You feel like a thick fog is surrounding you. You feel like you’re doing something wrong. You have feelings of self-doubt. You feel like everyone, even God, is against you. You feel like a broken vessel that can’t feel any hope.
Feeling down and out is a normal part of life. In fact, depression is the top cause of disability and is estimated to affect approximately 350 million people worldwide. And many factors contribute to this illness. Adverse life events, like a death in the family, not getting the job you wanted or having financial problems, cause people to develop depression, but it’s also often the combined result of biological, psychological and social factors.
No one wants to suffer from the feelings of depression—but the good news is you’re not alone, and there is help and hope for you.
But you have to choose now to take the chance to deal with your depression and better manage your situation.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who years ago amidst stress and fatigue faced his own psychic blow, said we need to let spiritual healing and medical healing work hand-in-hand “to form the key to lasting happiness.”
Heavenly Father has provided us with an array of wonderful gifts—and He expects us to use all of them. From getting priesthood blessings, praying and reading our scriptures to seeking help from scientific and medical professions through counseling and medicine, a combination of these gifts is where you’ll find a solution to your feelings of self-doubt, fear, anxiety and pain.
When everything seems hopeless and you don’t know where to start, you can choose to take one of two approaches: change how you feel about yourself so it’s a little easier for you to do things differently or change what you’re doing so you’ll then start feeling better about yourself.
Every person and situation is unique. But no matter what you’re going through, what you’re feeling or which approach you choose, you can begin dealing with your depression and feeling happy again by taking action:
- Find out what caused or is causing you to feel depressed. When you know why you’re feeling depressed, you can do something about it yourself.
- Don’t focus on the negative. You might feel like everything is going wrong in your life, but I guarantee a lot is going right, too. Have a positive and proactive outlook on your life, and life in general, and then you can positively address any challenges that come your way.
- Work toward having a healthy wellbeing. Set a doable schedule and follow it. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, have a sufficient amount of social interaction, etc.
- Do things you like doing. If you like it, and it’s good for you—then do it. Happy people do things they enjoy doing. So if shopping, taking a bubble bath and reading your scriptures makes you happy, then start doing them, and do them more often.
- Do things you’re supposed to do. We all have obligations in life to fulfill, and when we don’t do them, we feel guilty. People suffering from depression are already more likely to feel guilty about how they feel or what they feel they’re not able to do right or well. So do the laundry, and get your visiting or home teaching done for the month. When you complete your obligations, there’s no guilt, and you can count these as personal wins for the day.
- Put your trust in God and Jesus Christ. They love you. God’s grace is sufficient, and we’re promised that when we come to Him, our broken vessel will be fixed and whole again. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will never give up on you, so you can’t give up on yourself.
You may not be happy now, but you’re going to be happy again. You have to hang on and believe that. You have to follow Elder Holland’s words and “live by faith, hold fast to hope and show compassion one of another.”
And once you’ve done all that you can do, you just have to continue hanging in there and press forward with faith and hope that God will take care of the rest.