How to Battle Depression in Isolation
For many, this season has inflamed mental health problems. Those who have never struggled suddenly find themselves depressed. Those who have rarely feared, find themselves riddled with anxiety. The isolation, the limitations, have added great weight to us all.
If I am honest with myself, there are times even in a house full of people that loneliness is stronger than ever. Maybe it is the quarantine rules that are keeping me from interacting with friends in a way I am used to. Or maybe it is the fact that it feels like so much has been taken and life has, in some ways, stopped making sense.
I have long struggled with bouts of depression. Thankfully they come and go and don’t linger if I can redirect and move myself out of it. For others, I know it is not quite that easy. It’s painful to even get out of bed for some.
For many, this season has inflamed mental health problems.
Those who have never struggled suddenly find themselves depressed. Those who have rarely feared, find themselves riddled with anxiety. The isolation, the limitations, have added great weight to us all.
We get to make a choice moving forward. How will we fight back against the walls that are closing in? How will we peel the layers of depression away from us so that we can thrive rather than suffer?
The answer to mental health will never be one size fits all.
What works for me may not be the solution for you. I believe there are things we can all do to help us find a little relief from the weight of the depression that has fallen on many of us in this season.
1. Be honest with what you are feeling.
If you take nothing else away from my words, let it be this—we must be honest with what we are feeling. Honest with ourselves and honest with other people. We don’t need to feel shame over the depression we are under. When we are honest with our feelings, we remove the hold it has on us in favor of truth.
Being honest with what we feel also helps those around us navigate how to help or be present when we need it.
2. Give yourself something to look forward too.
These days all feel the same. There is nothing new to do, nowhere to go. It can all feel monotonous and never ending. Unfortunately, this can lead to an even deeper state of depression. There is nothing to look forward to.
In our house, we have decided to change things up. We pick new movies to watch, and we try new games, new places to walk, etc. We plan special things at home, like a big breakfast, and we also have a running list of the things we want to do when we get out of quarantine: first stop, a trip to the ocean.
Plan something that gives you a time or event to look forward to. It can be as simple as a movie night at home date, or taking a drive to pick up ice cream as a family or with a friend.
3. Ask for help.
Along with being honest with what you are feeling, asking for help is an outflow of that. Whether we need someone to hold us accountable for getting out of bed, or doing the mundane tasks of the day, or just someone to check on us, asking for help isn’t a weakness.
My way of asking for help has come in the form of weekly counseling during this time. Checking in with a professional helps me keep my thoughts in check and motivates me to press forward. My counselor has been a valuable tool for helping me put one foot in front of the other with my emotions don’t fully make sense.
I also ask for help from the people in my home. When I am honest about what I feel, I can ask my people to help pick up the slack to keep things moving and take some overwhelm off my plate. People are more apt to help when they know what is happening in your heart and mind.
4. Get out into the sun.
It seems trivial in so many ways, but getting out into the sun has so many benefits to our health, both mental and physical. This could look like simply sitting outside with a good book, or taking a much-needed walk to get your body moving.
Make yourself do it.
Not only is it healthy, but it is a reminder that we are very much alive and that God is still very much in control. Experiencing His creation brings us joy, true joy. Step outside, feel the breeze, and the blazing sun on your skin. Rejoice in being alive.
5. Don’t be alone.
This one may sound hard. If you are quarantined alone in your home as a single, and you are not able to quarantine with other family members, it may be time to explore some options. This may include finding a friend to temporarily quarantine with or scheduling FaceTime chats with friends regularly throughout the day. This can help you feel less isolated.
Wherever you find yourself in the midst of this pandemic, it is important to take care of your mental health. It is vital that we tell the truth about how we feel, not just for ourselves but for others as well. We need to ask for help, whether that is from a trusted friend or a professional counselor that can meet us in the midst of where we are. We need to take care of ourselves physically and do what we can to not be alone during these times.
More than any of that, though, we need to remember the truth of Scripture. We need to remember who God is and that He is walking with us through it all. God cares about you, so He cares about your mental health. He is the greatest source we can tap into in times when we do not understand, or cannot get control of our depression.
God will always be a safe place to land when our mental health feels wildly out of control.
Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/torwai
Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.
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