The demon of depression has chased me since I was a kid. I remember being in elementary school and feeling like my chest had a heavy weight sitting on it. I didn’t know what it was at the time– even after a teenage suicide attempt, it took me well into my adulthood to come up with the diagnosis “depression.”
The last time I remember having an episode was about 2 and half years ago. It was August and we had spent the summer settling into our new home in Athens. All of a sudden it hit. I crawled into my bed and knew I didn’t want to get out for a very, very long time.
There are two peculiar things I’ve noticed about depression:
- When you’re NOT in the middle of an attack, you feel like you’re healed. Hurry! It’s gone! I’m cured! This is why so many people who are on anti-depressants go off their medication. They start to feel better and think they don’t need them.
- Panic sets in at the first sign of an attack (at least for me it does).
Okay, I admit it, I was one of those people who started to feel good and ditched the meds. Saul and I had a long talk about it. I had made a lot of behavioral changes (exercise, no alcohol, daily acts of kindness, daily time reading the Bible). Saul was on board. He agreed to “watch me” and let me know if my mood seemed to be slipping.
With the exception of that one spell two years ago, which thankfully lasted less than a week, I have been fine. But I am diligent in minding my mind.
What’s that mean, “minding my mind”?
It means that I refuse to let my mind wander over to the dark side. I choose what I’m going to think about. When thoughts enter my mind that begin to give me that “heavy weight” feeling on my chest like I had as a child, I stop. I purposely reroute my mind and think of something else. That’s why I memorize scripture; so I have something positive and truthful to meditate on when the clouds comes.
Sneaky as depression is, it likes to try to wiggle its way in first thing in the morning. The moment my alarm goes off, before I even step out of bed, depression says to me, “What is the point of getting out of bed? You won’t accomplish anything that matters anyway.”
I can only listen to that voice for about 3 seconds before I have to get something else on my brain or I know I am going to be a wreck for the day.
So that’s where today’s memory verse comes in. I know I need a word from God to memorize and use first thing in the morning, and I thought maybe you do, too.
Spend the week committing it to memory so you can pull it out before you even put your feet on the floor. Ready? Here it is…
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
On a side note, this verse was written by Jeremiah. He was known as the weeping prophet because he just couldn’t stop crying. I guess he knew a thing or two about depression, huh? Actually, he was sad because people wouldn’t stop sinning and follow God. But even in the midst of his anguish, with his world literally falling apart around him, Jeremiah stopped to remember that God is good. I hope you’ll remember that truth today, too. God loves you and so do I.