I struggle with depression.  Yeah ~ me ~ I struggle with depression.  And I have my entire life.  But I didn’t realize it until I was in my mid-20’s, unchurched, had no friends, and possessed a miriad of other sin-related troubles.

About that time, an acquaintance was telling me about her own depression and all I could think was, “that’s me, that’s me,” right down the list.  But I didn’t want to admit it.  I didn’t want to even say the word ‘depression’.  It has a kind of stigma attached to it.  And a lot of depressed people don’t want anyone to know about it, not even themselves… and especially not friends and family.

Guess what?  You can’t deal with it if you won’t admit it. 

FACT:  depression is the number one ‘mental illness’ in this country.  Bet you didn’t know that… I don’t like that it’s classified as a ‘mental’ illness.  Mine happens to be brain chemistry.  But it is what it is…. (Who’s in charge of writing the DSM anyway?)  We need to have a talk!  LOL!

When I realized I was depressed, I waited 5 more years before I sought help.  I’m stubborn, so I had to crash before I could admit it to another person, even the doctor.

Meds help, but they are not the only solution.  Don’t stop going to church and Bible studies.  Don’t give in to the feeling that you can’t open the drapes.  Don’t isolate yourself from others.  And keep digging into the scriptures.  There’s an answer for everything in the scriptures. 

It’s not socially acceptable for people to be depressed, especially not if you happen to be a pastor’s wife.  And it doesn’t help if you live with a chronic pain condition like mine (OA & FMS).  Don’t worry about what other people think.  You don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to.  NOPE NOPE NOPE…. 

Remember this ~ you have depression ~ it does not have you.  And don’t let it have you.  Here are some things you MUST do if you struggle with depression: 

1.  Get yourself to the doctor and admit it to him/her.

2.  Start getting out of the house, you don’t need to fix your hair or paint your face, just walk around the block in your slobbing-around-the-house clothes.

3.  Keep praying and reading scripture.  Talk to God out loud like he’s sitting in the same room with you.  I do!  Keep going to church and KEEP receiving Communion ~ run to the Lord’s table every chance you get and drink deeply of the blood of Christ shed for you.

4.  It’s okay to get counseling ~ see if you can find a Christian counselor or friend or talk to your pastor.

5.  OPEN the drapes!  YEAH~ and don’t close your bedroom curtains or pull those blinds at night.  Try waking up with the sun.  It takes a little practice… but you can do it.

6.  Fight that feeling that you can’t get out of bed.  Just sit up and put your feet on the floor.  You don’t have to take a shower right away, unless you have to go to work…. Remember ~ you have enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do.  Just take it one thing at a time.

7.  Be aware of what you’re eating.  Are you eating too much or have you lost your appetite?

8.  If you can’t sleep, get yourself on a regular “bed-time” schedule and stick to it.  It’s okay to take one or two tylenol-pm type pills.  Over the counter sleep aids are not good though so avoid them if you can.  Because they make you groggy in the morning, they make it hard to get out of bed.

9.  Stop eating junk food.  Start choosing different kinds of fruits and veggies, even if it’s all you eat all day.

10.  Drink a lot of water during the day.

11.  Exercise is good, but if you’re like me, you hate structured exercise programs.  You can find other things to do to get your body moving.  Walk around Walmart for an hour – you don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to, just look.  Go to the mall and sit on a bench and just watch people.  Think about what their lives might be like as you watch them walk by.

12.  Don’t make any big decisions on the spur of the moment.  If you have big decision looking you in the face, take days or even weeks to think about it before acting on it.

13.  Don’t give in to your ‘addiction’ whatever it might be.  Do something else instead ~ go sit in your back yard if you can’t think of anything else to do.  Or call a friend for mindless chatter.  OR you can always WRITE!  LOL!

14.  If you have a pet, enjoy the pet when you are home alone.  Pets are good listeners and they don’t talk back or try to argue with you.  

Finally ~ Remember that God loves you, no matter what.  And we have depression because we live in a fallen world.  We have depression because of sin in the world.  Don’t let depression have your life, you are a child of the Living Christ and he will see you through.