DEPRESSION - Tips To Escape The PitsFeb 03, 2023
Watch on Youtube or listen right here.
In this Episode of 'Under the Rug', I was asked a rather direct question that I believe frames this blog on the deep and complex topic of 'Depression'.
Q: Have you experienced depression before, be it in yourself, or in those around you? What's the story there, and how did it impact your day to day?
Watch the full episode on Youtube, or, listen right here. However, if you're a reader, and you're curled up right now, ready to dig a little deeper, then read on...
A: I have actually battled with depression on and off for many years and something I have learned along the way is that there is always a root cause of depression. Depression is a symptom of a deeper problem. Figuring out what the root cause of the depression is, is actually an important part of the equation to recovery...
One of my own personal stories of depression takes me back to a moment in time where we had just come out of a very difficult season as a family. We actually had to move house as a direct result, and we had just spent the weekend together moving into our new home.
It was Monday morning, my hubby and two sons had disappeared off to work, when I found myself alone, and surrounded by boxes. Out of nowhere, a debilitating thought came crashing into my mind.
"Can you guarantee that you will never face any more trauma for as long as you live?"
Immediately my mathematical brain began doing the numbers. I was in my early forty's at that point and so if I'm going to make it to a ripe old age, then I've got at least another forty to fifty years to go before I graduate to Heaven. With that revelation, it hit me across the chops that of course, I cannot guarantee that I will never face any more trauma for as long as I live.
With that, my mental health plummeted.
I spiraled into the darkest depression I have ever experienced in my life. Most times, depression feels like a thunder cloud following you wherever you go. Or, it's like you've fallen into the bottom of a pit, that's too deep for you to simply climb out of alone. Very little brings you happiness, you feel a weight on your shoulders, you don't have any energy for the things you usually enjoy and it's certainly not a question of just 'snapping out of it'.
But this time, it was different. There was a deeper darkness to it. The more I allowed my mind to feed on the debilitating thought of having to navigate more trauma in the future, it led me further and further down this dark abyss... where I could see no way out.
Please keep in mind, I am a born again Christian at this point. I have loved Jesus with all of my heart since the age of four. If you've ever come across any of my writings in the past, you will know this. Does it mean that Christians are exempt from feelings of depression, anxiety and hopelessness? No. When you're smack bang in the middle of a life altering event that sideswipes you when you least expected it, quite often the beliefs of your 'spirit-man' (as I call it) disappears in the background, while your physical, mental and emotional man rears itself to the surface.
My spirit-man (we humans are made up of flesh, soul and spirit) knows the scriptures and truly believes them deep down. 2 Timothy 1:7 for example:
'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.'
I know this passage and I know it well. I remember my Mama teaching me this verse when I was a little girl and used to have night terrors after my brother died. She would come running into my room, calling me as I screamed, trying to wake me from my nightmare. After I'd calmed down, she would gently stroke my head and quietly quote scriptures just like 2 Timothy 1:7 to help me sleep again.
It's as if there is this invisible tug of war taking place between my flesh and soul (mind, will, emotions) versus my spirit-man.
My spirit-man is saying to me 'Stop feeding the depression by dwelling on such debilitating thoughts'. While my flesh and soul acts as if it's not that simple. As if I'm being forced into feeding the depression. Which only results in me digging a far deeper pit, and so the spiral continues.
So what do you do? You're stuck in the rabbit hole of depression, you know that it's affecting not only your own well-being, but the lives of everyone around you and that something has to change. But how?
It's time to listen to Ep 2 of my podcast! I'm sorry, but there is no escape. ☺️ I bring you my Top Tips to Escaping the Pits. Watch on Youtube or listen right here. We are talking practical steps that you can take right now to help you break free from depression. And if you would like to talk more about what is covered in this episode or if you would like to know more about the spirit-man of who you are, then please reach out. Drop me a DM on Instagram or Facebook and let's talk further.
One issue that we are facing in Australia and I believe it is the same around the world right now, is unprecedented wait times for appointments with Psychologists and Counselors. I was chatting to a Doctor recently and he said the average wait time in Melbourne alone is three years. Does this mean we have to tolerate our mental health struggles for this long? No. It's time to be proactive and do what we can from our side to see a shift in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. My top tips are from my own personal journey and I hope they will provide you with some practical steps that you can implement right now.
Let me close with this:
If I'm honest, even to this day, and having lived through many bouts of depression in the past, I have come to realise that I must consciously be mindful of what I allow myself to mediate on. My fellow Christians are reminding me to read Philippians 4:8 as they read this. Yes, yes yes, I know that scripture too :) It's very clear on what we should be meditating on. But let me give you an example to paint the scene as to what reality can look like sometimes:
I follow Attorney Ben Crump. He's a trial lawyer for justice and is more often than not, leading the charge for families of victims who have died at the hands of law enforcement in America. Recently we saw the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five police officers. It was brutal and devastating. I cannot even imagine what his Mama and precious family and friends must be going through. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the actual footage and I certainly will not be watching it at any time in the future.
Here's the thing. While I empathize with others, I still have to be careful how deep I dig into these sorts of traumatic events that are constantly occurring across the earth, before my physical, mental and emotional being, begins to flounder. If I linger too long on these heartbreaking issues, my mind spirals. I'm not saying that we should ignore what's going on around us. No. Not at all. But I am saying, it's important to create healthy boundaries so that you are not proactively feeding your own demise.
The same applies when we are faced with life altering, traumatic events for ourselves. Ecclesiastes 3 in the Bible paints the picture of how there is a time for everything. None of us are exempt from trauma. There is a time for grieving and sorrow. But that too must end at some point. This is about learning to build our resilience muscles. Being able to identify the triggers that have smashed us in the past, so that we are better equipped to handle whatever comes our way in the future.
If you are reading this right now and have battled with or are battling with depression, or maybe you know someone who needs to hear this, then this episode is for you. Regardless of where you're at, I want you to encourage you with the following:
You are more resilient that you realize. There is a depth to you that you that you only tap into when faced with the worst that life can bring. Listen to my Top Tips, step out and take action, just one step at a time is all that is required... and you will see. A shift will come. Then before you know it, you will be helping someone else who's fallen into their own pit, and you'll be pulling them right back out, so that they too can get up and live the life they have been put on this earth for.
I hope this blog has touched your heart and you are feeling a sense of hope renewed. You are not alone precious one. We are all in this together.
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