Fighting Anxiety and Depression

1:00 AM

I talked a couple of weeks ago about my struggle with depression (insert link here), and I was blessed and overwhelmed by the response. So today, I would like to share with you some things I learned because of my time. Please know that this is not a list of dos and don’ts for a magical cure; this is merely a list of helpful advice

I overused movies and books to escape
While I have no problem with reading books and watching some movies, I found myself spending almost all my time escaping into the fictional worlds when I was struggling with depression. While that would have been fine if I had been doing it in moderation, it only prolonged the duration of the depression.

I should have spent more time in the ‘real’ world
I often hid behind my computer, TV, books, or siblings so I didn’t have to interact with others much. I wish I had pushed myself sooner to spend time with people, even when it hurt. I wish I had gone to some events, or joined in some activates, because I really think it would have helped me.

I wish I had faced my doubt sooner
I was so afraid to ask questions and face my doubt, because I thought I might lose my faith. I didn’t want to do that. I was petrified that I wouldn’t find the answers I desperately felt I needed. When I finally stopped letting my fear rule me and asked the questions, a huge burden lifted. It took a while, and there were some scary times, but in the end, God helped me. Sometimes I found that I didn’t need an answer; I didn’t need to lean on my own understanding; I could trust God.

I learned that God was not angry at my questions or my doubt
Have you read the Psalms? You know, most of them are written by David, the guy after God’s own heart? Have you counted how many times this guy questioned God, doubted he was even there? Yet God loved David. Even Jesus, as he was dying on the cross, asked where God was and why he had abandoned him. That is right, those of us who doubt are in good company.

I need to focus on what was true
After reading Elizabeth George’s amazing book Loving God with all your Mind, I worked very hard on changing my thought patterns. Sometimes, I was allowing myself to sink deep into the pit, because I was allowing untrue thoughts to have rein in my mind.

I needed to rebuke the evil one
Sometimes, we forget that what we are going through can be spiritual warfare. We need to be in prayer, and sometimes we need to rebuke the evil one. We should rebuke him aloud in the name of Jesus. I am not an expert on spiritual warfare, but when I did this, there were times that I would feel immediate relief.

I pray that you find these tips helpful. I also want you to know that you are not alone.

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  1. Thank you for this honest and encouraging post! I should print it out and post it on my couch. :) Interacting with others and doing active/productive things are so important, but also incredibly hard to find motivation for. I always feel so much better when I get off the couch! Also, Psalm 42 has become my favorite passage, not because it's a magic cure-all, but because it provides an honest prayer when I have no words left in my empty void. Reading it doesn't always make me feel better, but it almost always makes me feel something, which is a definite step in the right direction.

    Have you read anything by Kathleen Norris? I have found her books Cloister Walk and Acedia and Me to be rather helpful.

    May God continue to give you strength in this journey!

    1. Serena,

      No, I haven't read any of Kathleen Norris. I will have to look her up. I am glad this post was an encouragement to you.


  2. This post really resonated with me because I have passed through something similar. Thank you so much for being genuine and sharing this! When I had doubts, I felt miserable all the time and didn't know what to do ... but continually crying out to God, bringing the doubts to Him, definitely helped, as did reading the Bible, especially the Psalms (you had a very good point about them!) and faith-building books like Christy. Through all these things (plus an incredible, very powerful worship experience) He revealed Himself to me. It's also wonderful to know that we don't have to understand everything about God in order to know we're on the right path ... He is so much bigger than our finite understanding! And that's a comfort! Be blessed, Sarah, and may God continue to use you! *Hug*

    1. Kelsey,
      It is nice to know that we are not alone in our struggles, isn't it?
      I still remember the first time I felt God speaking into my heart after my mind had been plagued with doubts, and it was so powerful I cried. If we wait on the LORD, he will renew our strength.

  3. Great encouragement! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I found it encouraging to read! God bless you and continue to strengthen you as you lean on His strength!

  5. I found all of this helpful, more than I can put into words.

    I have suffered from depression for years. Some days I am okay, others I am far from it. It took me years to admit I did suffer at all, and now sometimes I feel guilt for it. A reminder that God is still with me, in spite of fears and doubts, is one of the most comforting thoughts I could ever be reminded of.

  6. You're an amazing and godly young woman, Sarah, I'm so glad that we're friends. Well done for being so brave and generous in this post. *Hug!* God bless you richly and wonderfully!