Life has transitions and events that come in many forms. Marriage, the birth of a child, moving, the loss of a job, divorce, or death of a loved one can leave us feeling a number of ways. Sometimes we’re excited or full of hope, but sometimes we’re worried or full of guilt. Both positive and negative events can cause stress and even depression. Sometimes in these events, we can feel as if our world completely stops, and we lose the ability to reflect or participate in anything around us. Some may begin to “go through the motions,” while others become fixated on the black hole of hopelessness, seeing surviving as an impossible option. However, no matter how desperate some might feel, hope still lives. Overcoming negative feelings and finding proper healing is never impossible.
Here are some steps to help with never giving up:
- Realize that your situation is not permanent
I often hear clients say “everything is a disaster” or “it’s hopeless.” Remember to take a step back and examine yourself. Try and identify what you can control versus what you cannot. You will likely find that you have more power to control the issues than you realized.
- Seek support
Reaching out to someone and staying connected is important. Reaching out does NOT mean you are a burden to others nor is it a sign of weakness. Family, friends, and church community are just a few suggestions to help maintain a healthy perspective of life and healing. Your loved ones care about you and want to help get the care you need. Meeting with a counselor or connecting with a support group can also act as a powerful tool promoting encouragement and an unbiased perspective. Support groups can also help reduce the sense of isolation by shared experiences. I also want to note, that if at any time you struggle with suicidal thoughts, keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number 1-800-273-8255 on hand in desperate moments for anonymous help.
- Work to identify and understand your feelings
Identifying and defining your emotions is initially needed when beginning healthy coping and processing. Additionally, knowing what your triggers are can be helpful in the ongoing fight with depressive feelings. Triggers for negative feelings can include things such as finances, health issues, death of a loved one, and divorce. Working with a counselor can help you identify these things and explore questions like: What feelings do I have right now? Where in my body am I feeling them? Are there any judgments on the feelings I have? What underlying emotional needs are not being met? (i.e. I feel unloved, unimportant, disrespected.) Staying with the feelings that arise can be quite challenging or uncomfortable, but it’s not impossible. Through counseling, you can work to understand why the feelings are present and look for resulting behavior patterns to better be able to finally address and manage your emotions.
- Seek the Lord’s help and counsel
Stay encouraged and know that you do matter, you are loved, and you never have to face the tightening grip of depressive feelings alone. There is always hope! God is always listening and encouraging you to seek comfort in Him, especially in the most difficult times. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18-19