The last thing I remembered was my brother telling his buddies that he would teach me to swim in one easy step, next thing I remember was flying through the air and landing in the lake. I tried to scream, but as I sank into the water, no sound seemed to come out. I remember my brother yelling at me, “swim!” Swim? I had never been to the lake on my own before, and I did not know how to swim, and he wanted me to just start swimming? Really?
Obviously the best time to teach someone to swim is NOT while they are drowning. The same thing can be said for someone going through depression. During a “bout” of depression it’s not necessarily the best time to teach someone about ways to avoid drowning in depression. Drowning is exactly how it feels during depression for most people.
Preparation for swimming may entail things like swim lessons, floatation devices and practice. We typically teach people learning to swim the importance of never going swimming alone. Now for people who struggle with depression, preparation is a bit different…they get medication. Really though, couldn’t we say to those who are preparing themselves…never go into depression alone?
However, there are practical ways to prepare for depression before it comes back, here are a few ideas:
- Learn to do life with others. Join a small group of some sort, and make yourself accountable to it and to those in the group. Having people in your life that will hold you accountable, no matter what, is so very important. Build genuine relationships, let people in, and open up.
- Reach out to serve in your community. Now, serving in your community can be anything that you are comfortable with. If you have a chronic medical condition, perhaps something that has physical labor involved may not be the best option but there are other options.
- Trust God with everything. This one really trumps the other ways to prepare as it provides you with Hope. Most people who are struggling with depression and perhaps even suicidal thoughts have lost all hope that anything can ever get better. Oh sure, I can tell people things like “cheer up” or “it will be better tomorrow”, but those are just words when you are IN depression…there does not seem to BE a tomorrow at those moments. But there is one who overcame the world for us, one who will not change and one who will love us for all time no matter the situation. Develop a relationship with your creator BEFORE the times of complete despair come, before you hit the bottom….He will catch you if you just allow Him to.
Depression is awful and the number of people who are struggling with it is just astronomical; as a matter of fact most people will have a time in their lives that they will struggle with depression, even if just a situational depression. Why not prepare before you get there? Take time today to begin building your preparation skills to avoid drowning in depression.