Healthy Strategies for Coping with Depression

 

Strategies for Coping with Depression

According to Berkeley’s University Health Services website, there are six or so strategies for coping with depression, along with seeking professional treatment:

1. Develop a more healthful, balanced diet  – to help you keep your moods balanced and your health strong. According to Melslife.com  it may help to avoid fast, refined or fatty foods; food with additives, preservatives, and food colorings; foods that lack folic acid; and food that lacks selenium.

What should you eat? Melslife recommends you:

2.  Get regular exercise. You can stop feeling lethargic and tired by exercising. Studies show that exercise can help alleviate depression even more than prescription drugs because exercise affects the same neurotransmitters in your brain. Exercise, even if you don’t feel like it. Try simple exercises like swimming, biking, or walking.

3.  Get sufficient sleep. To avoid mood spirals, try to make sure you are getting good sleep. For example, go to bed at a consistent time, be sure you turn off the lights and also try to wake up at a consistent time. If you have trouble waking up, try to start your morning with activities or responsibilities that will get you out of bed like caring for a pet.

4. Develop stress skills and time management skills.

5.  Pay attention to your feelings. Try to stay aware of your feelings. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break, read a book, go for a walk, or practice prayer or deep breathing.

6.  Develop and use a support system. The Berkeley website says, “Talking to people you trust can give new perspectives and support. Let your family and friends know if you just need them to listen, if you just want to vent, or if you just need a hug. Let them know that you don’t need them to ‘fix’ the problem or ‘make it all better.’”

In addition to these suggestions from the University of California, Berkeley, I would like to add a seventh suggestion:

7.  Rest in the Lord. Spend time thinking about resting in God. For starters consider that despite your problems, God’s arm is not to short to help or to comfort you. (Isaiah 59: 1). In fact, God wants you to cast your burdens off of yourself and onto him. (1 Peter 5:7).  He wants to take you by the hand, and help guide you. ( Psalm 139:10).  He wants to lead you beside still waters and restore your soul. (Psalm 23).

Try help you feel God’s rest, praying prayers like:

Lord,

I feel overwhelmed, so I cast all my burdens on you, and ask that you to take me by the hand and to lead me to green pastures to restore my soul.  I know that your arm is not too short to love, comfort, and help me, and I’m asking you for your help right now.  I cancel the spirit of depression and suicide off of me in the power and authority of the name and blood of Jesus, and ask you Lord, to fill my soul and spirit with your presence, your love, and your peace.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

To see how Christian comedian Chonda found strategies for coping with depression, watch the video below:

To learn how to start a relationship with God, go to GodTest.com.

Help Me Cope: My Best Friend Killed Himself

I am so sorry to hear that your best friend killed himself. Losing a friend to suicide is probably one of the most difficult things a person can go through.
This kind of grief is intense and can leave you feeling guilty and wondering what you could have done to stop your friend’s death.  Plus, it’s hard to stop thinking about your loss or to stop blaming yourself that this even happened.

 

 My Best Friend Killed Himself: Now What?

Here are some ideas to help you cope:

  1. Ask God to carry your pain, grief and even your feelings of guilt.
  2. Write down your feelings and memories about your friend in a special notebook, but don’t spend more than 15 minutes a day on this task.  It’s good to vent and express yourself, but if you spend too much time thinking about your loss, it may cause your feelings of grief to worsen. So try to find a good balance.
  3. Talk to a counselor and other adults about your feelings.
  4. Try to understand, then believe, that this really wasn’t your fault.  It wasn’t.
For help with guilt in survivors after suicide of a loved one, click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org. Here is an excerpt:
“Talking through your feelings and fears is essential for recovery from your trauma.Unfortunately, while your closest supporters may be willing to listen and share with you for a few weeks or months, there’s likely to come a time when their thoughts move on from the suicide while yours are still racing. This is why support groups are so valuable. Fellow survivors understand what you’re feeling in a way that even your closest friends cannot. Your fellow group members will never grow weary of offering supportive words and sympathetic ears.”

The author also offers this link through which you may find a local support group: Find a Suicide Bereavement Support Group at afsp.org (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

One day your pain will lessen, but even when that day comes, your friend will always live in your heart.

To read a letter that one mom wrote to her son who committed suicide, click this link: Suicide is NOT the Final Solution.
If you are hurting and you need to talk to someone, call a suicide hotline.
Here’s the story of how one teen coped with her loss when her best friend killed himself.
You may also find help from another one of our articles by clicking on this link:  The Effect Suicide Has On Loved Ones.

 

God Help Me with My Marriage Problems

By Linda W. Rooks:

All day my heart had been racing uncontrollably and my breathing was shallow.  Fear had entangled me in its web as I fought to understand what was happening with my marriage problems.

All I could say to God was, “Please, God, let me die. I can’t bear this pain.” Then I realized I was sinking deeper and deeper into the mire, and I cried out, “God help me. You can take me home if you want, but save me out of this pit.”

With my body limp from depression, but my sense of duty calling me to fulfill the job I had for the evening, I got in the car and headed for the superstore to buy some supplies for the meeting that night.

As I drove into the parking lot and wound between the lanes of cars, I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the pit of despair that had been pulling me under for the past two days.  I could scarcely breathe.

“Linda, Linda, Linda . . . don’t do this to yourself.  Linda.” A voice was calling to me, an inner voice that repeated my name over and over. I heard the words clearly in my head.  “Linda, I love you. You are precious to me. Don’t do this to yourself.”

Although it was not an inaudible voice, I recognized it nonetheless. The focus of my thoughts lifted from the pit and disengaged from the pain inside. I raised my eyes to something higher, something bigger. A flood of peace poured through me. God was calling out to me. No, I couldn’t depend on the love of my husband right then, not with our marriage problems, but I could depend on a love that was stronger, a love that would not let me go.

The Creator of Heaven and Earth cared about me. He was walking beside me and calling my name, even in the midst of my marriage troubles. My eyes had been so focused on my pain, so lost in the mire, that I couldn’t see Him. But now, as I heard him calling out to me, I knew He had not left me. I was not alone, and I would be alright. The words of the 23rd Psalm streamed into my head:

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”

Whether I could see Him or not, I knew God had been there all along and would continue to walk beside me while I dealt with my marriage problems. If you are also having marriage problems, know that God’s message for me that difficult night is also for you. Take a deep breath, and know that he will get you through your difficulties, just as he did for me.

If you are wondering if prayer could help your marriage problems, watch prayer author Stormie Omartian address this very subject:

 

 

Coping if Your Husband Committed Suicide: Help for Survivors

By Karen O’Connor:

How can one possibly recover from the death of a husband from suicide?

 

Praying hands photo from Photorack.net

God can help.

“I found my husband hanging on the front door of our home.”  Virginia, a university professor shared her experience with me as she talked about the shock that rushed through her mind and body at such a sight. “Fortunately, I was able to function sufficiently to notify law enforcement and they took it from there.”

If your husband committed suicide you’re likely to feel numb at first. Virginia recalled her initial reaction. “He didn’t have to do THIS!” and then she thought, what a waste of potential. “I went from weeping to staring into space,” she said.

“The thing that helped me most was people telling me, ‘It’s not your fault.  He did this, not you.’ I needed to hear it over and over again. Now I say to survivors ‘You will get through this. Your husband’s suicide does not define who you are––but it will certainly impact who you become.'”

Virginia is clear in her mind that she would not have survived without the presence of the Holy Spirit and the strength she gained from her faith in God. She also found a wonderful Christian counselor who walked her through the adjustment to a new way of life.

“I would advise other survivors to keep moving through the grieving process with another person, such as a trained counselor, or joining a support group for suicide survivors led by a mental health professional.” Without that help there’s a strong temptation to handle things on your own. But that can lead to withdrawal and getting stuck.

At  Daily Strength you can find a group comprised of people just like you.: http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Families-and-Friends-Affected-By-Suicide/support-group

Christian counseling can also help you resolve the “where was God?” question that you may struggle with the death of a husband from suicide.

Listen to this inspiring sermon from Joyce Meyer on trusting God when you don’t understand.

 Karen O’Connor is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com.

For more help if  your husband committed suicide, or if someone else you love has taken their own life, click to our other post: Guilt in Survivors After Suicide of a Loved One.

Stopping Fear Syndrome

By Pat Ennis:

Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.”( Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 2nd ed.)

We live in a fear dominated world—serious illness, weight gain, financial reversal, old age, death, rejection, and fear of man are all categories of fear that cause a focus away from God and toward circumstances.

Fear is real and it is not always negative—when you sense danger, fear usually stimulates you to fight or flee.  However, often the consequences are not positive—for example, fear can . . .

  • Hinder your relationship with others.
  • Stifle your ability to think rationally.
  • Rob you of joy.
  • Injure your relationship with God.
  • Create inner turmoil that can eventually lead to thoughts of suicide.

Since the presence of fear produces such detrimental results, it seems reasonable to locate an antidote to it. Scripture teaches that God’s Word is sufficient to override your fears.

  • The natural reaction to fear is panic. The antidote is to replace potential fear with trust in God (Psalm 56:3-4, 11).
  • Since God comforts you, why should you be afraid (Isaiah 51: 12-16)?
  • You can be content in every circumstance because God has promised to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6).

As you meditate upon the reality that Scripture constantly urges God’s children to trust rather than fear, consider this account that was shared by an African missionary about a herd of lions:

This particular story is about the old king.  You see a lion can only be the king as long as he is strong enough to hold his position— and there is always another lion trying to usurp it.  Usually by the time the old king is replaced he does not have any teeth and only a few claws.  His hair is matted, he has arthritis in the joints, and he no longer can fight to keep his position so a younger lion becomes the new king.

However, the old king is not entirely useless—he still has a role in the herd when the lions go on a hunt.  When the herd hunts, the old, mean-looking, ferocious lion stands on one side while the young hunter lions hide in the bushes on the opposite side.  When the prey appears, the former king looks at it and begins to roar; the roar scares the prey so badly that it runs to the opposite side—right into the waiting jaws of the hunter lions that attack and destroy it.  If the prey had run toward the roar, more than likely it would have been safe, since all the old lion had left was his roar.

The only positive fear recorded in scripture is the fear of God.  This fear is a reverence of God’s majesty, power, and greatness.  When you choose to “run to the roar” you will most likely find the influence of the fear dissolving.

I Am Getting Bullied

Perhaps you’ve one of thousands of people who  typed, “I am getting bullied’ into your search engine these last 30 days because you’re tired of the name calling, the abuse, and you don’t think you can take it another day.  I understand how you feel,  and I want you to know there is hope for those who are being bullied.
First of all, not everyone hates you.  I don’t hate you (which is why I wrote you this note) and neither does God hate you, plus there are many people in your life who really do care about you.  Secondly, those names you’ve been called do not belong to you.  For instance, if I took a sticky note and stuck the word  ‘CAT’ onto a dog’s forehead –would that word turn the dog into a cat?  Of course not. 
So what should you do if someone called you a name and now you start to believe you are that name?  Don’t own it.  Those names do not describe who you are at all.  In fact, I  have a BIG ERASER named love and I’m erasing that name(s) off of you right now.  And do you know what I see beneath those false labels?  I see you–a real and wonderful person. That’s why those labels cannot stick.  Would you be interested to know that God has other labels or words to describe you?
God’s labels for you are
precious, loved, beautiful, smart, full of promise, a miracle, and wonderful.
Seriously! That’s how God sees you, and that’s how I see you too.   ; )
I’m so sorry you are being bullied, and it hurts my heart to think that people have been cruel to you and know that I believe they were WRONG to do that to you.   But maybe it would cheer you up to read a few more things God has said about you:
  • You are my child.
  • I love you.
  • My son Jesus died on the cross  for you so you could have a relationship with me.
  • You are forgiven.
  • I am with you.
  • I will help carry your pain if you let me.  Just ask for my help!
  • Cast your burdens on me.
  • I will get you through this.  Just follow me, one step, one day at a time!
To learn more about how to have a closer relationship with God, click HERE.

Help Me I’m Being Bullied Song

Also watch this GREAT YouTube.  It’s a song called Who I Am by Katie Belle Atkin that tells what happened to her.
If the video won’t play, click HERE.
I love you!  And so do many others, even if you can’t ‘feel’ that love right at this moment or even if you believe that those terrible words spoken about you are true.  (THEY ARE NOT!)  However, if you are in danger of harming yourself, DON’T!  Don’t let the bullies win.
You are stronger than you know and you will get through this period of your life and you will find happiness and have friendships with people who are not bullies. You have hope and a future and I know God has a special plan for your life.  In fact, Jeremiah 29:11 says (from God to you,)  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
If you need to talk to someone, call  please the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
I am glad you searched I Am Getting Bullied because it led you here.  I want you to know that we are praying for you and know that things WILL get better.  If I were sitting there with you, I would wrap you in my mom-arms, and tell you how much I care.
Here’s a prayer to break lying words off of you:
Dear Lord,
I break the lying words that people are saying about me off of me in the power and authority of the name and blood of Jesus.  I ask that you replace those words with the loving words you use to describe me; precious, loved, beautiful, smart, full of promise, a miracle, and wonderful.  Give me your power, strength and truth to believe your words instead of the lies.  Please block and cancel the lying words and thought of suicide off of me – in the power and authority of the name and blood of Jesus. Thank you for giving me a hope and a future.  In Jesus name, Amen.

In the mean time, please read the story of Liz – and how she found hope when she was being bullied.  Click HERE.

Guilt in Survivors After Suicide of a Loved One

By Deborah Lovett:

Left Behind: Do you feel guilt after the loss of a loved one to suicide?

Guilt in Survivors after Suicide of a Loved One

 

After my sister took her own life, the worst thing I had to deal with, besides the grief of losing my best friend, was the guilt I felt. If you are contemplating or thinking about suicide, you should read this article so you know what the aftershocks are to people you love, and who love you, whether you know they do or not.

If you have had someone in your life who has taken his or her own life and you are dealing with the survivors’ guilt, then read on.

The Bible says that the enemy comes to steal, lie and destroy. That is his only plan. He will do whatever it takes, and he is ruthless at it. If he succeeds at targeting a certain person into destroying their own life, his next plan is to succeed at their family through what is called “survivors guilt.” Suicides are “clustered” in a family for this very reason. Therefore, it is important to know and be informed in order to prevent the enemy from taking any more lives than he already has. The saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is correct.

The thing with survivors’ guilt is this: We are each responsible for ourselves to God. Yes, we are to help one another. So yes, there might have been something else you could have done or said, but you are not responsible for the outcome of someone else’s life. That is why we need a Savior. Jesus is the One who saves. Also remember, you can only give a person as much help as they are willing to accept.

I helped my sister by driving her around, praying with her, advising her, giving her money, giving her furniture to start a new life, praying for her, and loving her. Yet, after her death, I felt like I should have done more, I missed something, it was my fault, or in a word: guilty. Why? Because it is the devil’s plan. Again, he is strategic and he is relentless, he will use whatever ammunition you give him.

The great thing about the Holy Spirit is He is relentless too. He will come to comfort you and give you wisdom and guidance if you are walking in step with Him.

He brought me a verse after my sister’s death when I was dealing with the feelings of guilt that were both agonizing and completely paralyzing. The verse is found in 2 Corinthians 7:10 and it says:

 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I knew that my sister had a worldly sorrow that had brought death, and that I needed a Godly sorrow, a repentance for whatever I thought, felt or knew I had done or not done in regards to her death in order to find freedom. Jesus Christ died for our sins, past, present and future, those we did, think we did, or have been condemned by others into believing we did.

Christ has risen. We can have a new life with Christ that frees us from being someone else’s savior, including our own. We truly can celebrate resurrection and renewal every day of our lives!

If you are contemplating or thinking about suicide today, or have survivor’s guilt, remember why Jesus came: to save us from our sins, and to bring a true freedom from sin~ so that we can LIVE!

For help with guilt in survivors after suicide of a loved one, click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org.

Hope for Teens Thinking About Suicide

Maggie was one of many teens thinking about suicide.  She was tired of living with her depression and believed she could never get better.  But she was wrong.  She says, “Know that help is available and help works.”

Watch as she tells her story and how a white ribbon assignment from her therapist helped her find peace and hope.  Maggie points out, “Some people might battle depression forever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a mostly happy life.”

If you are a teen thinking about suicide, take Maggie’s advice and reach out by calling the suicide hotline below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 273-8255

Or download a free suicide prevention iPhone App today, ASK !

Search under suicide prevention in App Store to get the ASK! about suicide App to save a life with warning signs, how to ask and hotlines.

Help When a Loved One Has Died: Depression in Funeral Planning

By Liz Cowen Furman:

 Feeling grief and depression while funeral planning when a loved one has died?

 

As a writer, I am keenly aware that most of the people reading this will have recently experienced a profound loss. Let me first say I am so sorry for your loss. Times of loss have been some of the greatest tests of my faith. If  depression after the loss of a loved one has you thinking about suicide, please read on.

Remember that whatever you are feeling is exactly what you are supposed to be feeling. Nothing surprises GOD. No expression of pain, anger or despair you could muster is bigger than He can handle. So be honest with the One who has the power to heal your broken heart. Tell Him how you feel. Give Him permission to come in and heal what is broken and restore your heart to a healthy place once again.

Expressions of the grieving process are as varied as the people who are hurting. I encourage you to not let any person tell you how you should feel, even if you are thinking about suicide. Just know that although losing someone we love is painful, I discovered it won’t kill us.

Get help if you are having suicidal thoughts. (1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

Be patient with yourself. Take time to process the pain your heart is experiencing. That pain sometimes even manifests itself in the physical. Don’t rush the process. After experiencing significant loss it can take a couple years before you start to feel “normal.” Depending on the loss you may never go back to “normal” but you will heal and live in your “new normal.”

Even though you may be thinking about suicide now, if you can hold on and not let yourself go there, eventually you can find beauty from the ashes that currently haunt you.

If you can get outside in the sunshine, go for a walk, get some fresh air, even if you have to force yourself out the door the first time. Getting out into the light and moving can really help; has been proven to help, according to an article at health.harvard.edu. on exercise and depression.

For more suggestions of things that may help, read the grief chapters in my book How to Plan a Funeral and Other Things You Need to Know When a Loved One Dies While writing it I experienced more than one significant loss and did two years of research on the grieving process. I found many great books and ideas of things to do that helped me in my grief, many are included in the book.

Jesus said, Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28, NASB Bible.

In a time of grieving it is His strength that can see us through. Check out this song that so aptly puts it…

Finding Hope When You Think “I Want to End My Life”

By Janet Perez Eckles:

When someone says, “I want to end my life,” how do you help her?

 

I swallowed hard. Her despair was evident. The sudden death of her son had been all over the news. And the fact she reached out to me put me on my knees for wisdom.

“How do you live,” she paused, then exhaled a long breath. “I mean, how do you go on with life after this pain?”

Her distress was so familiar to me. I had lost my own son just months prior. The perpetrator who had murdered my son was set free. At first, sorrow and rage had threatened to consume me.

I met with her to offer what help I could, and hugged her. “I know. I know your heartache.” I said. Gulping the lump in my throat, I handed her a tissue. “The only one who helped me was Jesus. In fact, He’s the only one who helps me now. . . moment by moment.”

“Don’t know,” she said between sobs. “Sometimes I want to end my life, but don’t know how.”

I suppressed a gasp. Ending her life would begin a life of sorrow and anguish for her other children, her family and loved ones. Her grief had blinded her from seeing the purpose, the value and treasure she was in God’s eyes.

Since I had seen first-hand the other side of heartache, I knew thoughts like “I want to end my life” were never the answer. In fact, nothing seems to be the answer, to be enough or sufficient. But God says in the Bible, when we’re weak with pain:

My grace is sufficient for you…” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“Think of your other children,” I said. I detailed my journey of how I believed In God’s promise. To let go. To release that pain and anguish directly to Him.

I assured her that God understands when we’re angry, when we’re mad at Him, even when we question His Word. Still, He’s still faithful. He’s still loving and He’s still powerful enough to heal that heartache.  And if you exchange your thoughts of I want to end my life” for “I want to begin with Jesus,” it will open the door to a new start, a new perspective, and a desire to receive the peace only He can give.

Here’s a video which I hope offers you additional encouragement: