But when I turned 40, I have been exercising more and paying attention to my health. I can honestly say that aside from medication, exercise helps alleviate the symptoms of depression. Nothing else even comes close.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do combat depression. It has an amazing number of benefits, including stress reduction, better sleep, and improved self-esteem. This one choice alone can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on your life.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to combat depression.
Lie #4: I won’t benefit from professional help.
There are many reasons people avoid counselors: it takes time, it often costs money, and in the Christian community, there is sometimes judgment associated with going to counseling. But there’s one major reason to do so: a counselor can help give you insights and strategies that can radically help in recovery.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I saw a counselor for a time in my mid-30’s. I felt lost with no direction in life like I was wandering in a vast emotional wilderness. The counselor didn’t give me a magic pill, but he helped me process what was going on in my life, which was very helpful.
Doctors are also an indispensable resource, not only because they can prescribe appropriate medication, but also because they are trained to assess your level of depression and whether medication is needed in the first place. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that medication saved my life. It took time and patience to find a medication that worked really well for me, but it was worth the effort.
Seeing a doctor and/or counselor is an investment of time and money, but I will be the first to say that these professionals have been indispensable in helping me manage the symptoms of depression.
Lie #5: Depression is a weakness I must hide at all costs.
In 2004 I accepted a new job and we moved to St. Louis. We were also having a baby. For some strange reason, I decided to stop taking my depression medication. I decided I should “man up” since I was getting ready to turn 30. This was a terrible decision as I went through a period of withdrawal and my depression came back with a vengeance.
I mistakenly believed that my depression meant I was deficient in some way. If I continued taking medication, didn’t that mean I was weak and inadequate?
I believed the lie that my depression meant I was deficient or inadequate in some way.
Since then I’ve come to understand that depression is a medical condition, just like diabetes or high blood pressure. There is no social stigma attached to those conditions, so why should we feel any differently about depression?
Over the last few years, I have learned to manage my depression pretty effectively. I still have occasional days when it gets the best of me, but it doesn’t have nearly the grip on my life it once did.
Life is hard enough as it is. When you add battling depression into the mix, it gets infinitely tougher. If you believe one or more of these five lies, it will pull you down even further. If you’re struggling with depression, I strongly encourage you to seek professional help. Make the choice today to get healthier not only for yourself but for those you love.