10 Questions to Ask When Depressed

Living in a messy marriage for an extended period of time, often leads to depression …

That’s because, whenever we feel we’re unable to escape an overwhelmingly frustrating or oppressive situation, depression has a tendency to develop. It may not be the “marriage” per se that has been the trigger, but a variety of factors that are “pressurized” within the heat of marriage, building to the point of despair.

I’ve battled with depression at various times in my life and marriage. I believe there are individuals who are genetically predisposed to depression, as well as, some who’ve developed depression because of chemical changes or imbalances in the brain, or both.
 

Sachsenhausen Prison Cell
credit

Others, like me, simply allow our thinking to create a prison of the mind. Here are some questions that I’ve found to be helpful in pulling myself out of that pit …

10 questions to ask when depressed:

  • Am I trying to change someone, even God, and they’re resisting?
  • Am I using withdrawal or rebellion as a weapon or an escape?
  • Am I ruminating on lies that I am unlovable, unlikable, or unimportant?
  • Am I choosing to remain inactive as I wait on others, even God, to reach out to me?
  • Am I choosing to remain inactive as I wait on others, even God, to do the right things?
  • Am I ruminating on what others, even God, aren’t doing that I think they should be doing?
  • Am I ruminating on the ways certain others have hurt me?
  • Am I more consumed with getting my needs met than being other-focused and giving?
  • Am I more consumed with meeting the needs of others than finding times to refuel my own heart and mind?
  • Am I more consumed with what others think of me than what God thinks of me?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you may be adding fuel to an already burning flame. Look back at the ones you’ve selected above and choose to deal with or avoid those actions/attitudes consistently in the future, then you may find yourself regaining perspective and easing your depression.

Here are 2 more questions that can help you map out a workable strategy:

  • What specific areas do I need to work on?
  • What do I need to do in each area?

Please let me know if you see yourself practicing any of these negative habits listed above, and share with us what you hope to do about it. If you have trouble thinking of a strategy, let me know and I’ll try to help you. Most of all, I promise to pray for those of you who struggle with depression.

Even though it may seem you are all alone, God is there with you.  

Remember …

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free …” Psalm 146:7 (NIV)

**********
 

Linking up with NOBH, Imperfect Prose, Women Living Well, Encourage One Another and New Life Steward

  • incredibly powerful questions …

  • I believe that these questions are great for someone who’s having a perpetual pity party. We all need to think about those things in times of feeling sorry for ourselves for one reason or another.
    However, I have to say that depression is not always the person’s fault. Therefore a “better attitude” doesn’t always fix it.
    Yes, there are times when circumstances can bring a person down, and there are times when we can get lost in a pity party or feeling sorry for ourselves. And for those times, I think that a self-assessment can be beneficial.
    However, clinical depression is an illness, not a choice. It’s not a person’s fault because of their “bad attitude.” That is a common misconception and I really wish there was more education out there. As a person who suffers depression, I have been told that it’s my fault, that if I just had a better attitude I wouldn’t be depressed, even that I’m sinning against God by having this illness. It always saddens me to see this myth being perpetuated.
    Again, I think these questions are great in certain circumstances. But, people sometimes use “depression” when they really mean “pity party” “bad day” “feeling sorry for yourself” etc. For those types of things, I think these are great but true depression is not the person’s fault.

  • messymarriage

    I totally agree, Crystal, and felt that I made the distinction between those who mentally choose to imprison themselves and those who are chemically or genetically predisposed to depression in this post. I’m sorry if that’s how you understood this. I am bothered by those who feel that depression is not a medical issue as well.

    However, I do feel that those who allow themselves to “think” themselves into a depression are not simply throwing a pity party. I know this is an emotionally charged issue for many. My only hope was to provide tools for those who can work on this problem.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, friend!

  • As one who chronically struggles with depression, these questions ring true. Getting the focus off myself and onto God always keeps me from sinking in the waves of despair. But I’ve never been able to do it alone. I need a team of close friends to walk me through it. Great post, as always!

  • Ro elliott

    great reflective questions…really good questions for anyone to ask themselves from time to time. blessings~

  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Thanks for sharing. I know that depression has played a part in our marriage and though it has never been an extended period of time any amount can rock the foundations of a strong marriage. I think sometimes the distinction between despair and depression is hard to define. Many times I may find myself in despair but would not qualify it as depression. I believe there to be a difference. Either way, you have given some great questions to think through.

    Megna

  • Heather C

    Nice post and questions.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks, Ro. I always appreciate you coming by, my friend! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    You’re right, Megan. Despair does not equal depression. Of course, I’ve spoken of several types of depression here and perhaps have left it a bit confusing to my readers. I was mostly addressing the non-clinical side of depression, where a person has allowed her thoughts to go in a negative direction for too long. This could develop into a clinical depression but doesn’t have to.

    And as you’ve pointed out, sometimes it’s difficult to see when our despair has turned to depression. I just hope these tools help. I believe they can help those who are not clinically depressed as well as those with clinical depression–although it is NOT the only treatment for either. Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate it!

  • messymarriage

    I really appreciate that coming from you, Heather. It means a lot, friend! 🙂

  • soulstops

    really great questions to ask on a regular basis…for me, it has been learning to focus on how God sees me that has been the most freeing… Thanks, Beth 🙂

  • Great questions! Depression is very sneaky and can strike when you least expect it. I’ve noticed that when things that normally don’t shake me start to feel like weights on my chest I need to take a step back and reevaluate. 🙂

  • “Am I more consumed with getting my needs met than being other-focused and giving?”

    so this hit me like a ton of bricks. i so easily become convinced that i have to be focused on my needs or else they won’t be met, when in fact God’s call for us is the exact opposite. ‘Give no thought…’

    great post. thanks so much for sharing…

  • Alia_Joy

    As someone who has struggled with depression and marriage issues, these are great questions to ask, and the answers very revealing of where my heart and mind were at during some of those dark times.

  • Oh, I’m using these questions with a client tomorrow night. Thanks for sharing!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, these are questions I use, Dolly. I need this mental baseline to keep me from running off into a ditch–whether depressed or simply discouraged. Thanks so much for you kind words and for coming by!

  • messymarriage

    That’s a great insight, Mindy. I’m going to tuck that “sign” you’ve described away in my toolbox for a future reference point. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    I like how you’ve worded that for us, Steven. We truly can rest in His provision. Thanks so much for being so encouraging to me. I’m so glad it’s helping you!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I developed these out the times I’ve been depressed, knowing what “I” was focusing on in those times. I’ve really been helped by the perspective they bring. I hope that do the same for you and others, Alia! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • messymarriage

    That’s great, Mary Beth. I hope they help your client to gain some perspective. Thanks also for coming by and letting me know you want to use them. I’m grateful! 🙂

  • I have worn the bipolar hat in this life and these are awesome perpsective shifting questions! Many times, especially if we know our triggers and catch it early in the spiral, we can make a massive shift by stepping outside ourselves and focusing on something else. Otherwise it is very easy to get caught in that victim mindset and feed our emotions with negative fuel. Being truthful with yourself goes a long way~

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad to know that you feel they would help with bipolar. I want to reiterate (as I have in other comments) that these are not the “only” ways to help a depressed individual, but I felt like they would be a good tool to use alongside other treatments. So glad that you think so too! 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Great questions, Beth. Such a good reminder. It’s been freeing lately to know that there are things I can do to change. Your posts these days have been insightful and challenging lately. Thank you!

  • Kimberly Green

    “Am I using Withdrawal or Rebellion as a weapon or escape?” Get outta my sandbox, Beth! Not really. Stay PLEASE! Have a shovel!
    I am someone struggles with depression and anxiety (YAY! WelButrin!). After looking over the questions (and also looking up the word “Ruminate”) I’m thinking this is a very good list for me to print out and use as a bookmark or something to help me identify when I am falling into my “funk” (“funk” being used here to describe a depressed state of mind, not poor hygiene- which, if One is in the downward spiral can ALSO be of concern). And now i have no clue what i did to make the font bold. I really have to look at each of those questions and look at the MOTIVATION behind some of my responses. I can con myself into believing that I am consumed with the NEEDS of others, when I am actually dwelling on my inability to control them. I figure they NEED what I want for them and they don’t happen to agree and it’s stressing me out!
    Thanks again for practical steps toward action!

  • smoothstones

    Wow. This is such a helpful post. I’ll be sharing on fb (and bookmarking, for future reference). Thank you, and God bless…

  • bluecottonmemory

    Like Kimberly says, I have sandboxes – specific funk sandboxes that I have difficulty getting out of – even when I try approaching those issues in a faith and hope way – it feels like stepping on Leggos as I’m trying to get out of those sandboxes. Thank you for shining a spotlight on the struggles we face!

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad you feel like it will help, Kimberly. And I promise to play nice in your sandbox … no crashing through your sandcastles, slinging sand in your face, taking over your “corner” of the sandbox, and definitely, no peeing in the sandbox! I promise! 🙂 Thanks so much for making me laugh and encouraging me all at the same time! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    That would be great! I’d really appreciate it and am grateful that you find it helpful, friend!

  • messymarriage

    You’ve added a word picture that helps put “feeling” to this difficult task of walking through life with depression. I hope that you find these questions helpful in that struggle. I’ll certainly lift you up in my prayers, friend!

  • Jacqueline@Deeprootsathome.com

    Beth, this is insightful to me and I think it will be to the many who have been there. Thank you for illuminating me a little 🙂 May I ask if you would consider linking this post up on the ‘EOA’ link-up from yesterday at DeepRootsAtHome? This is the content that is a blessing to other women! Thank you! I have never been to your blog, but I will definitely be back. I found you on WLWW.

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad you came by and visited MM, Jacqueline. It encourages me to know you feel these questions are helpful and could help others too. I’ve joined your blog hop and will make a point to add you to my blog hopping list. It’s great to make a new blogging friend! 🙂

  • Good questions to ask. This was incredibly helpful for me because I’ve battled depression before and these questions will definitely help me when I’m feeling down to refocus back on God. This blog is such a blessing!

  • Ashley Haupt

    Good stuff. Very helpful. 🙂

  • libertybain

    this is such a beautiful and insightful post – many thanks!

    http://www.messymarriage.com/2013/02/5-texts-you-should-send-your-spouse.html

  • Thanks so much for coming by! I appreciate the kind words. 🙂