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Grappling With Depression
by Cate Russell-Cole
10/19/2015 / Self Help
Have you ever wondered why some people are prone to being depressed? I am from an abusive family, and there is so much emotional junk in my life and so many areas in which I still need healing. When my mother was alive, she was constantly controlling and demanding attention. It was making my life pure hell. I was depressed. I had no self esteem. I thought I was a worthless piece of rubbish, and I just didn't understand that God loved me for me. I had heard it said, but it never really penetrated, and I had said so many seemingly unanswered prayers. I felt like God was the guy you did battle with to survive, more than anything else.
One day I was in a worship meeting and God touched me in a way that I can't even describe. I don't know how He even did it, but He took all the depression away in a minute! I had been in counselling with my pastor every Wednesday afternoon for around 18 months and we were getting nowhere. I was miserable. I was broke. I hated living. If anything went really wrong, I just wanted to die. The effect was so strong, everyone at church saw it and was amazed. My whole outlook on life changed. I could get out of bed and not want to die. It was the best answer to prayer I have ever had, and He did it with so much love. Why that healing didn't come sooner I don't know, but I appreciated it so much more because I waited and it has given me hope ever since. I still get depressed, but each time, I come out quicker and stronger.
If the Lord can help me, He can definitely help you.
Technically, depression is a state of emotional inactivity, or paralysis, which we all can fall into when we feel like we can't take anymore; or when a chemical imbalance in our brain throws us in, no matter what's been going on. Anger and jealousy are active states that motivate us towards either resolution, or some kind of negative reaction. Though they can get us into a deep, hot water, they are a more positive state of mind to be in, as they do not lead to us feeling unable to do anything but throw in the towel! Depression has been described as anger turned inwards and sometimes it may be, but it's not that simple. Depression is not like those emotions, or any other. You can do something about being angry or jealous, with depression, you can't always bail yourself out.
In some people's emotional makeup, fighting depression comes with greater ease than it does for others. Some people fall into depression at any crisis, small or great; others live in a continual fog. Healing can get easier the older you get as you learn to become more resilient. The more emotional scars the individual is freed from, the less easy they find it is to fall into a state of depression. The healthy mind's natural reaction is to live to the fullest and overcome. It takes precedence over despair, and the person is able to rise above and work more constructively with the circumstances and pressures.
So, once you're in depression, how do you snap out of it? You can't always do that. If it is a chemical condition and you have experienced many episodes, you may need medical help. If the depression is caused by what you're going through now (reactive depression), be realistic. It will take time to work through, but with prayer, support and some practical strategies, you can make it. My depression was both.
Practical strategies that can help include being busy, but not so much that you avoid your problems altogether. Balance is the key. Stay away from the television, dramatic and depressing novels, or people. Don't overload on other's problems: stay away from them until you are back on an even keel. Go for a walk, play sport, go to the movies with a friend. Talk out the problem with a trustworthy and appropriate person, or better still, if there is a conflict, work at resolving it with the other party.
The one solution which you cannot surpass, has to be a willingness to forgive any hurt, insult, or injustice committed by another. When you forgive, you don't just forget and allow yourself to fall into the same situation again. You learn and gain wisdom, but you don't allow the experience to consume you. Many medical and psychological practitioners now believe that diseases such as cancer and arthritis, come from unresolved emotional issues, particularly bitterness and grief. If you can let go and move on, you release your emotions, your body and the other person from a quiet but destructive force.
Our outlook on life can be one of the greatest indicators of how often we are going to become depressed and how quickly we snap out of bouts of misery. If we see our situations and future prospects through negative and hopeless eyes, we will continually be subject to bouts of depression. However, if we choose to live in hope and meet challenges and problems as avenues to learning, then we will rise to meet the difficulties we face with much greater ease, grace and strength. I am still working through my issues and from time to time, the black dog catches up with me. One healing was not a permanent cure... however, it gave me hope that whatever turned up next, God would also turn up and deal with it and He has never yet, let me down.
For inspiration, learn how King David dealt with the problems in his life through this article here on Faithwriters. "But I Will Trust in You..." King David and the Art of Bouncing Back
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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