It’s normally assumed that a proper telling of a story should begin at the beginning. I suppose it only makes sense, we humans like chronological. The problem with the beginning, at least with my story, is that you don’t see the hope, not right away at least.
I’m sure if you’ve experienced any kind of trauma, you can relate. Our stories of brokenness don’t normally open with hope, do they? We tend to pull the curtain back only to find that turmoil, hurt and pain have the starring roles.
I want something else to have the starring role here.
What do you do with anxiety and depression?
Over the weeks to come I’m sharing my journey of living with anxiety and depression. The good, the bad, the ugly and the in-between. I believe in bringing our stories into the light to share our bumps, bruises, and scars with one another. There is momentous value in the painful parts of our stories.
However, these days, I try to put the spotlight where it should’ve been all along. For that reason, I’m starting somewhere else.
I’m starting with HOPE.
If you glean only one thing from our time together, I want it to be hope. I believe that hope is the single greatest conqueror over fear.
If there is one emotion intrinsic to anxiety and depression, it is hopelessness. It feels like a ride that you desperately want to get off of but can’t figure out how. Before you have even begun you already feel defeated. This is where anxiety and depression thrive, in the darkness of “I can’t” and “this will never go away.”
I’d love for you to try to make a conscious commitment to walk away from that kind of thinking. I’m not implying that you stop feeling or telling you that by thinking positively all your problems will dissolve.
I’m asking you to make room for something else – make room for hope.
The lies in your head will tell you that you are alone, that you are the only one that is beyond help. Those same lies whisper that there is no hope for you. It is just simply not true.
My friend, I want you to grab hold of one truth before we even begin talking about the specifics of anxiety and depression.
Hope is a necessity for healing and for change.
There is hope.
Meeting the God of Hope
There was a time I truly believed I was the only person in the world that couldn’t be helped. I really believe that if I can overcome daily panic, anxiety, and depression, anyone can. I realize that is an audacious statement to make, but we have a truly amazing God.
The comfort and hope I have gained are found in a person that just happens to have hope in His name.
The God of hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
He is the God of hope and our hopelessness and brokenness are His specialties.
He’s not the God of “I really, really, really hope that this happens.” No, it’s a different kind of hope. In this verse, the word hope means a joyful and confident expectation. Do you see the difference? He’s not a cross-your-fingers and wishes kind of God. He is a God that we can have complete confidence in.
A God we can hope in.
My prayer for you, my dear reader, is that you will come to trust the God of hope with your emotions, greatest fears and biggest doubts. He’s big enough to take it.
No matter what you’ve been through or how long you have gone through it, there is always hope.
I pray also, that you find this blog and thereby find a safe place of “me too.” Even if you do not experience anxiety or depression, I am fairly confident we all know someone who does – and really, everyone will most likely deal with these emotions at some point in their lives. My desire is that you find some valuable information to help in the fight against fear for yourself or someone you love.
Maybe, just maybe, you can walk away with a little more hope.
There is a God that is so much bigger than our fears. He is the God of hope.
Where to begin to combat anxiety and depression
I can say without hesitation, you didn’t get here overnight, therefore, you are not going to do one thing that suddenly changes it all.
When I was in the thick of anxiety and depression I found myself searching for a big solution. When really, it was a whole lot of little things that lead to the big change I had been grasping for.
Here are a few things you can do today to start turning the tide:
- Begin with hope and move forward from there. Make a choice to believe every day that things can change, you can change. You are not beyond help.
- Speak Truth. In the really hard moments of anxiety and (or) depression, your brain is going to be screaming that you can’t get out of this. You have been believing the lie that you just can’t. These lies have become ingrained in your mind and have turned into a belief system.
Find scripture or other truth that specifically combats the lies you are believing, write them down, memorize them and speak them to yourself. Plain and simple, replace the lie with the truth. (I’ll talk more about this in later posts.)
No, it’s not a magic wand. Yes, it takes time and effort on your part. But truth kills lies. Speak the truth and you will see hope increase.
- Be okay with where you are. Right. Now. Yes, we all want to be better, do better, feel better Right. Now. But sometimes it starts with being ok where you are in this moment. Give yourself permission to be anxious. Let it be okay for you to feel the depression. You were made with emotions, God-given emotions. Your emotions are not the bad guy. Be okay with allowing yourself time and looking under the hood to figure out what needs a tune-up… You are a complex, unique, remarkable, one-of-a-kind individual. God made you that way. Working out the kinks will take a little time, and yes, a little hurt along the way.
And that is Okay. You know why?
What do you do with anxiety and depression?
Every day you show up, equipped with truth, believing there is hope and allowing yourself to be where you are – when you persevere you are building up your reservoir of hope.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
There is no shame in hoping.
Find hope. Believe that there is hope. You were not meant to walk this life crippled with panic, fear, and sadness. I promise.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” …Jesus John 10:1
A necessary disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I am not a professional with letters after my name. I am someone who has lived with anxiety and depression for over 20 years. Read about me here. I may have life experience and insight… But I would suggest you seek professional help if you feel you need it.
***If you came upon this site and are not sure about this whole Jesus thing, let me just say, welcome! I hope you’ll stick around and maybe enter the conversation about Him and who He claims to be.