Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:4
How do we hang onto hope when we’re struggling with hopelessness? It’s an answer I’m trying to find myself. Having battled severe bouts of depression off and on for years, there are times when my lens on life becomes blurred and my thoughts so negative, hope feels out of reach. But it’s there, because God is our hope and He never changes. We remember that He is the anchor that we ground ourselves to when being tossed about in a sea of despair.
With depression, come feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, a lack of motivation and energy, a loss of interest in things once enjoyed, unbearable fatigue or insomnia, and a mind flooded with negative thoughts. Attempting daily tasks can be a real battle. Some days are a constant treading of water to survive and keep from drowning. Some of my worst episodes of depression were best described to friends, this way-if there was a pill ten feet from me that could make me feel 100% better, it was just too hard to get out of bed and grab it. It was just too hard. Everything feels too hard-facing the day, brushing your teeth, taking a shower. Simple everyday tasks become mountain climbers. Depression sucks everything from your being. There is a deadness, an emptiness, a void inside. It’s a deep, dark abyss.
So how do we hold onto that hope-to Him, during these times? Taking captive each negative thought that comes to mind, we give them to Jesus, then we direct our thoughts towards Him and fix our eyes on the One who can give us peace. While keeping our focus on Him, we make make ourselves do one activity we once enjoyed, for fifteen minutes, setting a timer if we need to. Then, we force ourselves to find things to be grateful for each day, writing them down if we must, and we remind ourselves that every good and perfect gift that we have to be thankful for is from Jesus. And we remember that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us-always with us.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” -Psalm 62:5 So, we rest in Him. And we fill ourselves with His Word. When depression makes every little thing feel like it requires so much effort and even reading the Bible is hard, we can listen by turning on an audible Bible app, such as YouVersion, and listening to the Word. Psalms 130:5-6 says “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.” We wait. We pour out our hearts to Him. And we hope in his powerful Word. Then, reminding ourselves that this is temporary, we tell ourselves that this too, shall pass, because it will-even though it feels as though it will last forever. Having lived through too many bouts of depression to count, I am living proof. Grab that Anchor, hang on for dear life, ruminate on His Word and don’t let go. Let’s let Him be our light in the depths of our darkness.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. -Psalm 40:1-3
*This is not medical advice, nor is this meant to be a substitute for medical help. It is my personal experience I am sharing and what I am currently trying to do to help myself during a season of depression.