I struggled with depression for eight years before God cured me from it. The way I overcame it is quite shocking. I was attacked, and I did not want to be killed. I remember focusing on survival. Keep breathing. I don't want to die. I could never fool myself again that I wanted to die, because when push came to shove, I wanted to stay alive.
This experience unveiled my eyes to the work of Satan and his deceptions. For eight years I yielded to thoughts like: No one loves me. No one cares, so it doesn't matter if I'm dead. Satan strategically fed me this lie. Actually, it wasn't a lie. It was true. Most people don't know how to love; their love is hollow. To love, you have to be taken over by God (I John 4:7-8) to be selfless to the point that you are willing to suffer for the other person. Nobody is willing to suffer. That is why it is a supernatural thing. God has to transform the believer to enable him to love at all.
Don't expect or demand for others to love you. Go to the source. If you don't feel loved by God, scream all that raw pain out to God. God knows that it's already there. Don't do the prim and proper thing. It's fake. Don't stuff it down. Pour out your heart to the Lord (Psalm 62:8), including your sin. Let it all just tumble out however it comes. When it's all out, be silent before God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. You will be surprised.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Satan is the father of lies, and for good reason: his lies are based on the truth so that you will believe them and become incapacitated to follow God. Don't let him win. He is your enemy. Don't yield to that garbage anymore.
So how does the depression cycle usually begin with a woman? Our hormones go through cycles, and the hormones in our bodies cause us to feel something similar to sadness. I used to say, “I wonder why I'm sad.” I would analyze my life to find the most sad thing. Then I would dwell on that thing, spiraling down into depression, then into despair.
Stop the cycle. Don't let your emotions rule you. Grab that bad thought, and throw it out. You don't have to think whatever thoughts come into your head. Your mind has a doorway. You have control over what comes into your mind.
Instead, set your mind on Christ. Praise music will always lift your spirits, even just one song. “The sacrifice of praise” refers to the times when we are not in the mood for it, so it's hard. But if you praise God, your mood will improve because you're obeying God and blocking out the other thoughts.
Here are some practical ways to improve your mood when you feel depressed (after going to God, not as a substitute for going to God):
- Get thirty minutes of sunshine on your head. Even if it is cloudy, the rays of natural vitamin D come through. And fresh air will clear your head.
- Have sex with your husband.
- Take up a new hobby that is fun.
- Spend time with good friends who are uplifting, especially with fellow believers because we need their spiritual gifts to be complete as the body of Christ. You really do need a support system, even if it's just one trustworthy friend, so that you can talk about what you're going through. Just the process of talking can sometimes sort out the problem, because a natural solution presents itself. The process of sharing a burden with someone who cares provides relief, or they can pray with you. If you have no friends like this, Google "NANC Counseling", and type in your zip code. These are certified Biblical counselors, and many of them don't charge money; they just counsel people as a ministry.
- Set a goal and work towards it. People who have no real purpose drift into depression much more easily. Try to be productive. Do the next thing. If the house is a complete mess, choose one thing to clean up. Then look at your accomplishment. You completed something.
- Visit the doctor and be tested for your hormone levels. I know someone who was so depleted in her hormones because of a high-stress job; she had no adrenaline left in her body. A stressful marriage can also do this to you. After taking supplements, her hormones were back to normal, and she felt much better.
- Think about what you are thankful for. When I was pregnant with my third baby, my hormones were all out of whack, and I felt like crying all day every day. But I wasn't depressed. I knew that I loved my life. I knew that it was only my hormones. So I thought about the best things in my life. Even though I wanted to sob continually, I didn't let my emotions rule my life. I continued to be productive. I praised and thanked God for even the small things throughout the day.
- Don't focus on the past. Don't replay a hurtful scene over and over, wondering what you could have done differently. Today is a new, fresh day full of possibilities. God could use you greatly in the life of another person today. Or when you spend time reading the Bible, you might learn something new about God that can give you a spiritual high.
- Forgive people who have wronged you. Open your hands and release them to God and don't think about it anymore. Pour out your heart to God and be done with it.
- Eat more protein, fruits, and vegetables. My body feels so much better when I eat right.
- Get eight hours of sleep. Go to bed at a decent time and be sensible (Titus 2:5). Fatigue causes depression. When I was nursing babies in the middle of the night, I needed nine hours of sleep before I felt refreshed. Don't sleep all day and all night day after day. Instead, decide what productive thing you want to do first in the morning. Then get up.
“The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB)
“Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NASB)
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)