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Depression is not who you are. Here’s some reasons why. But first:
I felt this would be a good place to tell you about me and my journey.
I struggled with depression at a far younger age than was ever realized. Mostly, it started with anxiety. And I had plenty to be anxious about.
The details aren’t important. Some stories are not as severe as mine but others much more so. It’s too easy to compare our “stories” and come away feeling either better or worse. Besides, your story is your story just like mine is mine.
As I entered my teenage years, my anxiety triggered depression and I was depressed for many years. It wasn’t until about twenty years ago that I started to manage and eventually defeat my depression. Out of that experience, I wrote a book that is now available at all online retailers. As of today, July 4th, the e-book isn’t available. Should be online within about ten days.
I was, and still am fortunate to be married to a man who supported me through it all. He knew depression wasn’t anything I asked for and he saw how hard I worked to get better. It would’ve been much harder without him. And I fully recognize that many of you may not have the support system I did. But I know many who have been in those shoes and have still managed to “make their voice bigger” than their illness.
Shame and the Christian
I suffered much shame as a Christian. It took me a long time to reconcile it all and realize I had no more to be ashamed of than someone who had diabetes or some other physical ailment. I studied my Bible and began sharing my store at workshops, retreats, and Bible studies. The more I shared, the better I got and in the process like to think that many were helped by my story.
I still share my story on this blog and in my new book. You will find lots of information here and many resources to help you in your journey.
And maybe it’s not your journey but someone you love. I’ve been there, too, with family members and friends. Some of them have come out on the other side, some haven’t. Would you like to know why some got better and others didn’t? Those that got better did two things: they believed they could get better and they worked at it.
And, of course, my faith was stronger as well, which brings me to this.
Faith and Depression
I do not apologize for the position I take about faith and depression. It is as possible for any Christian to be depressed as it is anyone else. But being a Christian also makes all the difference because there is a loving Therapist cheering us on. My faith is what sustains me now and Christ is who I cling to when depression rears its ugly head.
My first book has been published, “Depression Has a Big Voice. Make Yours Bigger!” which offers lots of helpful tools to manage depressive episodes.
Definition of depression
But what is depression exactly? It’s important to know the symptoms because many people who are depressed don’t know they are. Here is the definition according to the National Mental Health Institute.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few – but distressing – symptoms may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.
Challenges of depression
Just like with any challenges, and depression is certainly that, there are ways to meet those challenges and come out on the other side. That is my wish for anyone who reads my book and follows this blog.
In case you’re wondering what the title of the blog means; “faith” is obvious, the “sigh” is because sighing is a common symptom of depression, and the “DIY” is well DIY, Do It Yourself.”
I want to add that neither this blog nor my book, addresses the more serious forms of mental disorders, such as bipolar illness, bulimia, etc.
Depression is not who you are and there are three reasons why.
You are not a statistic.
One of the chapters in my book is called, “Statistics are not your destiny”. The point that chapter makes is that no matter how long you have struggled with depression, you are NOT doomed to struggle forever. There is help.
You are not your depression. Depression doesn’t have to define you or call the shots. You are so much more than that.Tweet
I began this blog years ago to help anyone who battles depression, anxiety, or extended low moods. There are so many ways to manage these conditions and they are remarkably simple. Note, I didn’t say easy. But there is so much that can be done to help manage these conditions. If I can do it, anyone can.
You are not a victim.
Your moods can be conquered. Certainly, depression and anxiety are mood disorders. You do not have to be a victim. But whether or not you are is entirely up to you. However, as long as you consider yourself a victim, you are handing over power to your moods. Your depression and anxiety have voices and often they are the loudest in the room.
You are not unique.
You are not unique in your struggle. And that’s actually a good thing. What I mean, is that you are not alone. Millions of people have struggled with depression and almost everyone will display some of the symptoms listed above. But millions of people have overcome their depression. Anyone who wants to manage or even overcome their depression can but it requires determination and hard work.
Depressed persons are often hard to recognize. They often live their lives very normally as far as anyone can see. However, inside they display many of the symptoms listed above. They’ve learned to stuff it inside to get through the day but when they can let their facade down a little, they either succumb to their feelings or engage in all kinds of destructive behavior to hide their pain.
And that is one of the biggest pitfalls of depression; it can lead to so much worse. Then there are all those issues to deal with as well. I hope you’ll read my book because it offers so much practical, common-sense help. While depression is complex, it responds well to simple behavioral changes.
Finally, anytime you need prayer, please contact me email@example.com. I promise to pray for you and even call you if you provide your number.
God Bless and I hope you have a really good day.