A Caregivers Guide to Rescuing the One You Love from Depression
The story is told of a man traveling through the cold Winter snow along a forest path. He comes upon a man resting against a tree exhausted and near death, freezing. He recognizes his friend there and sets to work to get him moving. His efforts are resisted by his freezing friend. “Just let me die. I am too tired. I don’t feel the cold much anymore. Just let me rest, I will follow along soon.” Seeing the crisis at hand, he takes a stick and begins beating his friend. Roused by the attack, the cold despondent soul begins moving forward down the path toward their village. Repeatedly he assures his opponent that he is better now, “go along up ahead, I will follow shortly”. But the friend is unrelenting and drives him forward, stick in hand. As they finally approach the village with ruddy cheeks and renewed blood flow and circulation, the once nearly frozen friend turns to his savior, embraces him, and with tears of gratitude thanks him for saving his life.
So here’s the real truth with depression. If someone you love or care for is struggling with depression, chances are they will not have the strength, motivation, and determination to take the steps necessary to make the changes necessary to heal. They may express the desire to feel better, but they will lack the motivation or sense the need to make significant efforts to make changes in their life. Too often we hear, well this is just the way I am, or I’ve had a rough upbringing, etc. The truth is, no one wants to feel bad and be depressed. But negative thinking engaged in over a lifetime can literally change or damage the brain. Many people really do need to be rescued.
It will be important to get at least some level of consent from the one you care for to help them. This will be a commitment on both of your parts. You will have to sacrifice some of your time to guide them through the exercises to educate and heal the brain and its biochemistry.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. It is important to gain a testimony or a spiritual witness of Who You Are In Christ. This is best done through a study the scriptures. Not simply reading Bible verses, but digging to discover for yourself and within yourself, what they really mean. I recommend doing this with a scripture journal. The way I do it is like this:
- Start with a brief prayer – “Heavenly Father, please bless me as I study your word in the scriptures. Open my heart and mind to understand what I am directed to study. I pray for your blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
- Next choose a verse and write it out in your journal (my scripture journal is a Composition notebook from Walmart, cost: 50 cents). There is something about writing that allows the brain to process things at a deeper level.
- Next re-write the verse in your own words with commentary. What does it really mean to you at this point in your life? At this point, I am also checking footnotes and cross referencing to other resources, various translations. Ponder, really study to figure out what it means, pray for insight and understanding. You can spend a whole 30 or 60 minutes exploring one verse or passage of scripture. Go where you feel inspired or prompted.
- When you are finished with your session, offer a prayer of gratitude. This is a prayer of gratitude ONLY. Do not ask for anything. This was initially hard for me. But it really is liberating to come to God without the intent of wanting anything, only expressing thanks.
Admittedly, this is kind of silly, but understand that laughing will change the physiology of the depressed brain. Our bodies don’t know the difference between pretend laughing and real laughing, and will reap the same positive effects. So go ahead, go online and give it a try. Make it a healthy habit. It is so much easier to laugh with others or a friend.
Sing songs – hymns of praise. It is much easier to sing with others than by yourself. If your sad friend doesn’t want to sing – you sing out and encourage them to join in. Awkward! But get over it, this is a rescue effort. We need to get singing again. Gone are the days when we traveled and did not have radio and sang as a family in the car. Modern media tends to isolate us. Go to this online link to listen and learn some hymns of praise:
Laugh at least 10 to 15 minutes daily. This is Full belly laughter, not just watching a funny video and chuckling at the punch line or conclusion. Join in with Laughter Yoga and you will get the idea.
3. Reaffirm who you are in God’s eyes. Write an affirmation that applies specifically to you. Read it every day. Tweak it, adjust it, re-write it, learn it, believe it and internalize it. Get a spiritual witness from God through the Spirit of its truthfulness. If you just read words but don’t feel of their truthfulness then you aren’t getting it. Drive the truth of your life and your purpose from God deep into your soul. Draw upon the spirit of the words of prophecy by someone inspired who can reveal to you who you are in God’s eyes.
4. Work to overcome sin, addiction, and negative behaviors. Repentance means changing your heart. It is not so much of being reproved and admitting guilt, but repentance means coming to God. Putting off your old self and renewing yourself, it is a process. You cannot be happy if you are doing things that are harmful to your mind or body. Addiction to substances (alcohol, marijuana, soda pop, etc.), pornography, sports, or whatever form of escape or selfishness that draws you away from God and happiness must be healed. Determine to make the necessary changes to become sober and out of these forms of bondage. You cannot be happy or free when addictive urges drive your thoughts. Healing is a process, but you must work toward getting yourself right with yourself and God.
When negative thoughts, desires, or urges enter your mind, you must cast them out. You may say, either aloud or in your mind, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I cast out this spirit of lust, (or sadness, or desire for _______). I cast you out and ask God for angels of strength, comfort, and protection.”
5. Forgiveness of past hurt, traumas and negative experiences is critical. Much of what we struggle with is the result of inherited iniquity. It literally is the genetically passed down predisposition to feel or act out negatively. Whether you’ve inherited great grandpa’s temper or grandma’s feelings of being a victim, these are things which must be brought to God in prayer to seek forgiveness not just because of their influence in your life, but to break the bonds of sins in the lives of those who have passed on. Forgiveness means to LET GO. As we do so, we can be blessed with the Grace of God and release toxic poisons from our souls and even genetic coding within the DNA can be changed. In the name of Jesus, you may need to cast out the spirit of regret, self-condemnation, self-rejection, self-hatred, unforgiveness and any other negative influence that may be weighing you down. You may need to do this for your struggling friend as they may not have the faith and fortitude to do so themself.
6. Service. In order to overcome depression, we must get out of ourselves. One of lives greatest distractions is not feeling well. When you don’t feel well in body or mind, it can become the primary focus. By getting out and doing something positive for someone else, we can be lifted from the problems that ail us. “When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are only in the service of your God. So get out and do something that will bless the life of another. Take your depressed friend by the hand and pull them along if needs be.
Remember, depression will rob you of your motivation to fight and rise above it. That is why YOU are needed. As you work with your friend and loved one, not only will they be lifted from their darkness, but so will you. Daily study time together will be mutually beneficial. Boy, this sounds like work doesn’t it? Well, it is. But it can be life saving work.
Who You Are in ChristThe best way to renew your mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, thinking and speaking out loud Who you are in Christ
You’re not just an ordinary person; You’re a child of the living God. You’re an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. You’re not just a sinner; You’re a NEW creation in Jesus. You’re part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. YOU are one of God’s CHOSEN people.
Please feel free to print and copy and duplicate this list! Repeat it and rehearse it and remember it. THIS is who you are in Christ! Use these references as a jumping point to your scripture journal study. Speak out on this daily until your mind is renewed and you’ve develop a healthy self-image. The following compilation of scripture is to get you started and is not a religious ritual.
“I am a precious woman (or man) of great value and worth because Jesus, the King of kings, died and paid a great price for me. I am a royal daughter (or son) for I have a crown of glory and honor on my head, and I am wearing Jesus’ royal robes of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 8:5). God accepts and approves of me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139). There is now no condemnation for me in Christ. (Romans 8:1). Therefore I accept myself, and love who I am and the way I am made.
Father, I am who You say I am: I am called by God. (2 Timothy 1:9). I was chosen by God before the foundations of the world to be set apart for Him. (Jeremiah 1:5). (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; John 15:16). I am God’s child. (Romans 8:15 -16). I am born again of the Incorruptible seed of the living Word of God that endures forever. (1 Peter 1:23). I am forgiven of all my sins and the blood of Jesus has washed away my guilt and shame. (Ephesians 1:4 & 7; 1 John 2:12; 1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:14). I am a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am holy and blameless in God’s sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. (Ephesians 1:4). I am the righteous¬ness of God, which means that I am approved, acceptable and in right relationship with Him.(Romans 8:21). I have full access to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18) and can fearlessly, confidently and boldly draw near to His throne. (Hebrews 4:16). I am blessed and I am God’s favorite. (Galatians 3:9). I am the apple of God’s eye and my name is inscribed on the palm of His hand. (Zechariah 2:8; Psalm 17:8; Isaiah 49:16). I am stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13). I am established to the end. (1 Corinthians 1:8). I am being changed into His image and He Who began this good work in me will bring it to completion. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:6) I am God’s workmanship, recreated in Christ for good works. (Ephesians 2:10). I am an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20). I am complete in Him. (Colossians 2:10). I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 6:19). I have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
I am a joint heir with Christ and He has qualified me to share in His inheritance. (Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:12; Ephesians 1:11). I am redeemed from the curse of the law and Abraham’s blessings are mine. (Galatians 3:13). I am redeemed from the futile way of life inherited from the tradition of my forefathers and am purchased with the precious blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19). I have been delivered from the control and dominion of the devil and have been translated into God’s kingdom of love.
(Colossians 1:13). I am set free. (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1; John 8:31 – 34). I am dead to sin and alive with Christ. (Romans 6:11; Ephesians 2:5). I am raised up with Christ and am seated with Him in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6).
Because I am born of God the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18). I have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness and I am a partaker of His divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3-4). I am blessed with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. (Ephesians 1:3). I am firmly rooted, built up and established in my faith (Colossians 2:7) and I have faith that can move mountains. (Mathew 16:20).
Father, I can do what You say I can do: I am a victorious over-comer (1 John 5:4; Revelations 2:11), a mighty woman (or man) of valor a champion overcoming warrior, who possesses dignity and honor. (Judges 6:12). I am more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:35). All circumstances are under my feet. (Psalm 8:6). In all things I gain a surpassing victory (Romans 8:37) and in all things God leads me to triumph in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14). Through my union with God, I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10). I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. (Philippians 4:13). Everything I put my hand to prospers. (Psalm 1:1 – 3). I am the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath. (Deuteronomy 28:13). Greater is He that lives in me than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4). Because I believe in, lean on, trust and rely on God, I do the things that Jesus did, and greater things will I do, for His Spirit within me knows no limit.
(John 14:12 – 14). Therefore I believe that all things are possible and limit not the Holy One within me. (Philippians 4:13). I received power when the Holy Spirit came upon me, so every place I go and all I do, I do in the power of the Spirit: I have power to lay hands on the sick and see them recover (each and every one), and at my command, in the Name of Jesus all demonic powers are cast out and all people are set free; I have authority over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt me. (Mark 16:17–18). As Jesus is, so am I in this world (1 John 4:17) and the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God is on the inside of me! (Ephesians 1:19). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me! (Ephesians 1:20).
Who You Are in God’s EyesThe best way to renew your mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, thinking and speaking out loud who you are in Gods Eyes. (This may seem real similar to who you are in Christ, but spend the extra time and do both of these exercises)
Write your own (or use this affirmation) and Repeat daily out loud
God has a plan, not simply a grand scale plan, but a plan for me individually. My Heavenly Father loves me. That love never changes. It is not influenced by my appearance, my possessions, or by the amount of money I have. It is not changed by my talents or abilities. Just as a parent continues to love a misbehaving or struggling child, God loves me because I am His daughter, or his son. He loves me and will be patient with me. He will work with me and never give up on me, because I am His. I have within me the eternal spark of the divine.
In my pre-earth life existence (Jeremiah 1:5) I exhibited “exceeding faith and good works.” I fought with my faith and testimony to defend the plan that was presented by God. I knew the plan was good, and I knew that the Savior would do what He said He would do—because I knew Him! I stood with Him, and I was eager for my opportunity to come to earth. I knew what was going to be required of me. I knew it would be difficult, and yet I was confident not only that I could accomplish my divine mission but that I could make a difference. And as Jesus touches hearts and lives one by one, so too can I make a difference to the one.
Dr Kyle Christensen