These questions are honestly always the hardest for me to answer. For one, I suffered (and sometimes still do suffer) from bouts of depression, and I know sometimes the words of people can be really empty in that state, and I never want to give people empty words. But here’s the advice I can give you, and I hope you will take it as coming from someone who understands what you’re going through and wants you to be healed and whole:
1. Ask for help. Depression and being suicidal are serious issues and if you are not in the state of mind to be in control of your own well-being, you need someone to do it for you. Whether that means calling 911 if you feel like you’re about to self harm (if you’re in the states and have that luxury), or telling a medical professional, or a loved one, it makes all the difference. As annoying as my dad gets any time he notices I’m slipping off into depression, just knowing that he cares enough to check in on me and encourage me and cheer me up and pray for me really makes all the difference. And having spiritual leaders who counsel me helps too. I have friends who see counselors and take medication – forget the stigma attached to these things. You need to make sure you’re ok. What anyone else thinks because you ended up in a hospital is irrelevant. What matters is that you’re safe and alive and getting the help you need.
2. Worship. You will not feel like it, trust me. But God showed me something in the Bible that made it so that any time I started to feel depressed, I immediately drowned myself in worship: When David was anointed King, the Bible said a spirit of depression fell upon Saul, and the only time he was relieved was when David came to play the harp for him. There is something about worshiping in the darkness that allows the light in.
3. Read your Bible. You won’t feel like doing this either. The words might seem jumbled and not make much sense. But do it anyway. Speak the truth aloud if you have to. Depression and suicidal thoughts usually stem from a lie, and that lie is usually ‘you are not enough’, so steep yourself in God’s truth that you ARE enough. That He is enough for you. Keep reading the truth until it becomes larger than the lie.
4. Pray. Cry. Scream out to God. He can take it. He’s been feeling it with you. He doesn’t want you to go through it alone and Jesus has made it so you don’t have to. Reach out to Him and let Him comfort you and bring you the rest and peace that you can’t give yourself.
5. Find community. Go to church. As much as I advocate medical help and counsel, spiritual help and counsel is important too. God created us for community and it’s when we are away from the flock that we are most susceptible to predatory attacks. The church is meant to lift you up when you can’t stand yourself. Like the paralytic man who was carried and let down through the roof to see Jesus, it takes people who know God to help you find the help you need in Him.
6. Be still. Wait for it to pass. Depression is one of those things you have to pray through and trust God through. And I can tell you from experience that this too shall pass. It might seem hard right now and dark and endless, but it will end. It HAS to. Because God said so. He said no weapon formed against you will prosper. He said you will live and not die. And I’m praying with you and affirming that truth over your life.