Thursday, January 24, 2008

Afraid of My Own Thoughts

Sometimes depression can be scary. It's like someone has hijacked your mind, and you can't believe the thoughts that are coming into your head! Maybe thoughts of violence, maybe thoughts of suicide. You may even be a quiet personality, and yet what is going on inside your head is not quiet. Believe me, I know.
So this is how we know that depression is linked to fear. It's a fear that is outside of your mind, yet is trying to ravage your thoughts. It tries to convince you to destroy your life.
I'm sure you know, if you've been to your doctor about depression, that a depressed person has low serotonin levels. Now look at other diseases that are linked to low serotonin levels: low blood sugar; hormone imbalances; irritable bowel syndrome; anxiety; headaches; migraines; pain; fatigue; fibromialgia; nervous habits like nail biting; anger; pms; and I'm sure I don't know them all. But as we look at this list, we see too that all of these diseases are related to stress. Depression is linked to stress- stress is linked to fear. So... depression is related to fear.
Not sure?
When the depression came against me (after the birth of my first child) I had been experiencing a lot of stress. A lot of fear. When you are afraid, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline, and cortisol. The same when you are under stress. When you experience stress, a "fight or flight" reaction is activated in your body. Stress hormones are released to help you face an attack. Your spirit, your emotions, and your mind see stress as an attack. It is just not the way you were made to live. On top of all that, we often do things that add to our stress level, and we don't even know it! Are you watching the news late at night? Are you watching a scary movie with your husband before bed? Are you playing x-box every day? Even staring at the computer screen too much can do it. When you put those frightening or stressful images before your eyes (even though they aren't real) your brain will release the exact same hormones (albeit in smaller quantities) that it would if the event were actually happening.
Now how does that tie in with depression? Well... what will happen after you have lived at that level of stress for years at a time? You start "using up" your serotonin, your adrenaline, and others. You get fatigued. Sometimes in men this can be a midlife crisis, often in women it is depression. I know I'm not a scientist, nor a doctor, but it stands to reason that any system you overwork will eventually give you trouble. If you eat a high sugar diet, you are in danger of overworking your pancreas. If you live a high stress, high anxiety lifestyle, you are in danger of overworking your brain.
What would that look like? Maybe sleeplessness, despair, hopelessness, depression. A depressed person can want to curl up under the blankets and never come out, because they've overworked the system. They need some time to recoup!
Now depression doesn't just affect your brain, as if it was all physical, but it also affects your spirit, the eternal part of you that lives in your body. It affects your emotions (which are tied to both body and spirit), and it affects your thought life.
Let's face it: some of those thoughts you have each day are just a thought of your flesh, like: "Mmm, that's good!" Or "I'm so tired!" But if your spirit wants to think something, it can't do it anywhere else but in your mind, because it lives in the house that is your flesh. I don't mean that you are a disembodied person inhabiting an earth suit, but your spirit is in an organic union with all of your body, and if your thoughts are full of "flesh" thoughts, then there isn't enough room for your spirit to say things like: "You can do it!" or, "There is hope!"
Now there is so much more I need to say here, but we must end with two thoughts:
There is a slow way to get through this, and a fast one.
Slow, is that you continue in a stressed out lifestyle, eating a poor diet, thinking thoughts that scare even you.
Fast, is that you wake up. Right now today, and reach out to God for some help. You are a special creation, and no one knows you like God does. He knows you and understands why you are depressed even better than anyone else does. When you pray, He can show you things that will make it easier and faster to come out of depression. Besides that, His word will give you comfort and stability, like nothing else can. Remember, depression is an enemy that Jesus Christ has defeated. There's no sense in messing around in it anymore. Jesus said He would give you His peace. THAT, is the fast track out of depression. To know His peace transcends your circumstances, it changes the chemical structure of you brain, it relieves you of stress and fear.
Now take some time out of the busy pace of life, and spend it reading your bible, and talking to God. Just talk to Him as if He was your friend: like He is right there with you. Those precious moments with Him in His word will begin to turn your life around.

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