Depression is a horrible way to live. I should know – I have been to the point of being suicidal many years in my life. I tried finding ways to learn to cope with my situational depression, before the Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder fully manifested, and what helped me the most was to develop my relationship with God.
God has shown me many helpful ways to cope. I would like to share some of them with you today. I have found they help a great deal, but they don’t heal depression.
For me, coming to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior was my first step. Being able to trust that Jesus has made a way for me to go to Heaven when I die, plus be able to rely on Father God while I am here on Earth has helped me tremendously. It has given me an inner peace when nothing else could even in the midst of struggles. I strongly recommend you start there as well. For further information, you can read Salvation Through Jesus Christ
Acknowledge that depression, whether caused by circumstances or a chemical imbalance in the brain, is from Satan, and is NOT God’s will for you (see Psalm 94:19; John 10:10; Romans 15:13). This is not something God is using to punish you or will refuse to help you with. It is not His will that you live depressed, period!
Try finding some positive things. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (KJV) Focusing on how miserable you feel only makes you more miserable. Although it is difficult to do at first, try to shift your focus on the more positive things as you can. For example, I love pretty flowers and plants. I started noticing just how many pretty flowers grow wild along the side of roads. It was a simple start, but it has quickly snowballed. I now can find some positive in most situations, and even in my own self-image has become more positive than it has ever been.
Keep your views realistic. People who are pessimistic are depressed, because they only see the bad and expect only the worst to happen. Optimistic people are easily disappointed and hurt because they expect only the best to happen to them. Try to be realistic yet positive. Accept the fact something bad has happened or that someone has disappointed you, but try to find something positive that came from the situation, even if it is a painful situation.
Closely related to realistic views are realistic expectations pf people. Keeping realistic expectations of people not only means others do not feel pressured from you, but you are often pleasantly surprised when they do something special for you. And, you are not disappointed when they do not do something. You understand what people are and are not capable of, and you accept that.
When you feel down, bless someone else! Doing the opposite of what Satan expects loosens his grip. In fact, it seems to confuse him! Also, taking your mind off yourself takes your focus off how bad you feel, which opens the door through which better feelings enter. The old adage, it is better to give than receive, is certainly true! If you are unsure where to start, just try smiling at a stranger on the street or complementing someone. That may turn someone’s whole day around, which would help you to feel better too. There are countless other things you can do, such as visiting lonely patients at nursing homes, participating in a big sister or big brother program, donating to worthwhile charities your time or money, inviting those new neighbors over for dinner to welcome them into your neighborhood, and more. Try to create new ideas to add to this list and do the ones that sound the most appealing to you.
Don’t be too busy. Keep your schedule under control. People seem to have a bad habit of being too busy, which is so stressful. Keeping your obligations level reasonable offers you time to do things at a more leisurely pace, and time for relaxing. I try to be sure my evenings are as free as possible, so I may enjoy my favorite hobbies. When I am too busy and don’t get that time for a few days in a row, I become very tense, irritable, and feel my mood sinking by the moment.
Don’t neglect your hobbies! Hobbies give you an outlet for your creativity and give you joy. If you do not have a hobby, find one! There is plenty of inspiration to be had at craft and hobby stores.
If you have come from a history of being abused, there is no doubt that is contributing to your depression. This was a huge part of my depression. Granted, facing what happened to you is not an easy thing to do, but it is much easier than continuing to live in dysfunction and pain.
Medication helps some people, and you may be one of them. To decide if anti-depressants are right for you, talk to your counselor or a psychiatrist. General practitioners do not have the vast experience with psychiatric medicines that psychiatrists do, but even so, yours may be able to help you. Or, if you are like me and prefer a more natural approach, look into Sam-E, St and John’s wort for herbal anti-depressant remedies.
Massage is also helpful, whether done professionally or by your spouse.
For me, depression has become a permanent fixture in my life. I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression is one of its many symptoms. Experiencing brain damage from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning made the depression worse. However, while there are some bad days, I can say that most days are pretty much ok. I take St. John’s wort or Sam-e if it gets bad, try to relax as much as possible usually with my favorite hobby (knitting and crocheting), and avoid as much negativity (including negative people!) as possible.