Monthly Archives: February 2014

Depression Self Help is Available

barley

Depression Self Help Bible Study

Depression self help begins with learning not to put your faith in your feelings. Doing so is the equivalent of building a house on sand instead of rock.

Don’t put your faith in your feelings

God made us as emotional creatures and depression is very much a condition of mood (a pervasive feeling that impacts perception.) But we learn early on in our faith walk that we are not to put our faith in our feelings…In this article on depression help we will explore more lessons on depression self help from the book of Ruth.

During my own Naomi season

I felt that my life had no meaning. I had been through this depression before and had come out on the other side of this lie and experienced the victory. But this time, I found myself languishing like the cripple at the pool of Bethesda…

I could see the water of healing, but I could not see any way to get myself into that pool. I was focused on my feelings and not on the truth of God’s word and the truth of who God is. I was in anguish. I was without hope…

Depression lies to us…our lives do have meaning!

To feel that my life had no meaning was very different than the truth. God’s word tells us our lives have eternal meaning and purpose. God’s word is our greatest source of depression self help.

Naomi felt like the Lord had made her life very bitter. Indeed she had fixed her eyes on her circumstances and not on her heavenly Father. It is He who is our strength and song. It is He who is the lifter of our countenance. YHVH, He is our depression help!

Our God is the God of restoration

Despite her rather depressing circumstances, God used it all to ultimately restore and reward Naomi and of His people Israel through King David the great grandson of Ruth and Boaz.

Naomi was personally restored through the relationships that God brought into her life through Ruth and Boaz. She was also rewarded with a grandson to care for who’s lineage bore the anointed King David and his eternal throne.

See God’s provision in His Providence

Finally, overcome depression by being willing to see God’s provision to you through His providence…and then, give praise and thanksgiving to God for His daily provision as Naomi finally did. Praise and thanksgiving is a powerful form of depression self help because it fixes our mind on YHVH. After all, God promises to provide for our daily needs, not our wants and desires.

Depression self help means we need to be vigilant about looking for the ways that God fulfills His word in our lives. We must be deliberate about giving thanks to Him…

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High…Psalm 7

Naomi was so full of despair and self loathing that she missed some important signs of hope…signs like the barley harvest that was just beginning as they arrived in Bethlehem. It is also likely that she saw Ruth’s insistence to go to Bethlehem with her as a nuisance rather than as an encouragement.

It was not until Ruth returned with an ephah of barley and a job gleaning in Boaz’s fields, that Naomi recognized and gave thanks for God’s provision. It was then that she began to shed her feelings of despair.

Be vigilant about looking for and acknowledging God’s provision to you every day. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and not your circumstances. For only God knows how He is weaving you and your circumstances into His wonderful tapestry of eternity. Remember God is your depression help.

Surely God’s compassion’s are new every morning; great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

 

 

Gird Your Loins: Core Strength for the Mind

yogaHave you noticed that all the exercise gurus are now focusing on core strength exercises? No longer do you just exercise your arms, legs, stomach and back etc. to get a good workout. Now-a-day the focus of a well thought out training program is about developing core strength first and foremost. But why?

What is Core Strength?
Physical fitness experts now understand what yoga teachers and dancers have known and practiced all along. Core strength is associated with the overall physical fitness of the entire body. Your core is what bible writers referred to as the loins…the idea was to prepare, i.e. gird your loins. It’s that part of your body that ties everything else together…it is the center of gravity and the fulcrum for all our movement, stability and strength. So one way to gird your loins is to develop core strength.

Where is the Core?
Anatomically, it is the region which is below the belly button and above your hip joints. More importantly the core is referring to the inner and outer muscular structure of your diaphragm, pelvic floor, obliques, and spine. Without core strength – that is having strength in the deeper muscles of your core – one is more likely to incur injury. Wikipedia defines the loins as the sides between the lower ribs and pelvis, and the lower part of the back.

The Mind is our Spiritual Core
Just as our physical core provides strength and stability for our entire body, the mind is our spiritual core. Instead of muscles in our core that provide strength and stability to our whole body, in our mind we have truth and doctrine that provides strength and stability for our whole spirit man. Isaiah 26:3-4 states…

A person whose desire rests on you you preserve in perfect peace, because he trusts in you. Trust in Adonai forever, because in Yah Adonai, is a Rock of Ages.

Adonai is my strength and shield; in him my heart trusted, and I have been helped…Psalm 28:7

To have the loins of your mind girded with truth is to be strong or prepared in the knowledge of God. It is to have your whole mind filled with the personal knowledge of God so that all your spiritual strength, stability and motion flows from truth based on God’s Holy Word.

Gird Your Mind with Truth
Proverbs 4:23
admonishes “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” The heart is the seat of the mind. Our emotional and relational problems are largely the result of a mind that is lacking core strength, a mind that is not girded up with truth. There is only one way to gird your mind with truth and that is by using the same self-discipline you would to participate in a regular physical fitness routine. Set your sights on strengthening your mind with truth by gaining understanding of God (Proverbs 1) through regular Bible study, meditation and memorization.

 

Depression Warning Sign – Now What?

Depression Warning SignsThe most serious depression warning sign is that of recurring thoughts of death. However there are multiple signs of depression to look for: from loss of pleasure, changes in appetite and feelings of low self worth to difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, changes in physical and mental activity as well as recurring thoughts of wanting to die.

What if the person is suicidal?

Since the primary sign of depression is feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of wanting to die are not uncommon in a depressed person. However, suicidal thoughts are a serious depression warning sign and should not be minimized.

Find out whether the depressed person has a plan or an intent to harm themselves. A plan with intent is very different than fleeting thoughts of wanting to be dead, although both are indicators of a serious depression warning sign. If you or your loved one indicates they have a plan or strong intentions to harm themselves take action immediately!

Get help immediately

Call a mental health professional that you have been referred to by a reliable source, check your phone book for community mental health services, or call a suicide prevention hotline. In Brevard County, Florida that number is 211 or 321-632-6688. Also, Circles of Care in Melbourne provides emergency services and evaluations. Their number is 722-5257. If the threat is imminent, call 911.

If talking to someone right now would be helpful and you live in the United States phone 1-800-suicide (1-800-784-2433).

If you live in another country, log on to www.suicide-helplines.org.

Get depression help

If you or a loved one is experiencing a serious depression warning sign or other depression warning signs please seek help. Don’t wait until your level of functioning is severely impaired. Get depression treatment now! One of the biggest reasons people do not seek help is because of the shame they feel concerning the idea of having a mental illness. The reality is that our minds are vulnerable to illness just like our bodies. There is no shame in developing the flu or some other medical condition, so why is there with the mind?

Those who avoid seeking help because of the shame they feel only languish longer like the Bible story of the cripple at the pool of Bethesda. He needed help, but he was unwilling to accept any personal responsibility for helping himself.

How Counseling Can Help

A counselor can help a person gain perspective about their illness, resolve problems that may be contributing to the depression warning sign and assist the person in developing coping skills to manage the signs of depression.

However, in addition to counseling, various supplementations known to improve moods may also be a treatment option. You can discuss this with your counselor, who can then refer you to an appropriate health care practitioner

 

 

Counseling – What Can You Expect

Strong TowerIf you’re like a lot of people, you may wonder from time to time if counseling is the answer for you. But, you may hesitate because you have questions about counseling.

You may be wondering what counseling is like…

  • The counseling relationship is a place you can feel accepted no matter what your struggle or difficulty.
  • It is a safe place where you can learn and grow personally and spiritually at your own pace.
  • It’s work. You will be asked to establish goals with your counselor.
  • Home work is often assigned to help you achieve your goals.
  • Counseling helps you to understand what you have control over and how to take personal responsibility for those things.
  • Goals and progress are evaluated on a regular basis.
  • Frequency of sessions and duration of counseling is jointly agreed on.

You may be wondering how long counseling lasts…

  • First of all counseling is voluntary. You can terminate counseling at any time.
  • The pace and duration of counseling is largely determined by you.
  • The more diligent you are putting into practice insights you gain will impact how long it takes to accomplish your counseling goals.

It’s typical to begin meeting with clients on a weekly basis, then graduate to biweekly sessions and then to a monthly time of maintenance and support.

Depending on your goals, this process can take from a few months to a year or more. The average length of time is about 6 months. Again, your progress largely depends on you and the effort you put forth into accomplishing your goals.

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Stress Management College Students Guide

College Stress ManagementFirst, let’s define what we mean by stress. Stress is an arousal of your sympathetic nervous system. Chronic stress means your sympathetic nervous system is aroused for extended periods…hours, days, or even weeks on end.

College life stressors may include…

  • Roommates and personality clashes
  • Pop quizzes or final exams
  • Financial issues
  • Peer pressures
  • Sleep deprivation

The symptoms of stress that a college student may experience are…

  • Body symptoms — ulcers, back ache, gastrointestinal problems
  • Mind symptoms — racing thoughts, trouble concentrating, feeling confused
  • Emotional symptoms — irritability, anger, resentment, anxiety
  • Spiritual — feel distant from God, don’t think much about Him
  • Relational — feel distant from loved ones, no heart to heart sharing, conflicts

Common causes of stress and what to do about it

Time crunches — self discipline is one of your most effective means of fighting stress. Use a weekly planner. Determine what your weekly and daily priorities are and write them in your planner. Get into the habit of making your to do lists before you turn out the lights at night. Take 10 minutes in the morning before you rush off to class to review your planner. Think about what else needs to get done that day. Write it in your planner. Look at your planner through out the day to remind yourself of your goals and tasks.

Inability to say “No” — once you start using a weekly planner it will be easier for you to say no. In fact make sure you schedule your study time as well as your classes. When someone asks you to do something, always consult your schedule first. Say, “I’ll get back to you on that” if you don’t have your schedule with you. That buys you some time to consult your schedule and make a disciplined decision that will help you, not hurt you, in the long run

Genuine crisis — There are genuine crises that are beyond our control. As the saying goes “Stuff Happens!” This is where it is important to have a support system of family and friends whom you trust and be willing to reach out for help…preferably before your stress reaches critical mass.

Relationship conflicts — being in college means you as well as your friends are in major life transitions. You are growing into adulthood. Wanting to depend more on yourself and less on your parents. It’s now more than ever that you need the wisdom of God. This can be a very troubling time in relationships as you fight temptation, learn that not everyone is who they say they are, and discover what it means to walk in obedience. To cope with relationship stress it’s important to make good choices in friends. Hang with those who live by the same values as you. Don’t let others pressure you into doing things your gut or God says “no” to.

One of the most common relationship stressors is getting involved with pathologically needy people. People who will suck the life out of you. They are takers and not givers. They come in different packages, but the results are the same. You will end up feeling drained and used at the end of the relationship. They will often ask for your advice, pouring out their many problems to you, but will rarely follow through on what you suggest.

Learn to set healthy boundaries in these situations. It is necessary that you be able to put distance between yourself and these individuals in order to manage your stress effectively. You may need to refer these kinds of friends to a counselor who is more skilled in helping them (however it is unlikely they will go.). You can also talk with your RA about these relationships.

Financial Stressors — Most college students have very little disposable income (money left over after all your bills are paid). Therefore, start a weekly budget. Take a few minutes each week to manage your money. Give yourself an allowance for those special times with friends. Think creatively about how to save money. For example make lattes and chai’s at home rather than buying them at your local coffee shoppe! Create an emergency fund. And I don’t mean Mom and Dad. Take 10% of your weekly income off the top and tithe it. Then another 10% and put in your savings/emergency fund. This is the kind of discipline that could make you a millionaire by the time your 45 years old.

Sleep deprivation and nutrition — because college students are often over worked and underpaid they often suffer from sleep deprivation and the effects of poor nutrition. Living on coffee and a few hours of sleep as well as lots of cheap starchy foods like Raman Noodles. Getting proper sleep is a necessity to your overall health and ability to perform academically. Therefore guard your sleep with your life! Budget 8 hours a night. Make meal plans as well. Plans that include easy but nutritious feed. Beans and brown rice is a cheap but nutritionally dense meal. Don’t forget to eat as many leafy green salads, fresh fruits and dark colored raw Veggies like carrot sticks and red peppers.