Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Many years ago I went through a huge storm in my life. Let me rephrase that. It was a tsunami. Several major life-changing events happened to me in a short amount of time. I couldn't deal with it. I sunk into depression. This wasn't the blue-mood kind of depression I have often experienced in my life. This was the hole-up-in-the-house, don't-answer-the-phone or the doorbell, stay-in-bed-most-of-the-day, unable-to-smile, shattered-heart, not-want-to-live-anymore kind of depression.
I needed help. I asked God to rescue me... to take over... to give me a reason to live. And He immediately did. I found a sympathetic medical doctor who even called me at home to see how I was doing. I found a Christian counselor who greatly helped me. I was led to a women's Bible study small group which helped women with depression...
And I went to the most awesome secular psychiatrist for 10 weeks.
This psychiatrist wasn't one to waste time with 'How does that make you feel?' type of questions. She was to-the-point. I loved that! It was just what I needed. We did talk about my shattered life, but she was very specific about things I could do to heal. Some of the things were what you would expect. Others I really hadn't considered. Here's some of them:
Medicine - specifically anti-depressants
Journaling - there is something healing about writing down your feelings
Getting plenty of sleep
Set my alarm and get myself on a routine
When I got up in the morning, spend time on cleanliness and my appearance
Taking a long bath with candles and soothing music
Getting my hair done
Getting a manicure and a pedicure
Anything that made me feel calm and cared for
Whoa! Volunteering? Depressed people shut themselves off from others. It's what they do. The suggestion was for me to get up, get a shower and make myself look decent, go out into the world, and help others! What did this accomplish? It took my focus off of me/ my problems/ my issues/ my life. Strangely or not really so strange as it turned out, it helped!
It's called altruism.
Altruism is the practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others. Research shows people who help others are happier and more content. The act of caring for others enriches our lives.
Altruism is something the church has been practicing for 2000 years. Not a new concept. Christians are supposed to have a servant's heart.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. ..."
Going through a storm right now?
First, focus on the Lord and ask for His help.
Get professional help if you need it.
Take care of yourself.
And go serve others.
Jesus knew all along fixing our eyes on Him and serving others would help us to remain healthy and whole.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself."