Depression is totally manageable.
Table of Contents
- How it began
- Depression doesn’t have to win.
- Developing the tools
- Never underestimate your influence
For the next few weeks, I am going to post excerpts from my book, “Depression Has a Big Voice. Make Yours Bigger.” I have had to add headings because Google algorithms demand it.
Nope, it isn’t to get you to buy a copy. That’s up to you. I pray every day that my book will bless and help people with their mood struggles. I decided that seeing as there are a number of new followers on board, I would share some portions.
If you’ve already read the book, then I apologize.
How it began
When I was a little girl, if someone told me I would someday write a book, I wouldn’t have been overly surprised. Not because I had any particular leanings in that direction but because I’ve always had a good imagination.
As a little girl, I would play in the woods and design rooms from branches and twigs. I would pretend to live happily in my woodsy home because it was the only place I felt at peace. I would spend hours outside, making up a fantasy world where mothers and fathers loved each other and hugged their children a lot.
Words were always important to me.
I found, and still find, words fascinating and full of promise and would make up stories for my children. I wrote an entire daily vacation Bible school program once.
Several years ago, I even started writing a novel about a young Christian woman in the South who is naive and full of wonder until events conspire to change all that. It’s about a devastating fire, love lost, love found, and secrets that surprise the reader in the end. I’m still working on that one.
When I finally realized God was whispering in my ear to write a book, I assumed it was the book I had already started. Never assume with God. Anyway, I continued to write that novel, and it was going great until …God made it clear that was not the book He was talking about. So, of course, I started another one. Right?
Apparently, that wasn’t the book He was talking about either. I liked that one as well. It’s about a young woman who finds a mysterious box in a rest stop bathroom and what the note inside reads. Intriguing sounding, huh? No, God was making it clear He wanted me to write about the one subject I didn’t want to be in print with my name on it, depression.
I was scared to address depression.
As a public speaker, I had addressed this issue with many audiences over the years. I had taught Bible classes. I had been a hospital chaplain and witnessed suffering up close. I’d been there when family members were taken off life support. I had spoken at workshops and retreats so I was used to being in the public eye, but this was entirely different. This time, my words would live on. They would be in print, where anyone could tear me and my words apart. I wasn’t ready for that.
But I wrote anyway because I could do nothing else. That’s what happens when God gets a grip on us. I started writing on and off. I liked the book, but something just wasn’t right. After prayer and hard thinking, I came to the conclusion the book needed to be in a devotional form. I got back to the writing. COVID-19 hit, and for me, that was a green light.
Everything was on hold anyway, so I pushed through to the end of the book. My eyes burned out of their sockets on some days.
Depression doesn’t have to win.
Not everyone will agree
It’s not a perfect book and I’m pretty sure not everyone will agree with everything I’ve written. You will probably find some editing mistakes. Guess what? I have learned there is no perfect book, edit-wise. I just recently read two books by a very famous award-winning author and I found three! That shouldn’t have made me feel good, but it did. I went through a professional editing service for the first book and ended up cleaning up their mess. My own daughter happens to be one so I am not trashing the profession as a whole. I just must have gotten the proverbial lemon of a deal. I apologize if it isn’t perfect enough for you.
You also won’t agree with some of my thoughts. I don’t agree with everything other authors write either. We can learn from those with whom we disagree as much as we can from those with whom we do agree. But just as I do when I read a book, I pray that you will at least read with an open mind.
Did my homework
The number of books I’ve read over the years about this particular subject is exhausting. I try to stay abreast of all the latest research as well. This book wasn’t written on a whim or without due diligence.
I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Neither was Jesus and yet He spoke words of encouragement. He spoke honestly. He spoke directly. My attempts fail at significance, of course.
I refer to my own struggles in this book Without reservation or apology, I refer to my own struggles in this book because experience is a great teacher. Depression can suck the joy out of life. Having witnessed it in countless others, I have also known the personal frustration of feeling there was nothing I could do for them. I know firsthand what anxiety and depression feel like and look like, in my own life as well as in the lives of the people I love.
Developing the tools
When I began writing, I had no conscious idea I had developed tools for managing my depression. I just knew I was getting better, but I hadn’t connected the dots. Once I realized there were certain coping mechanisms I was using over and over through the years and that they worked, the toolbox came into existence. The first part of this book is a sixty-day devotional. The second part is the toolbox.
I told myself if even one person is helped from this book, I will have accomplished what I set out to do. But even before this book went to press, it happened.
Never underestimate your influence
I asked someone from a professional online writing group of which I am a member to read this book and conduct a minor edit. We had talked months earlier, and she had been such an encourager. After I sent her the final copy to read, she emailed me and told me what had happened that day the month prior. I had shared something from the book that hit home for her, and she told me it started her on the road to recovery. As I read her words, I teared up. I couldn’t believe God was using the book before it was even printed.
The point of that story is to encourage you and remind you that we have no idea how we can influence others by what we say or write. Even the most casual remark can make a difference if the Holy Spirit is behind it. Don’t ever underestimate how God is working in the strangest ways at times and at the strangest times.
Do I have trouble with depression or anxiety now? It would be less than honest to say I don’t. Anxiety has reared its nasty head this past year due to the COVID-19 virus, politics, my health, and this book. For one short period, I did go back on the most minor dose of antidepressants to get me over the hump. (The doctor said it wasn’t even a therapeutic dose.) But at no time over the past twenty-plus years have I struggled with a case of clinical depression. I have limped along more than once but haven’t fallen. God has kept my feet on solid ground.
I could write another book about all the circumstances, scriptures, prayers, and people who came together and inspired the words in this book.
Don’t give up. True clinical depression can be a distant memory for you, just like it is for me.
You can let me know your thoughts.