If you’ve ever battled with the weight of depression, you know it can feel like the thief in the night who came to steal all your joy and drive for life. This is what depression was like for me; it robbed me of any drive for life, and I was beat-down on my couch for seven months. Horrible thoughts would fill my mind; I constantly questioned if I’d ever “kick” this or if I’d ever feel like myself again. 
The truth is, we are triune beingswe have a body, soul, and spirit all with their own specific needs. The challenge is we often compartmentalize the needs of our body, soul, and spirit without realizing how they affect each other—this is how my mental and emotional health battle began. My family had been in a very difficult season that lasted for over two years; the ongoing trials eventually began to weigh me down. What started as a couple of months of sleepless nights turned into a full-blown mental and emotional crisis. Without any sleep, for months my physical body was exhausted. Beyond that, continually thinking of the crises my family was facing in their own lives depleted my soul. What I am getting at is what started off as a physical battle rooted in a need for more sleep turned into an out-right emotional breakdown affecting my whole personhood. 

Depression is not a fair fight; it sends you to war without weapons and robs your desire to survive. It places you in a trench of hopelessness and traps you in chains of fear that perpetuate the problem and form a false perception of reality. Let me be clear, I am not talking about having a few difficult days. If what I’m describing has become a pattern for weeks or months of your life, my encouragement to you is to take action! When you take action you will begin to find the weapons to fight a fair fight. 

I share more about how I found help in seasons of depression and anxiety in this video blog:

The challenge is, when you are struggling with depression, the things you need to do in order to get well are often the very things you do not want to do. However, I’d propose that it’s possible that the lack of desire to take care of yourself is the very thing that is keeping you trapped in a box of depression and

chained to anxiety. Sometimes finding a breakthrough from depression may not be as simple as going for one walk or eating a nutritious meal, but rather a persistent process of loving yourself well over months. It is an intentional decision to tend to the needs of your whole personhood-your body, soul, and spirit. 

I want to share some practical advice on how to take action and find the weapons to win the war in your mind. I know the thought of doing anything can feel absolutely impossible—at least it did to me! 

1. Go to the doctor. 

It is important to see a medical health professional and have a complete physical and blood work done that includes a hormone test. It is critical to know if the chemicals in your brain are unbalanced or malfunctioning in order to receive proper help. This is one of the first steps to a breakthrough. Sometimes, you need medication for a period of time to get the help you need; there is no shame in this. I think of it like this: if you had diabetes we would not just tell you to just spend some more time in prayer instead of taking the insulin that your body needs (unless of course, you are healed). In the same way, if your brain needs certain chemicals to function properly it is important to make sure you take them. 

2. Read books.

Having a better understanding of brain chemistry and how your brain works is extremely insightful. This is what inspired me to reach out to a doctor and find the help I needed. I highly recommend
From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett and
Who Switched My Brain Off? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions
by Dr. Caroline Leaf. 

3. Take care of your body.

Sleep is where your brain recovers. If you go too long without enough sleep, it begins to stop working properly. Once you get enough sleep, you’ll begin to be able to differentiate which thought is your own and which is from the enemy. It is also very important to eat properly and exercise even if you don’t feel like it initially. Lastly, make sure to spend time in sunlight to increase your serotonin levels.

I want to encourage you if you are struggling with a mental health struggle, and you cannot see how this will ever possibly end, that in Luke 6:21 it says,
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” This too shall pass!

Lastly, if you know of someone that is struggling with their emotional or mental health make it your mission to love them well. Sometimes this might need to be tough love. This could look like making them come on a walk with you even when that is the last thing they want to do or cooking them a meal and making sure they eat it. Most importantly, it is about being a voice of hope, reminding them this too shall pass. 

What are things you find helpful if you are feeling depressed? I would love to hear your testimony of overcoming any mental health battle in the comments below. 

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