I am slowly but surely slipping into depression, again.
From this point onwards in this post, I will be writing in the past tense as I believe our words are powerful: they hold the power to bring into existence the things we express. Therefore, the verbs, tenses etc that formulate our thoughts and subsequently our expression of these thoughts, are just as important.
By doing this, I hope to speak into existence that these feelings that I am currently struggling with are of the past and will not dictate my future, but God will start by changing my present.
What do I mean by slipping into depression?
Visually it is like a wave that I can see heading towards me, building momentum. Even though it is far away, I am unable to run away from. I stand just waiting for it to envelope me and welcome me back.
This time around, it was frustratingly sad to be aware that I was going backwards as I could so vividly sense, feel and see myself spiralling.
I began to see the worst in myself in everything I did and especially thought. These feelings peaked in group settings – church, friends etc and also during one to one interactions. When I was on my own, all I could think about it how much of a horrible person I was: how annoying, how rude and unlikeable. These thoughts were everywhere.
For example, during a prayer group phone call, I spent most of my time thinking how bad of person I was. I started the conversation strong as I am skilled in the art of seeming deceptively confident but as the conversation went on and others spoke, the thoughts manifested through the way I expressed myself or failed to.
I could not speak. When I did, I sounded cagey, stony and curt. I wanted to sound warm and bubbly, even if It was fake. I physically could not execute the plan when it came time to speak. I would think ‘right, I am going to be really positive and say this’ but when I opened my mouth, I said the opposite. Even worse, when I did manage to say what I wanted to say, it came across in a stand-offish tone.
Day one in Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind devotional, states that satan works by “bombarding our minds with cleverly devised patterns of irritation, dissatisfaction, doubts, fears, and reasonings”.
I began to doubt the likability of my personality, so was dissatisfied with myself, became irritated with my flaws or every time I opened my mouth and became fearful of ruining relationships so reasoned that there was no point in viewing people anymore than acquaintances and moved ‘friends’ to the acquaintance pile.
Joyce says the devil “moves slowly and cautiously”. Interestingly, from her description I picture a snake surrounding me, trying to ensnare me. Exactly, how he did Eve.
Understand “Satan is never in a hurry”. He looks for opportunities to drop “unholy, self-centered thoughts” into your mind.
Once that thought was there, it was hard for me to dismiss it entirely. There were times I would say a scripture out loud to combat the thought but I was unable to immediately recite them. This weakened my attack.
1st Peter 5:8 says “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (NLT)
I believe having scriptures ready to fight back with for every specific issues is an example of staying alert. The effectiveness of this form of attack is increased each time we read, study and meditate on the word. Something, I did not do enough.
Majority of the time, one thought led to another and before I knew it, I was down a rabbit hole. Stuck and the network of negative thoughts that took under 2 minutes to form could not be erased from my memory.
The inability to discipline my train of thoughts during unsettling times, tipped me over the edge as one innocent thought could lead to a sequence of ideas, each one more extreme and negative that its predecessor. It was even worse when the nucleus thought was an unholy thought, a present from satan.
Learning how to bring these thoughts into obedience is what I want to gain from this devotional.
2nd Corinthians 10:3 – 5 (NLT)
(3) We are human, but we do not wage war as humans do.
(4) We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons to knock down strongholds of human reasoning and destroy false arguments.
(5) We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
3 – Do not feel pathetic that you can not fight these thoughts on your strength
4 – We need God’s divine help. I will not win this fight only on my own understanding or by depending on things in the world to suppress or fight these thoughts – alcohol, partying, the validation of others, advice of friends and family. I need His divine intervention and strength forever to destroy the false arguments in my head – the battlefield in my mind – that tells me all the horrible things I am
5 – proud obstacles – those stubborn thoughts that tell you that you are worthless, ugly, unlikeable, lazy, destructive, horrible …. they keep you from believing the things that God and His word tells you are. That disbelief affects your walk as there is no motivation to open your Bible because you feel like you can not amount to those things. Even if you manage to believe it, there will be a time that you will backslide again. Remember the devil is in no hurry – months and years is nothing to him.
Some of God’s mighty weapons to use when these thoughts come
- Prayer – try to say them out loud as soon as those thoughts come and speak them into existence. Even if you do not feel like praying.
- God’s Word aka the Bible
- Faith – even if it is as small as a mustard seed
- Calling on the Holy Spirit
It is easier to pull a plant from the ground during it’s early stages of growth. It’s roots are not as strong, long or fully formed. It is much more difficult to pull a plant from the ground when it has been continuously supplied with water, sunlight and nutrients. The roots have grown into a network of strong and long fibers that sink deeper and deeper into the soil.
Giving attention to a negative thought or feeling supplies and feeds it until it formulates into a network of thoughts with roots that are deep and unyielding, and therefore much more difficult to pull from our mind than taking authority over that first thought.
When the thoughts have burrowed into your mind – make a decision to bring the horrible feelings to an emergency stop. With an emergency stop, you are forcibly recalibrating your train of thoughts without giving the devil warning. But you have to make the first step and pull the brakes. Make that first step with a simple “no”. Say it out loud. Next time when the wave comes say “no, this is not who I am Christ”. Repeat it out loud many times. Even if you sound or look crazy. I will try this even if I have to rock myself to sleep saying it over and over.
When you say the opposite of what you are thinking out loud, you are actively shifting your attention to what it is being said as opposed to your thoughts.
Here is a link to the Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind devotional