Struggling To Smile, How I Fight Depression

This post is the second post of a two-part series

About a month ago I opened up about my struggle with seasonal depression, the hopeless feeling that can so quickly engulf me. Part of being able to fight against depression has been being able to identify the early stages and recognizing the things that can trigger it.

Today I am going to share a bit about how that looks in my life and a few things that help me shake it off.
(Your totally singing Taylor Swift in your head right now, aren’t you?!)

Tips to help combat seasonal depression.

My Triggers

Being stuck at home for multiple days in a row.
Even though I hit up the gym most mornings, not breaking my routine and getting out can get me down really fast.

Spending too much time alone.
Relationships are good, healthy and part of Gods plan for our lives. Spending too much time alone gives me to many opportunities to hide. 

Not using a creative outlet.
God gives us gifts and talents so we can use them for good.

Playing the comparison game.
Do I really need to say more? So many moms fall victim to the game of comparison. 

Finding my worth in things that won’t satisfy.
When I invest too much time and value into things that have real no worth I may feel good about it for a few days or hours, but it usually leaves me feeling frustrated, confused and empty.

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Talking #depression, what triggers it in my life and how I #fight back in today's post. #youarenotalone Click To Tweet

How I fight Back

Get out of the house!
Coffee runs, solo trips to the store, shopping trips with a friend, Bible studies, women’s church functions you name it, do it. Not only does it feel great to not stare at the same walls all day long it gives you a reason to get out of those sweat pants. Which is always a good thing.

Seek out friendship.
Sometimes we forget as grown women that we still need friends too. Finding someone or a few someones that you can share your life with makes a huge difference. I remember a time in my life, when Marissa was a baby, that I cried and prayed for God to bring me a friend. He exceedingly answered my prayers. 

Check out this post that Keri from Living In This Season wrote on forming friendships as a mom.

Find a creative outlet and use it.
My outlet is blogging which also allows me to tap into my other passions cooking/baking & photography. I feel so much better when I am putting my God-given talents to use and loving others and my family with my gifts. Outlets are also a great way to distract yourself during those long winter months when spending time outside isn’t really possible.

Stop comparing!
I know, I know. It is about 1,000 times easier said than done. Breaking the comparison cycle is hard to do but worth every single effort. Look for things that send you into the comparing spiral and speak truth or cut it out. If Pinterest makes you hate your house and doubt your mommy skills maybe spending less (or no) time on Pinterest might not be such a bad idea. After all I highly doubt you’ll miss feeling bad about yourself.

Focus on things that last.
I think Frances J. Crosby said it best back in 1879

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.

Take the world, but give me Jesus;
In His cross my trust shall be,
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see.

The direction that my heart is focused or set on always has a profound impact on my outlook on life.
Keeping my mind set, content and in pursuit of living a life that brings God glory is always a good place to position my heart. 

How do you fight against depression?

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  • Jessica

    Yes! I’ve learned that being stuck in my house causes me lots of issues. So getting outside to play or take a walk helps, but sometimes that isn’t enough so we go to a playground or have a picnic. And going to Starbucks helps! 🙂 I struggled for a while because all of my friends before I became a SAHM are still working as moms. Do that left me alone so much. I have since then made some wonderful SAHM friends who I treasure so much. And I think the friends I’ve made through blogging have helped too.

    • Yes, yes,yes. Lots of little pick me ups always do the heart good and even having someone alongside you in “the trenches” on those rough days helps you to get through.

      Isn’t blogging the best?! I can’t even describe what it has meant to me. You ladies are UH-mazing.

  • I completely agree with you list of fighting back! I have to get out of the house at least every other day. Sean has been working a lot more lately (which means I’m alone with the kids more) and we have to get out, or mama goes crazy. There’s a group of moms who get together for a park playdate every Thursday and that is really good for my soul. Most of the moms around here work or homeschool so it can get really isolating when no one can play.

    • Yes. It is so hard to be in that stage to where we have to do school so we can’t always play so I feel the flip side of what you are talking about. It has definitely made me feel more isolated but I know it is just a season of life and school has to get done lol. I hope you are able to go to the park today. It is so great that you have found that group of moms.

  • Meghan Flinn

    Even if you don’t battle seasonal depression, these are all fantastic tips for living a full and well rounded life! I love blogging too for giving me a creative outlet and the friendships I’ve made 🙂

    • Thanks Meghan :).

      Blogging is just the best.

  • This is so very honest of you to share. All good advice too!

    • Thanks Dara, honesty is the fastest way to win my heart so I try to put it our there too!

  • I love that you can identify your triggers but also that you provide a plan for each of them. Great post!

  • Thanks for sharing this. When I had post partum depression with Annabelle joking my moms club was life changing. Not only did I get out of the house more, but more importantly I had people to talk to. I’m totally a social person, so being by myself all day was no good.

    • YES! God never intended for us to do this thing called life alone and as mothers we can easily become isolated. So glad your moms group was the help you needed!

  • I hear you. Many of these are my triggers as well. I started blogging just for this very reason. I was at home with my 4th baby and was feeling absolutely creatively dead and needed a challenge. You are right as well, comparing yourself is absolutely a happiness killer for sure!

    • I think I was ‘looking’ for something when I started blogging too…. I just didn’t know what, or why really.

      Comparison is the worst. I need to start pounding that into my girls brains now!

  • Even if you don’t have depression, these are great tips to get anyone out of a funk. I think the comparison game is one of the hardest things to deal with. Especially as a blogger. When I read blogs, I always find myself wondering if I should be doing this differently or doing that differently. I need to remind myself sometimes that we’re all living different lives in different parts of the country, and also that all kids are different. At the same time, blogging is an awesome outlet because of the community – I feel like there are always people on my side and rooting for me if I have a bad day. Great post – thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much, I think so too! Yes, yes, yes to everything you said! It is SO easy to forget that we are all in different seasons of life with different circumstances so things are just going to look different and that is what makes thing beautiful. Blogging is just the best. Never have I felt so supported.

  • It is so refreshing to read how someone has tapped into her inner self to identify their triggers. Some can’t or don’t want to face such demons. I know…I have a few people in my life who would like to blame everyone and everything for their depression instead of doing the work it might take to identify what may be contributing to it. For me, to answer your question, I don’t struggle with depression per se, but occasionally I will feel the blues and it usually stems from the “comparison thing” you write about. We all do it. We don’t mean to, we don’t set out looking for it, but it creeps in and Satan knows which button to push to get the spiral going to make us feel down. I love what you said, “finding my worth in things that won’t satisfy.” Bingo!

    • Michelle I feel like when you open your mouth to speak wisdom flows out. Which is why you are such an amazing addition and contribution to the world of blogging (and my life). God knew I needed someone like you and your comment made my eyes water. Thank you. Happy almost Friday.

  • Thanks for being so honest. It’s great that you can identify what your triggers are and what you can do to battle them.

    • Thanks Sarah. Knowing what you are up against is always so helpful!

  • Thank you for opening up about this! I agree that being alone and stuck inside the house for too long is definitely a big trigger. It helps so much to get out and socialize! I don’t really battle depression, but I do play the comparison game WAY too often. It’s a tough thing to overcome!

    • It is SO hard to overcome. We need to start drilling this into our girls’ heads now Stefanie :).

  • Cat @ MaryMarthaMama.com

    This is awesome! A big part of my working through my postpartum depression was realizing my triggers, just like you said! One of mine was not getting enough sleep and not occupying my mind during late night feedings. I had to figure out something (TV, reading) to fill my mind so that I wasn’t thinking too much. Thanks for sharing. I know you’re blessing a lot of people in doing so!

    • You are welcome I think I would share just about anything if I thought it would help someone else :).

  • This is truly inspiring. While I don’t have the same problems with depression I do suffer some serious PMS which can make for a bad 7-10 days if I’m unable to do a handful of things that raise my spirits.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, your tips. And I’ve recently picked a life scripture that embodies how I want to tackle each and every day and when I’m in the trenches of PMS, I say this over and over to myself daily: Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. I need to love the sincerely good things in life. Hate and remove the bad and evil. Take what is good and celebrate it!

    • Aaaahhh I love that friend. Thank you so much for sharing and you may or may not have just given me a post idea :D! More on that at a later time.

  • You are so brave to share and sweet to encourage others! I get into funks when Ive been cooped up in the house too long too.

    • Thank you friend. I think I’d share just about anything if I thought it would help someone else out.

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    The comparison game is a joy thief. And it’s oh so easy to fall down that rabbit hole.
    My number one favorite way to tell depression to kick rocks is a good sweat session. It’s crazy how I feel instantly better after a good workout.

    • It’s all that high that comes from doing something hard right?! Sometimes it works for me sometimes I can’t find my earphones and thing just spiral down hill from there, like today… UGH!

  • Ashley

    I think that getting out and being social is a huge help for me…but also doing something to feel accomplished helps. I find that painting is great for that, might be why I am painting all the woodwork right now. I need a distraction.

    • Hehe busy work is such a nice distraction when we need one right?! I love the feeling that comes with finishing a job too.

  • What wonderful help, Beth. Getting together with friends is very helpful for me. Comparison is so hard, too!

    • So helpful. You always seem to have such fun girl nights too. Happy Friday eve!

  • This is a wonderful post with lots of easy, doable tips!! And yeah, comparison sucks– and I do it all the time 🙁

    • Thanks friend. Ah comparison. The thing that ties us all together, lol. It’s actually kind of comforting when you think about it. We ALL do it.

  • chall1018

    Such a great post, friend! It’s a struggle with us when it comes to the weekends. I work at home and am completely alone (besides Diesel) for 6 hours a day. When it comes time for the weekend I am ready to bust out and go and do. Nate works away from the home and is gone from 5:15 am until 6 pm. So, he just wants to be home! We find a good balance though!

    • YES!!! I totally, totally get that friend. Sometimes I am dying to see anything but the walls of our house and Russ could just stay home all weekend. The struggle is real.

      Thanks friend. Happy almost Friday! At least this weekend should be a great one!

  • Rebekah Harris

    Wow Beth this so good! I have gone through some really hard times this past month and I totally agree with all your points! Getting out and being in fellowship has helped me tremendously. Thanks for sharing!

    • You are so welcome. I am so glad that you found it encouraging and helpful.

  • This is a great post girl. I struggled with seasonal depression too and all of these things are spot on!!

    • Thank you so much friend. It is so good to know we don’t struggle alone.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your strategies. Its’ so important to know our triggers – whether it’s depression, anger, or some other emotion. I tend to be an introvert, but I know that every time I get together with friends, it is life giving.

    • Yes! That is so true, life giving could not be a more perfect word to describe it. Knowing your triggers is definitely the key to success.

  • Ruthie Gray

    These are great tips, Beth, all tried and true techniques. Surrounding ourselves with godly friends is a must, as well as spending time in the Word and prayer. I too have struggled in the past many times with depression. It runs in my family. But God has brought me through and continues to give me His outlook in exchange for my own. A thankful attitude has worked wonders for me too. And this: “The direction that my heart is focused or set on always has a profound impact on my outlook on life.” – wise words, young lady! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Ruthie it is so good to hear that so many of us share the same story and struggles. We truly are never alone and our stories were given to us by God for a purpose. Thanks for sharing part of yours with me.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed to hear this!

    Della @ Della Devoted
    http://www.delladevoted.com

    • You are so welcome. I often find that my struggles are rarely ones most women don’t share with me.