Depression is real. It can happen to anyone quite easily. If you focus so long on all the things that are not working in your life, then before long, depression will creep in. Having a low mood starts in the mind, gets into our thoughts, gradually creeps into our spirit and starts to manifest in the flesh.
Science describes depression in different forms, and there is a type of depression called reactive depression. This is when depression is triggered by complex life events or unpleasant situations such as divorce, bereavement, money issues, etc. Sometimes, people are depressed and can’t understand why they are depressed. They may have a perfect life and have everything going well for them, but they are still depressed and have a very low mood.
There is a depression that occurs after giving birth, and this is more than the usual baby blues that women may have in the first few days of giving birth; it can be a more severe form of depression, and it’s called post-natal depression.
There are lots of other causes of depression; some women going through the change (menopause ) may have anxiety, low mood or depression. Whatever the cause of the depression, there is help available, and there are practical things that you can do to deal with depression.
7 Practical ways to deal with depression
- Be thankful – A thankful heart will bring a joyful spirit. Having an attitude of gratitude can help to change our perspective; what we feel we are missing out on, someone else will give anything to have the life we have—learning to be thankful for little things.
- Keep your focus – A lot goes on in our world today that can affect our joy level; we need to consciously not allow the happenings to affect our joy. Happiness comes from happenings, but joy is more profound; it comes from within, and the happenings do not hamper it. When we keep our joy, we receive strength to face the day and our world. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength.
- Watch your thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks, so is he. Thoughts are like seeds, and whatever seeds we plant are the fruit we will harvest, so if I keep planting negative seeds by thinking negatively all the time, I will produce negative fruits. When a negative thought is planted, it germinates into fear, and if fear is not curbed, it becomes torment. It may not be possible to stop the negative thoughts from coming, but we can prevent them from germinating into fear. When the thoughts come, what do we do to stop them? The word of God can help us to overcome every negative thought. We can replace the negative with the positive in God’s words.
- Find your purpose – Find your whys. You are created for a purpose. God created you in His own image for a purpose. No one is without a gift, so you must find your gift, purpose, and your why. Life without purpose can be frustrating and can lead to depression. There is fulfilment and joy once you find your purpose. You may be asking, ‘ How do I find my purpose’? Ask your maker; the one who created you has a purpose, and He will reveal this to you as you enquire from Him.
- Hold onto hope. Once hope is lost, then depression will take hold. Losing hope is giving up and not being able to see any light at the end of a dark tunnel. Losing hope can lead to severe depression and even suicide. Once hope is lost, then all is lost. Don’t lose hope, cling to it. Let God’s word encourage your heart. Psalm 43:3 says, ”Why are you downcast, oh my soul, and why are you so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” what is Hope? Romans 5:5 says, And Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
- Take active steps. There are things you can do to help lift your mood when you feel low or depressed. Take a walk, listen to music, get a journal and write down your thoughts, prioritise, don’t take too much on board, learn to say no without apology, have a time out, spend time with people you are comfortable with, find what you like and do it.
- Get professional help. See your health care practitioner or a mental health specialist. You may require talking therapy or medications such as antidepressants. Some people will only need a few sessions of counselling, and some may require medicines for some time; a lot have been able to wean off these medications, but some may need medications long-term. No matter what, remember help is always available.
Finally, trust God. He will see you through any dark or difficult situation. Stay in God’s word, pray the word of God; there are many beautiful promises in the word of God to re-affirm God’s love towards you. God is thinking good thoughts about you; He loves you enough to send His only son, Jesus, to die in your place. Give him a chance; let go and let God. He can turn your situation around.
You can visit our resource page for a free download of scriptures to pray with when you are down or depressed.