What Do You Do When Depression Tries to Take Over?

Spill The Beans

Dear Jennifer,

I have written to you before, but that was about two years ago.  At that time in June, I lost my eyesight in my right eye do to a blood clot going to the retina and exploding it.  They called it a main retina occlusion.  The doctors say there is nothing they can do to reconstruct it, and now my left eye is getting blurry.

I was in bed for a year and a half due to depression.  I then put the armor on more.  I listened to healing tapes and prayed with my prayer partner and best friend.  Two months ago I was getting the point…then I seemed to get knocked down again with the flu, which in turn pushed me back in bed and back into depression.  How do you do it?  You’re blind every day and yet you keep working and giving a smile with your songs and testimonies.

Love, Pam

Jennifer’s Answer:

Dear Pam,

Your situation with sight loss and the fear that accompanies it may differ from the individual situations of our Java friends, but, I promise you my friend, that each struggle as you do, from time to time, with depression and the effort to  walk by faith.  I know I do.

As you said, I am blind every day.  Some days that gets the best of me and I want to get back in bed and stay there.  I, too, have had spells of depression.  But because I don’t want to stay in bed or let depression get the best of me, I fall hard on God’s grace and ask Him to help me walk wisely through it.  He has and continues to do that for me.

When depression lingers or seems more powerful than our faith, sometimes we need to see a doctor.  Sometimes we need to see a counselor.  Sometimes we need to modify our lifestyle to reduce stress.  And sometimes, we even just need to keep working and smiling.  The response is different for each woman and each situation, so I hesitate to tell you one thing to do.  All I know is what I do.  I’m learning to daily trust God more than my feelings.

On the days I don’t “feel” I want to get out of bed and be blind and deal with the tiny things that are mountains to me…I trust God more than my feelings and get out of bed trusting His grace to empower each wobbly step that day. On the days I don’t “feel” like smiling and would rather be bitter or self-pitying…I trust God’s character more than I trust my own.

On the days, and there have been some, where I think “this gloom is beyond my ability to handle even with my faith,” I have sought medical assessment to see if my body chemistry is making it even harder for me.  Pam, there was a time when I discovered my serotonin levels were so low, no wonder I was struggling with depression!  I chose to rebuild my deficit through herbal remedies under the supervision of a doctor, and it really helped.  (Some women are prescribed medication from a doctor to help with depression, and that is a good decision, too.)  When my body had the support it needed, then it became a little easier on the tough days to act upon my trust in God like I really wanted to.

Another thing I really try to do to keep the impact of my own blindness in perspective is pay attention to others’ struggles and needs.  Empathy for others is a great salve for the sting of loss and depression.

I’m not in any way suggesting the ways I handle depression are the only and best ways, but I do know when I submit my will, my emotions and even my body to the wise leadership of God, He brings me wellness in my soul.

Remember, depression is not who you are.  Depression is what you struggle with.  Who you are is more than a conqueror in Christ.  You are not fighting for victory over your depression–you’re fighting from a position of victory.  During the dark spells, trust that God is teaching you, molding you and creating a more sensitive, empathetic and meek woman. Those character qualities will always out weigh any loss.

With love, Jennifer

What words of truth would you say to Pam? Leave a comment here.

Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!