Saturday, October 24, 2015

Five Ways to Deal with Anxiety and Depression

If you have ever been through relational angst that involves abuse you may have realized that anxiety and depression follow soon after. Being hurt in relationships can take their toll leaving you anxious and incredibly sad. Here are five ways to deal with both of them.

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The road to understanding ourselves can take a lifetime. For me, it has taken some forty years or so to understand what was wrong. I always knew I was more scared, more nervous, and more melancholy than many of those around me. I have spent the last couple of decades learning to manage what I know realize was an anxiety disorder that has the potential to lead to depression. A lifetime of learning how to cope, survive, and at times overcome it.

Proverbs 12:25 could be the story line of my life...

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad. (AMP)

For many out there there is a connection between anxiety and depression.  God's Word made that connection years before any psychologist or counselor did. Anxiety does weigh a person down with depression. What I find fascinating is the second part of the verse,"but an encouraging word...". Not that everyone has had the experience I have, but I can honestly say that part of my struggle with anxiety and depression has been with critical words coming from loved ones. There is a definite benefit to speaking uplifting words into someone's life in order to give them the courage and the stamina to push forward.

Not that anxiety and depression can be solved with a kind word...the two conditions are way too complex. Both mood disorders are a conglomerate of physical, emotional, and spiritual problems. It is hard to unravel all the sources that can attribute to them.  We don't have all the answers, but we do have a God that understands us more than we will ever comprehend ourselves.

Over the years I have tried a multitude of methods to manage my emotions.  I still don't totally have an answer to it all, but here are a few things that I have found helpful...

Books-  Here is a short list of books that have helped me come to terms with both beasts...

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest
Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?
Breaking Free: The Journey, The Stories

The Psalms- For anyone who is depressed or anxious the Psalms are such a comfort. If there is one book in the Bible that runs the emotional roller coaster it would be this one. There is sorrow, anger, worry, despair, but also hope, joy, love, and praise for the God that helps us overcome it all. Here are a few posts from a friend who writes about the Psalms and how they can encourage us...

Praying the Psalms
Scripture for the Brokenhearted

Prayer- When the anxiety hits I have learned to immediate hand it over to God in prayer.  More often than not I have to do this numerous times in a short span of time. It is a fight, but with practice it does get easier to do. It is almost like a battle in my brain to constantly give over my worries to Him. He is in control after all. Worry is just the illusion that I am in control.

Mind Control- Yes, you heard that right, mind control...otherwise known as taking every thought captive. Controlling your thoughts if you struggle with either anxiety or depression seems near impossible, but the irony is it is imperative in order to survive them. So I read God's Word, memorize it, listen to it on my Bible app when I can't sleep, etc. When I sense that my thoughts are spiraling into a negative abyss I try to re-route. Not easy.  Practice, however, helps.  Be patient with yourself if you struggle with negative thoughts, and as Beth Moore says in her Bible study, Breaking Free {see above}, re-wallpaper your mind with God's thoughts.

Outside help- When anxiety and depression get to the point that you can't pull yourself out then it is time to look outside for help. Medication can help your body even out the chemical imbalance (which is VERY REAL when it comes to anxiety and depression), and counseling can help you train your thoughts and learn coping mechanisms to get through the hard days. Hitting anxiety and depression from all sides (physical, emotional, spiritual) normally helps more than just using one avenue to fight it.

Through the struggle there is hope. I have found that my life has become richer and more anchored in God simply because I have had to battle my moods. While it has never been easy, I have grown because of the hardship. My prayer for you is that if you struggle with either monster that you will lean into God to help you through.

Also, you might want to check out The Hope Toolbox which has practically printables to get you through the hard days.

To read more on Hope and Healing, click here.


  1. Thank you Debbie,
    this is a real comfort to read. God has spoken and blessed through you.
    Bless you,

  2. Susan- I am glad that it was helpful! God bless!