Checking that Christmas Attitude: Depression

sadContinued from here.

I previously shared that I am vulnerable to holiday depression. In my case, the root cause is the child abuse I suffered during the Christmas break from family “friends” who had more access to me while school was not in session. I have tried unsuccessfully to navigate the holiday waters for decades, but this year has been different because I have been doing things differently.

One change that has helped (which I have been doing for several years) is to be more vigilant about what I allow myself to take in during seasons of vulnerability. As an example, I am particularly vulnerable to melancholy tunes. It’s easy for me to allow myself to be swept away by the music and plunge into an emotional “hell well” that I have trouble climbing back out of until the holidays are over. Once I realized this about myself, I made the decision to immediately remove myself from listening to songs with melancholy tunes, even those by Christian artists. Some Christian songs have a wonderful message but a melancholy tune, and I know I’m not strong enough to listen to them – so I turn them off or flee the premises.

Another change is to fill up more with God. During seasons of vulnerability, I’m tempted to spend less time with God, which means I need Him even more. I have been actively praying for God to show me the way out when I am tempted to slip into depression, and I have been taking those ways out as God presents them to me.

The closest I have come this holiday season to slipping into depression happened over Thanksgiving weekend. God called to mind an impassioned speech I had given a close friend a few weeks before and had me give myself the same exhortation. Here’s how it went:

Do you believe that God is bigger than your problems? You are going to act upon what you believe, not what you know. It’s easy to believe God when everything is going your way. It’s a whole different story to believe Him when things are falling apart. This is the moment that defines who you are and what you believe. This is when you show God the core of who you are. If you really believe what you say you believe, then you will behave as someone who trusts God.”

I then prayed for God to show me how to behave as if I trust Him, asked for forgiveness for my unbelief, and asked God to help me overcome my unbelief … and He did!

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace looking sad and shedding a tear. Courtesy Bitmoji.]