Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Depression has gotten so common in our country that a lot of people don’t even realize that they suffer from it. This is especially true for females age 18-29 who are 3 times more likely to develop depression. What’s astounding is that so many people suffer from the symptoms of depression that we’ve come to accept these things as “normal” things that just come along with living in our society! LIES!! I will NOT accept it! And you shouldn’t either. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s normal.
I understand that we all have tough times and moments of sadness, but if you’ve experienced at least 3-4 of the following symptoms consistently for 2 weeks or more, then you may be experiencing more than PMS, my Queen.
*The following diagnostic criteria is based on the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for Major Depressive Disorder. If after reading these signs, you suspect that you suffer from depression, it is imperative that you seek appropriate professional assistance. The tips listed within this blog may not be sufficient enough to correct for all levels of depressive diagnoses*
Do you feel sad, empty, and/or hopeless for the majority of the day even while doing activities that most people enjoy?
Now some people just choose to be sad most of the day. You know, the Pity Party-er, the Attention Getter, the I Want Everything to Go My Way-er. But when you are depressed, there is nothing you want more than to be happy, and despite the efforts by others and yourself to pull you out of your funk, it just isn’t working.
Are you experiencing significant weight gain or weight loss?
Has there been a significant increase or decrease in your appetite? Have you experienced a change of more than 5% of your usual body weight within a month? I’m not talking about the weight loss (cough* or gain *cough) from your latest diet. This change occurs in the absence of an intentional diet or workout regimen.
Have you had insomnia, fatigue, or low energy?
Can’t get to sleep or stay asleep? Can’t get out of bed? Do usual daily activities make you super tired? Does your body feel restless or like it’s moving in slow motion? Depressed individuals have very little motivation to get up and get going each day. It feels almost impossible to them. They cancel a lot of their commitments (work, family time, house chores, events, ect.) because they simply can’t find the energy and concentration needed to do them.
Now understand that not having the energy and not wanting to use the energy for certain things are different! If you’re just a severe introvert that would rather be at home and away from humans, you are not depressed. Go forth and retreat behind a good book ☺
Do you often feel worthless or guilty about things that aren’t your fault?
How hard is it for you to accept a compliment, favors, or help from others? Do you think that everyone is happier when you aren’t around? Are you able to find a way for every bad thing that happens to somehow be your fault?
Let’s put our crowns on the nightstand for a minute and have an honest Queen moment, shall we? I suffered from depression in a past relationship for about a year before I even realized it. It took me way longer than it should have to end the relationship because, in my mind, everything bad that happened in the relationship was my fault. I felt like I was making the guy miserable and that he would be happier if he wasn’t with me. But I also felt that if I did break up with him it wouldn’t be fair to enter into another relationship and make the next guy miserable as well. So in my mind, my only two options were to either hold this man hostage for the rest of our lives or be alone for the rest of my life. I literally could not see it going any other way! And this man wasn’t even all that great you guys! He was mediocre in life at best. This sounds completely ridiculous to me now (because it is), but at that time my depressed state clouded my every thought, which had me out of touch with reality.
Do you think about death and suicide a lot?
I am very thankful and fortunate that I was able to reverse my depression before I got to this stage. But if I had not, I am certain that I was well on my way to it. It’s crazy to think that if I didn’t make the decision to break that cycle, there’s a very strong possibility that I wouldn’t even be alive right now. You can only feel worthless for so long before you start to fantasize about a world without you in it.
If you have had these thoughts before or if you find yourself thinking about it more often, let me offer you 2 things…
Something I did not take advantage of going through all of this was the fact that I did not have to do it all alone and neither do you. There’s all kinds of help and information available, just waiting to be taken advantage of, and most of it is FREE and confidential. There’s no reason to go without it! Start here (https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression) or here (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)!
I’m not going to tell you the following statement because I want to make you feel all fuzzy inside: I’m not that nice (wink). I’m telling you this because it is true.
The world needs you whether you want to be here or not! There are things that God put inside of you that will solve a specific problem for this specific generation. And if you aren’t here, then the world is going without. Yes, the world! It’s not by accident that you keep waking up every morning, my Queen.
Genetics can make an individual more susceptible to developing depression. And even though it is still possible to reprogram thinking to correct those depressive symptoms, this may need to be done in conjunction with medication. So it is necessary to consult with a health professional to determine the source of your depression. The sooner, the better!
I learned that my case was mild to moderate and the source of my depression was unrelated to my biological makeup. Keeping that in mind, these are 3 things that I believe helped me the most in combating and, ultimately, eliminating my depression.
I learned my identity in Christ.
Sometimes, the problems we face in life are either directly or indirectly a result of “identity confusion,” meaning that we forget or don’t know who we are and who we were created by God to be. And me TELL you…. When you learn all who God meant for you to be before all the junk of this world influenced, changed, or even eliminated it, it will be so hard for your depressive symptoms to last long after that. Discovering the life that God purposed for us to live as His children allows you to reframe negative thoughts and actions towards yourself and others.
I was able to achieve this by:
Asking God to show me.
Very simple, but very powerful. I simply explained to God that I was not sure of who I was and that I needed Him to show me. I also asked Him to show me who I wasn’t. He didn’t show me immediately, all at once, or in the way that I thought He would, but OH did He show me!
Reading the Bible.
The Bible is literally our manual for living. The answers or everything we face is in there somewhere, God made sure of that. I began to search the Bible for scriptures that told who I was. Not only did it open my eyes to who I was and was not, but it helped me to learn what gifts God created me with and how we wanted me to use them! To read my own personal list of “identity” scriptures click here!
Telling myself who I am and who I will become
I used my list of identity scriptures for affirming my God-given identity by speaking aloud those scriptures every morning and night (and sometimes all through-out the day when the skruggle was real) until I began to see them manifest through my thoughts and actions.
You will feel awkward. You will feel like nothing is happening. You won’t believe it…. UNTIL YOU DO! And then NOTHING and NO ONE on this planet will be able to make you believe that you aren’t amazing, fabulous, and a Queenly Beast!
Identify and work to eliminate stressors (environments, people, situations)
My relationship was the source of my depression, so once I (finally) ended it there was a million lightbulbs that turned on inside of me. I was able to see the light!! Everything became so clear almost immediately.
Really think about the things in your life that may be a possible source or contributor of your stress and GET…RID…. OF IT….NOW!
Once I realized how clouded, ineffective, and unrealistic my thinking had been, I did not trust myself to be able to clearly identify the things in my life that were ineffectual. So what I did was pretty drastic… But I was desperate and I’m glad that I did it.
I went through a time when I cut out pretty much everything for about 2 months straight in order to “detox” my mind and life from the thoughts, people, habits, places, and environments that might be a source of negativity. During that 2 months, I spent a lot of time with God and reading the Bible, working out, reading books on subjects related to purpose, vision, and certain gifts that I believed that I possessed, and fasting (food fasting as well as fasting from tv, social media, certain kinds of music, alcohol, sex.
That 2 month consecration allowed me to start from scratch: eliminating the things that I was better off without and discovering and reintroducing the things that was conducive to God’s purpose and will for my life. During this consecration, not only was I able to become more physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy, but I was able to make the decisions to become celibate and stop drinking alcohol (and smoking marijuana, ugh I know…I know) for GOOD! I also (accidentally) stopped listening to secular music. While on a “technology fast,” I was able to come across a whole world of Christian music. I found a Christian version for every single genre that I enjoyed listening to and I haven’t even wanted to listen to secular music ever since then.
Contrary to popular belief, living with depression is not normal and there is a way out of it. It will take work, but it’s possible! Take advantage of the help that is available and start to live the amazing life that’s waiting for you!
Much Much Love,