How I combat seasonal depression

November 26, 2019

dark room with window

It’s the time of year when the weather is cooler and the days get a little darker. During this time, many of us go through a bit of a seasonal mood swing. If you didn’t know already, seasonal depression is a REAL thing. Although I’ve dealt with depression on and off over the years, I’ve found that this time of year is where I battle with it the most. I wanted to share with you how I combat seasonal depression and how you can too.

In my own personal experience, depression has felt like drowning in a river while tied down to cement blocks.  I’ve felt immovable and lifeless during this time. It can sometimes feel like I’m walking around with my own personal cloud hovering over me. Many times, I never really realized I was depressed until I was in too deep.

Here are a few of the main signs of depression:

  • Low mood or loss of interest in things usually enjoyed
  • Lack of motivation
  • Significant changes in sleeping patterns
  • Significant changes in eating patterns or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Repeated thoughts of excessive worry, guilt or death
Woman standing in the dark

Depression can occur in any woman at any time for several different reasons.  It can be caused by abuse, medications, conflict, death of a loved one, genetics, major events, personal problems, illness, and substance abuse.  When it comes to seasonal depression, for some, it may be a specific time of year that may be more triggering in recognition of a monumental moment that may have caused trauma.

According to an article from Mental Health America entitled Depression in Women, “approximately 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression each year and about one in every eight women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime (2017).”  Some are more susceptible to depression than others and it can take a toll on all aspects of one’s life.  Depression is NOT a normal part of life and it must be dealt with, but delicately.

Enlist support from others

Attempting to call for help can seem like I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, but only the sound of silence reaches the tip of my tongue. 

As difficult as it may seem, having the support of close friends or family members is so beneficial when combating seasonal depression. You need someone to be a listening ear as you deal with any pain or frustrations you may experience during this season. Whether it is someone silently holding space for you or just calling daily to say hello and hear your voice, it makes all of the difference.

Go to therapy

In many cases, speaking to people we know may not be the most comfortable thing to do. What was helpful for me was going to see a licensed therapist. This was someone I didn’t know and she didn’t know me. I put aside the stigmas of society and took the leap. I was able to lay out everything on the table and breathe. My therapist helped me to do some inner work that was so necessary my healing in this season.

Seek God’s Face

Being depressed can really mess with a person’s mental and spiritual state. During a time of depression, a person can get off track in their spiritual walk with God in a major way.  Each day that they fall deeper, they can find themselves further away from Him.

Of course, the ultimate cure for depression is God.  He is always the answer and the cure. During my times dealing with this, God and His word were the furthest things from my mind.  I found it easier to just sit and sulk rather than to push through and lean on His word. I would feel the spirit tugging on me to get on my knees and pray or dust off my bible and see what the Lord had to say about my situation and I would turn a deaf ear to it all.  

woman sitting down reading the Bible

Between molestation during my childhood, divorce, diagnose of disease, stress, doubt, and low self-esteem, I felt completely broken to a point where only God could put my pieces back together again and He has… one by one, piece by piece.

Through many trials, I had to realize that my life did have a purpose and I was needed. I had to pull through the pain, hurt and frustration in my life and turn it into something I can use.  I realized that all I was going through was a test and I needed to pass in order to see a true breakthrough in my life.

Now, I’m not at all saying that breaking out of a depressed state is easy, but what I am saying is that with God there is ease.  His word is the complete handbook for the ins and outs of our life’s daily struggles. I find so much release and relief in His word. 

Daily, I would take baby steps to find my way back on track. I would immerse myself in song, journaling, and devotion to keep my mind steadfast.  I’ve used sticky notes around the house with positive reminders and scriptures to get me through the day.

I constantly reminded myself that the storm I was going through was temporary and that God would pull me through as long as I had faith in Him.  I wouldn’t allow the devil the satisfaction of using my soul as his playground. I smiled through my rough days and encouraged others as I encouraged myself.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t think for a second that you are alone in this.  Regardless of your situation, God is available. He is listening to your prayers and requests.  He hears your cries. Be encouraged and keep pushing through, whether it be a loss of a loved one, difficulties in your marriage, or issues in health, He is the only way out.  

woman biting her finger
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Get up and Get out

During my darkest moments, I would lay in my bed as long as I could. So much so that I would end up with bed sores and permanent dent in my mattress. I thought of my bed as my energy source, but in reality, it was actually draining my energy. I would come straight home from work and just lay in my bed with my work clothes on for hours. I would cry, nap, and think all in rotation. One of the most difficult things for me to do was to actually get up. This seems like such a simple task, but for someone battling with depression, it can feel almost impossible to do.

Getting out that bed to bush my teeth, shower, and put on a fresh set of clothes helped to awaken my senses. I would feel refreshed and more willing to be productive to take on the day.

Brighten your day

Beyond actually getting out of bed, getting out of the house to enjoy the daylight was necessary for me in order to combat my depression. During the dark fall and winter days, those times of sunshine were priceless. I would go take a nice long walk and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It would place me a in a refreshed mood.

I’ve even found it to be helpful to replace the light bulbs in my home with daylight bulbs that provide much brighter lighting. I feel more productive and have more of a willingness to move around the house with better lighting and it’s helped me to combat seasonal depression.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” 

Jeremiah 28:11-12

God’s plan for your life does not end here in this moment.  If you have fallen in depression because of fear or guilt, please know that God is not mad at you.  Your mistakes are not who you are. They are a testimony of where you have come from, not where you’re going.  He created you for a purpose whether you see it now or not. You are needed. You are loved. You have purpose.  You are capable. You are enough. Trust, believe and know these things.

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