Fighting Depression Through Faith

A depressed mind is a scary place. Loneliness and feelings of inadequacy are commonplace. In recent times, mental illness has become less taboo to discuss. Thankfully, I’ve come to realize what I’m afflicted with due to the outpouring of new information.

My doctor gave me my diagnosis of depression at the age of 13. My mother passed away from cancer. A life-changing event is enough to throw anyone into a tailspin, but I was different. The feelings didn’t go away. I’ve realized that depression and anxiety started much earlier than this event.

I’ve read blog posts (and written one) about the inside of an anxious mind. The posts made me feel like the author was in my head. I’ve tried several battling mental illness methods, including medication, counseling, yoga, and exercise. While all those of these methods helped somewhat, I’ve found my major battle tool to be my Faith.

I utilize my beliefs to battle depression and anxiety in a variety of ways. </p>

First, fear and loneliness subside when God is always with you. God is in control and can bear the weight of my problems with me. He knows best, and I must trust him. Knowing I have constant protection through my days is a huge comfort. I feel my burden is lighter from this thought alone.”It’s been said the phrase ‘Fear not’ appears at least 365 times in the Bible. That’s one for every day of the year.” (R+R: Fear Not by Bonnie Curry on Abide). The Bible is our book of instructions, so I try to follow this one while I struggle most days.

Then, there’s Journaling. I once heard someone say the type of day you’re going to have is determined when you wake up. I used to wake up everyday thinking, “oh, here we go again,” automatically assuming it was going to be a bad day before I even got out of bed. I decided that attitude needed to change. I could make my bad days into good days. Now, I start every day by counting my blessings. I keep a blank journal on my nightstand, and every morning, I write down good things and thank God for them. No matter what happens throughout my day, I can refer back to my blessings and remember life isn’t so bad. I make notes of things that need prayers throughout the day. Sometimes it can be a problem I am facing, or I often take notes of other people’s prayer needs. I journal my prayers before bed, and I’ve found this task beneficial to my sleeping habits. Insomnia has plagued me for years. Most nights, my mind won’t turn off from worry. Journaling my problems somewhat helped me sleep, but adding the extra task of asking God for help with them has made a world of difference.

I used to be plagued by nightmares. When I was a child, monsters and goblins would regularly invade my dreams, and I crawled in bed with my parents. It got to the point my mom took me to a child psychologist to seek help from the nightmares. I remember the doctor being a lovely lady who taught me to change the TV channel in my head and find a new program. She told me to imagine myself floating down a river in an inner tube on a sunny day, completely relaxed. I thought this sounded great, so that night, I put what she taught me to work. The nightmares started, and I woke up. I laid in bed and concentrated hard on seeing that peaceful river. I soon fell back asleep and saw the river in my dreams. I woke up screaming when an alligator swam up and attacked my innertube. Unfortunately, this is one of my earliest memories. In my adult years, I no longer saw monsters and goblins, but nightmares continued regularly. I would wake up in a full sweat thinking I had to run from a murderer, stationary objects were chasing me, or some other entirely off-the-wall notion would be in my head. First, I noticed that the occurrence of nightmares seemed to correlate with my blood sugars being off, but even without that added fact, I would still get them.

I’ve tried many sleeping tactics to send me into a peaceful sleep. Reading before bed helps, but I have to make sure it’s an uplifting, non-action book because the plot tends to creep into my dreams.

Meditation relaxes me, but it’s not enough to keep me asleep all night. The white noise of the rain or babbling brooks sends me into the bathroom.

I found an app called Abide (the app does not sponsor this post, nor am I affiliated with it). I can play a meditation, and someone with a soothing voice cues me to relax, prays with me, and then tells me a bedtime story from the scriptures. After a pre-set amount of time that I choose, the app shuts off, so I don’t have to worry about it running all night long. The feeling of inviting the holy spirit into my room to watch over me while I sleep has been a great comfort. My sleep patterns have increased from 1–3 hours of restful sleep a night to 5 or 6 hours. I feel better during the day too.

I haven’t been to church in a while, and I miss it. I don’t go anywhere I can expect a gathering of people due to the pandemic and my poor health status. One of the elders in my church once said Sunday morning service was like charging his batteries. He talked about how he felt drained as the week went on with all of its problems, but after a church service, he felt refreshed and ready to take on the new week. I started looking at services that way as well. Sunday morning is my recharge, and the daily prayer meditations keep me going. Luckily, my pastor understands my desire to stay home. I receive a weekly text of a dropbox recording of his sermons so that I can listen on my own. It isn’t the same recharge as attending in person, but it does help.

I don’t write this post to push my beliefs on anyone or say this is how everything is cured. I’m merely speaking of my own experiences. Faith works for me.

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Author, animal lover, crafter, hockey fan

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Cat Writes

Cat Writes

Author, animal lover, crafter, hockey fan

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