Nehemiah 2:2 – So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid.
It had been a good day.
It started out with a trip to the grocery store to pick up some things for a dinner I was preparing for family who were coming over that evening. Once home, I took a once over again of the house to make sure it was tidy. Then it was off to the kitchen to start the meal.
The meal turned out just right. I was happy with it and so was my family. At dinner, we all conversed freely and spoke of funny things my grandchildren had done that week as well as a possible job promotion for one of my adult children.
After dinner, everyone helped me clean up and two of them decided it was their turn to do the dishes since I had cooked the meal. This didn’t happen very often, so I gladly took the opportunity to play with my grandchildren while things were being cleaned up and put away.
Little eyes soon started to close, so their parents bid me goodbye with hugs and “I love you.”
It had been a good day and I even had a good night’s sleep.
But upon arising the next morning, I found myself not wanting to get out of bed. I shook out the cobwebs and pulled back my covers anyway.
It took me much longer to get ready to face my day than usual, but I just chalked it up to being tired from the excitement of the day before. In fact, though I got out of bed I failed to change out of my pajamas and while eating my breakfast a feeling like an ache in the pit of my stomach started.
I tried to analyze what could be causing this downward feeling. As the day progressed my depression grew. I didn’t even want to call it depression because there was no reason for it. But there it was. And there it grew until my body was filled to the top with sad thoughts.
How did I depression sneak up on me after a good day? Could it be that I was already depressed and didn’t know it because I was so busy preparing for my family dinner? Perhaps depression hit me harder the next day, because there were no busy preparations that needed to be done. It was just an ordinary day.
Webmd.com can shed some light on why depression can sneak up on you even after a good day. In their article, “10 Signs of Depression That Can Sneak up on You,” provides us with some signs that can stop a depression spiral such as regular, everyday care and maintenance starts to drop out. On the day after the family visits you may not feel like brushing your teeth or changing out of your pajamas. Another sign is you feel guilty. You may feel like you’re a failure because you can’t get your act together and get ready for work. You may not feel like you don’t want to go to work. This sign can also happen, it’s really hard to focus. You may head to the bathroom to get your laundry to wash but don’t get past wanting to return to bed.
This part of the list of signs of depression that can sneak up on you, I experienced. By reading the rest of the list, you may find a picture of yourself. Try not to feel guilty about what you’re experiencing. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best that you can with what you have.
You may wonder if you should even plan events like a family dinner. You may doubt that you can get through. Plan the dinner. Don’t second guess yourself. You may feel your depression stronger the day after you had such a good time but knowing what’s going on can go a long way in stemming the tide of depression’s storm.
If you look at the Bible verse above, you can see that even people in that time had depression. In this case, Nehemiah was showing signs of depression. Thankfully though Nehemiah was sad, the king took pity on him. God will help place people around you, even those who may be above you like your boss, to help ground you to stop melting into guilt. Push aside the guilt and find the courage to stand before others regardless of what they think of you. God loves you and wants to comfort you. Let him do so. It can make a difference in stopping depression’s spiral even after a good day.
Proverbs 18:24: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I have these friends who I have so fun much getting together with. Most of the time I visit with one friend at a time, but many times I get together with both.
Sometimes we rush into conversations when we have something wonderful to tell each other. It’s always a blast to see their reactions and how good it makes me feel to have made them laugh or watch a smile spread across their face.
But sometimes, I get stuck. It’s that old gossip thing that tries to knock down doors and plunge into conversations. One friend did or said something to the other person that wasn’t nice. Sometimes they unload secrets that I really don’t want to know. Because once the words are out there, you can’t take them back.
This gossip leads to anger when the other friend learns they’ve being talked about in a negative way.
So, I get stuck. Each is pulling an arm in an opposite direction. Each believes that if they give me enough reasoning that I’ll side with them.
Ever been stuck between two friends? Itscommoncourtesy.com has some suggestions in their article, “Caught in the Middle of two Friends.” Always be honest and upfront with both friends. It’s okay to listen but let it be known that you will remain friends with both of them. Also, don’t share trusted information. You don’t want to lose either friend’s trust. In addition, don’t force a reunion. Let your friends work out their problems on their own time schedule.
Being stuck between two friends can be difficult. But with kindness and compassion you can be an example to both friends that you aren’t going to give up on either of them. Remember: Be the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Be the kind of friend who won’t give up and you’ll find friends who stick to you like glue.
2 Chronicles 20:9 – If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.
COVID-19 has made changes to our lives.
The need to physical contact and the lack of it can create a famine of a different kind. A famine of companionship.
Yes, it has been necessary to stay at home, but we also haven’t been able to have family and friends come over for a visit.
And as some of the COVID-19 restrictions are being pulled back, perhaps soon we can be part of our community again. And that includes ending our famine of a different kind.
The famine of physical touch is real. We all need some form of physical touch. And when we don’t get it, we may feel empty.
According to healthline.com in their article, “What Does it Mean to be Touch Starved?” being touch starved is a very real thing. As human beings we’re wired to touch each other. Touching a person is one kind of touch, but if we have pets, they can help fill up our lack of touch. When you feel snowed under or pressured, the body releases stress hormones. Touch can reduce such stress, allowing the immune system to work the way it should. Also, touch can calm certain bodily functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. A few ways to know if you’re touch starved are feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and difficulty sleeping. The article also discusses some simple ways to get your fill of touch and what you can do to encourage touch every day thus taking care of this different kind of famine due to COVID-19.
Though the Bible verse above is talking about lack of food, it still can apply to someone suffering from a different kind of famine as mentioned above. It was believed that if they cried out to God in their distress, he would hear them and save them. God can also save us from a famine of touch if we call out to him in our distress.
Job 12:10 – In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
There are things in our lives that we believe will never be taken from us. And we become complacent. Then we wake up one morning and they’re gone.
According to elitedaily.com in their article, “Why Being Complacent Will Ruin Your Life,” one of the worst areas where complacency really takes its toll is in our relationships. Just as I shared above all it takes is a bad argument to separate the best of friends. Yet, all it takes is being willing to go beyond the argument and seek forgiveness to renew your friendships instead of losing them. Also, being complacent at your job can get you stuck in a rut and cause you to never obtain a better job. It can cause you to stop trying harder and seeking a better position. Another area of complacency is our health. We can believe we’ll always be healthy and ignore signs that we are sick. Just as I said above that friend of yours who has cancer may have caught it in time if they had been paying attention to the signs instead of believing it could never touch them.
Life is in the hand of God and it is he who gives us breath, whether it’s wearing a mask or taking our final breath, it is God who holds our life in his hands.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.