IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.

One of the biggest challenges in identifying goals for combatting the effects of suffering is to be active without accepting false guilt. It is easy to think if there is something I “can do” to offset the impact of my suffering, then it is something I “should have been doing” all along.

The embedded deception in this kind of thinking is that the new strategy would have prevented the experience of depression-anxiety from ever occurring. If this were true, then you would be facing a sin-based experience of depression-anxiety rather than a suffering-based one.

The clearest example of this dynamic might be grief. Grief is clearly a form of suffering. But we are not powerlessly trapped in the experience of grief for a lifetime. There are things we can do to process the experience of grief and offset its impact. However, doing these things earlier would not have prevented our loved one from dying or our experience of grief at their death.

This is how we would encourage you to consider the strategies presented. They are approaches to help alleviate the impact of depression-anxiety in your life. We present more strategies than you will be able to implement. Don’t get overwhelmed. Choose those that seem like the best fit for your experience. If you’re unsure which ones those may be, consult with the friends, pastor, or counselor with whom we’ve encouraged you to walk through this material.

Your goal at the end of this post is to identify the most impactful things you could do in your struggle with depression-anxiety. We want to help you break the sense of powerlessness to which it is so easy to succumb.

Several of these approaches were adapted from a larger list found in Ed Welch’s book in Depression, A Stubborn Darkness (page 231ff; bold text only).

  1. Talk to Yourself Instead of Listening to Yourself
  2. Stop Saying, “It Won’t Work”
  3. Allow for Contributive Causes and Contributive Remedies
  4. Medication
  5. Identify Areas Where Your Choices Matter
  6. Engage Relationships
  7. Ask People to Pray for Goals More than Relief
  8. Be Willing to Be Challenged
  9. Serve Others
  10. Forgive
  11. Shield Against a Depressed-Anxious Identity
  12. Worship
  13. Realize This Is a Battle and You Must Fight
  14. Let Go of “Should”
  15. Question Your Interpretations
  16. Look for the Good in People and Situations
  17. Read a Good Book on Suffering
  18. Be Willing to Sacrifice the Pseudo-Comforts of Depression-Anxiety
  19. Don’t Confuse Boredom with Depression or Uncertainty with Anxiety
  20. Spiritual Life – Less May Be More

If you believe that you need an approach to anxiety-depression that calls you take more personal responsibility for your emotional state, then we would encourage you to hear more at www.bradhambrick.com/depression.