I recently had the opportunity to speak to a local chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) where I am the discussion team leader. This was a new experience for me, but my words seemed to resonate with most of the women in the room. So below is a slightly reformatted version of what I shared that morning.
I suffered with my first bout with clinical depression when I was a senior in high school. Since then, I have had several other long periods of depression and severe anxiety.
I say this not to highlight my own struggles but to let you know that if you are struggling right now or you have struggled with depression in the past, you are not alone, Women are far more likely then men to suffer from depression (though men who do struggle tend respond differently but I’ll touch more on that later).
Early symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, especially unexplained ones. (Feeling sad after a loss or disappointment is normal, the concern is when it lingers to the point where it is no longer connected to its origin or when it seems to have no origin).
Sleeping too much
Change in eating habits (eating more ore less).
Low sex drive
Losing interest in things you used to enjoy doing.
Unexplained or non-proportional anger (the little things bother you much more than usual).
When I first saw this list, my response was, “Seriously? You’ve just described motherhood?” But all joking aside, these are still symptoms to be concerned about. More serious indicators such as hopelessness, despair, and the desire to end your life need to be addressed immediately.
If you know, or suspect you may be suffering from depression, don’t wait. Get help. Ask friends for prayer and support. If possible, let your husband know how you have been feeling. Meet with a pastor or counselor. Here at NC4 we have a great pastoral counselor named Judy Frei, but we also have staff pastors who meet with people. I suggest finding out what resources are available through your home church. If you don’t have a home church, start looking. Be connected to a church, not just attending but integrated.
Forming relationships, especially within a church, is so important and can be an important safe guard against depression. Don’t isolate yourself.
Depression causes us to believe lies, about ourselves and the world around us. (These are really lies from the devil, from the pit of hell, but they show up a lot in depression.)
Lie #1 No one likes you, needs you are cares about you.
Believing this lie leads to isolation.
Lie #2 You are worthless and you have nothing to live for.
Believing this lie leads to hopelessness.
Lie #3 God doesn’t care about you and doesn’t love you.
This leads to faithlessness
We need to combat these lies with truth. I want to spend the rest of our time talking about preventative measures we can take to help ward off depression.