I’ve realized lately, through the cognitive behavioral therapy and other things, the major thought pattern that is causing a lot of my depression, and what to do about it.
Throughout my depression, I’ve known intellectually that God wants to be with us and help us in hard times. But I couldn’t figure out how that was supposed to WORK. The big problem, the thing causing the hard times, the thing that God needed to fix, and that he WASN’T fixing, despite my prayers, was (is) that I needed a full-time job. Since that was the way I expected God to be with me in my hard times, and since that particular prayer was currently going unanswered, I felt like God wasn’t with me.
Things are a lot better now, but when I was particularly depressed, going to church was extremely difficult for me. The problem was that a lot of people didn’t understand how church could be such a struggle and they would teasingly guilt me for skipping church. I feel like it might be helpful to give a description of what church is like for me when I’m seriously depressed.
Originally I wrote this as an anonymous tumblr post, because I didn’t want to share my feelings. But I feel like this might be a good example for other people who want to try DIY CBT, so I’m going to put myself out there and post it. It starts with a rant of what I’m feeling right now, and then goes into applying the CBT techniques suggested in the video I posted the other day. I’m feeling a lot better since I did this!
I had heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, many times before: sites online would talk about how it was proven to be one of the most effective treatments for depression. However, none of my doctors had ever mentioned it, none of my therapists had ever mentioned it or done it with me, and I’ve had some… interesting experiences trying to find a good therapist, so I wasn’t in the mood to try to find one who specializes in CBT. So what did I do?
What any red-blooded Millennial would do. I searched YouTube!
So this is not my usual kind of blog post. You have been warned.
Being depressed sucks.
No, like, I know you know this. It’s just that it sucks in ways you don’t really think about.
For instance, one of the things Helpful People are always telling you is that your feelings are valid. And it IS important to know that. The problem is that when you’re depressed, your feelings might be valid, but they are based on an inherently skewed perspective that is sometimes super far from the truth.
Additional Signs and Portents re: not looking for jobs: This year I’ve been reading Streams in the Desert as my devotional (an excellent resource for anybody going through a hard time). Here’s what the entry yesterday said:
I once thought that after I prayed that it was my duty to do everything that I could do to bring the answer to pass. He taught me a better way, and showed that my self-effort always hindered His working, and that when I prayed and definitely believed Him for anything, He wanted me to wait in the spirit of praise, and only do what He bade me. It seems so unsafe to just sit still, and do nothing but trust the Lord; and the temptation to take the battle into our own hands is often tremendous.
We all know how impossible it is to rescue a drowning man who tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally impossible for the Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist upon trying to fight them ourselves. It is not that He will not, but He cannot. Our interference hinders His working.— C. H. P.
And if that wasn’t enough, the sermon today was on God testing us, and the scripture was Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac. The pastor pointed out that God loved Abraham, told him he would bless him with many descendants, and directed him according to a plan. AND THEN he tells Abraham to undo it all by sacrificing Isaac. It looked like it was all going to be for nothing. Well, God led me to my major, led me to grad school, led me to the decision not to pursue the job that obviously went with that education… and now it looks like it’s all for nothing, because I’ve had such trouble getting a job. But I have to trust that it ISN’T all for nothing and that even this is a part of God’s plan. I have applied for SO MANY JOBS that I am clearly qualified for, I’ve got to think at this point that the only reason I didn’t get any of them was that God was making sure I DIDN’T, because he’s got something else planned for me. Maybe it’s this summer youth pastor gig. Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know–but I know he’s got a plan, and that “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Plus, not applying for jobs has brought me SO MUCH contentment, rest, and peace of mind…
You know how I decided on Sunday to stop looking for jobs and God would send me one when he wanted me to have one? Well, it’s Wednesday, and a friend contacted me to say that she knew people who were hiring writing/illustrating tutors for the summer and should she give them my info. Don’t know if I’ll actually want the job, since the hours might interfere with my part-time hours working for the church, but if nothing else, I feel like it’s definitely God saying, “I’ve got your back on this! You made the right choice!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about job applications lately. I mean, I’ve been without a full-time job for a year and a half, so this is pretty natural. I applied for approximately 35 jobs in 2016; so far in 2017 I’ve applied for 32. And I haven’t gotten an interview for a single full-time position.
On May 4th, our pastor contacted me out of the blue and asked if I would be the church’s summer youth pastor–a part-time summer job. Continue reading
So, children, when we left off last time, I had been to an endocrinologist with a DREADFUL bedside manner, been told that everything was in my head, been given a buttload of tests, and all of them had come back negative. Following the endocrinologist’s fervent assertion that there was no way I was hypothyroid, I determined that the reason the thyroid meds were helping was because T3 has been shown to augment antidepressants.
I finally finished a project I’ve been working on for weeks: