Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. I Peter 5:7
Yesterday, I began the discussion about dealing with depression with the first of our three-part response- physical interventions. I mentioned the value of a physical examination, physical exercise, and the difficulty of overcoming the inertia of depression.
One cannot over-emphasize the value of movement and physical exercise. It offers both physiological as well as psychological benefit. Exercise, along with medication, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of many depressive conditions. Add counseling to that, and you have now arrayed a strong plan to defeat depression.
The emotional response consists of first overcoming the denial about depression, and actually considering the fact that “maybe I am depressed”. The decision to seek help is critical. Next, the attitude must be that there is a solution for every problem. “There are things that I can do to help myself. If the first things I do didn’t help, the next things will be more effective”. Such thinking is key in not becoming a victim, because, if we believe that we are victims- we are.
Creative outlets are extremely helpful. Anything that can make our world “larger” is helpful. Depression tends to make our world “smaller”. We can become inwardly focused and that can lead to brooding. Inward focus and retreat can be initially helpful, but that cannot be our on-going response to feeling depressed. I tell my clients that they can “visit there, they just can’t live there”.
So, writing, painting, making or listening to music, volunteering, connecting with others even (maybe especially) when we do not feel like connecting with others- these are extremely helpful attitudes in overcoming depression.
Depression is a serious problem, but it can be treated with a full armory of resources. Please understand that I am aware of the depths to which depression can bring people, and I admire those people who are struggling through it. I simply want people to be aware that help is available, and asking for that help is a strong statement.
Willingness to deal quickly and directly with depression, with all the resources available is the way to overcome it. As noted yesterday, a physical examination, possible medication, exercise, taking a “solution for every problem” approach, asking for help, and prayer are the resources which we have. As they say in the recovery community, the program works if you work it.
Tomorrow, I discuss the spiritual dimensions in dealing with depression.
Prayer: Father, we know that you have a spiritual solution for every problem we have. Help us to persevere in seeking you, Amen.