fighting depression – lessons from the battlefield

one of the tricky things about fighting depression is identifying which thoughts you need to ignore. because whilst normally listening to yourself is good and helpful, depression means that if you listen to yourself too much, you can end up dead. depression means my thoughts and feelings are very much along the lines of: I can’t do anything. whilst the truth is that actually yes, I can. I can do small things, I can take small steps, I can just do the washing up, just go out to the shop, just do the laundry, just do one little thing at a time and I will actually feel better having done these things, I will actually feel better having even a small sense of achievement, not to mention moving around instead of sitting/lying down, and getting out in the fresh air, and experiencing sunshine, and maybe getting an acknowledgement from another human being that you are both human (yes, it happens…) – I know from experience that the more I listen to the “I can’t” voice, the worse I feel, and that the more I choose to fight it and say “yes, I can”, the better I feel.

it is an ongoing battle. it’s not a one-off thing. and it’s tricky, because there are times when “I can’t” is true, there are times when having a rest is what I really need, there are times when listening to myself is right and helpful. God, grant me the wisdom to tell the difference!

45 thoughts on “fighting depression – lessons from the battlefield

  1. Yes, I know that voice well…"I don't have the energy to fold the laundry, I'll let it sit for another day." Or "I need to go to the grocery store…oh, I can do without those things for one more day." Part procrastination, part self-defeat, and all depression.

    Like

  2. 10lubak saidmeirav saiddepression means that if you listen to yourself too much, you can end up dead.I don't get it. Why?for some, they can become so low that they start feeling like everyone else would be better off if they were no longer there. for others, the pain of feeling so utterly worthless can become so great that ending their lives seems like the only escape. some become so reckless that, while maybe not thinking of suicide, they are more likely to die in a fatal accident. these are just a few possibilities. there are so many reasons why depression left unchecked can be fatal.

    Like

  3. Still talking about depression and suicide, has anyone here ever felt anything like Leigh Ann described to the extend that one contemplates suicide? Being a Christian and knowing the spiritual consequence of suicide, has anyone here ever prayed that God would just end it for them take them home? It's really like saying, "God I give up. I want to die now if you will… the ball is in your court now. "

    Like

  4. would you judge these desperate thoughts as any more evil than any temptation a christian faces? is it more evil than lusting after someone who isn't your spouse or desiring that someone else had never been born? Jesus said that even in thinking it, you have committed the sin.would you judge a brother or sister in pain, who is stumbling and needs help to stand? this is why the good we do on our own could never outweigh the evil within us. this is why we need his grace. this is why we need the support of each other.

    Like

  5. Feeling so depressed that you want to die is not new, Elijah went through that, and God showed him great compassion, sending him food and letting him rest.But what I meant was not necessarily that, though yes, depression can take people to that extreme point of wanting to die.What I meant was that if you listen to your feelings when you are depressed, those feelings say: I can't do anything, and there is no point in doing anything. So if you do listen to them too much, you will end up doing nothing, and you could starve to death. When you are depressed, your inner voice is unreliable, it is the voice of self-sabotage and it's dangerous to listen to it.

    Like

  6. yes. this is one of the things i was going to list. that's when i decided to just say there are many possibilities, just as there are many people, even christians, battling severe depression. sometimes the oppressive voice becomes so deafening, a person could easily have trouble listening to the stillness of God above the clamor of all the negative thoughts pounding away. but it is only in listening for that voice that one brought so low could receive the same comfort Elijah once received.

    Like

  7. I just want to draw attention to this point – that there are many Christians battling depression, it's a condition that can hit anyone, we do not get immunity from it just as we don't get immunity from diabetes or the flu! I've come across the attitude that if you're a Christian you should be so full of joy that there would be no room for depression. That attitude ignores the fact that Jesus himself was not going around singing and clapping and bouncing with joy all the time, he is recorded as having wept! it also ignores the fact that depression is an illness, not a choice. The choices we have are how we deal with it.

    Like

  8. I see your point and I have also come across Christians who are in depression. And then there are those I know are depressed but they deny it. Recently, I came across a man who has sold his tax consultancy business. He's way way into his retirement age by at least one and a half decade. His wife has long gone home and his daughter is living overseas. He was at first quite happy with the sale and his long awaited retirement but after a week, boredom set in. I have a feeling that severe boredom is breeding grounds for depression. I'm not sure what to say to him at the time. I'm just not equipped to help him.

    Like

  9. That is pretty close to what I meant.In my mind I might hear: go and lie down, have a rest, do that later.Sometimes this message can be God telling me to look after myself, sometimes this same message can be the destructive lure of depression. I find it tricky to know when I should go easy on myself and have a rest, and when I should push myself and do things despite the voice that says I should rest.The destructive voice doesn't always sound nasty, it can sound very caring.

    Like

  10. true. i wasn't thinking about that. i was thinking back to what i was thinking when i wrote what elim quoted.and if that didn't make sense to you, oh, well, because it makes perfect sense to me. ; )

    Like

  11. like the person who says something nasty, then instead of saying, "sorry. i didn't mean to hurt you," instead says, "i'm sorry you feel that i said something hurtful."there's a difference in the level of sincerity.

    Like

  12. I think it's a bit more complicated – at least in my own experience. You see, I think there are various different voices involved here – there's God, there's the devil, and there are also internal me-voices.

    Like

  13. i had a response, but it's very specific to my own situation. it made me think of the Screwtape Letters. if you can't get them with something obvious, try a more subtle approach. each person is different and has a different trigger.

    Like

  14. I think that's called discernment. A gift that there for us if we ask for it but at this age, not many people really check and double check. Well, what crosses my mind right now as I think of discernment (and I'm straying away from the depression topic), is how many many Christians just switch on the tv and believe everything any tv-evangelist says on the air…. Well, just a thought…

    Like

  15. 10lubak saidsnowburst saidbut at the same time, there is something different about it. i can't explain it, but there's a sinister quality that is not apparent in the voice of God.I think that's called discernment.i was going to mention discernment in that comment i edited, but let it go. even those with the gift of discernment can have it clouded by the oppressive atmosphere of depression.10lubak saidmeirav saidit's really the me-voices… my own me-voices that seriously sound very much like God's… but later realised that I was in error.i was also going to mention this along with discernment. is it that it sounds like God's voice, or that we want it to sound like God's voice because it's what we want to hear at the moment? i've lived with depression for so long and have recognized it for what it is, that i'm very wary of words that tickle the ears, so to speak. it's much easier to ask God to help you overcome when you know the enemy you're fighting, when you know there's an enemy to fight. but so many suffer from depression without ever realizing it unless someone else with experience points it out. they think it's just a funk or a phase that will go away on its own.

    Like

  16. Hmmm… I was washing the dishes earlier and it's at times like this when I can think about my day. I was thinking about times when a person cannot recognise the enemy. How does one know or recognise depression? Or how do we know we are depressed? Could it be that one is just upset at something for the moment or is it actual depression? You get my point, er… do I make sense at all?

    Like

  17. being upset or sad for a time is not the same as clinical depression. circumstantial depression can feel horrible and may last for a long period of time, caused by prolonged stress and sadness from grieving a loss, losing a job, etc., but clinical depression is a mental illness that has biological factors involved and a hereditary link.

    Like

  18. one big hint is that if it's something that passes on its own, heals with time, it's not clinical depression. that's what i was trying to get at.also, if it's a feeling that is brought on by circumstance (e.g. losing a job), that can go away with the change of circumstance (e.g. getting a new job), that's also not clinical depression.

    Like

  19. yes. and I guess in that sense my Elijah example could have been misleading. Elijah at the time had a very good reason to feel low, there was a very powerful person wanting to kill him.if you're feeling low because you've lost your job/your wife has left you/someone you love has died, that's not clinical depression, that's just a normal and healthy reaction to loss.if you're feeling low all/most of the time for no reason, that's the sort of thing we're talking about.

    Like

  20. not necessarily. i wasn't discounting circumstantial depression. it can be just as debilitating, especially if left unchecked, with no comfort. i was just trying to explain the difference between clinical depression, a mental illness, and emotions that are brought on by circumstance.elim quoted me as saying, "so many suffer from depression without ever realizing it" where i was referring to clinical depression, which can often be mistaken for circumstantial depression if the person didn't realize he had it before. the reason i brought this up is due to a similar conversation i had with a friend. she was telling me how sad she was feeling about not living near her college friends, and after i questioned her further to see if there was more to it, she realized she had been feeling a constant sadness and accompanying lethargy for over 10 years that she could recall (she was 22 at the time we spoke), even when she was surrounded by those same friends. i told her she should see a psychiatrist or family doctor to look into the possibility of depression. it took her several years before she finally went, but she did, and testing revealed clinical depression.

    Like

  21. 10lubak saidI get the distinct feeling at normal human beings do not take depression well. I mean that one does not readily admit that one has depression. It has a lot to do with denial? meirav saidIt has a lot to do with the stupid stigma attached to it – there are still plenty of people who think it's embarrassing to say someone has depression.it's especially difficult for Christians because the stigma seems to be cut deeper, since we're always supposed to be bouncing happy-happy-joy-joy. my friend at the time was a recent graduate from bible college, an ordained minister, and a youth leader (still is). imagine how it must have felt with the added pressure of facing the people of the church? would they judge her harshly for not having faith, or would they accept her and stand by her as she stepped on the battlefield each day?

    Like

  22. Theoretically. By in reality, this does not happen. I used to wonder why there are some people who are always that bubbly with the happy-happy-joy-joy attitude 24/7. It really is such a comfort to know that even Jesus wept. He is just so human and so God all at the same time. Would they judge her harshly for not having faith? I too have to look into myself and check that I do not judge her, or the bloke in church I met the other time, or the lady in that corner sulking all alone. Each one of us have our own battlefields – to some, it's lust and to others, it's greed and yet to another, it's depression.

    Like

  23. snowburst said10lubak saidBeing a Christian and knowing the spiritual consequence of suicide, has anyone here ever prayed that God would just end it for them take them home?yes.I want to clarify this. facing a temptation is not of itself sin. if it were, then when Jesus would not have been the perfect sacrifice, for he, too, was tempted. where we are weak, God will be strong for us."And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' "

    Like

  24. LOL i grimmaced when i read that too but decided to let it go. hence the stigma. too many christians mistake happiness with joy and think that people with depression cannot be filled with joy. one is dependent on circumstance, the other is the fruit of a seed planted by the Holy Spirit. sometimes that joy is the only thing that can get a christian with depression through.

    Like

  25. Pingback: Fighting Depression – what I really meant | Meirav's Blog Archive

  26. Pingback: Fighting Depression – what I really meant | Meirav's Blog

Questions? Thoughts? Talk to me - I don't bite :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s