I’ve been in a fight with depression for most of my life. It stems from my broken childhood, and many of the lessons I learned during that time. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to make my fight public. The more I speak, I realize that many people don’t know how to fight it. When you fight depression it can feel like stopping a waterfall. However, when you fight depression With God’s help, it’s amazing. All you have to do is ask for help. Just say, “God Help Me,” and he’ll hear your voice, and help.
Below are my tactics and prayers that stop it or lessen the effects. You can survive this, I know it and believe it.
Depression has a way of sneaking up on you. When it finally pounces it will knock you to your knees and choke you. I don’t mean to be graphic, that’s just how it feels sometimes. Below are some of the tools I’ve used in the past to combat this, but fighting depression with God’s help has made the most impact. These other tools have worked, however, sometimes they aren’t 100%.
Remember Who You Are; Ask God For Help With Depression.
One of the best scenes in the Disney movie “The Lion King,” is where Simba and his Father Mufasa are talking after his death (Spoiler alert). As Mufasa starts to disappear in the sky, one final cry is heard. “Remember who you are.” I’ve always found this to be a profound sentence, how does one forget who they are? Disney does a great job showing how samba forgot, and eventually found who he was. Many of us watching can relate because we’ve all forgotten who we were made to be.
Each of us has our own unique set of skills and abilities. These were given to us at birth, whether you believe in God or genetics, they are yours. What have you done to utilize them? Have you tried to improve them? Do you even know what your skill and abilities are?
Gods Help, Can Destroy Your Depression
Finding yourself is an important part of childhood/early teen life. In my apartment on the fridge, I have a dry-erase board. I tend to write messages and encouragement to myself. It’s a habit I’ve developed over the years. It keeps me focused and looking to the future. If I’m having a day where I’m depressed. One of the first things I lose is hope in tomorrow, and when that happens. I start a vicious downward cycle.
On the flip side, when you know there is a tomorrow, you’ll feel hope, joy, and excitement. When you fight depression with God’s help that is the first line of defense that you must hold. If you lose there, you’ll lose everywhere. It’s like the nerve center of your whole system.
Who Am I?
At one point, I actually wrote a manifesto for myself. At least it was in the style of one. I did this so I had a reference point for who I am. Whenever I started to get depressed, or tired of fighting. I read it out loud to myself. I’ll keep repeating it until I believe it to be true. It should go without saying, that I never did this in public. Being depressed is one thing, everyone thinking you’re crazy is another.
My name is Sterling, and I’ve been put on this planet for a purpose. I know this because the God of heaven and earth died so I might have life. He did because he loves me, and he’s got a plan for my life.
Eventually, I started to write more about who I believe I am. Some of the main themes I’ve written about are being a brother, a son, and a warrior. The first three make sense. The last one comes from a belief that I have to fight for the less fortunate. I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. Especially, if I see someone in trouble. These are the basic and simple emotions that I have in my heart. You could almost call them base feelings, or how I view myself. While things can get deeper, this view makes up who I am.
How Can I Ever Find Myself?
The answer to this question is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. To find yourself, you must lose yourself. I never realized how little I knew, until I gave my life to Jesus, it was because of him that I started to see.
God created the heavens and the earth, and he created you. When you reconnect with the creator of the universe, great things can happen. He’s the one who made you, he’s the one who hears you, and he’s the one who can fix you. Why worry, when God has everything under control? Depression with God’s helping is letting go.
You can reconnect with him right now, all you need to do is ask him. Tell Jesus, that you’re sorry, and you want him in your life. If you ask him, he’ll meet you wherever you’re at.
I would’ve never found myself if it hadn’t been for Jesus. So many people in the world today bash God, Jesus, and Christianity, but they understand true Christianity. Most Christians in America don’t. Christianity in its purest form is two things. The first is loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus Said To Love Each Other
That’s something Jesus himself said, and I don’t see a lot of love these days. Jesus says an interesting statement in John 13:35.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Find yourself in him, he created you, and he can help you find your way.
Trusting God Is Believing In His Character
I’ve written extensively on this topic, but when you don’t trust God, you’re saying what Jesus did wasn’t enough. It’s like slapping him in the face and telling him to go through the pain again.
Jesus came and died for you, and it wasn’t because he wanted you to visit the church every Sunday. It was certainly not for you to sing weird 20-year-old Christian songs and do a bake sale. Jesus died because he loves you, he did it for you, and then he rose again so you could be with him for eternity.
Finding yourself can take a long time, but it singlehandedly holds the line when depression hits. Sometime soon I’ll write a complete blog post about finding yourself in Christ. Until then know this, he is there for you, and if you call out, he will answer.
Find An Outlet To Release Your Emotions
When you fight depression, finding an outlet to release your emotions is key. During the winter I snowboard quite a bit (I’m almost OCD about it). This year I became a snowboard instructor for little kids, and I had a blast doing it. During the summer I go biking and try to play as much sand volleyball as possible.
Fight Depression By Working Out
When your outlets are physically exhausting, there’s a lot less space in your brain for depression. Physical exercise releases endorphins into your bloodstream, and it’s harder to get or stay depressed.
In my life, I’ve found that to be the case. I don’t have major fights with depression anymore. Working out releases a lot of tension. After a long day on the slopes, I can go home, write a blog post, and I’ll feel great. It’s tiring, but it makes things epic.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can feel depression creeping into my life. Originally It would blindside me, but like anything in life, depression has some tells. Usually, I’ll have a feeling that something is off a few days prior before it hits me. Once I realize what’s happening, I have to make a choice. Let me spin out of control, or prepare to stand and fight. Spinning out of control is just surrendering, but fighting is hard. When you choose to stand and fight depression with God’s help, you’ll still feel pain and heartache, but when you win. The reward is freedom.
I spent years doing this, and the breakthrough is amazing.
Fight Depression With God And Hobbies
Finding a hobby can help fight depression as well. If you’re unable to work out due to bad weather or a health condition, it might be the next best thing. Anything that takes your mind off the fear, worry, and self-doubt can be a blessing.
Some of my hobbies include snowboarding (and writing about that), playing PS4, and reading different books. I do this to clear my mind, and when my mind is clear. It gives me a lot of peace and joy. I can hear the voice of God a lot easier at this point, so I try to stay here often.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to do the same physical exercises or hobbies I’ve said. Go out, figure out who you are, and be yourself. Do something only you will enjoy. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after doing it.
Believe That Tomorrow Things Will Get Better
When depression hits you, it forces you to your knees, and you feel your state go into a downward spiral. From your viewpoint, there is no way out, and it’s only a matter of time before you crash.
That is nowhere near the truth, and you need to stop believing that lie. When I struggled with my emotions and constantly had to fight depression. I used a term that I called my 2-month theory. My theory stemmed from a realization that the things I had worried about wouldn’t matter in the next 2 months. It was either really little things or Giant things I couldn’t change if I tried.
Life is short, stop worrying about things you can’t change. Try to reprogram your thoughts so you focus on the things that matter. Stop looking at one tree, take a step back, and look at the beauty of the forest around you.
You can do this, at first it is extremely difficult and exhausting, but it’s a good skill to learn. This is a game of momentum that goes both ways. Your daily choices will reinforce it in whatever direction you choose.
You Have To Try And Stay Positive
I’m my own harshest critic, sometimes I’m amazed at how much self-hate I have in me. Being positive is one of my strengths, but also can be a weakness. When I lose the ability to be positive, everything in my life falls apart. It takes forever when I fall, it’s like a deep and dark pit that I don’t wanna get out of.
I’m positive in almost everything I do, but when the negativity hits. It’s a steep climb back. Make the choice now, you will stay positive, and look on the bright side.
How Do You Stay Positive?
If you’ve started working on the last few items, staying positive shouldn’t be a huge issue. However, if you’re like me, sometimes you get lazy, and let everything slide. Staying positive can be a difficult task, but it is not impossible.
When I start to fall into depression the first thing I notice is negative talk. This isn’t my normal sarcasm. Literally, everything becomes hopeless, and there is no way out. If I see it quick enough, I’ll try and turn things around. Most of the time I’m successful because I force myself to see the brighter side of things. However this bugs me too, I’m a cynic, and sometimes I don’t know how I should react.
Staying positive can be as simple as writing a list of things you’re good at. Things you enjoy doing, or people you love to be around. Reading that list will help you shift your perspective, and you’ll eventually realize there are other things out there besides you. With this, you can effect change in your life.
Certain types of music can be of help to you as well. I suggest you find something that makes your heart happy, and gets you moving. My snowboard playlist does this for me, it’s got everything from 1970s funk, to modern vocal trance. The only requirements I place on the song are that it makes me move, and has an epic baseline.
Stop Believing The Lies In Your Head
We all struggle with the lies in our heads, and this goes hand in hand with the previous topic. Lies are speaking to you, they’re saying you won’t be able to win, they say just give up, and they continue to speak.
That is until you learn how to shut them up.
How To Identify The Lies.
When you read the Bible daily, it can help you identify the lies in your head. When you fight depression having a strong vocabulary in the Bible can make or break you. It’s an excellent tool for staving off the lies of the enemy, and it helps you figure out who God made you to be.
Fight Depression With God And Believing His Truth
When you know who you are, and who God made you to be. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. It might not happen right away, but if you stick to your guns and continue to hit back. You’ll find your freedom. The fight with depression will end and you’ll be free. This is because God has helped, and you’ve done your part as well.
Organize Your Thoughts, Set Some Goals
This is a more practical method for fighting depression. When you get yourself organized and set a few goals, you’re looking to the future. When you look to the future you break free of your funk and look forward to something.
This will stop a lot of issues with depression. When depressed, people tend to think only of the short term, but if you have a long-term plan set shortly, you’ll have a light on the darkest night.
Remind Yourself Of The Goals You’ve Accomplished
Set reminders throughout the day/week for goals you’ve accomplished. It’s a great way to stay on task and feel like things are happening. Especially when you’re just treading water.
Find Some Honest Friends You Can Talk With
This can be one of the hardest things to find. When depressed you won’t like the idea of leaving the house. For most people, you’ll have to leave the house to find them. Friends worth anything aren’t just lying around, and they won’t be easy to find. They’re definitely worth it though.
You can’t get car insurance right before the accident. So how do you expect to find friends right before you get depressed? Good friends will help you fight depression, and even when things are going well, those friendships will help you keep it that way. Remember when I talked about endorphins? The same thing happens when good friends are around.
What Are Good Friends? How Can They Help Me Fight Depression?
I understand in our society this is a difficult question. I’m a member of the last generation before the internet. As a kid, I’d find my neighborhood friends by seeing whose house had the bikes outside. We had one phone for the whole house and it was attached to the wall by a cord.
It was primitive, but we knew how to make friends. Life is different now (not worse, just different). If you have trouble making deep and meaningful relationships you might have to rediscover a way to do that.
The good news is that you have all the skills needed already. You might need to polish them up. My friends are great people, I’ll send out a text asking for help, and I have instant replies. When they send out a text for the same thing, I try to reply fast too.
A big reason our society has trouble making friends is that we only focus on ourselves. If you expect your friends to jump into the fray and help you. You’ll have to do the same for them. When you find someone who’ll do that, you’ve got an epic friend.
Staying On A Schedule Helps Fight Depression
Having a schedule is important when you fight depression. Having a full day ahead of you with nothing to do, or a long list is scary and daunting. When I have a busy day, I’ll make the list even longer by putting things like a shower or brushing my teeth on it. This helps me feel like something has been accomplished and the list is getting shorter. Even when the day has just begun.
After that, get to work. Whenever I do this, and the ball gets rolling, a couple more things will come to mind and I’ll be adding to the list. Staying busy is a great way to fight depression.
Getting Enough Sleep Helps Fight Depression
Just like having a schedule going to bed at the same time every night and getting a good amount of sleep help you fight depression. When your mind has proper rest it’s less susceptible to the lies that depression will speak to your heart.
I’d recommend sleeping 7-8 hours a night. I know it helps me, and it’ll definitely help you too.
Find Help When Fighting Depression
Depression is no joke, and you might have to be honest with yourself and get some help. There is no shame in that. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to admit it. When you get struck down by depression, it’s sometimes a difficult thing to admit.
Whether you find a counselor a psychologist, or a member of the clergy. If you need help please find it. You were created to accomplish some epic goals in this life. Make sure you fight the depression in your heart and mind.
Sterling grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid he loved skateboarding but mostly did street riding. He injured his ankle badly when he dropped into his first half pipe. His skateboarding slowed down after that, but he still loved the sport. While in his 20's he needed to make a change, so he did some world traveling with a motivational speaking group. Through it all, he visited 46 states and 3 continents and eventually lived in Mississippi. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the state. He jumped into the fray, helping mobilize support for the evacuees of New Orleans & The Gulf Coast. During the aftermath he helped run a shelter and drove food & medical supplies to affected areas by truck. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, runs his snowboard shop, and shreds Vail Whenever he can.