Sunday, July 15, 2012

Overcoming Depression.....

An Action Plan to Overcome Depression:

1. Examine Your Thinking:
  • Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself.
  • Keep a “negative thought log." Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log  Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation.
  • Willfully recall God’s blessings in your past?  If He was able to handle your past can He not handle your present and future?  Think about and write down some of the biggest problems God has brought you through.
2. Examine Your Behavior:
• Are you choosing positive or negative responses to your depression?
  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them.
  • Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
  •  Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
3. Practical Things that will help with depression:
  •  Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.
  • Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, or sit out in the garden.  
  • Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it.  Figure out all the things in your life that are stressing you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, taking on too much, or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.
  • Exercise now…and again.  A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.  The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly.

  • Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
  • Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or french fries. But these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
 If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!

Psalm 43:5

 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Reasons and Symptoms of Depression

Well, its almost 2 months since my last blog - I have been depressed for 2 month and couldn't get to my blog....just kidding...but I was beginning to feel I would never get to it - but I am going to be 'OK" with not keeping up with my blog right now.  It is just a really busy season in my life and it's all good stuff but gives me little time and blogs take time.  So I will do this as I can and hope anything I get out there will be a help to someone for that moment of their life.  So here we go.....

  • Depression is a call for help that there is a need in our life or
  • Depression a warning that we need to take care of ourselves or something in our lives
Symptoms of depression:
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • lose of  perspective
  • change in diet, sex drive, sleep patterns
  • low self-esteem
  • wanting to isolate and escape
  • becoming paranoid
  • anger for no apparent reason
  • feeling guilty  - not liking your self

Definition of depression:

  • An emotion like any other 
  • Depression is morally neutral
  • Sometimes a good thing if grieving
  • Depression is not sin 

Causes of depression:

  • Chemical changes in your brain 
  • under active thyroid
  • Electrolytes out of balance
  • infections
  • having a baby can bring change physically and emotionally and become depression

  • a great loss
  • anger turned inward
  • guilt real or imagines
  • stress - major life transitions of any kind
  • wrong thinking about yourself - self pity, shame

  • After intensive ministry
  • guilt for sin
  • demonic attack
  • not keeping your priorities in order
  • Relationship breakdowns
So if you have gone through this list and think you are dealing with depression, if it is severe then you should call your doctor to first see if there are some physical or chemical reasons for it- if it is less severe but a constant low grade feeling of sadness then next post we will discuss some ways to overcome depression.

My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
And forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.

I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.
I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.
I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
For my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
For I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
And destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

            Psalm 143: 3-12 [NLT]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I was listening to a podcast by Chip Ingram on depression and the points he made were so good I thought I would write my next few posts on this subject.
“Depression is as old as human history. The Bible has many examples of people struggling with despondency and despair. In his depression and fatigue, Elijah asked for his life to be taken. Jonah felt deeply despondent after God did not destroy Nineveh. Jeremiah regretted the day he was born. Job’s wife advised him to curse God and die in the midst of the suffering and pain. Well-known church leaders like Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and J.B. Phillips struggled with depression and so did political leaders such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.

Depression is no respecter of persons. It has been called the common cold of emotional disorders, and it appears to be on the rise. In the United States it is one of the most prevalent and serious mental disorders, affecting about 20 percent of the population at some time in their lives. People of both genders get depressed, although women are twice as likely as men to suffer from major depressive and dysthymic disorders.”

From Understanding and Coping with Depression

What are we to do when we are depressed?  There are not any easy answers and we have to realize that depression is very complex and comes from multiple factors.  But this we can know - that God is there, He understands and wants to help you.

Psalm 77 gives a a great reference to depression in the bible - the psalmist in this psalm described all the thoughts we have when we are depressed.

 1I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2When I was
in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul
refused to be comforted. 3I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused,
and my spirit grew faint.

As you read on in the psalm you see that the psalmist asked these questions:
  1. Is this ever going to end?
  2. Will life never get better?
  3. Does God not love me anymore?
  4. Is God angry at me?
  5. Is there something I did that I don't understand ?
  6. Where is God and where are His promises ?
Two things to remember about depression:

1. Times of depression are something even the most godly wrestle with on occasion. (it is normal and it happens to everyone at sometime.)
2. Taking time to recall God’s specific blessings in our past, provides perspective and peace in the present.

Next post - The symptoms and reasons for depression

Monday, March 5, 2012

Discouragment - 3 more causes

Last post we talked about the first cause of discouragement:  Fatigue.  Today we will talk about the next three most common causes of discouragement.

Each one of these when we realize how they are affecting us can be corrected and dealt with.  But we have to be aware.  So as stated last post if you are fatigued and tired - you become emotionally vulnerable.  We have to take time to take care of ourselves.  We will waste more time being discouraged if we don't.

The next three causes of discouragement is:

2. Loss of Vision:  We begin to lose our vision for our lives, especially when we are going through difficult times we can feel like we are just existing.  But we have to change our perspective of what our trial is doing in our life.  It is strengthening us - we are an example and inspiration to others.  We are a testimony to how God can hold us up during difficult times. 
So how do we create vision when we feel all is lost or too hard?  Be pro-active, begin to look at your thought process and when it is negative change it to a positive.  Have a plan, don't let life just carry you - always pray but then take action.  In other words, evaluate your use of time, energy, and other resources. .  Phil 4:8

3. Loss of Confidence
Remember who is for you (the God of the impossible)  With God nothing is impossible in the situation you are in right now.  Remember who you are. You are God's child, you are able through Him to do the task set before you - you are given a new day and a new beginning every day.
Lam 3:22-23

4.  Loss of security - "Fear"
Projecting into the future - not keeping in mind God's promises.  We have to fight to see the good things in your life - change your perspective.  Our thoughts directly affect our feelings and then our behavior.   Paul was in prison most of his ministry but wrote about joy and contentment.  When we lean on the Lord He expands our abilities to handle the situation we are in.
Believe that God is in control (Ps. 103:19), loves you, and will never leave you (Heb. 13:5). He can turn adversity into something good.

Practical things to do when discouraged:
1. Exercise
2. Do something fun
3. Listen to praise and worship music
4. Think back to all the things God has brought you through.
5. Remember who God is
6. Look at what your thought process is - do you need to change your perspective
7. Don't isolate - discouragement grows in the environment of isolation
8. Do something for someone who has a need. 
9. Keep a gratitude journal - write down 3 things everyday that you are thankful for. 

Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you" (Psalm 39:7, NLT).

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or “Help me.”
Billy Graham

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Discouragment - Our Greatest Enemy.

 One of the greatest enemies we have in life, especially when we are in a place of adversity in our life is "DISCOURAGEMENT"

Question 1:
What is the most discouraging circumstance in your life right now?  What do you wish would just go away?
Next question? Why is it so important to press through that circumstance?

Some of the greatest things that will ever happen in your life, acheivements, relationships, impact on lives,  closeness to God, growth as a person will happen during times of discouragement.  Most of the time when we quit we are just on the cusp of something great happening in our lives.

God's knows we need to learn endurance.  When we are going through adversity God wants us to persevere and trust Him. He wants us to be strong, mature people.  It is only through adversity that these qualities come into our lives.

James 1:3 - "For you know when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow"

Most of the time when we are taking steps of faith in a difficult situation things get worse for a season not better.  We go to marriage counseling, we make a choice to serve God in a greater way thinking things should immediately turn around and instead they get worse it makes us discouraged and want to give up.  Of course, the enemy will try to stop us from moving forward.  But again, as we endure we will see things begin to turn around. 

Words that the enemy bring into our minds in times of adversity are usually an attack on our worth, "you are inadequate" "you are too weak"  " you can't do this'  "nothing ever goes right for me"  These words in our head bring us to a place of discouragement

There are four causes of Discouragement:

1. Fatigue - you are vunerable to become very discouraged if you are not taking care of yourself physically and emotionally - not enough sleep, not exercising, not enough down time, never having fun and enjoyable, over extending yourself.

We have to take time to take care of ourselves when going through adversity.  You may say, "I don't have time to take care of myself", my answer to that is " you don't have time not to take care of yourself"  because if you don't - all the things you think are so important you may lose anyway if you don't take care of yourself.

When we are going through adversity or crisis in life we need to pay special attention to ourselves, we need to do 70% of what we usually do.  This is so important.  You have to ask yourselves why you make excuses not to slow down.  Sometimes it's because staying so busy keeps us from having to deal with our feelings or our thoughts. 

Take baby steps - take a day off and do some self-care.  Look at your schedule - what can you shave off if only for a season?  What are you wasting time on that you can use to rest, exercise, quiet time with God or do something you love?

If you are in a place of adversity or crisis right now - Ask God to show you what you can do to take care of yourself and become refreshed during this time.

Next Post - 3 more causes of Discouragement.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adversity - The Purpose...

Adversity changes us -  is what shapes the knew us, the better us if we allow it to.   We as humans are always trying to stay comfortable, we are always trying to avoid adversity.    I am one who has tried this more than anyone to stay happy and comfortable in life -  I know.  I don't like to be uncomfortable, or sad or unsure of what is going to happen next....I don't think I'm alone in this.

Someone once said: 
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" (Neale Donald Walsch)

The next step in facing adversity is to realize these things:
  1. Difficulties, trials, adversity is normal, expected and purposeful.  1 Peter 5:10
  2. God will transform your life through adversity
  3. Adversity is temporary. 
If you meet people who have alot of character, have rich relationships, an amazing amount of wisdom and maturity and have great influence and are inspiring to others - I can pretty much guarantee they have been through adversity and come out the other side changed for the better.

In our world instead of going through adversity and letting it change us we give up - We give up on our vision, we give up on our marriage, we give up on our close relationships and sometimes we give us on life.  Many times we are at the turning point, the point where it will get better but we give up because it is too uncomfortable.

We must overcome difficult, painful things in every season in our lives to become the people God purposes us to be - to confirm, strengthen and establish us.

We need to look at adversity differently -instead of looking at it as "this is unfair" try looking at is that "This is normal" ", "This is expected", "This is creating a purpose in me", "This is temporary"
"What does God what to do with this in my life"

Instead of God changing our outward circumstances, He is changing you (if you allow Him) -  You and I through adversity are  becoming more patient, more loving, more kind,  this gives us hope and realizing that God is working in our situation

Adversity is the unwanted and uninvited "friend" in the hands of an all knowing God - not your enemy ( as we usually view it)  It is there to reveal to us our self - dependency and pride,  give us deeper intimacy with Jesus and redirect our path to insure our greatest good and His glory - we learn to trust Gods character and His Word in all this and through all things.

1 Peter 5:10
New Living Translation (NLT)
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

Next Post - How to face discouragement

Some excepts from this blog was taken from Chip Ingram - "Living on the Edge"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dealing with Adversity

As we begin the new year I was thinking about what would be a good topic for this blog.  My intention of this blog is to give anyone who reads it "tools" to have better relationships, to learn behavior and thinking to make every part of your being -  spirit, your soul and your body as healthy as possible.

As a counselor/life coach I see probably more problems than most people but I do believe we are in a time in our world that life is more difficult for most people than it has been in the past, at least the past that most of us can remember.

So I thought I would focus a few blogs of how to deal with "Adversity"

What is "adversity?"  Well, Websters says, adversity is:
, trouble, difficulty, hardship, distress, disaster, suffering, affliction, sorrow, misery, tribulation, woe, pain, trauma; mishap, misadventure, accident, upset, reverse, setback, crisis, catastrophe, tragedy, calamity, trial, cross, burden, blow; hard times, trials and tribulations;

Some of these things at one time or another will affect our lives.   Very few people, if any, get through this life without some trials and difficulties and most people have quite a few.

One of the biggest problems that happen when we are faced with adversity, or trials, or troubles, especially if it goes on for an extended amount of time is we can begin to give up or shut down.  Just going through the motions on the outside but inwardly quit.

One of the reasons we as Christians struggle with adversity is we have some wrong thinking about it.

Most of the time when we are struggling through adversity we avoid it, deny it, blame someone else, instead of asking God to use our situation in whatever way He feels is needed, instead of crying out to Him.  We want to be in control of the situation and actually think we are although we absolutely are not.

One of the first steps of dealing with adversity is to admit you need God to help you and you need to cry out to Him when you feel like giving up.  You need to admit your need. You need to face it.

Psalm 34:17-19 17 
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
  He rescues them from all their troubles.
 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
  he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 

The righteous person faces many troubles, 
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

What is the number one thing you are dealing with?  Are you ignoring it - staying so busy you don't have to deal with it?  Are you blaming someone else for it?

Next post we will talk about once we admit we have a problem, we admit we can't control it, we admit we feel like giving up or we "feel" like we can not take one more thing - what is the next step?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Well, I have a couple hours to say Happy New Year.  It's 10pm an we got back a few hours ago from a great New Years Party at my niece Bev's house.  Lot's of great food, wonderful people and good conversation.  A great way to start the year.

I was going to write about setting New Years goals or resolutions but was reading a great article in the Parade section of the paper and thought I would share an idea for the New Year. 

It was from a book called, "The Simple Act of Gratitude"  What this author wrote about was his experience of making a New Years Goal of handwriting a note of thanks at least one time a day for the year.  That would be 365 handwritten notes of thanks. 

Here are the steps it takes to get started:
1. Try to not use email or any other means of technology.  Handwritten notes feels special. You can get plain note cards at the dollar store or get some with your initial on it. 

2.  Be specific.  You could start by sending notes to those who gave you presents for Christmas. "Dear...., Thank you for the (Starbucks gift card) it is one of my favorite places for coffee. 

3. Next start writing to close friends and family about how much you appreciate them, again being specific.  Then write to people who have helped you in critical moments in life, or to a server at a restaurant or coffee shop that you go to frequently.  You can send them or hand them to the people your thanking (at a shop or store)

4.  Keep it simple.  Just three or four sentences.

I'm going to start this tomorrow, my goal will be to write a note everyday but I will be flexible and at least try to at least send or give a note to someone at least 3 times a week.  I will keep you posted!