Overcoming depression can be like trying to climb out of a deep dark hole with your hands tied behind your back. Given stressful circumstances globally, as well as the pressures of personal life, many who have not struggled with depression before, find themselves in such a dark place that they struggle to even realize they are depressed, and what this means.
How to know if you’re depressed
What are some of the tell-tale signs that you will need to recognize and confront if you are hopeful of overcoming depression?
Feeling lonely and helpless
While loneliness and depression may feel like the same thing, loneliness is a temporary state that you can, and should, deal with by fostering connection and belonging with those you care about. Overcoming depression is often not properly helped by simply being in a relationship with friends or family, but rather by working it through with a trained professional.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause a person to sweat, feel restless and tense, and experience a racing heart. Anxiety is a normal stress reaction, but when one is in a constant state of anxiety, or experiences anxiety attacks frequently, it is an issue that needs to be managed as part of overcoming depression.
Sleep disturbances or sleeping too much
Poor sleep can contribute to depression and the reverse is also true – depression can contribute to poor sleep. In those overcoming depression, it is found that most struggle to sleep, while others sleep too much.
How many times a week do you eat takeout, or pour a glass of wine, or practice self-sabotage? Self-medicating may be a comfortable way to deal with stress or to prove your depressive thoughts correct and may feel oddly good. However, the reality is that it is self-destructive and works against your goal of overcoming depression.
Getting into the right frame of mind
Now that you recognize these symptoms, how do you start to climb out of the hole of depression with your hands tied behind your back? There is only one way – with the help of the Lord as He works through other people. Those who struggle with depression need to accept the offered help and implement it.
Start by looking for Christian counseling assistance in your neighborhood, or online that has a good reputation. Start where you are with what you have. Can you afford to pay for professional assistance, or do you need to access free or subsidized assistance?
Overcoming depression is something done in community, so consider who you will share your condition with and what types of questions are required during the session. Important in all of this is renewing your mind through reading and memorizing scripture.
Biblical thought-processing for overcoming depression
We can find examples in God’s Word of people overcoming depression, so we should turn to the Bible when considering the best means of overcoming depression. Philippians 4:4-9 is worth close study and implementation.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
After reading the passage consider the following:
Practice gratitude. Gratitude displaces anxiety in our minds by a regular choice to focus on not just saying “thank you” to God for his many blessings but taking pleasure in them too. Overcoming depression is not just about what we say, but also about what we do. It is not possible to be grumpy and passive-aggressive at the same time be gentle to everyone around us, including to those who know us best. So, consider what the next verses say our next steps should be.
Remember that the Lord is near. The Bible instructs us to pray, petition, and present our requests to God with thanksgiving. This gratitude takes our focus off our problems and often gives us a healthy perspective of their true significance. The result of submitting ourselves to the authority of the Bible in verses 4-7 is that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
And now that we have presented our problems to God with a grateful attitude, we are instructed to fill their place in our thought life with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Displacing the problems that we ruminate on with noble objects enables us to consciously reroute our thought patterns and so practice overcoming depression in our minds.
Healthy thoughts, words, and actions for overcoming depression
While overcoming depression is seen to be a mental game, the repetition of truths in these five verses gives a clear indication that actions are key to making it real. While human beings are cognitive, we are also physical, and acting with conscientious gratitude and noble thought patterns is a mutually reinforcing exercise to which our psyche responds.
Overcoming depression through a lifestyle that contains regular exercise (an elevated pulse for longer than 30 minutes at least three times a week), a logical pattern of behavior that promotes healthy sleep by increasing fiber-rich plant foods, reducing or cutting out stimulants such as caffeine, and alcohol – especially several hours before bedtime, a regular bed-time routine, are all scientifically-established methods to assist in overcoming depression.
What does this all mean?
This article assists people to identify how they can be depressed by looking at several common thought patterns and behaviors of depressed individuals. Getting into the right frame of mind to overcome depression is not a result of luck but determined action.
Key to this is asking for and accepting help, combing through the Bible to study appropriate passages such as those found in Philippians 4:4-9, and implementing this knowledge and wisdom in your own life, reinforcing new healthy thought patterns with beneficial actions and behaviors.
A note on medication
Depression is an illness and medication has been developed to assist with overcoming depression. It is not a sign of weakness, or strength to have taken the medication. An appropriately qualified and experienced medical professional will be able to diagnose and prescribe medication to assist in overcoming depression.
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