Candy blogs: I am so honored today to be a host for a blog tour for Thelma Wells’ new book, “Ready to Win Over Depression“! I first heard “Mama T” many years ago at a Women of Faith Conference. She has been a blessing ever since. Her “BEE your best” motto has haunted me for years. I’m just now learning to believe it.
THELMA: Before I begin, let me first say, if you and/or a loved one are in a crisis situation and you need immediate assistance, please call your local emergency number or the mental health crisis hotline listed in your local phone book.
In your introduction, you state that you’ve been there – you’ve been depressed. Tell us about that.
Yes, I have. This story is told in detail in the book; however, I had surgery several years ago and within a few days the incision split open and my intestines were exposed. This was probably by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. After a quick trip back to the hospital to repair the damage, I spent over a year bed-ridden, disabled, and recovering. I’m not the kind of person to lie down and take things slow, especially when it’s forced on me. Yet, in this situation I had no choice but to stop and heal. It wasn’t easy and I faced a lot of fears and I experienced situational depression during this time.
How do you define depression?
Some of us are more prone to depression than others. The influences that bring us down in our spirits can come from many sources and directions. Depression can be a complex picture. But let’s face it. The main reason we get despondent is simply because life happens. And nobody’s life is a constant procession of uplifting, rejuvenating, invigorating experiences. Everybody’s life has downers. We easily get off-balance in so many ways, and this hurts. The TV commercial that says, “Depression hurts” is true.
Does your book focus on one type of depression?
For most of us, the depression we typically encounter isn’t the severe or clinical category, medically speaking. The typical depression is situational. This doesn’t mean they’re painless or less important or harmless. Dr. Archibald D. Hart, a leading Christian psychologist and dean emeritus of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary writes, “While these depressions are not usually as serious as the biological ones, they can be much more difficult to cope with.”
In your first chapter, you talk about “Who gets depressed?” Does depression affect certain groups of people more than others?
Every year depression strikes more than 35 million in the United States alone. We’re seeing depression with frightening regularity in ourselves, our relatives, and our friends. Dr. Harts states, “There is hardly a family today that is not touched by depression’s tentacles.” Depression affects people of all social classes, all races, and all cultures, but there’s one group that’s especially hard hit…women. Also, there is an alarming increase in children and the elderly.
What are the triggers and causes of depression?
Psychology Information Online, which includes content provided by the National Institute on Mental Health, notes that “a depressive episode” can be triggered by “a serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial setback, or any unwelcome life change.” Sometimes depression is brought on by an underlying disease or biochemical disorder. Whatever the cause of our depression, it needs to be faced and understood realistically—and then accepted for what it truly is.
Does the Bible speak about depression?
It does in several places and we see it in the lives of David, Jeremiah, and Paul. Psalms 42 and 43 together represent the cry of a downcast soul—someone who is hurting and thirsting for God. Paul describes our loving Father as “God, who comforts the downcast” (2 Corinthians 7:6).
Christians do get depressed, but it’s a temporary state. God allows us to experience it as a means to attaining something better. Our hope and contentment are based on seeing our past and present difficulties as gifts from God to prepare us and enable us to do more for Him by sharing Christ, finding delight in God and in what He ordains.
What are the steps you outline for “doing something about it.” And why are these important?
• Get It All Out – talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. Emotionally and mentally, talking about your feelings is a healthy thing to do. Everybody needs somebody to confide in. That’s right. Everybody.
• Take Care of Yourself Physically – How healthy we are physically always impacts our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
• Don’t be Deceived – Your emotions can fool you into questioning or not knowing what’s real or not real. Depression can cause some strange symptoms.
• You Are Your Own Captive Audience – People talk to themselves. We all do it. When we talk to ourselves, we need to watch what we’re saying. You see, when we talk to ourselves, we invoke our consciousness. And in our conscious awareness, we truly hear what we say. Our subconscious hearts it—and believes it! Then our creative self-conscious gets busy working it out…whether or not it’s true, real, positive, negative, or healthy.
Hope is a key word used throughout the book, but especially in the last chapter. What does the mystery of hope mean?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12). Hope and prayer always go together. In fact, prayer is the voice of hope. When there’s hopelessness, prayer dries up and blows ways. Real hope is huge! To have a biblical hope found in Ephesians 4:1-16 is to possess “living hope.”
From page 99 to page 109, I discuss the facets of hope that we can attain when we refocus our attention from us to God. Our living hope is not in things, peoples’ opinions, positions, status, or any tangible findings of life. No, it rests upon the spiritual and emotional stability of our minds on the only wise God, our Father, who can help us in our depressed states every day. This living hope is in Jesus, the Anointed One, whose job it is to redeem us for all things that oppress us. The only hope for the world is Jesus. The only help for the world is a touch from God.
You spend a whole chapter on “Looking Outward.” Why is this important?
At the risk of bursting someone’s bubble…the world doesn’t revolve around you. I know you might have thought it did. I used to think the same thing about me. One of the best ways to deal with depression is to do something for somebody without expecting anything in return. Search for a volunteer organization, mentor a child or young person, or find someone who needs help with something and help them. Do something. That’s the key.
I have several activities available via my ministry that offer opportunities for people to connect with others. Join me on excursions across the country and to Israel studying the Word, relaxing, rejuvenating and enjoying the life God has given us. We are also launching the Ready to Win Web Cast University with a variety of experts to offer you the best in Christian instruction, study, and education. I have hand-selected several outstanding speakers that will enable you to be READY TO WIN in every situation. Both of these and more are available on my web site at http://www.ThelmaWells.com.
How is the book different from others?
This book is different from others because it gives the reader a non-threatening opportunity to ask themselves questions and answer those questions in the book as they are reading it. It is not a course of study; it is a means of helping them “get it out.” It allows them to analyze their state of being and work through it alone so that it is there personal and confidential analysis and directives for healing.
What results do you see that can come from reading this book?
The results I see from reading this book are:
• People have a handy reference at their fingertips for calling their attention to what they are facing in terms of situational depression.
• People have at their fingertips information that they can share with others who may be experiencing the same kind of depression.
• There are reminders in the book that are encouraging and inspiring that can be used as a devotional.
• There are stories that people can relate to and realize that they are not alone and there is always help.
Where can we connect with you further on this topic, or purchase a copy of this book?
I would love for them to visit my web site at www.ThelmaWells.com, browse through the various events and other resources available, as well as sign up for my mailing list.
READY TO WIN OVER DEPRESSION is also available online and at local bookstores such as, Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Christian Stores, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Book Stores, Mardel’s, Anchor Distributors, Christianbook.com, and many other stores and vendors throughout American and the United Kingdom.
I would also like to connect with people on the new Facebook page we set up specifically for this topic at www.facebook.com/readytowinoverdepression. Or they can find me on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Thelmaw.
Again, let me say…if you or someone you know is dealing with depression, you are not crazy. God knows you’re not crazy. And He also has a perfect antidote for your depression. Nothing escapes Him, and he knows you far better than you know yourself. Isn’t that a relief and comfort?
(A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by the author in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.)
As comments are entered on this post, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Thelma’s book, “Ready to Win Over Depression.” I’m very excited to be able to offer this opportunity! Thelma is a well loved and respected woman of God; she has much to say to us.
Depression can rob us of the JOY Jesus offers … J esus O ffers Y ou … J.O.Y.!
Thanks for stopping by today. I would be pleased to see you here often.
A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
A few things I’ve learned from being in pain:
~ isolation keeps us in our pain and from moving forward
When I avoided contact with others, I was the loser. I was keeping myself from moving past the pain. Yes, there is risk in revealing shame and imperfection. But we rarely experience growth outside of “community.”
~ accountability (liable to being called to account; answerable)
Accountability is key to growth. Having trusted, wise people in our lives to help us stay on the path leads to health. We must be willing to be open and honest with at least one other person, and be willing to hear the truth about ourselves. We can’t see ourselves as others see us; we have blind spots. We have to get outside our own thoughts and opinions and pain.
~ woman in the mirror
We have to be willing to take an honest look at ourselves, ugliness and all. We can’t change anyone else, but we can allow God to change us. Most of the time it’s a painful process. When we finally get down to the underlying issues of our pain, we then have to begin the process of change.
God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. We spend too much energy on making sure we are always comfortable; we think there is something wrong if we experience discomfort. God’s purpose for our lives isn’t that we’re happy, but that we are godly. Happiness is solely dependent on ever-changing outside circumstances. Our godliness comes from God … from the inside. How does a godly woman think and behave? Tantrums? Blame? Manipulation? Unreasonable expectations? Retaliation? Denial? Co-dependency? Silence? Taking and not giving?
~ freedom is on the other side of the door
The most important thing I learned through pain is that freedom is just on the other side of the door. But I have to be willing to walk through the door to get to it. As long as I continue to fight God’s best for me instead of yield to it, I will remain on the wrong side of the door. The pain will continue to intensify and it will become “familiar.” And it’s easier to stay in the familiar mode than do the hard work to move past it. I often say “change will only happen when the pain gets greater than the fear.”
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11
Jesus loves us. He came into time and space as a baby to intersect with our lives. His love transcends any circumstance, any condition, any economy, any broken relationship. He came to give life, light and hope. Take hold of it.
Stop right now and take a moment to become aware of your physical body.
Are you uncomfortable? Are you hungry? How do your feet feel in your shoes? Bra strap? Do you smell nice? Is your skin scratchy? Do you feel fatigued? Got a torn nail that is driving you crazy? Are your shoulders tense? Any pain? How does your outfit make you feel today? Maybe you just finished exercising and you’re exhausted but exhilarated! Or cooked or baked up a storm as a love gift to your family and you’re tired but delighted. And maybe there are a few out there who smell nice, feel soft, are perfectly manicured and feeling fine!
Do you find it difficult to focus on your physical body?
What are you going to do about it? Have you ever stopped to think that something should be done about it? Will you carry on being uncomfortable and troubled? Will you go to bed that way? Our mental and emotional and physical health is all intertwined. A stressed mind can contribute to an uncomfortable body. And ill-fitting shoes or bras can contribute to a restless mind. These things can overflow to our husbands and children and co-workers and friends and are reflected back to us.
What can take you from uncomfortable or restless to cozy and peaceful? For me it is having on as few clothes as possible, spa or chamber music and any association with water … the sound of it, the weightlessness of it, the warmth or coolness of it, the quietness of it. What is it for you?
Here are some lovely things:
Hot or cool bath or shower
Manicure or pedicure
Get a new bra, for heaven’s sake
An old black and white movie
Nap with a pillow and blanket
Cuddle with ________________ (husband, child, pet … you choose)
Enjoy some intensely-flavored foods
Just a couple of bites of any of these fruits, savored and truly tasted, can change your whole outlook on life today! They have zest and energy and joy in them! Truly! Make it an eating “event” instead of just a snack. Bite, taste, chew, taste, savor, chew, swallow. Any happy memories coming up? Are your jaws tingling?
* citrus fruits
* berries of any kind
* Granny Smith apple
Sometimes we have to learn to care for ourselves. Women are always caring for everyone else. Make your own list of cozy peaceful so you know what to do when you need it. Don’t let discomfort be the norm. Let it lead you back to self care.
“Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
Do you have other caring verses you’d like to share?