Depression wants you to feel powerless, hopeless, helpless, adrift. It wants you to sense that you are out of control, that the problems in your life are insurmountable, that you are left to ride out the tumultuous storms alone. “You can’t do it,” it says, “No one understands, no one cares, no one else has these problems. There’s nothing you can do. You’ll never feel better, your life will always be this way, so just quit now—it will be easier. You’re the victim. You have no power. Just go back to bed and stay there.”
But remember, Depression lies. It never tells the truth about anything. Its mission is to debilitate you, to keep you from your life and loved ones, to stop your divine purpose, to immobilize you and render you helpless, to keep you locked in anxiety and fear. Depression doesn’t want you to know the truth because once you know it, you can be set free. So to keep you from Truth, it manipulates facts.
During the years I suffered from severe depression, I didn’t know I could fight; I thought I had to lay down and take it, letting it beat me to a bloody pulp. I didn’t think I had choices. I didn’t realize I could act against chemical imbalance, environmental stressors and heritability. I thought it was my lot in life to suffer through it. I didn’t understand that depression is like the truck in the picture.
Big, intimidating, slow –moving, and powerful, depression is like an eighteen wheeler. It blocks your view, keeps you from your destination, keeps you trapped in a gridlock of traffic. You have two choices: passing on the left, you stay on the highway, get your engine going, work hard, speed up, and get past it; or, passing on the right, you get caught up on the grass and rocks of a soft shoulder not designed to bear the weight of your vehicle, lose control, roll over, and crash and burn, killing your hope, life, dreams, and purpose.
But depression isn’t marked with signs. It doesn’t want you to realize that the steering wheel is in your hands, that there’s a gas petal right under your foot, that you have an engine strong enough to power past it.
You are in charge. You are the gate-keeper of your life, and whether you realize it or not, you can control what comes in and what goes out. You have a choice between following depression’s lead and moving past it with hard work. And trust me, it is difficult.
You must decide who and what you let into your life; you alone can determine the things that control you.
So how can you start taking charge?
1. Compartmentalize – Keep everything in its proper place. Deal with things one at a time. Keep work at work and home at home. Don’t allow cross over. Establish a sacred place—a sanctuary that is clean, untouched, refreshing. It can be imaginary or real, but whichever the case, maintain the threshold. Make rules for yourself while in that space. No worrying, thinking about problems, or sadness allowed. Fill it with uplifting music, Scripture, prayer. Think of it as a shower – a place where you rinse off the negative and clean it with positive.
2. Make decisions – Don’t wait for a feeling—it will never come. You must decide to make changes in your life and implement them. It will be hard. You will not feel like it, but you must act anyway. Feelings are important. They must be acknowledged, understood, and worked through. But, feelings do not control you. You control them. Act in spite of them.
3. Watch your mouth – Your words have power, so be careful what you speak. Make yourself find and state at least three positive things about your life or situation every day. Read Scripture or quote it out loud—pray it over your life. The power of life and death is in your tongue. Every time you say something negative you are killing your life, your purpose. Choose to speak positive things, even if you don’t believe them—you’ll eventually come around.
4. Control what you can – We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. We can’t always dictate our circumstances, but we can decide how we will respond. Cut out stressors that don’t have to be a part of your life. Learn to say No. Release yourself from toxic relationships. You don’t need others’ permission—they need yours. If it’s not improving your quality of life and helping you as you endeavor to pass on the left, you need to let it go. Love from a distance for a while—it will help you see more clearly.
None of this is easy. It takes determination. Some days you will succeed, some days you will fail, but keep going. You can’t see what’s on the other side of that truck—the grace, freedom, and potential of the open road—until you start to pass it. It will get easier with practice. You can do it. God knows, He sees, and He cares, and He’s riding right beside you.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” – Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)
Linking with:L.L. for On, In, & Around on Mondays
Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesday
Joan for The Beauty in His Grip
Jen for Soli Deo Gloria
Laura for Playdates at the Wellspring
Michelle for Hear it Sunday, Use it Monday
Carissa for Miscellany Monday
Duane for Unwrapping His Promises