Why is it so hard to honestly answer the question, “Is everything OK?”

Plus a FREE GUIDE: 9 Strategies You Can Use to Defeat Depression

Recently one of my friends noticed I had not been posting regularly to my blog over the summer. So, she emailed me and asked a simple question: “Is everything OK?” She is one of my closest friends on earth, though we no longer get to see each other that often. So, I shouldn’t have had any qualms about telling her the truth. But I procrastinated for weeks before admitting my honest answer to that little question was, “No, actually, everything is not OK. I’m kind of a mess right now—more of a mess than usual.”

Matthew 14 on waves

The truth is I’ve been struggling with chronic pain since April. It has made getting a good night’s sleep impossible with out pharmaceutical assistance. Walking is painful. And the pain makes concentrating difficult. So, I’ve been very haphazard about writing posts.

In fact, I’ve become very haphazard about doing just about everything the past few months.

Not being able to move about and stick to my regular routine inevitably led to me doing quite a few marathons…on Netflix.

STILL WATCHING Netflix

And so it is no surprise that I slipped into a pretty deep depression.

Which makes it even harder to concentrate and take care of my normal responsibilities. So I feel guilty and like a big ol’ slug. See how the things can easily spin out of control?

What stops the vicious cycle?

There are a number of things we can do to interrupt the pattern of increasing depression. I’ve made you a simple guide to the nine things I’ve found helpful in my current and past bouts with this malady (see below). And while we do need to take practical steps such as these, I’ve found the Psalmist offers the most significant means of gaining hope and perspective in the midst of the despair.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

Even in the darkest moments, when I fix my eyes on God and call out to him, I find hope. Much like Peter walking on the water, when my focus shifts away from Christ, I begin sinking in despair. But as soon as I call out to him, I feel his grip upon me.

It isn’t always easy or pretty, but it is as simple as looking up and crying out, “Lord, save me!” It doesn’t mean the waves and wind no longer roll and thunder. It simple means I’m safe in his hand and he will pull me back up when I sink.

I pray you don’t ever experience depression, but if you do (or if someone you care about does), perhaps the words of the Psalmist, Peter, or myself will encourage you to keep your gaze turned heavenward and let our Savior lift you up.

Grab this FREE Guide: 9 Things You Can Do to Defeat Depression!

FYI, I’ve got a link to a list of helpful Scripture passages in Number 9. Click the button below and I’ll email you the guide immediately!

Depression - FREE GUIDE

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How about you? What coping strategies or other insights have you found helpful (or unhelpful) with regarding to dealing with depression? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I hope you'll jump into the conversation by leaving a comment. I would love for each post to be like a dinner party conversation in which many people participate, each adding their own perspectives and ideas. Just keep in mind that we want to treat others as we would like to be treated, so please keep your comments constructive and on topic. Feel free to post viewpoints and ideas that differ from mine or others but refrain from personal attacks or offensive language. I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or which demean or belittle another member of the Making It Real community.

  • Pete A.

    Hi Laura, Your blog came while we were at the Surgery Center getting Yvonne’ s second eye done ( cataracts and astigmatism; the first, two weeks ago, was very successful. and we hope this one will be too). So good to hear from you! We, too, were concerned and had upped our family prayer for you. We’re very glad things have improved this much and will keep up that prayer.
    None of us, thankfully, have ever experienced depression. Worry, yes. Discouragement too. But those, I think, are easier to deal with, especially when we can look back and see how God’s worked. Anyway, I expect we’ll meet people who are going through it, so I copied and read your “9 steps” to be better ready to perhaps help those people.
    Can I ask a question on the pain and RA? Would a drier climate, like West Texas or New Mexico, help? And does it need to be warm year round? (Yvonne has spinal arthritis and a friend has advanced RA. Dry climate has helped both of them, a lot. A cold winter doesn’t bother Yvonne, but does bother Leslie.) Each type differs.

    And, yes, our own year hasn’t let up quite yet! Besides Bill’s mystery sickness, Yvonne’s knee operation, cancer surgery, bronchospy, port implant, chemotherapy and eye surgeries, I got a little too ambitious helping our daughter move some heavy rocks for relandscaping and have my own knee doctor’s appt later this week. (on crutches at the moment.) Plus my own eye surgeries later this year. Then Bill’s company’s leaving town, so his last work day with them will be about the end of November. He has 2 other job offers already, but we’re all quite excited to see if God might have something entirely different for him (and us all). We’ ll see, and we’ll keep you posted.
    Sorry I’m so long winded today. But please know our family cares about you and your family, and will keep praying for you. Hard. –
    Pete

    • Pete – I appreciate the prayers and please know you and your family are also in my prayers. I’m so glad Yvonne’s 1st surgery went well and pray 2nd did as well.

      As to your question about the climate and the pain: my RA is still in remission and the pain I’m experiencing now is degenerative in nature. So I don’t think the climate is a factor.

      I’m so sorry to hear you hurt your knee. You guys have really had a rough year! I love your attitude of hope and expectation in the midst of it all. You are always an inspiration to me.

      • Pete A.

        Hi Laura,
        Thanks for your words and thoughts (and prayers). We appreciate them.
        We’re waiting to see how Yvonne’s recovery from her eye sugery goes. She has had more pain and some bruising this time, and a lot more sensitivity to light. That’s supposed to ease up by Sat or Sun; we hope so. But she’s having problems with blood pressure rising today, and just feeling “off.” We’re not sure whst”d going on there. Looks like good news on my knee, tho. Dr doesn’t think I”ll need sugery. He gave me a steroid shot, which has helped, and he thinks I can go back to normal activities.
        Now we will be praying the same for you. Yes, it sounds like that will take a genuine miracle. But…..we’ve seen those really happen.
        Pete

  • Yvonne Ahlstrom

    Laura, this is Yvonne, Pete’s wife. Question: are you playing Christian songs in your room while you’re resting? The Lord may want you quiet so He can give you a new sense of direction. Pray and ask Him what He wants you to do. Praise Him too, in song. You can sing along with your Christian music.
    Love in Christ, Yvonne.

    • Yvonne, I do frequently listen to Christian music and podcasts of sermons. But you’re right, sometimes I think we all need to take some quiet moments and try to listen to the still, small voice of God in prayer.

      Praying all went well with your second eye surgery and you are recovering quickly! You will all be in my prayers.