“It comes from nowhere yet comes from everywhere. Like seething cauldrons of oil dumped upon your head burning your face, burning your body. You scream in agony to anyone who will deliver you from the pain, but there is no deliverance. Those you know then descend upon you and say “Here is your deliverance” and drive the shafts of their blades deep into your soul. You draw yourself deep inside. You close your eyes, but this does not shut out the blood as it runs down your arms and chest and drips onto your feet. Naked you crawl away and under a crevice in the wall that is too tall to climb. But you are not hidden because the eyes of your own shame stare down upon you condemning you for what you are. There is no relief…only temporary rests in between knowing at any moment its attack will be upon you again….You crawl into a fetal position and imagine you are safe inside away from a world you wish you had never known.”
Wow, that is quite a description of depression! I should know because I wrote it many years ago,
sometime before the year 1995. It almost seems like someone else wrote it though because I have come so far since then. I wasn’t what they called clinically depressed. I wasn’t under a doctor’s care for it and I was never prescribed or been on any prescription for the problem. Neither did I self-medicate with alcohol or other obtainable substances. I was just dealing with a bad situation; a bad marriage that eventually led to me being a single parent raising a 3 and 6 year old on my own. I was having bad panic attacks and anxiety, fear that would grip me and choke me from out of nowhere, as well as extreme worry. I kept a game face on for my kids and made sure they were taken care of and weren’t affected by my demons. Today they are very happy and well adjusted. They are 17 and 20 at this writing and are exceptional. The youngest is in an early college program. I thank God for that. But dealing with the ‘demons’ I was fighting (I use the word demons metaphorically but I am sure there were probably some real ones there too) I had to pray and learn on my own. I had no church, counselor or pastor that cared. I had one friend I could call on the phone when I needed him and he was a powerhouse of faith and always built me up and prayed with me.
I think there are many people like myself out there. Unfortunately many people turn to drugs, alcohol and have nervous breakdowns or do something to make it worse. How did I get through it? Why didn’t I turn to those things? I am writing this to give others hope not to brag. It was awful and the darkest time of my life. I thought I would lose it many times and may have had a couple mini nervous breakdowns. I tried keeping a journal during that time; it helped but once I was through it and tried to go back and re-read those journals they scared me to death, so I burned them. Past was past and it was better left in the past. Depression, fear, worry, anxiety are very real demons to fight (or at least seem to be very real at the time) and we all fight them at one time or another in our lives. But they are also greatly magnified illusions that when fed grow stronger and feed on the power we are giving them over us.
Whatever you do don’t beat yourself up and think you are weak if you aren’t doing so well in the fight. Get professional help if you need it but there were several revelations I had during the time I was going through that I am going to share with you and I hope when applied will help you.
—Don’t get caught on the why me, why did this happen to me train. It is a question that can’t be answered. Usually there is no direct cause. Sometimes life just sucks.
—Don’t look for who to blame. People blame God, the devil, other people and the list goes on. Rather than look for someone or something to blame it on focus your energy on where to go from here. Ask yourself what can you learn from it. Ask yourself if there is something within your power to make the situation better. It may be you need to end a toxic relationship. You may need to move and get a fresh start. You may need to cut off a group of so-called friends that are making the situation worse, even if they mean well. YOU have to decide what is best for YOU not someone else.
—Understand that you are not at the mercy of your thoughts. You can control your thinking. You can reject stinking thinking. You can replace toxic thinking with positive, rejuvenating thinking. You can program your mind to think right. A book I highly recommend on this subject is ‘The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. That book literally saved my life! There are some good instructions on how to reprogram your mind in the Bible , “Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2. There is a lot of bad advice in the world. Find what works for you. Take steps to renew your mind with positive thoughts, true thoughts. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phillipians 4:8
—Exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever. It releases endorphins that can elevate your mood. It is my theory that much of anxiety that leads to panic and anxiety attacks is pent up energy. Your fearful thoughts are causing you to release adrenaline in response to our built-in fight or flight response. This energy has no where to go and it builds up and causes panic attacks. Exercise is a tremendous help for anyone suffering panic attacks.
—Don’t self medicate. Avoid alcohol and drugs. I understand there were many times I thought if I would just get drunk I would at least have relief at least for a while but it is a trap my friend. It becomes too easy to just fade out and not face what you are going through. You really need to face this thing and deal with it. There are some natural things that help like magnesium and even chamomile tea. Some people find St. John’s Wort or Same-E works for them. You may even need to avoid caffeine for a while. Caffeine makes things worse.
—Meditate. Just sit, take 3 deep breaths, close your eyes and set a timer for 15-30min. a day and just make your mind focus on one thing whatever it is (Your breathing, a word, a scripture, whatever). It works wonders!
—Another revelation I had was kind of like a vision. It was like I was out of my body and sitting upon some high threshold with Jesus looking down on myself drawn up on the floor in a fetal position and Jesus said, “That is not you! You are here with me.”. It made me realize I did not have to be that fearful person laying on the floor. It made me realize I was better than that and that I had the power to overcome.
—Realize things only have the power over you that you give them. Don’t be afraid. Worry is nothing but a big ol’ magnifying glass that turns molehills into mountains.Here are a few quotes regarding fear:
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.” —Will Smith from movie ‘After Earth’
“Our fear does not lie in the unknown it lies in leaving what we know.” — Sunni Gail
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” ― C. JoyBell C.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” ― Mark Twain
“Fear should be your slave not your master”—Raven
—Don’t fight it on your own. Reach out spiritually to a higher power. If you need it find one good friend to talk to but don’t wear them out because this is really up to you, no one can do it for you. The earlier you realize this the quicker you will recover. You have the power within to do what needs to be done. Don’t go around talking to everybody that just leads to confusion and exasperates the situation because they all have something different to say and if you aren’t careful you will only seek out those that tell you what you want to hear rather than what you really need to hear. As far as friends go, if you can find only one good friend it is better than not having one at all.
Fear, sadness, even depression are the battles we all seem to fight on some level everyday of our lives. Sometimes it is worse from person to person and day to day. Sometimes there are legitimate medical reasons like chemical imbalance, malfunctioning glands like the thyroid and probably lots of others that can contribute to fear, sadness and depression. That being said though as human beings there is always a spiritual side to things, a spiritual warfare that contributes to these things. We may or may not can deal with the medical issues related to the problems we have but we can deal with the spiritual and mental issues that exasperate a situation.
Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. Negative thoughts create a negative life. Worry, doubt, confusion, depression (most cases), anger, feelings of condemnation, all these are attacks on your mind. We must learn to: Gain control over our mind and find freedom and peace and recognize damaging thoughts and stop them from influencing our life. Be patient with yourself even when you make mistakes. Arm yourself with positive thinking.
Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart so is he. What do you think you are? If you think you are weak and fearful, you will be weak and fearful. It helped me to find out who the Bible said I was and trained myself to think that way.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says bring every thought captive. Control your thoughts! Where the mind goes the man follows. Get your mind on an ice cream sundae long enough you will go and get one. If you think someone has hurt you long enough you will not treat them right. We can do something about what we think about. You are not at the mercy of every thought that pops in your head.
Did you know you can think thoughts on purpose? Sure you can. And it is important that you do just that! Take some time everyday to have a think session and meditate on positive thoughts. Get one of those Bible promise books. It is a topically arranged easy to carry book. I have taken it in the doctor’s office many times while I was sitting in the waiting room reading the verses out loud to keep from becoming fearful. Think things on purpose. It will change you. You may be thinking ‘what about the person who is always thinking bad thoughts and prospers’? Well, you don’t know, that person may be miserable inside. You can have all the ‘stuff’ in world and not have peace, joy and happiness.
Colossians 3:2 says set your mind on things above. Setting your mind is one of the most important things you can learn. Setting your mind means making up your mind ahead of time how you will react to a given situation. For example you need to rehearse in your mind in advance what you are going to do when faced with temptation or fearful thinking. If you already have your mind made up what to do ahead of time then when it comes you will know exactly how to react. Athletes prepare ahead of time and train themselves. Lawyers prepare them selves ahead of time. Why shouldn’t you do the same? For example: I am not going to worry. I am not going to fear. Then that tape will play back in your mind when the time comes. That way your emotions don’t drive you. You know what you are going to do ahead of time. Whatever it is. Talk to yourself ahead of time. Set your thoughts. Get the idea? You program your mind ahead of time. Then you will not be a slave to outside stimulus. This is what Bible calls transforming and renewing your mind (Romans 12). Decide ahead of time what you will do and don’t just react when the circumstance comes, act according to how you set your mind to do. It helps some people to go ahead and think of the worst thing that can happen then deal with it. That way you have already dealt with it. But guess what? Studies say 90% of what we worry about never happens anyway..
Renew your mind and keep it renewed. Like a car or house you have to keep it up. It is a continual process. Renew the entire mind Romans12 says. Deal with every thought. Don’t condemn yourself just move forward. It takes a while. It took a while to get this way it may take a while to get free. I might not be where I need to be but I’m not where I was yesterday. It takes commitment. Write notes around the house. Have think time daily. Think on the right things and write down what to think for the day if that will help. Post notes everywhere with positive, life-giving thoughts and when you come to one take time to read it out loud. It is important to speak it. When you speak you hear it and your faith is increased: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The devil hears it too and he has to flee. God hears it and as you come into agreement with Him He comes to your aid.
1 Peter 1:13 says, “Gird up the loins of your mind”. What does this mean? In olden times they wore a robe and they would grab their skirt and pull it up and tuck it in their belt so they could run and nothing would hinder them or trip and make them fall. Maybe you have seen your granny do this to work in the fields. So gird up the loins of your mind is to get all the junk out of your way that hinders you or that would trip you and make you fall.
I hope this helps. I have gave you some good practical advice, things that have worked for me. Apply these principles. Even if you are getting professional help these principles will help you.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER RESOURCES I HAVE TO OFFER FREE OF CHARGE:
—Winning The Battle of the Mind (A written study.)
—Get Your Mind Right (A radio show format of music and teaching by me.)
—Meditation on subject of depression (A guided meditation to listen to and participate in.)
—Meditation on subject of fear (A guided meditation to listen to and participate in.)
—Meditation on worry and anxiety (A guided meditation to listen to and participate in.)
—Youtube video I made on worry, anxiety and fear
—Youtube video I made on importance of our thoughts
—Youtube video I made on mindfulness
—Take Back Your Power! (A Youtube video I made.)