Written by cycleguy on July 7th, 2014

Kari Scare wrote a post for my Second Chance series. That led me to asking her to write a Depression series. If you are late to the game or just want to “hone in” on what she has said go Here, Here, and Here. We decided to present it like an interview. Here is #4:

What are you doing now to keep yourself from falling back into the pit? Looking back, what do you wish you would have done differently when you were in the pit of depression?

What you read on my blog covers my approach to keep from falling back into the pit of depression. I get into the details of topics I am struggling with, find out what Scripture says about them, and process them by writing about them. Doing this helps tremendously in capturing thoughts and not letting them hold me captive, which is what happened when I didn’t know how process feelings. At some point, I just determined not to let my thinking exist without boundaries and structure anymore, and writing gives me a way to establish the boundaries and structure I need to keep well away from the pit.

But writing isn’t all I do. I’ve discovered that one thing rarely does exactly what you need in any area, at least not for very long. Writing simply provides an outlet for my very busy inner life. Being an introvert, my inner life is as busy

as the outer life of most extroverts. Writing gives me a way to order that world and to deal with it in a healthy way.

In addition to, or rather alongside and within writing, there are various ways I keep from going in the direction of pit dwelling. First and most importantly, I maintain a daily, consistent relationship with God through Bible study and prayer. I’m not saying this as a high and mighty “look how spiritual I am” statement; instead, it’s meant to simply say that I know I am completely and utterly unable to stay out of the pit of depression without Him. Without the Holy Spirit working in my life, and without God’s mighty power active in and through me, I would not be alive today.

I also make staying physically healthy a priority by eating healthy, exercising and getting plenty of adequate rest. I’m willing to try different approaches to health and wellness because I’ve learned that limiting yourself to the approach of traditional, Western medicine only will limit and even inhibit your ability to overcome depression and become healthy. My approach is along the lines of integrative medicine.

Staying aware of personal triggers is important too. I know the signs of my getting overwhelmed (digestion issues, sleep problems, anxiety & general grumpiness, for example), and I make adjustments as soon as I realize what’s happening to prevent any more veering off into bumpy territory.

While I need routine and structure to some extent, I must balance them with flexibility and variety. Otherwise, I get into a rut of boredom that also leads to depression. Fortunately, my husband and sons help tremendously with this area not just with their busy schedules but also with their zest for discovery and adventure.

Knowing what to avoid is also key (examples for me include sugar, romance novels, and television shows in general). One area of thought that I need to be extra careful with is thinking and speaking in absolutes. Saying “I

never…” or “I can’t…” or “I always…” usually takes me down a very narrow and precarious path. I’ve learned to leave the absolutes up to God who has the capacity to follow through with them simply because He doesn’t change and I do.

As you can see, I have a variety of ways I keep from falling back into the pit. All of them are negotiable except my reliance on God.

As for what I would have done differently now that I am able to look back on depression with some objectivity, let me simply say that I just would have done all of this sooner. I would have taken the small steps needed to get out of the pit sooner. I would have asked God to help me sooner. I would have let others help sooner. I would have let my pride go sooner. Nothing really done differently since all were necessary parts of the journey. They just all could have happened sooner.

So much (most really) of what caused my depression was outside of my control, so I don’t think I personally could have prevented it. I could have just taken the steps to get out of it sooner. That’s all on me.

So…what are you thinking? Kari will answer your questions/comments.


19 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan says:

    Thank you Kari. You’ve given me some ideas on how to keep myself from sliding down, the do’s and don’ts. I will put them into practice.

  2. Daniel says:

    Your thinking captures many of the reasons why I blog and why I journal (i.e. keep a diary). However, after nearly 10 years, I have not found a solution that brings me lasting peace. Frankly, I am tired of praying for myself as it does not seem to have made a bit of lasting difference. The only way that I can keep from blaming God or doubting his existence is through negative thoughts like “I deserve this” and “this is what I get for my mistakes”. Dang I wish there was an easy solution like writing a check or saying a special prayer or even God telling me that he won’t remove the thorn in my flesh. Sometimes I think that I would rather have no hope than dragging around this tiny sliver and letting each failure pull me down further.

    • cycleguy says:

      I have not had the issues you have struggled with Daniel but I do know what it is like to pray for something for so long and not see it answered. It is tiring and I feel like giving up. Yeah, I wish there was an easy solution where I could wave a magic wand. Unfortunately, there isn’t so I have to tell myself to keep pressing on.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Oh man do I get where you’re coming from. I lived with “Why bother?” and “What’s the point?” looming over me for years. Still do occasionally. I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix and that permanent relief was right around the corner, but I don’t know that for sure. I lived without much relief for over 20 years. I just know that gradually getting rid of the negative and replacing it with positive, I eventually climbed out of the pit. Having to keep moving when ever fiber of your being just wants to sink into the muck and mire is hard. It’s very hard. Some days, it’s all about living one second to the next. Lots of Scripture, my friend. Ignore feelings. I realized one day I couldn’t trust my own thoughts and feelings and had to rely on those of others who seemed to be living well outside the pit. This started with Scripture but also came from lots of books and articles. Email me if you want to chat in more details. You’re in my prayers… the ones that remember what it’s like to be where you are combined with the ones that have faith for a life outside of the pit.

  3. Running really boosts me. It’s hard to find any depression following a 30 to 45 minute run.

  4. Ceil says:

    Hi Kari and Bill! I wonder what it is about television that you have to avoid it? I understand the sugar and romance books for sure.
    You sound very wise about yourself. I am sure that was borne of a lot of painful times. I’m sure, like Daniel, you wish you could just ‘write a check’ and it would all go away. Who doesn’t?

    Your answers here have really helped others, I can see that from the comments. That is a wonderful thing! I pray that you will always be able to keep a check on your depression…and God bless your husband and child for the support and encouragement they are to you too.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Ceil. I appreciate your sensitivity to people who struggle. you also ask a good question about the TV since so many are trapped in it.

    • Kari Scare says:

      First, let me just say thank you for the encouragement Ceil. Much appreciated. Second, I’ll try to address the TV question. For me, it felt like a waste of time. It was a way to medicate and avoid dealing with real life. It is filled with sarcasm and selfishness and void of God. It’s mindless and does nothing to help me take thoughts captive and point them to God. I do watch some TV shows, but I usually have a book in hand when I do, and it’s not usually me choosing what to watch. Does this answer the question? Of course, there’s a bit more to it… but that’s the gist.

  5. floyd says:

    I respect the fact that you’ve faced the issues and not tried to hide or pretend they don’t exist. That’s wisdom… We all have issues whether we admit them or not, I like your approach, it speaks volumes for the power of God in our lives. That utter dependence on Him is key. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Oh, I did my fair share of hiding and pretending, that’s for sure. And it got me absolutely nowhere. Transparency and facing issues head on does a tremendous amount in helping defeat them. And you’re right… it’s ALL about the power of God and dependence on Him. Without Him, well, you would not be reading this post, that’s for certain. Thanks Floyd!

  6. Betty Draper says:

    I would never wish depression on anyone but I am grateful for yours for out of it came wisdom that brings freedom to others. And that could only happen because you are willing, or wise hearted to turn it over to the one who alone can turn struggles into pure gold. Great post Kari.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Me too, Betty. Neither would I wish it on anyone, and I too am grateful for it because of what God has done with it. He’s amazing. Thank you for the encouragement!

  7. Debbie says:

    Kari, thank you for being so transparent and sharing about all of this. And thank you, Pastor Bill, for asking her to!
    I have a friend who is finding herself depressed again after believing she was healed. I really like what you said about finding scripture that addressed negative thoughts and feeling. Would you just google it, Kari? I am thinking about how overwhelmed she is and just unable to do one thing more most days. Thanks for your help!

    • Kari Scare says:

      Sorry to hear about your friend. Going back into the pit of depression after being out of it is in some ways more depressing and frustrating than before. You can Google Scripture on depression. Personally, I get a lot out of Isaiah and the Psalms when I struggle with depression. Isaiah 43:18-19 is especially encouraging to me. The Psalms help because David definitely experienced depression, and it helps to go through his emotions with him. I also listened to lots of worship music, and some really spoke to me and helped me keep moving. Let me know if you want more suggestions. Praying for your friend and for you in your ministry to her. Stay steady for her… it helps tremendously.

  8. Debbie says:

    Thank you, Kari! Especially for the advice to stay steady for her! God bless you!