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Coping with Depression

Here are some ideas to help you cope with depression—from people who have found them to be helpful in their own lives.

girl crying FTR TSP 179007478Remember: It’s OK to Cry

Clinical depression is not the same as depression associated with grief. When his friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. Being a Christian doesn’t mean being happy all the time. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to cry.

—Gina Lee

devozine Fitness Test FTR TSP 119455375
Exercise

Being depressed sucked up all my energy; but when I forced myself to take brisk walks every day, my spirits eventually lifted. Walking outside helped because natural light decreases depression.

 

Express Your Feelings

My counselor assured me that my feelings of anger and hopelessness were normal. She encouraged me to talk about my feelings with close friends so that they could support me too.

Bible Reading Guy2 TS 137299797Rely on God’s Word

I wrote Bible verses on index cards and read them for encouragement throughout the day. Listening to Christian music and focusing on the lyrics also helped me to rely on God’s promises rather than on my feelings.

—Elizabeth Irby

Hear and Tell Faith Stories

I’ve been so depressed that I’ve considered suicide—as if that would solve anything. I was online reading about suicide when I came across stories of faith and hope in Jesus. Jesus saved my life. When your life seems hopeless, look to Jesus—and to people of faith.

teen comforting friend Ftr TSP 114333866Look for God’s Blessings

A good friend, good nutrition, and communion with God can help depression. God did not get angry with Elijah for being depressed. Instead God loved him, fed him, and led him to a friend. (See 1 Kings 19:4–8, 19:19–21.) When you’re down, look for the blessings God is sending your way.

—Jason Ricciardi

Pray

I struggle with depression every day. One thing that helps me is to go to my room to kneel and pray. Then I feel better about myself and about all that is going on around me.

—Brian Lloyd

Seek Help

Though talking to friends is helpful, your peers may not have the ability or wisdom to help you climb out of depression. It’s important to talk to an adult you trust—a parent, guardian, teacher, pastor, youth pastor, youth group leader—or to seek professional help.

devozine Journaling TS 78395952Write Through It

Writing in a journal can help you to express your emotions and to discover patterns that cause you to spiral downward. Ask yourself: When do I feel depressed? What events trigger or contribute to my depression? How does depression affect me? How does my faith help me to deal with depression?

Confide in God

God walks with us through the darkest valleys. God hurts when we hurt and gives us hope when we feel hopeless. Seek out and confide in God.

—Teena Stewart

 

DIG DEEPER

Think of people you know who are depressed. Pray for them. Offer them help and the reassurance of God’s love.

If you are struggling with depression, try some of the ideas in this article to help you cope. And remember: God is with you.

NEED HELP?

If you are depressed and need help immediately, talk to a trusted adult, contact a doctor or counselor in your area, or call the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). Depression doesn’t have to ruin your life.

To learn more, read “Normal Now,” another article about depression by youth therapist Jim Still-Pepper.

— from devozine (November/December 2004). Copyright © 2004 by Upper Room Ministries. All rights reserved.

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