Encouragement and real help for the Christian mom going through depression and anxiety.
Not long ago, a mom friend and I were having a chat about how, at certain stages of life, we struggle through feelings of frustration, anger, impatience and physical exhaustion almost every day.
And it reminded me how far I’d come in understanding where a lot of our struggles as moms come from.
(Hint: It’s not just because we are busy or have disobedient children–there’s something deeper.)
Two and a half years ago, when my mom was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, and things in our new church were not going well at all, I fell into a deep, dark place.
My prayer life was non-existent, I was angry and constantly crying, and my family and friends definitely did not get the best of what I wanted to be.
There was a point where I woke up every morning with the hope that the day would be better, only to find the dull ache in my head, stomach (and heart!) return.
I thought that if my spiritual life was better, maybe I would feel more joyful. But the sadness and feelings of hopelessness just stuck around.
Not until I had a deep conversation with a close friend about my difficulties did I realize what I was really dealing with.
And I finally understood that there’s a lie we tend to tell ourselves as Christian moms:
The lie that as a Christian mom, we shouldn’t be struggling with depression or anxiety.
We tell ourselves that if we only prayed more, we’d be happier. We blame ourselves and say that “if only I read my Bible more, I’m sure I wouldn’t feel this way.”
But then it continues on and affects us and our families in so many painful ways.
Do you struggle with what could be depression and anxiety but you feel guilty for feeling that way because you’re a Christian mom who should “have her act together”?
You’re not alone! There is hope!
Here’s the truth and the promise that comforts us in our afflictions.
God doesn’t want to be only our bandaid.
He’s not like the slap-some-Bible-verses on it kind of person who brushes away deep struggles or shames us in our difficulties.
God the Father deeply cares for us in this messy place. And He came to us in the form of His Son, Jesus, to be our Redeemer.
I looked up the word “redeemer” in the dictionary. It means, “one who buys back.”
Some of the related words to Redeemer? I love these: savior, rescuer, deliverer, emancipator, Messiah, Emmanuel, freer
Freer. One who frees. Not one who just slaps an easy, cheap payment down on the table, but One Who literally took the steps necessary to rescue us from what was holding us captive.
So if you’re a Christian mom walking this road, waking up each morning upset, impatient, frustrated, tired or lonely and it doesn’t seem to just “go away”, reach out to your Redeemer and let him rescue you today.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2
What You CAN Do to Help Manage your Struggle with Anxiety or Depression as a Christian
My recovery from the anxiety and depression I was struggling with (complete with panic attacks), was slow but steady. There are several things that I learned to do as far as self-care that I hadn’t been doing before.
Now, going forward, there are steps I’ve taken and coping mechanisms I do have set in place so that if this happens again, I will be more prepared.
Knowing you need the help of Jesus and allowing Him to rescue you (instead of you trying to rescue yourself through quick fixes) is key.
The amazing thing is, God also provides us with a lot of people and simple solutions that can help on the earthly side of anxiety and depression.
The Number One Thing
The very first thing you can do is to allow yourself to get professional help.
I know it seems potentially embarrassing.
But I know that you want to get better.
My dad told me once that seeking help doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong, because you know that there is a better way to live.
Help can be in the form of a Christian counselor and may also involve taking medication. I didn’t take medication this last time, but I have in the past (after the birth of my second daughter).
However, I did get some counseling from a trusted Christian pastor as to how to process what I was going through. To be honest, I probably could use more, but at this point I am doing SO much better!
10 ways to find the right care when you struggle with anxiety and depression as a Christian mom
1) Nutrition (this is a hard fight, but it’s huge).
I cut back on gluten and dairy in my diet, and it was like a fog lifted. What we eat affects us greatly!
**If you have questions about this, let me know if the comments!
2) Exercise whenever, however you can.
I know, I know! But it really does help. I do go to the gym a couple of days a week, and I use an at-home streaming exercise program called Fit2B to heal my post-pregnancy diastasis, maintain core strength and build lean muscle.
3) Reading (any books, including the Bible).
The first 10 on this Amazon list are amazing for motherhood and spiritual growth.)
4) Scripture memorization (past and present).
Because sometimes when you’re feeling down you don’t want to read your Bible, but you’d be surprised how easily the Spirit will bring God’s truth to your mind if you’ve committed it to memory!
When you’re experiencing times of feeling well, learn Bible verses for good times and bad. It will pay off in the future.
Try memorizing these 15 Scriptures for when you’re anxious or stressed; and practicing the discipline of writing God’s Word with our 12 month Scripture writing calendars and journaling.
5) Spend time in prayer.
Even if it’s just saying “God, help me!”, don’t resist calling out and talking to Him. He is listening. The Spirit intercedes for us. Writing down prayers and Scriptures really helps.
6) Take a personal planning retreat day.
I’ve talked about this before, because I find that for a lot of us, having systems and rhythms in place for our days, weeks and months helps us focus even if we are having a hard day.
You can watch my video where I share how I plan my own Personal Planning Retreat Day HERE.
7) Spend time with trusted family and friends.
Talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through. Let them help you to a healthier place. A lot of times when we’re anxious or depressed we don’t feel like seeing anyone or going anywhere.
But from my experience, it just makes it worse to stay isolated. It has surprised me time and time again how I am able to be drawn out and feel more “normal” once I get out of the house.
And yes, this step thankfully includes lots of snuggling with your husband and kids! :)
8) Stay away from the news.
Dead serious, this about did me in when I was really down, so I learned to stop watching/reading news. Pretend you live in the 1920s with limited access to all the goings-on around the world ;)
9) Stay off social media.
Remove the apps from your phone. I took of the Facebook app months ago and I don’t miss it one bit! You get trapped in the comparison game when you’re seeing everyone’s Instagram-perfect-looking life!
10) Walk through it with your spouse.
Let him be a support to you and tell him how you need him to help. My husband is much more understanding after the conversations we’ve had about my struggles. It’s important for me to be patient with him too because he doesn’t really go through anxiety as I do!
If you’re in a hard place right now too, feeling that you may be struggling with anxiety and/or depression as a Christian mom, I hope these suggestions give you some action steps and help you remember that God does care and wants to deliver and redeem you in your struggles!
Scriptures for Mental Health
I created a printable that lists Scripture references for 26 Bible verses to turn to when you’re struggling with mental health.