2020 has been a chaotic a year for millions around the world. And if you’re dealing with depression, know that you’re not alone.
To give you perspective, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA), in 2015, around 16.1 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode, which represents 6.7 percent of all American adults. In 2020, with the global pandemic gripping the world, COVID-19 has likely tripled depression rate, study finds.
There are different types of depressive disorders, and all sorts of treatment options. In this blog post, I would simply like to share my personal experience with depression, and share how my dogs played a major role in pulling me through. If you are struggling with depression, and have the good fortune to have a dog (or other beloved pet), I pray this article will offer hope for better days.
How I Overcame Depression, with the Help of My Dogs
My dogs run after many things! But I’ve never seen them chase anything that doesn’t hold the promise of a yummy reward! Throughout your life, you’ve probably pursued many things as well. No doubt, most of these also had attached to them the promise of a delicious reward. Today, I’d like to encourage you to pursue (run after with all your heart!) Jesus Christ. The reward of pursuing him is unlike anything else!
Are you happy? I mean deep inside where no one else sees. If not, you are not alone. We’re all running and chasing after happiness. Sometimes we catch up to her and enjoy her sweetness. Other times, she seems a million miles away and we’re left feeling abandoned and discouraged. There are also times she seems so close we can see her face, and yet each time we grab hold of her hand she slips away. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find her, hold on, and never be separated from her? Is this wishful thinking?
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh.8:10
JOY! What a powerful word! We seek it with all our heart, and we would do most anything to find it!
But how do we get it? How do we experience a cheerful heart in daily life?
The simplest way is obviously to do everything in our power to have life go well for us, to experience sunny days and all good things. But we all know that’s not possible, at least not every single day. There are many things that are simply out of our control. And so we must dig deeper for the source of unending joy. And mostly, we must choose it daily!
All too often we depend on our circumstances to make us happy. However, JOY based on circumstances alone is like being on a roller coaster ride . . .
One day UP, one day DOWN, up, down, up, down… ever changing, uncertain, it drains our energy and makes us weak.
However, JOY based on the LORD ( a confident trust in His Word, His promises, and His nature) is a firm foundation for our lives! For while we travel up and down along life’s journey, we remain stable, strong, unshakable, and full of joy and peace.
Take heart dear friend! Joy is not hidden from you. It’s as close as Jesus is to you. And He is right beside you. Jesus is your friend. He loves you, and wants to impart His joy you you. Psalm 16:11 tells us that in His presence is fullness of joy!
Now, look up. Go about your day with eyes fixed on Jesus. Lean on Him. Talk to Him. Meditate on His Word. Sing His praise. Draw your hope from Him. Believe that He loves you, is walking beside you, and working ALL things for your good. Let Him be your strength. He won’t fail you.
Help me not to rely on my feelings today, but on you! Steady my soul. Help me to become more aware of your presence with me. And mostly, help me to experience your peace and joy. Amen