Today marks world mental health day, a reminder that mental health is not a taboo but something that is very real and present amongst us. One of the most common forms of mental illnesses that affects 1 in 10 people is depression, something that cannot be fixed in a day or simply go when told to pray it away.
The truth is, overcoming depression is a process and to assist in attaining the victory we've listed 5 ways to help you tackle depression below:
1. Understand that being depressed does not make you any less of a Christian. In fact, God will happily listen to you have a long rant about your fears and problems. David was a man described as being after God’s heart and yet he went through some dark periods. However, he was always honest with God about how he felt. In crying out to God, David noted that God does not ignore those who are in a poor state or disregard their prayers (Psalm 102:17). So go on and vent to God about how you feel because He loves you enough to listen.
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily.
Psalm 102: 1-2
2. Remember that that season of darkness is temporary. Paul encourages us to mediate on the things that bring us joy and positivity. Whether it’s a favourite scripture, surrounding yourself with friends and family or reminiscing on good times, take some time to just think about happier days and hold on to the hope that you can slowly work towards that feeling of happiness again.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
3. Notwithstanding the above, sometimes it is not easy to surround yourself with people, especially those who seem to be in a better headspace than you. If we look at Job in the Bible for example, he went through a really bad patch in his life, was in the company of an unsupportive wife and friends who brought bad vibes. If you do not have anyone to talk to, know that it is okay to seek professional help and talk to a therapist or a confidant. There are also many helpful mindfulness apps that try to help you to focus on yourself and finding peace as well as hotlines like Samaritan that offer a free listening ear.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Try to learn what triggers you and what brings you peace. Your trigger could be something like overworking without taking a mental break for just yourself. Even Jesus found time to rest in the midst of a storm. Sometimes you need to decide to put yourself first, even if it’s just having one day dedicated to self-care every week, spending time in the sun (which is known to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder) or exercising (which is known to release endorphins which make us happier).
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers
3 John 1:2
5. Remember that God loves you and He cares for you. When Paul spoke about having a thorn in his side, he acknowledged that the grace of God was sufficient for him. Trust that God wants to replace the ashes in your life for beauty, what you may stress about for weeks and months can be handled by God within a fraction of the time. The hope is that we will all learn to offload our burdens to God with the knowledge that He truly cares for us.
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
If you are in a good place or have previously dealt with depression and notice someone around you not being their usual self, please reach out to them. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us that “anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."
Words by Yemi Adekoya