When Depression Strikes

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
– Psalms 34:17

I am an eternal optimist and positive about life.

Most of the time.

But other times beneath my smile lies an inner struggle. A battle of dealing with depression and anxiety. When it decides to strike my life, it disrupts my entire world.

Many people don’t know about my struggle. I choose not to talk about it (except for my mom) because I want to spread love and light to those around me, not darkness and despair.

Depression and anxiety is something I’ve dealt with since childhood on and off throughout the years. But I make a choice to own it and take responsibility for it instead of wallowing and staying in the dark place. I choose to stay on the path of optimism in the midst walking through the muck.

For me, depression is like giving birth. Going through it is painful and excruciating. I feel exhausted and can barely breathe. I feel like I can’t go on for one more second. But once I embrace it, feel it and go through the emotions, I release it.

A new life is born out of the process of working through my darkest moments. I become more aware of who I am, what I need and what I want. I give birth to more awareness of self.

When depression arrives, it’s like a door swung open letting out a hungry ghost from a hidden, haunted room. I want to keep the ghost locked up forever. But, I know I must let it out to heal old wounds and past hurts pushed down deep inside.

Depression and anxiety hits most of us at some point in our lives. Here are some ways I deal with depression and hopefully these will help you too.

1: Read spiritual text. I read the Bible every day even when I don’t feel like. My go to scripture when I am depressed is Psalm 23. It’s an incredible healing always giving me hope and faith God will carry me through.

2: Pray. Ask God to heal your depression. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and show you the way. Trust that God loves you and wants what’s best for you. Knowing this gives you peace everything will be ok no matter how bad you feel today.

3: Meditate. Focus on your breathing for 10 minutes day. Sit in a comfortable seated position with your back straight, shoulders back, and eyes open or closed. Feel the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Watch your thoughts come and go like waves in the infinite sea.

Drop off all worries, concerns, and stresses. Let every bit of it go. Breathing into this space helps to ease anxiety by relaxing and calming the mind in the present moment.

4: Get creative. Being creative is always healing for me. I am a graphic designer by day so when I work on a creative design project, I feel so much better about myself. For you, it could be painting, sewing, drawing, writing, or crafts. The process of working with your creative spirit is healing nourishment for the hurting soul.

5: Cooking. Trying a new recipe or cooking a favorite meal always makes me feel good. There’s something about cooking your own food in your own kitchen that makes you feel alive. Make sure the food is healthy so your body feels good too!

6: Spend time with family and friends. When I am upset, I don’t want to be around people. But I must. Being around loved ones pulls me out of the trenches into higher ground. I don’t need to tell them what’s going to feel better. Instead, it’s their joyful and loving presence that brings me up.

Don’t be alone. Find someone to spend time with.

7: Allow yourself to feel bad for a bit. It’s a myth we need to be like Pollyannas all the time. It’s a new culture norm you must be wildly and energetically positive 24/7. This is unrealistic and unhealthy. It’s fake positive.

There are times we need to feel the darkness to see the light. To process depression, you must go through it. It’s the only way to get to the other side. You need to keep swimming through the treacherous waters to reach the shore. Not treading water forever by staying in place. You must be committed to keep moving forward or depression will drown you.

8: Get physical. Workout, go for a walk, dance. Just get your body moving. Physical exercise releases feel endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your body. Plus, feeling healthy will help ease depression. I go to the gym and attend martial arts classes no matter how bad I feel emotionally. And I always feel better afterward. It never fails me.

9: Help someone. Being of service is one of the greatest healing elixirs. Seeing someone smile because you helped them will bring you out of the darkness. It makes you feel worthy knowing you can make a difference in another person’s life. It’s a win-win for both. You help them, they help you heal. It’s a beautiful combination.

10: See a therapist. I am not a doctor so I don’t have all the answers. But if you are suffering and can’t find your way out, see a therapist. There’s a stigma in society if we see a therapist, we are weak. But if you are honest with yourself knowing you can’t do this on your own, you are strong for reaching out for help.

During my divorce, I saw a therapist weekly for months. It was vital in my healing journey and wouldn’t be the woman I am today without it. There’ no shame but only healing and strength in getting help from a licensed professional.

If you are dealing with depression and anxiety, please know you are not alone. You are not weak, lame, stupid or crazy. You are still amazing, beautiful, smart and wonderful with lots of gifts and talents to share.

But no matter how hard depression strikes, you have a choice. You can choose to heal your life or you can choose to stay in the darkness. Don’t choose victimhood. Choose to heal your life and be the light with deep, unconditional love for yourself.

Featured Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash


Parenting is Damn Hard

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
– Psalms 127:3-5

I love my two sons, Hunter and Cal. No other love remotely comes close except for the love of God and Jesus in my life. No man, no job, no hobby, no friends, no nothing can rival the deep bond and connection I feel with my sons.

But no matter how much I love them, parenting is hard. Damn hard. Plain and simple.

From telling my son to get up and get dressed in the morning…over and over and over again, to struggles with behavior at school and learning to listen to me at home, to convincing him healthy food is good for you and tastes great even the green leafy stuff he says is yucky… the job of parenting challenges me to my core every single day.

In all honesty, the things they do to irritate me or get me upset, tends to reflect what I need to do inside myself. Many times, they are signs of what I could be doing different at home to create a better life for all of us.

We tend to overlook or miss the truth of what’s really going on because we get caught up in the day to day activities and the busyness of life. We enter a fantasy world thinking everything is ok so we keep trucking along without awareness of our true reality.

But our kids will shine a bright light into any dark areas needing attention and healing. They are our little mirrors for us to see every aspect of ourselves. They show us when we are not paying attention, when we are too busy and stressed, when we are not focusing on what matters most, and when we are lost in our own life.

That’s what makes parenting so hard. It’s difficult when our own children call us out on what we need to work on. They serve as tiny truth tellers and bold accountability partners.

Our egos will fight to the death saying it’s our kid’s fault. But really, it’s ours. It’s up to us to change ourselves or the environment in which we live to create a more joyful, productive place for our family.

This requires deep humility and raw honesty. We need to ask ourselves questions to get the heart of the matter.

How am I contributing to his behavior?

Am I living up to the highest moral standards and integrity to be the ultimate role model?

Am I spending enough quality time with my children or am I too distracted?

Do I really listen to them when they talk to me or am I hearing what I want to hear?

With self-reflection and investigation, we can discover the truth of our situation and take responsibility to create the best version of ourselves and our kids.

We are teaching each other. Patience, compassion, leadership, connection, grace, mercy, kindness with assertiveness, sacrifice and the value of being there in heart and soul for another human being.

The work of parenting our kids requires a strong relationship with God. The most important thing we can do as parents is commit to our daily spiritual practice. Reading the word of God and sitting in prayer is essential for our walk in Christ. By watering our spiritual seeds to deepen our roots and grow our faith, we learn to trust God will guide us in the right direction on how to lead our children.

Parents with strong faith in God equal kids with strong faith in God. They learn by seeing our daily walk with Christ and how it breathes light into our lives, our home and our community.

This is the greatest gift we can give to our children as it sets the right path for their lives in the many years to come. It’s also the greatest gift our children gives to us by holding us accountable for our faith in God and allowing Christ to be the center of our lives and our families.

The path to learn and embrace the wonderful qualities parenting teaches us is an arduous and difficult road. But nothing great achieved ever comes out of something easy or anything handed to us on a silver platter.

That’s why parenting is so hard. Damn hard.

And that’s a beautiful thing.