Keep Coloring: Extra Resources
September 10, 2020 | Jaci Miller
Tips from My Own Life for Managing Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are multifaceted illnesses with a range of symptoms from not caring about anything to deep sadness, to inability to sleep to sleeping too much. No one solution may necessarily help you. Then again, just one might. The trouble with mental illness is that it requires trial and error to help us. Consider all the options and do what it takes to get well. Here’s what helped me and what I learned the hard way.
Go to the Doctor — Right Away!
Don’t mess around. Depression is debilitating and in my experience, it grows more if left unattended. So if your symptoms aren’t abating, go to the doctor and eliminate any physical causes. The medical profession is a gift from God. Look at it that way — as another avenue God has offered for healing. Share every symptom or change in your behavior. Talk your doctor’s ear off if you have to. Changes in sleeping, eating, mood, interests, etc. Overshare. I happened to mention casually to my doctor that I was waking up long before my alarm went off. “That’s actually a classic symptom of anxiety,” he told me. Oh.
If it’s too hard to make yourself go, tell a friend you need help and have him/her take you. If the doctor suggests medication, be willing to revisit the doctor multiple times to adjust your medication. It stinks. It’s hard to get away from work. Yep. Do it anyway so you get the maximum benefit of your meds. Also: Exercise feels repulsively wrong when you only want to sleep and binge watch Netflix from your couch all day. But force yourself to walk around the yard. Sunshine and exercise help. Once on the meds, activity will get easier.
Get to Counseling
Counseling reaches emotional causes of depression. Choose a Christian counselor. He or she will understand and help you through the spiritual ramifications of your situation. Even better? Choose one who specializes in Healing Prayer.
Counseling is important, not just for you, but your loved ones. Even as they love you deeply, living with you is probably much harder on them than you realize. You need someone who can objectively listen to you cry (yet again) and ease the burden on your family. Or to get you communicating again. Counseling also offers you a clear perspective on underlying baggage and about whether you’re improving or worsening. Counselors know the kinds of questions to ask so you can determine progress and work with your doctor to adjust your meds.
Seek Healing Prayer
This addresses the spiritual nature of your depression. Vineyard Prayer Teams offer Healing Prayer sessions that can root out demonic influences, help you speak life over yourself, and correct or adjust spiritual beliefs you may be holding that could be contributing to your struggles. Get over your pride and talk with a trained prayer warrior who is not your close friend. (Again, for serious situations, the burden on your loved ones should be shifted to professionals.) Let yourself cry if you hate crying. Talk if you want to be mute all the time. Get healing prayer multiple times, even if it makes you feel too needy. Sometimes we must pursue God, not just knock once on His door. Do the hard thing even though it wars with everything inside you and do what it takes to get well.
You can schedule a Healing Prayer Appointment here. (include link to email healing prayer team leader, )
Stay away from negative films, books, video games, social media that drags you down, or people that do the same. Be aware that any type of media will be very appealing during times of depression or anxiety, as they will offer welcome distraction from dealing with your struggles — better than being in your own head. Don’t believe that lie. You don’t need any help feeling lousy. Your goal is to feel better.
Choose people to be around who will love you, listen to you, but refuse to let you spiral into the mire. If remaining social is a struggle, strive to stay connected via text or email. Don’t disconnect from those who are in your corner — even if it means just sitting quietly together on the couch and reading books together.
Like everything else, if what you need to do feels too hard, take a baby step. Get out of bed. Done. Put toothpaste on the toothbrush. Done. Insert the toothbrush into your mouth. Done. Place a call to the doctor. Done.
The Enemy of your soul is going to throw lots of obstacles in your way. He wants you newborn-weak, when you are meant to be lion-strong. I wrestled with computer issues, phone system issues, insurance issues, miscommunication issues, scheduling issues, and more for several months on this leg of my journey to get well. That’s right. This leg of my journey. I’ve been traveling this road awhile because these issues sometimes come back.
So, if or when depression or anxiety attacks you again, don’t give up. Instead of contemplating “How lovely life would be if only I were in Heaven, and don’t I wish God would take me there right now,” rework the steps and get back to the doctor, the counselor and the prayer warrior. Don’t quit ’til you feel better (even if that journey takes you your whole life.) Because whole is how God wants you to be.
See also, Lord, I Want to Be Whole by Stormie Omartian.