Last Sunday, I sat in church and listened to a message about anxiety and depression. The guest pastor said please don’t tell someone they just need to trust God more. He added, it might make someone want to punch you in the face. Like I said, those comments don’t typically help, but today I want to talk about what does help!

Here are FIVE things that usually help me when I’m struggling with anxiety or depression and to be honest, I’ve been struggling with the latter hard core.

#1: Embrace GRACE

One thing I’ve discovered is that I don’t have to pray harder or read my bible longer or sing louder to make it easier to deal with depression because it is not dependent on ME or anything I have to DO. Instead, I simply need to accept God’s GRACE.

God’s love is EXTRAVAGANT. He loves me just the way I am. He is more than okay with me for not being okay. He’s okay with you too! Okay? And for our friends + family who struggle to understand: Extending GRACE is where it’s at.

#2: Self-Care/Solitude/Diet/Exercise

Being overly busy is never good for my soul. I’m learning more about myself when it comes to saying yes vs. saying no. I need to protect my energy and time because it definitely affects my emotional well being. Lately, I’ve been crying a LOT. Part of it has to do with my mental capacity.

There’s an element of peace found in solitude. It’s where I find REST- even in the midst of anxiety or depression. Peace comes from knowing that, with God, I’m okay. Sometimes I open my bible. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I journal. Sometimes I sit and cry.

F + F: Rather than giving advice, try offering encouragement.

#3: Remember who God says you are!

Simply put: Jesus loves you. I recently tattooed the word ‘beloved’ on my arm to remind me of this truth. It’s out of my control what others think of me. It only matters what God thinks of me. I’m really trying to embrace this. Lately, FEAR of rejection has been a major struggle for me.

F + F: Remind her what she (or he) means to you. Offer to pray for her.

#4: Listening to calming/uplifting music

Music does wonders for my soul. I believe music is healing. Sometimes I like to listen to music without words, especially when I’m feeling anxious. But most times, I need songs with words. 

Here’s some of my favorite YouTube channels:

New Song Cafe

Hillsong Worship

Bethel Music

F + F: Send her a song you happen to love. Or better yet, a funny video to make her laugh.

#4: Counseling

I was about 32 when I was diagnosed with depression. I honestly didn’t know that’s what it was. Depression has been a part of my life since about 16 years old. I was 36 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2 and it was devastating for me.

Counseling has helped me in a lot of ways.

F + F: Affirm her. Help stop the stigma in your inner and outer circles.

#5: Medication

I began my journey with medication over five years ago. Two years into it and I decided to start tapering because I was doing GREAT! I thought it was because I finally got my spiritual life right. I got honest with my doc one year into it, but still wanted to get off the meds.

Here I am one year later, and am realizing why I chose the medication route 5+ years ago. This is not easy to write about. Actually, it sucks and I’m still contemplating whether I will hit the publish button. I had two appointments on Tuesday. One with my psych doc and one with my therapist.

I told them both I was ready to increase my dosage again.

Please know this: mental health is not the same as spiritual health. Like I said in my last post, it’s my faith that gets me through. Yes, prayer helps and so does reading the bible but it isn’t a quick fix like most people seem to believe. I’m grateful the church is beginning to understand the difference.

Edit on Jan 6, 2019: I decided to publish this post written from last June afterall. I’m completely off my medication-since Sept 2018. I’ll revisit that in another post, someday. Also, still trying to process all these thoughts on mental health v. spiritual health so take this all with a grain of salt (whatever that means lol).