
7. Seek counsel. As christians I think its always a great idea to get counselling from the shepherd that God has appointed over you as his sheep – your pastor. In these sessions be completely honest. I know it’s going to be hard and emotional but it’s worth it. A great trick I use to help me get through the details without combusting into tears is to write down exactly what I want to say and then read it to my pastor. This method helps me to distance myself a little when the emotions feel too overwhelming.
8. Never stop. It’s easy to stop doing these positive tips once you start feeling better but that’s almost the equivalent of deciding to never eat again because you feel full in the moment. You have to continue this never positive behaviour in order to maintain it.
My prayer for each of you is that have struggled with depression and the restraints it outs on you life, family, relationships and even your sense of self worth is that God will restore you and make you new again. That he will heal your heart and open your eyes so that you may see yourself the way he sees you.
I love you all Chroniclers! Stay Positive