Friday, February 12, 2016

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts

(June 12, 2018)  

It's so sad to hear about all the celebrities who have recently committed suicide (or about anyone who has committed suicide, for that matter).  My heart breaks for them, for the pain they went through, and for the ones who love them, for the pain they are now going through.  It is truly a tragedy.  (And it could have been me.)

To anyone who is hurting really badly, who is struggling with overwhelming anxiety or depression, who is considering taking their own lives ... I dedicate this post.  Please, take some time to look through some of the links here.  This is a round-up of some on-line resources or posts about dealing with anxiety or depression, particularly as a Christian.

But first:

Quick tips for help:

If you are desperate for some immediate help and don't want to look through the links I have below, try some of these:

1.  Put on a worship song right now.  Or sing a worship song out loud.  If demons know we are discouraged and vulnerable, they will attack harder.  But worshipping God is repulsive to demons.  So start singing or put on some Christian music.  (Such as Oh, What Love or Love, Heal Me or Healing Begins.  There's more in the list below.) 

2.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, say this out loud if you think you are under spiritual attack:  In the name of Jesus Christ, I command any demons to leave me and my family right now!  As a believer, you have the right  to use Jesus's name against evil.  Not in any crazy way, but you can command demons to leave in Jesus's name.  (For links to posts on spiritual warfare, see War Rooms, Praying Scripture, and Spiritual Warfare.)

3.  Ask God to send His heavenly angels to surround and protect you from evil.

4.  Start thanking God for anything and everything you can think of.  Out loud.  And write it down if you want.

5.  Repeat a verse out loud, such as "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind" (2 Tim 1:7) or "The Lord himself goes before me and will be with me; he will never leave me nor forsake me.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deut. 31:8, paraphrased).  There's more in the list below.  Scripture is the sword of the Spirit, a weapon against evil.  Use it like it is!

6.  Talk to someone right now - your friend, spouse, pastor, even just out loud to God.  Holding it in can be crushing.  Just start saying everything and anything you need to say.  Or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.  (And say this out loud, "Suicide is not an option.  It's not the answer.  God, help me find another way.  Help me get through this."  As often as you need to.) 

7.  Cry if you need to.  I realized one day that sometimes my panicked feelings were just tears trying to come out.  And after I let myself cry, I felt better, not as panicked.  In fact, I made a CD with Christian songs that touched my heart and made me cry so that I could put it on when I felt anxious, see "My 'When Anxiety Strikes' Playlist".

8.  Decide that you are too tired or busy to be anxious right now.  I kid you not, one day when I felt anxiety rising up, I found myself thinking, "You know what?  I'm just too exhausted to be anxious right now."  And immediately the panic stopped escalating.  (One tip a counselor might give you: Schedule your anxiety or discouragement.  Decide that you will allow yourself to feel those feelings at such-and-such a day and time, but not until then.  Take control of your feelings instead of letting them control you.)

9.  Get outside.  Take a walk.  Sit on your back porch.  Just get out of your house and out of your head.  Maybe watch a light-hearted TV show or paint something or pick weeds or read the Bible.  Watch a video of Bob Ross painting (so relaxing!).  Do something to interrupt your mind.

10.  Pray.  Here are some possible prayers:

     "Lord, I need You right now.  Please take my fear and panic and discouragement right now, and replace it with Your peace, wisdom, and comfort."

     "Lord, help me feel Your love fully right now.  I need to sense Your healing, comforting love."

     "Help me see things the way You do.  Help me to see the lies I have been believing and living, and to see Your Truth about myself and my life."

     "Forgive me for ..."  (When we sin, we remove ourselves from God's protective hand.  And sometimes, as discipline, He hands us over to our bad choices.  In order to get right with Him again, admit any sins to Him in prayer and ask for forgiveness.)

     "Help me forgive so-and-so for ..."  (Bitterness and unforgiveness interferes with our relationship with God.)

     "Lord, I don't know what to do.  Please, just hold me right now.  Thank You that You are big enough and strong enough when I am not!"

     "Show me what You want me to do.  Tell me what You want me to know.  And is there anything You want me to pray?"

     "Show me if I have closed off any part of my heart, life, or past to You.  I am opening it all up to You right now.  And I ask You to come in fully, to heal the broken parts of my heart and mind and life, with Your love and truth and wisdom."

     If you don't know what else to pray, pray the Lord's prayer out loud:  
     Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and power and glory, now and forever.  Amen.              

11.  If you are distressed right now and don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior, what are you waiting for?  How much worse do things have to get before you will reach out for His helping, healing hand?  If you want to turn to Him, simply pray to Him, asking Him to save you, telling Him you believe in Him and want Him in your life.  It can be something as simple as this: "Jesus, save me.  I admit that I am a sinner, that I can't save myself, and that I need You.  And I choose to believe in You right now and to accept You as my Lord and Savior.  Help me.  Heal me.  And help me to grow in faith and in my belief in You.  Amen"

(And if you've never read the Bible, pick one up and start reading, maybe starting with the New Testament.  With Jesus and the hope and healing He offers.  Or maybe starting with the Psalms, reading about others crying out to the Lord and finding hope in Him.  I truly believe that you will find no hope as genuine and healing as the hope that's found in the Lord.  If you've tried and tried to do life on your own but have found it exhausting and overwhelming, then it's time to reach out to the Lord and let Him help you.  Like I said, it can be a simple prayer, even just "Jesus, help me.  I need You."  Let that be your first step to true healing.)    

[And if you are dealing with anxiety, discouragement, and sinful strongholds in your life, may I recommend some really good books from Neil T. Anderson (some have a coauthor): Victory Over The Darkness, Freedom From Fear, and The Bondage Breaker.  They are loaded with Scripture and biblical truth.  Just a couple weeks ago, I was beginning to feel anxiety rise up inside of me again.  And so I checked these out from our church library.  Reading the Scriptural truths in these books calmed my mind and filled me with hope.  I ordered my own copies online shortly after so that I could go back to them again and again.]

Okay now, back to the links:
I haven't read everything in these or evaluated the websites, but I have tried to find biblically-sound ones.  And I am passing them onto you, for you to check out yourself.  Maybe there will be some hope or help in there somewhere.  Because let's face it, when we are struggling with real anxiety or depression, we can use all the help we can get.  (And I will try to add any more that I find as I find them.) 

And no matter which one you click on, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone!  We all struggle at some point, in some way.  We all need help sometimes.  We are all human.  And that's okay!  Let's help each other on our journeys.  Let's offer compassion and understanding and encouragement!

You are not alone!  And by the grace of God, you can make it through!  

Bible verses to remember (Say them OUT LOUD!):
Jeremiah 29:11:  "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

Isaiah 41:10:  "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Psalm 34:17-18:  "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Deuteronomy 31:8:  "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Psalm 40:1-2:  "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."

Romans 8:38-39:  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Psalm 145:18:  "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."

Psalm 55:16-17:  "But I call to God, and the Lord saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice."

John 10:10:  "The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

2 Timothy 1:7:  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  (KJV)

Romans 10:13:  "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

John 3:16:  "For God so loved you that He sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty for sin, so that if you believe in Him, you will not perish but will have eternal life!"  (Paraphrased)

For more verses to help with anxiety or fear or depression:

Links to some encouraging songs
There's more in the "My 'When Anxiety Strikes' Playlist" link below.  And fyi, I couldn't get the font/color to be the same for all the titles (stupid computer):

Oh, What Love  by The City Harmonic - always makes me cry. Grace, forgiveness, mercy, healing, hope, purpose ... it's all wrapped up in that amazing love!

Love, Heal Me by The City Harmonic - the song that inspired the title of one of my blogs, Love, Heal Me - my heart's cry for the past year

Fell Apart  by The City Harmonic - one of the best opening lines ever! These City Harmonic songs became my prayers at a time I was too broken to pray for myself.

Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle - absolutely amazing!  It touched my heart so deeply that it became a theme song for my life and the inspiration for my other blog, The 'Sweetly Broken' Journey.

I AM by Crowder - God's always there holding onto us, calling us to hold onto Him.

Forgiven by Crowder - forgiveness is always available, no matter what you've done.  Those sins have already been paid for.  You don't have to keep paying the price for them.  Accept the forgiveness of God.

Come As You Are by Crowder - you don't need to polish yourself up first, just come to Him as you are!

Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North - one of the inspirations for this blog.

Worn by Tenth Avenue North.  Can anyone else relate to being tired just from breathing?

By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North - no matter where we are, He's always by our side.  No need to earn His love, grace, forgiveness, or help.  Just accept them!  It's already waiting for you.

Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North - this is totally my prayer!  What I've been feeling for a long time.

Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher - This one meant so much to me when we sang it at church while I was in a very dark time.

Forgiven by Sanctus Real - no one needs to live in bondage to sin or guilt or shame anymore.

Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray - You matter to the Lord ... enough for Him to give His life for you.

Forgiveness by Toby Mac - We all need forgiveness.  We all need a Savior.  If you're broken, you're in good company, because so are the rest of us!

Here's a list of 20 Funk-Bustin' Songs For Your Bad Day from  And Ashley even includes links to more songs at the end of the post.  

Links to websites and posts:
If you don't know Jesus, let me introduce you to Him!

And for posts on spiritual warfare ...

Susan also has a series on dealing with anxiety and depression.  This is the first post in her series.  She starts with hope.

This is a blog from a cancer-survivor with a lot of heart and a lot of encouragement to share.

I just found this one.  It's a blog from someone who understands, who once tried to take her own life.  It's worth clicking around on her other posts, too.  She's got lots of encouragement in there.

Ashley shares her story of contemplating suicide and what stopped her:

I also just found this one, and it look like there is a lot of hope and truth here to help those who are struggling through life.

These are posts I wrote to share some spiritual and practical tips for dealing with depression and anxiety, from my own struggles.  (Some of these tips I've covered in other posts on this blog.)  FYI, I do not write short posts.  I write long, wordy posts ... for two reasons.  One is that I like to write things out, deeply and fully.  And I do this for me, to clear my mind, to process things where I can see them.  And two is because when I was struggling really badly emotionally and dealing with incredible loneliness, I found great comfort in reading other people's stories.  And when I found a good writer, I never wanted the book to end.  It would've been fine with me if they had written in detail about what they ate for breakfast - how it tasted, how it smelled, the way it felt in their mouth, where the crumbs fell, etc.  I needed their "companionship."  And while I know most people like quick, easy-to-read, get-to-the-point posts, I write mine for those who like to read deeply, who want to linger over what they read and who find companionship in words.  That's why my posts are so much longer than everyone else's.  (If you want quicker, easy-to-read, inspirational posts, check out many of the blogs I have links to in the right side-bar at Love, Heal Me.)  But for these posts, I did write a shorter one for those who don't have enough energy for lots of words.  Sometimes when we are struggling the worst, we just want things to be simpler.
The really long version:
The shorter version:

This is one I posted earlier on this blog.  It has tips on "getting through the broken times."  (Most of these are also in the "26 Tips for Dealing with Depression/Anxiety" posts above.  But the above ones have a lot more in them.)

This is a post that has links to a lot of encouraging songs, ones that I found helpful when I was at my lowest.  

Several quick, simple tips for when you are struggling emotionally.

This is a simple, encouraging daily devotional.  I've only checked a couple of these posts out, but I did read the "Streams in the Desert" book, and I loved it (at least, I think that was the title).

I just found this one and only read a few posts, but I like it so far.  The blog itself is a satirical Christian look at lots of various issues.  (I personally love satire and sarcasm.  I'm really good at it, too.  I just don't get much chance to use it.)  But this post is about things he found helpful when dealing with anxiety.

Search "anxiety" or "depression" on this site:

Some good posts from Sheila Walsh (, who struggled with emotional issues and wrote books about it.  I really appreciated her flat-out honesty in the book I read (can't remember the title).  (This link says it's chapter one, but it's actually chapter two.  The first chapter is in the link above.)

For a satirical look at how we grow in bitterness, check this one out.  (But do not take it too seriously.  I wrote it to show the ridiculousness of some of the things we do that bring us down and hurt us, about how it's Satan's plan to make us bitter and how we consciously or unconsciously follow him in his plan.  You never know, you might recognize something of yourself in it and realize that it's something you don't want to keep doing.  But don't read it if you are really depressed and can't handle the satire.  Read one of the other links instead.)

I wrote this one out of frustration after our pastor included depression in a list of sins, without any further help or advice or compassion.  It really upset a woman at church who struggles with it.  And it upset me to think about how heartless and irresponsible it was for the pastor to do that.  So I wrote my "response" in this post.  For those of us who know what it's like to struggle with depression.
            Honestly, sometimes I think that the only people who should be allowed to help those who have emotional struggles are those who have had emotional struggles themselves.  They are the ones who can truly understand what it's like.  And so they know that Christian platitudes and simplistic "pat answers" are not going to help.  They are the ones who are willing to come alongside another person and help lift them up, instead of simply throwing around uncompassionate condemnations and simple "I'll fix it" ideas. 
            Broken people are the best ones to help broken people.  That's why I write what I do.  I'm broken, too.  (But I'm being rebuilt in the Lord!)

And here are some Christian blogs that have link-ups to connect you with an abundance of great writing from other Christian bloggers.  You are bound to find encouragement in there somewhere.  (The link-ups are found weekly on most of these blogs, not on every post.  You might have to look around a little for them.)  (They are currently not adding more posts, but there are many archived ones)  (Inspire Me Monday Link-up)  (Grace & Truth Link-up)  (Faith 'n Friends Link-up)  (Faith on Fire Link-up)  (Destination Inspiration Link-up)  (Grace Moments Link-up)

Suicide is not an option! 
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255