If Not Today… SOON
There are things we can do to give our brains their best chance against falling into the darkness. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the darker and darkest days, the days that just need to be survived. But that’s not all there is to us.
If you’re stuck in the hopelessness, do what you need to do to take the next breath. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, get help. If that means going to the hospital, that’s okay. If you can’t make the choice to keep yourself safe, tell someone and let them.
If the best you can do is just get through the day, then get through the day. One moment at a time. The light may not shine again today, but it will soon.
If you’re merely existing through gray days, or thinking that maybe you have this beat – even if you’re feeling better, and have for a while – you need to take control of your mental health. All the time. Good mental health habits are necessary to give our brains their best chance from falling over the edge into darkness..
Just as doing all the right things for your physical health doesn’t guarantee you’ll never get sick, doing all the “right” things doesn’t mean you’ll never be depressed again. But you CAN keep from setting yourself up for a crash. AND you will feel better all around if you make healthy choices in all aspects of your self: body, mind, and soul. You’re not one-dimensional; your approach to mental health shouldn’t be, either.
Good mental health habits involve our whole person.
Even if you believe your depression is rooted in grief over a loss and not the result of faulty biology, you need to take care of your body. (And you need to seek help, because ongoing depression can affect your biology, just as biology can affect your mood; every part of us affects every other part!).
If you need medication, take your medication. Consistently. Drink enough water. Eat regular, well-balanced meals. Get sufficient sleep. Be active. Medication gives your brain a better chance to think straight. Proper hydration and nutrition keep all your systems running as they should. Lack of sleep can have significant emotional and psychological effects.
What do you spend the most time thinking about? How much time do you think about what you’re thinking about? It’s important. Most of the time we have the ability to argue with the negative thoughts that can overwhelm us. We also need to think about how we’re responding to our circumstances and other people. A good question to ask is, Am I reacting to this situation/person, or to a misconception?
We see the world through the lens of our experience. How does your experience alter the way you see? Do you expect people to be untrustworthy? Do you feel unworthy of their love or respect? Do you believe you can’t overcome the adversity you face? You may or may not be aware of the faulty thinking that distorts your vision. Don’t be afraid to accept help in assessing your perception of reality and the underlying false beliefs that put your mind and heart at odds with reality.
If you believe that God God created each of us with a purpose, you have to accept that you have a purpose. You are not an exception. Whether or not you can consistently believe it, you need to accept it. Because it’s True. Depression is largely about false beliefs and unhealthy thought patterns.
If you want to know the Truth about yourself, the world you live in, and the God who created it all, you need to read His Word and spend humble time learning what God has to say about it all. His patience with anything that sets itself up against Him is long, but limited. His patience with the weaknesses of the creatures He created from dust is based in love that longs to embrace us and make us better in His image, however that feels and looks. His design for His glory and our ultimate good is different for each of us. Don’t allow your perception of what others have or what you think you lack blind you to the beauty of His design and purpose for you.
Each Part Affects the Others
There’s a lot of overlap. I haven’t even touched on things like creativity and the social aspects of health – we’re wired to create and be in relationship with others! In the weeks to come I’ll be digging a little deeper into healthy habits, false beliefs, and healthy spiritual discipline (which is far more pleasant than that second word sounds) for mental health.
What it all boils down to is this: Whether or not you can see it or feel it, there is always HOPE and you are not helpless.
How about You?
When you’re struggling in the black or gray, I’d love the opportunity to pray for you. Feel free to comment below, message me through my Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What mental health habits do you recommend?
Check out more Healthy Body, Mind, Soul Habits posts!