Practical Advice for Those Struggling with Depression

John Bunyan described the struggle with depression as wrestling with Giant Despair in Doubting Castle in The Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s a complicated, multi-faceted struggle that many, many people walk through everyday. I recently found some good practical advice from Sally Clarkson on how to do battle with this giant and I thought I’d share it here.

"For me, making a specific plan to face the giant of depression always lessens its impact and shortens its duration. I have a little mental checklist that I review:

1. Do I need sleep? I need to do whatever it takes to restore physically.

2. Have I been reading my Bible? Even if it is putting an app on my phone with a voice I can listen to while still in bed in the mornings or at night, I need to hear from the God who walks through these valleys with me.

3. Do I feel alone? I need to call someone who is a spiritually engaging friend, one who loves God, loves me, and whom I can completely trust. I will meet that person for coffee or lunch to share my heart and to ask for prayer.

4. Am I watching my health? Exercise is a stress reducer and helps happy hormones to develop. I have developed the habit of walking and hiking.

5. How can I get help? Is there someone who can help me clean my home? Do I have a friend I can ask to keep my kids, so I can have a little time away?

6. What do I need to invest in the joy factor of my life? Am I creating spaces of beauty for my own soul—candles, music, fresh flowers, and other such life-giving things? Perhaps it’s as simple as going to a movie with my husband or friend, or buying a new scarf."

Sally Clarkson, Desperate