Holiday Depression Survival Kit

No one plans on unwrapping depression during the holidays.

” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

Depression is a gift not easily returned to a store. I say gift because, as I  work through despair I also discover my capacity to fight it.

Twenty-two years ago depression became a training ground for my faith. I hoped for what I could not yet see. I stretched weak, underdeveloped spiritual muscles. And survived attacks from the enemy. Beauty emerged from the ashes of my life.


We don’t have to have it all together to survive Christmas. But, we do have to have certain habits in place that are not optional.  I am conditioning to be fearless and embrace discipline, compassion, and determination. Like a drill sergeant encouraging failure, depression stirs instead, my will to live.

Despair

Grief doesn’t take a hiatus, and physical pain may have no relief. The strain is constant, but we also experience joy.  We can hope, remain open to new possibilities, step outside of our own thoughts, and engage the world. Not based upon feeling, but upon the basic way, humans were created. We were built for relationship. Based on that understanding, isolation is not an option.

Below is a Depression Survival Kit that I use on a regular basis. These habits help me to get through and even gain new ground through holidays.

Feel free to comment on anything that helps you to get through the holidays.

  • 1-2 scriptures to read on a regular basis, call to mind when thoughts spiral
  • List of safe people (of the same sex) that I can call in case of an emergency
  • 1-2 old traditions I will do (not based on feeling)
  • 1-2 new traditions I will create with family, friends, strangers
  • Emergency exit
    • Go to Christmas events
    • Shorten stay
    • Signal designated departure friend to aid in a smoother exit
    • I don’t have to do all events
  • Stay engaged with the community (not an option)
    • Volunteer to help others
    • Encourage someone else who is struggling
    • Allow 1 or 2 people to take you out of your comfort zone
    • Laughter is good medicine (welcome humor)
  • Be intentional 
    • Set goals and take steps to be as healthy as you can
    • Extend grace to yourself and others

My prayers are with you as you find joy this Christmas.

depression devotional faith mental health

Spirit of Despair (Response Prompt)

I am elevated emptiness

puffed up with my will.

I cradle and nurse fear like a

mother with starved child

I breathe deeply, as I pinch your oxygen

I am the shiver that shadows your spine,

always creeping in the open doors of

crowded confidence.

 

You can’t escape me,

human gods. You elevate to

pedestals and put crowns on achievement.

I find the cracks in

your stoic status and crumble

saints and sinners with the

tap, tap,

of my chisel of

doubt.

 

Poetry is posted every Thursday at 7pm (Garment of Joy Next Week)

One of my favorite ways to write poems is to respond to other poets. Are you up for the challenge? How would you respond to someone battling the Spirit of Despair? How would you offer hope? What weapons would you use? Link back to this post and place your link in the comments.

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