How I cope with Depression in the Pandemic

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1) Prayers.. lots and lots.. I asked for prayer warriors to groan with me and cry to the Lord for me. I sometimes just groan.. no words.. I struggled or wrestled with the devil – whispering lies and negative thoughts in my mind.. then I would recall God’s Word and promises as I sing when dangers gather near me, God’s Word will be my sword (words from the song – My Hope is in the Lord). I pray through my singing. Songs at virtual choir became my prayers.

2) Singing.. again and again the many songs I learned at virtual choir. Joining virtual choir of my home church is the best new thing I learned in the pandemic. The songs are always so timely – they comfort and heal my blues, lift my moods, turn my mind off the negatively sad and depressive stuffs. I remember each time I feel sad that Hannah’s leaving soon to be married in another country, I would practice my choir songs, sing, sing and sing.

3) Exercise.. Setting up a new routine, habits: plan daily schedule
I listened to a friend’s advise to walk in the sun daily. Vitamin D reduces depression.
I dance regularly at least 2x a week (an hour session).
Another friend told me to climb the stairs. I became intentional to climb up and down 3 floors throughout the day – to talk with hubby, to bring him food, to sit in his office on the 3rd floor and rest/sleep while he works.. then down the ground floor for cooking, gardening, walking in the driveway… It’s ok if I forget what I was going to do or get, I can go up or down again for exercise. When we first moved into our present place (after 2 decades of living in condo), my legs hurt from climbing stairs. Now, I’m used to it.

4) Embrace the pain.. face the fears.. I looked at my anxiety squarely in the face. I remember tips from a counsellor to think about my fears/doubts at fixed time of day. Then think of them no more. I was anxious about cooking dishes for each day. So i decided to just face my worries one day at a time – give us this day our daily bread.

I count my small blessings – seemingly petty stuffs/worries that God solved for me – e.g. catching Mickey/Minnie/Jerry (aka mouse); or fixing broken faucet in the kitchen… also surprise food from good neighbours; assuring texts and messages from friends to spend time to listen and chat and talk. I confess my depression bravely.

Somehow, practice makes perfect. The more I become accustomed to my new routine, the more settled I became in my new normal. I became more normal – not going wacko or mental.

Last but not the least, writing… singing and writing kept me sane in the COVID. At one point, silence steal not only my song (again words from the song My Hope is in the Lord) but my writing. I did not know what to write, how to write. I just kept looking in my old files to recycle what I wrote years or months ago. And there were times I need to be reminded of what I wrote. Sometimes, I’d wonder: Did I write that? How did I do it? Where did that come from? From the Holy Spirit of course.. not by my own power would I be able to write what i did.

I need to be reminded often that God’s Word is truth – sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing through bones and marrow; His Word never return to Him empty but will accomplish all that He intended them for.

Writing is like breast-feeding.. the more it’s done, the more milk it produces. Words beget words as Thoughts beget thoughts. So do good thoughts beget good thoughts. Finally the best advice against dark thoughts a.k.a. depression is what Paul wrote to the Philippians:

Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
1) Gentleness = humility. To be happy is to be humble – quit striving and quarrelling with people. The Lord is near – He’s coming soon. In the light of eternity, from the perspective of being with our Creator forever in a happy place, what is there to contend or quarrel about? No need to strive for petty or trivial things of the world.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2) Do not worry. Instead, pray and sing; sing and praise God. Be thankful for all that God gives. Gratitude is the key to joy. Prayer = Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication = Peace beyond understanding will ‘GUARD’ keep our minds off the devil because this peace will keep us focused on Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
3) Think good thoughts, focus on what is true (not lies), on what is noble (not trashy), right (not bad), pure (not dirty), lovely (not ugly), admirable (not contemptible; unpleasant); excellent (not sub-standard); praiseworthy (not shameful).. think about all such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
4) Learn from the wise and the experienced. Walk with mature followers of Jesus. Be humble and teachable. Listen, watch, learn and just do it. Practice again and again. Practice makes perfect.

And the God of peace is with me – to heal me from my depression, walking with me by me in me… always again and again till Jesus returns or He calls me home.

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