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.
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.