Depression is real and it’s a battle worth fighting. First things first- if you are suffering from depression you need to make sure to contact your doctor, your pastor, let trusted friends know. Don’t be a lone ranger. I suffered for 7 years in my childhood with thoughts of suicide, self-hate and crippling fear. If it was not for the redemptive love of Jesus I do not know where I would be.
I have friends who have struggled with post part depression as well. It’s difficult and looks different on so many women. Grief after losing someone and depression are very similar. But one can lead into another. This is where the fight comes in. You have to know that YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. This past week has been an emotional battle. I don’t have the words to describe it. The heartache I’ve felt of losing my baby, it was to the point where I was in physical pain because of it. That being said, I’ve been oversensitive, easily angered and honestly just want to be left alone. I’ve had a few days where I just felt this weight on me that was nonmoving. If I let it stay there it could spiral into something else. Fighting against depression is so important because YOUR life depends on it.
So what can you do? Here are some tips on fighting against depression and grief.
- Light. Open a window shade, a door. Let light into your home, even if it’s cloudy outside. Light truly has an effect on your attitude.
- Music. Just turn on Pandora and find something you like that lifts your spirits. Finding joy is something small can knock out one brick of a huge wall that is facing you. A little-known fact about me is that my favorite music is actually acoustic guitar. I feel most like myself when I can listen to something I enjoy and not focus on pain or grief.
- Dance. That’s right, you heard me. Dance around your house or even in your room to some music, just let go. Don’t focus on how you look, shift your focus off of yourself and onto something fun. Just be aware if you are dancing with your windows open your neighbors may stop at watch- I’m just saying this may have happened to me…
- Flowers. Having fresh flowers in my house makes a huge difference for me (in case your wondering my favorite are daisies). Bringing beauty into your house pulls at the beauty inside of you. Bright colors can help change your mood.
- Prayer- this is really #1, pray PRAY PRAY. I do this constantly, I ask my husband to pray for me when I’m having a really hard time and I ask friends as well. Pray especially when things are hard. I pray when I feel like I can’t move because the pain is so much. I pray when I’m missing my daughter and the tears will not end. I pray when I’m at the end of my rope because I’ve had a hard day with the boys. I pray for my children when things are good and when things are difficult. God’s ear is always open to hearing you through the hurt, pain, and joy. The bible says to pray without ceasing, trust me it feels easy to do when you are constantly giving everything to God.
- Chocolate- now don’t go crazy on this one but a little dark chocolate makes everyone feel better. My cousin is a doctor, she’s given me ‘prescriptions’ so it must be true.
- Do something you like, especially when you don’t feel like it. Paint your nails (I’m a Gell nail polish junkie), take photos, bake cookies, order a pizza, go to the gym, whatever- do something for yourself that you like. It may bring you temporary happiness but the focus is on taking care of yourself and its all a part of healing.
- Read the Bible. If you don’t know where to start, read the Psalms. They are short sayings that contain plenty of wisdom and are very easy to read. The book of John- if you want to know more about who Jesus is and don’t know where to start- I’d suggest starting there. Want to read the Bible online? Click here
- Be honest about what you are feeling. It’s ok to not be ok. However, you need to talk to someone about it. If you’re married talk to your spouse or find a counselor who you feel comfortable with, talk to a friend who you know will keep checking up on you. Remember, there is no shame in feeling the way you do, but it’s up to you what you are going to do with those feelings.
- Rest- take time to do it! If you feel emotionally exhausted, take a nap. I’m serious. If it feels impossible because you have little ones, put them in their crib and have the iPad watch them for an hour. They won’t die from watching a few Thomas the Train episodes. IF you have older kids, ‘feet off the floor time’ is the best thing in the world. They can read, play a game watch a movie, but they have to be in their room and their feet must not touch the floor and they have to be quiet. It’ s the best thing ever. Most importantly, it gives you time to breathe.
- Enjoy your loved ones. This one I do all the time with the boys. If I’m having a rough time for whatever r reason I force myself to act in the ‘opposite spirit’ of what I’m feeling. I give my boys extra hugs, play a few more games, spin them around until they giggle some more. Seeing them happy fills me up as well.
- I know every situation is not black and white, I know the stages of grief are long and difficult. All I know is this if I let depression in to have its way I lose. I lose myself, my kids lose their mom, my husband loses his wife. I refuse to let grief tell me what to do all of the time and how to live my life on a daily basis. I will never get over the pain of losing Phoebe but I will not let pain define my existence. I AM more than a conqueror, I AM a child of God, I KNOW God has a plan for my life. I AM a child of God. I AM a daughter of The KING. I KNOW that I am LOVED. So are you. You can do this. Step by step. You are worth the fight.