What I find most heartbreaking about the high rate of suicide among young people, is that I know, if they could have waited, they would have come through the dark time and been glad to be alive.
The first time depression hits, and it gets hold to the point where life isn’t worth living, you think the rest of your life will feel like that. But you swing out. Most of us don’t just suddenly wake up feeling awesome – it’s a slower swing, but soon you look back, and think, “Wow. I was in a really bad place. Glad that’s over.”
So if you’re in the middle of it, please hang on! Even without doing any of what my previous posts suggest, we were made to move on from sorrow and failure and heartbreak and despair, to adapt and grow and thrive. You will too.
The Tools You Need to Fight Depression
Taking care of ourselves chases depression away, just like it does for other illnesses. When we get to a more solid place, that’s when we need to make the self-care stuff habitual. There are things we can make part of our lives that will keep us out of the deep hole of depression. Here’s my top ten, linked to the posts that explore the topics:
- Say kind things to yourself: If you catch yourself thinking self-critical thoughts, change them to positive ones and say them out loud.
- Bring your thoughts back to the present moment when you realize they’ve gone to weird or yucky places. Remind yourself that you only have to do one thing at a time and you don’t need to worry about what’s next.
- Don’t isolate. Make people part of your life even when it’s hard and get help when you need it.
- Deal with past trauma; not just big stuff, but little things that you don’t want to remember. Once you process it with another person, it loses its power to haunt you.
- Beware of avoiding things that make you anxious. Avoiding stuff that should be faced makes you more depressed.
- Eat food that helps your body function and drink eight glasses of water each day.
- Live in tune with the rhythms of the natural world, pausing to rest between segments of the day.
- Make your living spaces functional and beautiful, into places you want to live and work.
- Examine your world view. Ask yourself if it is consistent with reality and helps you to live through and beyond depression. If you don’t already, consider following Jesus Christ.
- Examine where your time on screens is going, and whether it’s helping or hurting you.
Depression isn’t something we have to put up with. There are so many steps we can take that will lead us out to a better place.
Homework: Journal what choices you’re making that help you feel good, and which ones lead to you feeling bad. Analyze one of the bad choices, and note what kind of help you need to change it. Then go get that help.