We all experience bad moods of a moderate type. Whether we are actually actually depressed, to some degree, or not, mood swings can hit us and change our whole outlook on the situation, the day, or on life in a split second.
As I have dealt with depression and anxiety, I would get very frustrated when it seemed I would be doing fine, when “all of a sudden” my mood would change. I would suddenly be more depressed, or anxious. I used to describe it as a window shade of darkness being pulled down in my mind.
My therapist used to say that it was not out of the blue, it would just seem like it. At the point of the mood change, the mind was subconsciously presented with a feeling or a memory it did not know how to process or was uncomfortable processing. It could be something in our very recent memory, but he also told me it could be something from LONG ago that we still have not dealt with.
For those who are emotionally healthy, they may be able to handle the mood change, accept it for what it is and move on. They may understand that they’ll be fine in just a little while. They know that activity is the best way to overcome a foul mood.
For a depressed person, this is not so easy. If we allow our mind to do what it wants, we will let this bad mood make us sad, discouraged and sap us of our energy. All of sudden all seems wrong with the world again.
When depressed, it is hard to understand the ebbs and flows of life, we think that when something “bad” happens, that all of life is bad and will never be good again. That can be the chemical imbalance of the depression talking, but it can also be poor habits of thinking that we have cultivated in our depression.
Gaining control over mood swings
If you feel like your mood has changed all of a sudden, one way to begin to overcome the tricks that the mind can play on us is to ask yourself, “What feelings am I trying to avoid? What is it that is REALLY bothering me? Something that happened to me?”
We don’t like to think about these things. We’d like to just stew in our depression, and not do the hard work and face those things that make us feel bad. I am speaking of myself here too!
The reality is, overcoming depression IS hard work. Getting better will take effort on your part, more than just taking a pill each day. Studies show that therapy and actively working to overcome your depression is just as effective as taking an antidepressant alone. The sad part is, neither work 100% of the time to overcome 100% of the depression.
For those who have suffered a major depressive episode (such as myself) or have suffered with chronic depression for years, it may take medication, therapy and lots of personal work to beat the depression, or at least get a reasonable handle on it.
One thing that is working for me
For myself, one of the things I am finding that helps me when these mood changes come along it to stop and have a conversation with myself about myself. I ask what is it that I am REALLY feeling? It sometimes takes some digging to uncover it, as we have gotten so good at burying our feelings.
Once I pinpoint it, or at least have an idea of what it is, I try to look at it rationally. I ask if there is a REAL reason to be upset. I ask myself WHY is it so upsetting?
That doesn’t always work however, and sometimes I need some help to overcome this thought or feeling that has come up. What has been helping me is to pray about it. I take it to God and ask Him what He thinks about it. And many times I realize that what I am feeling is NOT based on truth, and I must bring it under control and not allow it to control me. This is based upon the verse in 2 Cor. 10:5 that speaks of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to God’s truths.
This has been very helpful to me in stabilizing my mood swings as well as just battling those nagging thoughts that like to pop into my brain. Just being more aware of what I am actually FEELING has helped tremendously. And if I can’t bring that thought under control, it is nice to know that God is there to help me do so.
Have you tried prayer in overcoming your depression and taking those thoughts captive?