Dealing With Depression Part 1: Taking the First Steps

depression part 1Earlier this summer, I was out running. A few miles into my run, my right hip started to bother me. A little research provided me with a several stretches, which alleviated my discomfort. Further investigation has led me to understand that I need to do core exercises and more stretches, or I can expect further trouble down the line. Pain, like the “check engine” light on a car, lets us know that something is wrong. In this way, pain is a good thing. Without pain we would not know when we sustain injuries that need our attention. Depression is one way our brain lets us know that something is not right. We experience this discomfort and it reveals to us that we are not operating the way we were made to operate, as such, something needs to be attended to. Simply ignoring the problem won’t serve as a consistent, long-term solution, but many people choose to respond to warning signs with attempts to ignore the problem. I knew a young woman who put a piece of electrical tape over the maintenance lights in her car, so that she couldn’t see them and wouldn’t worry about what might be wrong. This is essentially what we are doing when we find ways to ignore what ourbrains are telling us through our emotions.

Unlike automotive problems, which are often much simpler to diagnose and repair, depression can be a more daunting task to take on because it is less cut-and-dry. Emotions tend to be harder to figure out and deal with.  The other challenge in finding the root of persistent depression is the malaise that accompany depression. Symptoms of depression also tend to perpetuate the problem, particularly low energy and difficulty concentrating. These tendencies make it difficult to take the steps necessary to begin climbing out of the hole that depressed people often find themselves in. Because of these difficulties, the first concrete step that must be taken by an individual suffering from depression is acknowledging the problem to themselves and, if possible, another person. Following closely at the heels of this first step is making a decision to deal with the problem. This involves recognizing that there is hope for a better tomorrow and that living with depression doesn’t have to be the norm. God designed us for better and promises comfort for those who hurt. Recognizing that God will help us is valuable because He is the great physician, who is capable of healing us of these hurts. None of these steps is easy. It is difficult, particularly for men, to acknowledge depression because there is a stigma associated with emotional struggles.  Unfortunately, this first obstacle is daunting enough that many suffer in silence, sometimes for years, until they reach the point that their emotional discomfort outweighs the dread of being labeled as personally weak or defective in some way. These labels are unfair and inaccurate, but the stigma remains.

Once the decision to work toward overcoming has been made, the groundwork has been laid for the work toward freedom from anguish to commence.

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12 thoughts on “Dealing With Depression Part 1: Taking the First Steps

  1. lucinda408 says:

    As a Christian I experienced depression. At the time I did not realize that I was slowly going into a depressive state. It is something that your environment realizes before you and then after realizing and acknowledging what is happening then you can start by solving it. It feels like climbing out of a hole. Thank God I am out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      It’s a terrible place to find yourself it and it’s so easy to not notice that it’s happening. Praise God for the good work He is doing in your life! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. chicken2003 says:

    Thank you for touching on this! I have dealt with depression most of my adult life. It is such an insidious disease that sometimes I don’t recognize the warning signs before I am in deep. Thankfully, I have found both a good therapist who helps me see patterns developing and a wonderful psychiatrist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      It’s a pretty terrible thing to have to deal with. The hardest part is recognizing the situation and starting the process of digging out of it. It’s very difficult. Having a therapist makes a huge difference. Praise God that you are doing well with this. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

  3. Sean Smith says:

    It might not ever go away. Paul’s model of “God’s grace as sufficient” is of at least a little comfort. In the model you have above, it’s good to remember we have to find the daily routine that gives us mental balance. Unfortunately, we also have to learn to recognize when that mental balance will require more than the daily routine.

    Ideally we can find friend who can help us with both – usually a mutual relationship of dependence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      Absolutely true! Thanks for pointing it out. There are some issues that are simply there for us to deal with for life. In those instances we lean on Him.

      Like

  4. Katherine says:

    I like the comparison between iliotibial band syndrome (at least that’s what caused my hip pain during physical activity, haha) and the onset of depressive symptoms. Also similar, for me at least, is the ability to block out those first warning lights until they become something so consuming that they cannot be ignored. Problem for me is that I often don’t even NOTICE I’m depressed until it’s reached a point where I am severely debilitated by the symptoms. I am still working on how to identify the early symptoms so I can start trying to take measures against it before it becomes a full-blown depressive episode. The problem is that so often, those symptoms look like other things, like you said – fatigue, general disinterest, feeling stressed like every other person in America. Nice post!

    Like

  5. A computer health assessment at work diagnosed me as healthy but depressed a few years back. I was a bit taken back. Knew I was under a lot of stress but did not recognize depression.
    These verses along with the beginning of 2 Corinthians 1 are and have been a comfort for me.
    2 Corinthians 4:10 (NET) 10 always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.

    Like

    • Intended to include verses 8-9
      2 Corinthians 4:8 (NET) 8 We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair;

      2 Corinthians 4:9 (NET) 9 we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed,

      Liked by 2 people

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