As my daughter worked through months and months of grieving following her father’s death, I watched her morph into a completely different child. She became very depressed, and we were forced to seek professional treatment that included doctors, medicines, even a hospitalization or two. Now, coming out of the valley, we’re starting to really experience life restored and made brand new. At her last doctor’s appointment, the kind old psychiatrist declared her healed. “I see no remaining symptoms of depression in your daughter.”
Praise God. These were the words I’d been longing to hear for months. But he explained that in patients recovering from depression, we must watch for recurrence.
I asked the doctor exactly what to watch for. “Sadness, irritability, weight changes…”.
“Loss of sleep, anger, decrease in work performance ….” But this doctor has been around and I’m sure he could see on my face what I was desperately trying to keep stuffed inside my heart. He continued, “And why are you asking, Mom?”
Maybe it was the way he looked at me. Maybe it was the compassion in his voice. Or maybe it was because I was suddenly smacked upside the head with the realization that I was the depressed person in the room. I’d held it together for two and a half years into this grief journey, but things had finally caught up with me and the tears threatened to pour right there in my daughter’s therapy session.
Driving home, I thought about how to go about seeking treatment. But then I thought about how I’d like to beat this without meds. As I drove, I brainstormed. It was on that day that I came up with a plan to claw my way out of my funk.
All-natural ways to beat depression without ingesting pills of any kind:
1. Eat more whole foods, doing away with all refined foods when possible.
2. Set an earlier bed time and stick to it. Set an earlier (but reasonable) alarm and don’t push snooze in the mornings.
3. Move as much as possible, even if all you have time for is a ten-minute walk twice a week. Something is better than nothing.
4. Pray more. I mean, really, really talk to God and get still enough to listen.
5. Spend time in the Word. Find a Bible study you love and dig in deep.
6. Use your gifts. Do you sing? Hop to it. Do you serve? Get busy. Can you write? For a blogger it might just be the best therapy of all.
Did you ever stop to think that maybe these hard moments God allows us to go through are great opportunities to find a deeper appreciation of the gifts He gave us? I don’t mean mere talent. What about the nutritious bounty of the earth, or a soft mattress to fall into at night, or the awesome privilege of talking to Him and hearing from Him through His Word, or the good health that allows us to move and serve and create and bless others?
It’s such a shame when we don’t take full advantage of what He’s blessed us with. I acknowledge that there are just times when severe depression warrants medical treatment (as in my daughter’s case). But why not give these things a try anyway? You know, just to see what happens.
Do you know some tricks to beating depression?