Depression: Help for the Hopeless
Psalm 42:5 (KJV)
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
Mom and I spent Saturday at the Women of Faith One Day event, featuring Sheila Walsh, Ken Davis and Scott MacIntyre. We were thrilled to hear great music and great words from great people. There was one surprising fact I found out: two of the three speakers and I have something in common. We have all had depression.
Surely not, you think. They're Christians, and they have great speaking careers and glamorous lives, you think. You think wrong. Depression can happen to anyone, even Christians. If you don't believe it, check out the source. The Bible is full of examples of sad, hopeless people.
The Psalms are filled with David's woes. He was so depressed at one point that he cried out to God, as seen in the Scripture above. Job got so down that he sat on the ground in sackcloth and ashes. In I Samuel 15, King Saul cries out to God to forgive him for his sins of disobedience. He is so despondent that he sobs into the prophet Samuel's robe and tears it.
There are some things you can do when your heart has lost all hope. First, and probably the most difficult, is move. Try to do a little physical exercise every day. If you can't leave the house yet, try walking up and down the steps or doing lunges during TV commercial breaks. Try to increase your time with each new week. Every little bit helps.
Step two is create. When you're in the depths of despair, it's hard to feel even a little bit creative. But that's what you need to do. Start slow. If you like to garden, plant a single flower pot. Write two honest lines in a journal. Sing to yourself in front of a mirror. Stack each day upon another, and soon you will feel like sharing your gift with others.
The next key is meditate. Spend time getting real with God. At first, I was so depressed, I couldn't even form words in prayer. Instead, I spent time reading His Word, writing notes in a journal and starting to form original thought. My prayers never did get back to what they were before...they're better now. I think God and I have a much deeper, more authentic relationship than we ever had before.
Finally, don't forget mirth. Proverbs 17 says that "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." I pulled a huge stack of comedy DVDs from a closet and picked at least one to watch every day. At first, I could only manage a small chuckle, but soon I let my guard down and the belly laughs began to heal me. Surrounding yourself with loving, happy people helps, too.
Please don't substitute my ideas for sound advice from a health professional. Make sure to get a full checkup and consider sessions with a clergy person or qualified therapist. The worst thing you can do is put it off. When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, tell somebody. God cares and so do I!
My surgery date has been scheduled for Friday, April 20, 2012. I will have a lumpectomy in Wichita and after a few weeks recovery time, I'll start the treatment phase. Very soon, breast cancer will be a thing in my history. Thanks to everyone for your support, messages, love and prayers!
Female in Motion Exercise Update: I did two 30-minute Wii workouts last week, along with two 30-minute aerobics sessions and on Saturday over the lunch hour, Mom and I walked a mile, in dress shoes, no less!
"One of the greatest gifts that I have been given in life is to be able to share my own story, how God even in the darkest moments, took my hand and walked with me. There is a powerful redemptive element in speaking out where you have been and where you are now."--Sheila Walsh