I've gone into this slump and I usually don't sit in my depression bouts for more than two or three days. I keep trying to pick myself up and stay motivated but it's not working; I can't even get in the Christmas spirit.
Initially, it started back in March when I was laid off. I was okay because I hated the job but then, I filed for unemployment and after receiving benefits for a month and a half, I was told I was ineligible. I appealed and was denied again and told I had to pay back the benefits I received.
I actively searched for work, even with temp agencies, and up to now, have yet to find a job and have had no income for eight months. This has affected my health drastically because I can't afford my blood pressure medication, since I have no insurance. Also, my son is growing out of his clothes and needs clothes and shoes, badly. Some weeks, we don't even have enough to eat. It's so stressful, I have to pray everyday that I don't have a stroke in my sleep because I stress and worry so much.
I don't know what to do, I'm so frustrated and I feel defeated. Any advice or helpful hints to get me out of this depression spiral would be appreciated.
Dear Depressed Diva,
God is good.
Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you, Father God!
I am beginning my response with praise for two reasons. Firstly, I am so thankful that God is using me in this moment to help you through your tough time. He is in the midst! Secondly, I began my response with praise because you need to thank God for long suffering. Thank God for your circumstances. Thank God for the hardest days of your life and don't thank Him when they're all over and you can see the light; thank Him when you are swallowed by darkness and have no clue when the light will come.
Be Thankful for the Suffering:
God allows everything. He is in control of your life and nothing is a surprise to Him. He only promises us good, therefore, everything that happens to us is already good––we just have to see it. This is hard to do.
This is the heat and pressure a lump of coal has to withstand before transforming into a diamond. This is the hours upon hours of stress and labor, blood, sweat, and tears you and your son had to withstand before you were able to deliver him into the world. It is not a coincidence that God give us countless examples of the patience, pain, and fight everything on earth has to go through before it can become what He has intended it to be. You, my love, are no different.
The first things you must do are the hardest things, but they are the most rewarding. Thank God when you feel terrible. Thank God when you can't afford to eat. Thank Him when your son outgrows his shoes and clothes. Thank Him in the most disparaging moments just as you thank him for the best. You are going to thank Him because all of it has a purpose and each seeming setback is a setup for something great! He is conditioning you, strengthening you and moving you closer to your purpose. Thank Him for that!
Also, every little bit you get, thank Him for that, too. For every last dollar, for the last slice of bread you have to give to your son, as you go to bed hungry. Thank him for the electricity and heat, the lights, and whatever little bit you have left. And take care of it all.
Take Care of What You Have:
I am no stranger to depression or to struggle, just as I am no stranger to lack and even homelessness. God has taken me through the valley, just as he has taken me to the mountaintop, down to the valley, and back up to the mountain, again. Neither state is permanent. I have had to dig myself out of some of the most soul crushing times of my life and it wasn't just once or twice. I have suffered through years of this and I am still here! With the help of my spiritual life coach and a deepening faith and understanding, I have been able to rely on the tools I have been taught to come out of every valley, stronger and more capable of climbing the next highest mountain. I say all of this to assure you that my advice to you is pure.
So, after you have begun the ritual of thanking God for all, focus on taking care of what you do have. Get up and clean your house, wash the laundry, throw away anything that holds stagnant or negative energies, clean out the refrigerator and cabinets. The Clear Course will help you do this for eight weeks. This recommendation is one of my strongest. Most people are so unaware of the energy they have trapped and stored in their homes.
Let the depression go!
Set this feeling free as you straighten up and purge, one room at a time. While you're doing so, turn on uplifting and/or spiritual music that speaks to where you will be and not to where you are. I love Mary Mary and Yolanda Adams and Yolanda's song, 'Victory' from her Day by Day album is one of my favorites. I suggest you listen to this first. This one is for you, right now!
Getting up and cleaning up is not going to be easy because your body and your heart are heavy, but that is exactly why you have to do it. Start with your bedroom and bathroom and work room-by-room over the next several weeks and, as you go along, thank God for everything you touch, no matter how small. Then, thank Him for everything you've lost, all you have never had, and everything He has in store for you.
Take Care of You:
I understand you have had preexisting health issues and that it is difficult or sometimes impossible to afford your medication. Thank you, Jesus! What I know of sure is that medication is often a crutch and we can manage many of our ailments with proper diet, exercise, and emotional and spiritual care. This is not to say you should kick your medications––that is a decision you need to make with your doctor. But, in the interim, while it is difficult to afford your medications, this is the perfect time to look into some natural ways to control your blood pressure. Here is a list of Ten Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication, according to The Mayo Clinic. Use this opportunity to take better care of your body and maybe even ween yourself off of unnecessary medications or have the opportunity to lower dosages. Treat the cause of your illness and not the symptoms.
Also, once you have cleaned out your bedroom and bathroom, spend some well deserved time there. Take a long, hot bath or shower. Scrub your body clean, imagining yourself washing away all the worry and lack you have taken on and claimed as your own. None of that is yours. Wash your hair, scrub it clean and imagine yourself removing all that strife from your brain. It is not yours. Do all the things in the shower that make you feel brand new––lather up, sing, shave––do what makes you feel good. When out, oil your skin and thank God for the oil of joy. Cover your body in it. Take care of your fingernails and toenails, give yourself a home facial with whatever products you have laying around the house. Make yourself feel renewed.
It is difficult to move forward when we are covered in our mess. Wash it away; make yourself lighter for the journey. You will feel better on the outside and that will begin to help you feel better on the inside. Still, I know everything I have said thus far barely scratches the surface of the core of your worries. This is just preparation. Now, the real work begins. I fully understand there is a real financial issue here, and all the pampering and cleaning won't solve that. So, let's tackle it.
Here's Your Homework:
- Update and improve your resume and cover letter. Most people are walking around, passing out lack luster resumés and cover letters, wondering why they aren't being hired. With access to the internet, you can research resumé and cover letter samples in your vocation and use a number of them to help piece together a better version of yours. There are key words that may be missing, words that would stand out to an employer and help you snag a job. If you don't have constant or sufficient internet access, visit your local library. These relics are thought to be outdated and useless, but for the millions of people with limited resources, libraries are still centers for knowledge and, these days, free computer access. Check out a book of resumé and cover letter examples in your field, take it home and take your time crafting improved versions.
- Continue using temp agencies, as well as online job searches. Don't rely on just one way to find a job. Temp agencies are wonderful and once you have updated your materials, submit the new versions of your resumé and cover letter to one or more agencies. In the interim, hit the internet, looking for work in and near your city or even outside your city! There is no telling where this time in your life is going to lead you. Leave no stone unturned.
- It's what you can do, not just what you've been doing. When times get tough, we have to get tougher and step completely out of our comfort zones. Your job search isn't just about what you've been doing but what you can do. Pride, many times, keeps us stagnant but this is no time for pride, as you well know. So, what can you do? Can you cook? Can you clean? Can you organize? Can you assist? Can you drive? Can you paint? Can you fix bicycles? Make a list of all the things you know how to do. They may not be things you've ever done professionally, but they are still useful skills. A job as a cleaning lady could save your tail right now.
- Fake it until you make it. Apply for jobs for which you may or may not be completely skilled. My favorite recommendation for such a predicament is to apply for a job as a leasing agent at an apartment complex. Create a resumé and a cover letter just for this kind of job, using examples for the aforementioned books or internet to help you. Any sort of office, customer service, retail, or clerical experience makes you eligible for this sort of position. Grab one of those free apartment guides and email (or fax) your resumé and cover letter to every single apartment complex in your area. Someone will call you. The wonderful thing about this sort of job is that the rent is usually discounted or even free and you are able to work and live in the same place. You may not know much about the industry, but it's not a difficult one to learn so, just say yes to everything and learn along the way. As a homeless, single mom, I did this back when my son was a baby and it saved my hide.
- Get medical insurance and anything else welfare is giving out! The fact of the matter is that all children are eligible for medical insurance and cannot be denied and even though you may not be eligible for unemployment, you are still eligible for public assistance! Go get it! This includes medical benefits. There are also work programs available for people who are having trouble finding work. Find the nearest welfare office and do what you need to do to make it. Unemployment isn't the end-all-be-all of government assistance. Do whatever it takes. I am not a mother who has limits to what I would do or have done to feed my son and keep a roof over our heads and I know you're not, either. By any means necessary. This is what a mother does.
- Sell and trade. Look for used clothing shops in your area. Call and ask if they buy clothing on the spot. Some places will give you store credit or cash for your son's clothes. The store credit will be more than the cash value so, if you can find gently used items for him to wear, it'll be worth it to trade in the clothes he's outgrown. If you can sell some of your things for cash, that would be doubly as helpful. Also, don't count out eBay when it comes to selling personal items for extra cash.
- Change the way you speak. The first thing I noticed about your note was the amount of defeat in your language. I rebuke that defeat speech! You are not in a slump! Your are not depressed! You are not defeated! Life is good and God is great and we thank God for however it is. This is just a stepping stone; this is not the way life is, this is not the way it will be. When you change your thinking and your speech, as well as your course of action, and the atmosphere around you, you will change your life and your circumstances. You have the power and God is with you!
Here's What Will Happen:
Nothing worth doing is ever easy, but if you will remember that all things are designed for our and His good, you will find yourself with increasing faith. There is something here that God wants you to know and it's time for you to find that out. Maybe there is something you have done or haven't done and this time is meant for you to examine the missteps of your life. Maybe it's your overall attitude or the way you have treated others. Maybe you let the wrong person or people into your life and their negative energies have tainted yours. You're going through this for a reason and there is a lesson here to be learned. This is why you have to clear out your space and reset yourself.
What you are doing when you do this, is opening your receptors, making it easier to receive what you are meant to receive. You have to remove the blockages that are holding back your next set of blessing and then, you have to do the work. The common denominator in everything is us. We are the key to all that happens in and around us. You are not separate from what is happening to you. When you change yourself and your mind, you will change your life.
Your attitude of defeat only brings defeat. An attitude of victory will bring victory. Thanking God in the darkness will call the light and thanking Him for the little you have will show Him you are worthy of more.
You may not understand everything that's happening right now, but everything will make itself clear in due time. In the interim, get it together. A depressed mother will raise a depressed child and you don't want to infect your son with your self-imposed infliction. There is a solution to every problem and you are more than capable of figuring it all out. If I can make it, you can make it and that's a fact.
Use the advice I have given you to turn things around. Read it over and over again if you have to. The journey to your purpose is life-long and it starts now.
Have you ever gotten so low that you felt you couldn't dig yourself out? Have you ever felt like Depressed Diva and gotten close to giving up hope? Have you ever felt you were all out of ideas and ways to turn things around? What advice helped you most? Who helped you out of your worst times? Please leave your questions and comments below.
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.