When you’re an only child from a small family, sometimes you have to be taught to reach for people. Even after 20 years of community, I still have to learn this lesson.
But maybe you’re not from a small family. Maybe you just have a different family structure that doesn’t afford you the leisure to depend on others. Maybe they are depending on you.
Either way, when you’re the one in trouble, it can be hard to say, “Hey, there. I need you.”
I admit I am an internal processor. Though I have amazing people in my life, I tend to process first internally and then reach for people. And when I reach for someone, it’s usually a person I know who will empathize with my situation.
We need empathizers to make it in this life.
But sometimes, even when I know better, I don’t reach for people, even an empathizer. Instead, I mull over, swallow, and digest the hurt. Especially if I’m depressed.
I’ve had several bouts of depression, and my earliest memory was from my first year of college. I was sleeping a lot. Even when I got enough rest, I was always tired. I didn’t know it then, but the five-hour difference from my loved ones and the long-distance relationship I was trying to manhandle was causing me depression.
Sophomore year it happened again. I still hadn’t made friends at school. Well, none that lasted past a semester. I gained 50lbs while recovering from an eating disorder. My academic challenges were on another level at this prestigious public university, spotting my previous A-student track record suddenly with C’s. To an overachiever like myself, this was failure. It wasn’t until I stepped into an admin’s office on campus that I learned my diagnosis: I was depressed.
The onset of depression comes in all forms. It can be triggered by a transition in your life, as it was for me as a new college student. This transition can even be a positive one, such as marriage or having a baby. There is still a loss of an old life, an old self-perception that needs to be grieved. Depression can also come from a more devastating loss, such as a relationship, failed health, or scarce finances. But the common symptom is the desire to be alone.
So, how do you cope when you’re already alone?How do you cope with depression when you’re single? Click To Tweet
I have found many helpful tools to overcome depression, but the primary one is utilizing the help of others. We are interdependent creatures, which means even the introverted are affected. That’s why the enemy of our souls uses depression to isolate us.
When we’re depressed, we tend to believe the lies: we are alone, no one loves us, this will never end.
And when you’re single and living alone, it can be harder to thwart those lies. Someone needs to speak a word of truth to you, but you need to get to that word.
My friend, if this is you, here is the word. You are loved. You are needed. Your purpose is vital to manifest.
I think about my last bout with depression during the pandemic when I felt myself sinking into a dark hole.
Feeling purposeless, I kept crying out to God, “Why am I here? No one needs me!”
I was just emerging from the aftermath of grief and now sandwiched into loneliness during a three-year epidemic that was only supposed to last two weeks. I was overwhelmed.
Am I the only one?
Suddenly, my body was lifting me off my bed and into my gym clothes. I was going to the gym! The gym saved my life that day because those endorphins do not play. But it was the Holy Spirit that intervened when I could not intervene for myself.
Do you need an intervention?
I have been the beneficiary of people reaching for me even when I was hiding. Especially when I was hiding from myself. I believe that in the garden, Adam hid from himself (Gen 3:9-10). That was the beginning of the demise of humankind. When the Father, who is Love, reached for man, man hid from himself and has been trying to find himself ever since.
That’s where Christ comes in. That’s where His body comes in. We will reach for you. You will see our arms, but they will be His.
Many resources, in addition to my loved ones and working out, have aided in my victory against this shrewd foe.
Counseling has been a giant tool in my tool belt, and my most recent counselor, Dr. Shamarah Hutchins, is a genuine, kind-hearted expert in her field. Recently, she shared these tips to overcome depression:
- Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation to stay present & calm the mind.
- Establish a Support System: Connect with friends, family, or a mental health professional. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful step towards healing.
- Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Prioritize regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being is closely linked to mental health, so take care of your body to support your mind.
As a college student, I was unaware of my state of mind. It took the word of someone else to set me on a path of purpose and healing. That word came from Miami University’s beloved Dr. Bill Madison. That purpose was manifested in a combination of campus activities, fellowship, and sisterhood. I have been on this path ever since and can testify from firsthand experience: it works.
Don’t delay your healing. Reach for someone, and in turn, I promise, you will find yourself.
To learn more about Dr. Hutchins please visit https://www.serenecounselingandwellness.com/themindologist.
In other news…Did you know that I just dropped my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!
Are you on Instagram/Facebook? If so, please reach out. I have a series called “Word of the Day Wednesdays” where I share 5-10 minutes worth of nuggets that are on my heart, which I hope are encouraging to others on IGTV/FB Live! I have these also posted on my Youtube Channel.
And, lastly, if you have read “Stories for the (Urban) Soul, please put up an Amazon review here. I was SUPER encouraged and blessed when a new reader put up her review for my 2nd book which you can view here :).
As always, thank you for your support!