I am not ashamed to admit this but I also don’t talk about it often. What I am referring to here is my struggle with depression. Last year, I wrote a post about this. Two and half years ago I was diagnosed with depression. I now know that I have struggled with depression for most of my life and will probably struggle with it for the rest of my life. I know that some people have different feelings and thoughts about depression than I do and I am okay with that. I also know that many people struggle with depression and I want to be an encouragement and support to them.
The biggest thing that I have learned these past two and half years is that my thinking is a huge trigger to my depression. What I mean by this is that what I think will affect my actions. i.e. If I believe that all conflict is bad then I will avoid conflict like the plague. What I am learning to do is to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). This means that I need to stop unrealistic and unfair thinking and replace it with realistic thinking. Here are some examples of unrealistic and unfair thinking: unrealistic, negative thoughts about your situation; unrealistic and unfair, negative thoughts about yourself; and unrealistic, negative thoughts about your future. Here is what realistic thinking looks like: accurate about your situation, seeing things clearly as they are; fair about yourself, looking in a balanced way at the positive and negatives in your life; and accurate about your future, not exaggerating bad outcomes.
Now, I need to make sure that I am not misunderstood here. The goal here is not to just think “positive thoughts” all day long. This is only kidding ourselves that nothing bad will happen. Changing our thinking doesn’t mean replacing unrealistic and unfair negative thoughts with positively distorted thinking (i.e. everyone loves me, nothing bad will ever happen, I will always get what I want.) That point is that thinking in an unrealistic way, whether positive or negative, causes us to feel and react inappropriately. The aim is to evaluate our lives in a realistic manner. The goal is fair and realistic thinking. This means being fair and realistic about yourself (paying attention to good qualities and strengths as well as problems), about your current situation (weighing the positive and negative aspects of your life accurately) and about your future (not exaggerating the likelihood of very negative outcomes).
I believe that these concepts are very biblical. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:21-25 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Tomorrow I want to share four steps that I have learned to help change my thinking.
What are your thoughts on this subject?