This entry is part 2 of 31 in the series The Hope Toolbox

Depression Does Not Define You FB (1)Depression Does Not Define You

It’s 4:52 AM on Tuesday morning. I’m sitting at my kitchen table. The house is quiet except for the occasional stirrings of one of the cats. I hear a frog’s rhythmic burb somewhere distantly, far outside.

I’m staring at this blinking cursor and pondering the question, “What makes me qualified to write a series about depression?”

I’m not a therapist or a professional.

Even though I’ve dealt with depression off and on throughout my adult life, I have never considered myself a depressed person.

I’m not sad most of the time. I’ve never been suicidal.

I’ve a mostly optimistic person. I’m enthusiastic.

I don’t read books about depression or join support groups on Facebook about depression.

The truth is, I really don’t think about depression much at all.

After all 3 of my children were born, I struggled with postpartum depression. Two of the times were rough, one was mostly smooth.

My mom deals with debilitating clinical depression that has seriously affected her life for the last couple decades. Looking back, other extended family members surely were dealing with depression, too.

I’ve cared for a number of children and teens with depression — including anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and with our foster and adoptive experiences, other very serious mental health disorders.

My husband went through a period of depression, and as a pastor shared this news publicly to our congregation. I was standing beside him during the worship services when he announced this news.

I go to therapy. (In the past I went a lot. Now I go more with my kids, but I still go for me on occasion.) I journal. I take medications. I go see my doctor.

I have boundaries I didn’t have before. I exercise. I eat better.

Most of the time, all of this is effective in creating a wholeness and mental flexibility that keeps me joyfully — not always happily, but joyfully — bobbing up and down mostly well along the trials of life.

Sometimes it doesn’t. Then I deal. We deal.

Depression does not need to define you.

Did you here me say that? Because I think this is super, incredibly, really extremely important.

Depression does not define you.

Depression has been a part of me, and a part of my life and surrounding my life for as along as I’ve known, but it’s NOT ME. I don’t think of it as being me.

You don’t have to define yourself with it, either.

The Hope Toolbox

The Hope Toolbox

Throughout this series, each of us is creating My Hope Toolbox, your own personal list of resources you can use for the bad days. Whether it’s go for a run, listen to music, or sit in the sunshine, we all need activities we know will help move us toward healing, even when we don’t FEEL like doing them.

What will you add to your Hope Toolbox today?

Today’s Bible Memory Verse: 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Today’s Journaling Prompt:

(Use Your My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit — get yours here — or a journal of your own.)

How do you see and define yourself?

Helpful Resources:

Blessed (But Stressed) — Don’t Be Like Me. Get Help!

The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns — This book is considered a classic in the field of depression, panic, and addictions. It’s practical and down-to-earth in style. Written by a psychologist, this edition has lots of space to take small quizzes and work through your process. This book helped me a great deal when I was first in therapy.

Depression Does Not Define You (1)

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