As a believer, how do you deal with depression?

I have been dying to share this with you! I struggle with Depression or “the dementor” as my husband and I like to call it.  I’m not sure how we came up with the name but we love it!  Below is a list that I put together containing some of the helpful advice that I received in the midst of my darkest times.  I pray that this will help you overcome “the dementor”, and I hope these tips will change your life.  I  know this input has changed mine =) 
-La Micia

1) It’s Ok

Depression truly is a mental illness, and it is ok if you suffer from it.  It’s even more ok with God.  I know for me, when I don’t give myself permission to feel depressed and take a little break to treat my depression, it just gets worse.  What you need to do is stop! Take a break. It’s ok to be ill right?

God’s grace is sufficient for you.  You are blameless for as long as you walk with him, that’s the gift of grace. God might be giving you time to slow down, so take it.  If you are like me and depression causes you to retreat and not be social, what you don’t want to do is condemn yourself for that.  Yes, you probably shouldn’t retreat into yourself but give yourself a break and pray that God can get you out of yourself.  Let God know where you are, and tell him where you want to be.  I’ve done this plenty of times, actually just yesterday.  I got depressed all of a sudden and couldn’t get myself up off of the couch.  I prayed, told Pat what was happening, that I have to make dinner, and make two important phone calls.  None of this I could bring myself to do.  Pat then got up from the couch made dinner, I emailed one of the people I was going to call (my ipad was already in my lap) and as for the other the person, they called me, all I had to do was accept the call.  I did this all without getting up from the couch.  I was happy! My depression faded, my husband and I watched a movie and went right to sleep.  Life was good.

2) Boast

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The temptation can be to hide this part of you but imagine all the people you could impact by just telling your story.  Satan doesn’t want you to share this, are you kidding me? So God can get all the glory? I don’t think so, he doesn’t work that way.  Satan is into putting you down and separating you from everyone.  He wants to get you by yourself, hiding in broad day light.  No! Let Gods power show through you.  Write a blog about your depression, tell your family and friends as scary as that may be.  I have to say first hand that even writing this blog post helps me feel better about my illness.  Boast! Boast gladly about your depression! Let God’s power rest on you, it feels so good, take my blog for it.

3)  Medication

Medication is your friend, yes you read it.  Though it took me a long time to accept taking medication, I am convinced that I need it now.  I believed that if I started taking medication, I would get dependent on it.  I also thought that I wouldn’t be dealing with my problems but I would use medication to mask the depression and not treat it.  I truly wrestled with these thoughts before God. I can tell you that I have been on antidepressants for over a year and I am not dependent on my medication and taking medication does not mask my issues, I do still deal with my depression.

I came to the conviction that this is a mental illness, just as any other illness.  Why don’t we take care of our mental health the way we take care of the rest of our bodies? Our brain is responsible for the majority of our bodily functions, why do we neglect it?

Another conviction I developed came from the scripture in 1 Peter 5:8,

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

When I am in the mental state of depression, I know that I am not sober minded, and medication helps me to become sober minded.  I know this because when I am not depressed, I feel like I am back to “normal” (whatever normal is), but you know what I mean.  I can recognize that the way I was thinking was so off! It shocks me how different my thought process is when I am depressed.  If it helps my relationship with God then I am going to do it.

I encourage you to build your own convictions based on scripture.

4) Counseling

This point is pretty simple to me.  Get help.  Get professional help. God has given us mental health professionals who do this for a living, and all it may cost is a copay.  If you are a part of a church, you are probably getting spiritual help but you should see a professional as well.  I have both and it’s a wonderful combo.  The beauty of counseling is that I have a set appointment every week at a certain time.  There are times when members of the church don’t have the time to get with you to talk, or even the expertise.  Counseling enhances your relationship with God, and as a Christian your relationship with God is everything.  Nurture the relationship by receiving the right tools to manage your depression.  There are psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, christian counselors and more.  (I recommend Christian counseling to people because I need someone who understands the life of a disciple but any one of these professionals can help you.  If you are like me than Christian counseling might be the way to go).