[updated may 13, 2021]
Dealing with Depression Part One
All roads lead somewhere—right? With the exception of those marked with a ‘dead-end’ sign. Even a wrong turn, takes us somewhere—maybe not where we want to go, but it leads somewhere! But have you ever felt like you were going down a road that led to nowhere? Not literally but figuratively of course. Emotionally, financially, physically, spiritually? I know I have. We visit the nearby mountains frequently and walk the trails there and there are easy ones and difficult ones, some that are short and some that are long, but no matter how challenging or far the hike, they do come to an end point or circle back to the beginning eventually. But, unlike those trails, there is a path I can walk down at times that feels never-ending and it leads to nowhere. Many people walk down this same trail as me, yet we walk it alone and in utter silence. It’s a gloomy road with many twists and turns. Mine is lined with tall, dead trees on both sides and is shrouded in darkness. Pitch black darkness. I’m sure you can visualize yours well too.
the dark road
What, you may ask, road am I on? Not one I choose. Not one I like. It’s not a wrong turn— as a matter of fact, I have little to no say in when I veer off the main route and onto this treacherous pathway. This road has a name—Depression. GASP! Yes, I am writing about depression! Not because I want to—truthfully I don’t. I’d much rather pretend I didn’t deal with this common mental health issue, but I do. I am writing this for those who suffer in silence to let you know that you don’t walk down the road that leads to nowhere alone, nor do you have to. It may feel like you do—I know—but you don’t. DISCLAIMER: I’m no expert in the field but I’m just someone who wants to help lift the stigma off those of us who deal with depression. And according to World Health Organization, more than 300 million of us are affected worldwide. Before I go any further—if you are reading this and you are dealing with severe depression and are having thoughts of suicide, please seek help immediately! There is help out there and you don’t have to face this alone. (Please call 1-800-273-TALK for help or 911 or click here for more info.)
am i lost?
Depression comes in many different shapes and sizes and each person has their unique symptoms and circumstances but none are to be taken lightly. You may experience anxiety as well. It may have been brought on by circumstances in your life, a trauma or change you were unprepared to deal with. The loss of purpose and /or hope. Maybe it is seasonal. At times, the road I walk down can suddenly open up to beautiful sunshine and blooming flowers and I have energy again and feel ready to tackle whatever comes my way. I strive to stay on this road. I fight to prevent myself from being steered back onto the dark path. When I end up lost on a path not of my choosing I find myself asking, “How did I get here?” Anyone else out there relate?
When I am blindsided by and find myself tripping down the road that leads to nowhere, one thing that helps me keep putting one foot in front of the other is my hope. For I have this hope that is the anchor to my soul (Hebrews 6:19). And when I walk down that dark road, it helps me tremendously to know that I truly am not alone for the One I have my hope in walks it with me. He never leaves me nor forsakes me (Matthew 28:20). Oh, there are times it feels like it, but feelings can lie and mislead—God however, does not. If you are journeying down this gloomy path, look up, for God loves you and will walk this path with you if you invite him to.
can we encourage ourselves?
King David, a well-known man in the Bible, he was a mighty warrior who’d seen numerous victories in battle, a shepherd, a harpist, God called him “a man after God’s own heart”(1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) —someone we’d look at and think he had it all together—but, he dealt with depression. King David writes, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5. Here we find David encouraging himself, reminding himself that even when he is downcast to put his hope in God and praise him! I’m not suggesting that breaking out of depression is that simple, but it’s a good place to start and you never know how it may help. Boost yourself up with positive words and get with someone who will listen and help encourage you through this difficult time.
And maybe, just maybe when we take our experience and help someone else who may be on that same path we are or have been on, we may realize that we’re not alone on that road that feels like it leads nowhere. It may just be then and there that we find a moment to treasure.
More encouraging scripture:
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5b)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
“But now, Lord, What do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)
*There a many types of depression but none are to be taken lightly. Each person experiences depression differently, this is just my experience. Thanks for letting me share it with you!