Move the Mountain Monday: March 28, 2016
Depression and Anxiety
How to Overcome
There is an epidemic in the world that many know, some talk about, but few truly accept. The epidemic is mental illness. There are many diagnoses but I want to talk about the two that I believe are most common; depression and anxiety. I believe that everyone faces one or both of these at some point in our lives.
I dealt with both of these and have been healed of them by our Lord and Savior. When I was an adolescent I always felt out of place but wasn’t sure why. I turned to exercise and felt better about myself yet still felt out of place.
What I didn’t know at the time was the exercising was keeping my mentality in balance. Once I stopped exercising (and began self-medicating in multiple ways) my behaviors grew worse. After the birth of my first born, I became extremely depressed. A psychiatrist started prescribing me medications for depression and general anxiety but never once told me anything about post-partum depression. Though I was still self-medicating with marijuana, I was also taking the prescribed medication with little results. All the psychiatrist would do was up the dosage of the medication (and yes he knew I was using marijuana). He was not interested in the reasoning behind anything I was going through. I did have therapists that I would see but they did not seem to care about the why behind my behaviors either (few did but that was in my early adult years-none after). I felt trapped. This trapped feeling became a devastating never ending cycle that caused my behavior towards others and myself to progress in a negative way.
I felt desperate. Sometime during this spiral I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ but didn’t put my trust in Him. Due to my lack of knowledge of the Lord, I put my trust in the people and leaders of the church. Big mistake. I once again felt trapped and felt worse than before I started coming to church. I soon started to feel that this was why I stayed away from church in the first place. I never denounced Christ but I did feel I made a mistake in going to church. My depression increased as well as my anxiety to the point that my diagnosis from the psychiatrist changed. I was now diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder. Even though this medical professional diagnosed me with this disorder, he never fully explained it to me. I won’t go into detail about this here except to say that the diagnosis caused me to spiral into the third (and, hallelujah, last) major nervous breakdown of my life.
Because of this and other mistakes I made as my behavior spiraled out of control, I became desperate again. Here is the major point of this all. Remember, by this time I had accepted Jesus Christ into my life. He saved me and started to change me. It was He that started to soften my heart. As I was spiraling out of control, He was bringing me back into control even though I didn’t know it at the time. I started to read my Bible more and more. The more I would simply read it, the less trapped I would feel. The less trapped I would feel, the more I grew to love the Lord. The more I grew to love the Lord, the more I grew to love myself and others. The more I grew to love myself and others, the more I forgave myself and others. Do you see the cycles in this writing; the negative and positive?
I am 8 years healed from depression, anxiety, and schizoaffective disorder and no medication. Some may call that nonsense but my life experiences say otherwise. I no longer use marijuana and I have been back to church and fellowshipping with my fellow brothers and sisters. Are there times when depression and anxiety try to come against me and gain entrance back into my life? Yes. However, my relationship with the Lord and His word have grown tremendously and so has my trust and belief in Him that He will never leave me or forsake me. He will fight my battles that I give to Him to handle.
For anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, or any mental illness, this is what I want to say. Sometimes medication is needed. Never be afraid to talk to your doctors about anything. Never be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know what questions to ask start with is it temporary. Sometimes it is a one-time incident that occurred in our life to trigger us into this. Other times it is a biological/hormonal imbalance that must be regulated. Ask questions. That is on the natural level. On a spiritual level know that God created you in His image through His Word which is Jesus Christ Himself. If you do not believe in Jesus yet feel torn to, start reading the Bible. God knows exactly what is in our hearts even when we don’t. If it is in your heart to believe but you are clouded by doubt, the Lord will come to you. He always finds a way because He is The Way. As you start reading the Bible you will start to be cleansed of your past; past thoughts, past hurts, and past doubts and fears. It is a process that will last a lifetime but you will begin to feel His presence and His love.
If you are able to, try to understand this. Depression is rooted in feeling unworthy; not good enough. This comes from our past. Anxiety is rooted in control to avoid negative things from happening; the future. Neither are rooted in the here and now; the present. You only have this moment, the time you are in now. You cannot change the past but you can forgive it. You do not know what will happen in the future but you can help shape how you will react to it by decisions and choices you make in the current moment. Let the Lord in more and more. Learn to understand who He is and what He says about you by His Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit leads and guides us always if we allow Him to. You will begin to become saturated in His love and more able to receive it and Him (Jesus) more and more as your heart is changed. I was not able to sit in silence without my mind bombarding me with evil and negative thoughts against myself and others. Now, I am able to sit in silence and those negative thoughts are few and far between; almost none existent (still a work in progress). I am more peaceful than I have ever been. It started with one choice; to believe and accept Jesus Christ. That one choice along with the choice to be obedient to the Lord in all things is how to become an overcomer.
Isaiah 26:3-4 – You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
Revelation 3:21 – To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Alicia R. Shipe
[Note: I am not a doctor. Please do not use this post as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding any diagnoses. This post is simply my life experience and to help guide anyone on a spiritual level to the Lord and His ways.]