The past month has been challenging. My brother came home with a chest cold and my mom promptly caught it, exactly one year after she had been in the hospital because her heart caused fluid to build up in her lungs until she nearly drowned. I took care of her around the clock and we both went three consecutive nights without sleep at all. One night, she coughed with every single breath and I was scared to death.
Fortunately, I never caught their chest cold and they are both well now. But three nights without sleep played havoc with my mental health. One of the obvious symptoms of bipolar mania is the increased energy that reduces my need for sleep. But when circumstances disrupt a healthy sleep pattern, the lack of sleep can also signal my brain to trigger mania, which is what happened.
You know what they say: “the higher you go, the harder you fall.” When mania dies out, it crashes into depression. The other day, I felt myself sliding into depression. With years of experience, I’ve learned to identify early warning signs when my mood is changing.
Signs precede a migraine. Signs of low blood sugar precede a crash. And changes in thoughts precede depression.
As I began to sense my thoughts changing, my instinct was to capture whatever positive I could before the darkness set in. I sat down and wrote out a couple pages of affirmations of God’s grace for depression. For the next couple of days, I added Scripture and expanded the list.
When I’m headed into the darkness, it’s helpful to have a script for my thoughts. It’s a way for me to read and rehearse positive thoughts when negativity would come more naturally. These are some of the ways I’ve learned to hold on to hope and ride out the roller coaster of bipolar disorder.
This list contains 31 declarations and accompanying Bible verses. I plan to read and affirm these statements daily. For the next month, I’m going to write one Scripture a day in my journal. You might choose to do the same because whether you have depression or not, these are great affirmations from God’s Word.
Blessings to you!
Lord, I thank you that you are with me and that this feeling is temporary. I trust you until this passes.
God made me who I am, including the physical imperfections and life circumstances that have shaped my life.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:13-14).
God sees who I will become in the future. I am not stuck in this place. By God’s grace, I will move forward.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16).
I am growing in grace, always learning, and always allowing my experiences to reveal God in me.
“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
Because of God’s grace, He is with me even in the darkest depths of depression.
“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grace, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you” (Psalm 139:7-12).
God thinks precious thoughts about me, even when I am sleeping off depression.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18).
By God’s grace, I have right standing with God, whether I am depressed or not, so I don’t need to listen to the accusations of condemnation from the enemy or anyone else.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus . . . What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (Romans 8:1, 31-34).
God is transforming me into the image of Christ.
“And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18b).
God loves me. During this time of depression, I can know and experience God’s love in new ways.
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
God continues His work in my life, even when I’m depressed.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).
Each day brings a fresh supply of God’s mercy for my life.
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
God is with me. I am not alone.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).
God sees me as whole, not broken.
“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Colossians 2:10).
My body is dying, but God renews my spirit each day.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
God doesn’t see my imperfection. He sees the perfection of Christ in me.
“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
God wants to use me to extend grace to others experiencing depression.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Trouble is temporary. Grace and glory are eternal.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
God’s grace uses periods of trouble in my life to develop my spiritual endurance.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance” (Romans 5:3).
God fills me to overflowing with His love.
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5).
By God’s grace, I will monitor my self-talk by capturing every thought and bring it to Christ for evaluation.
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
God is changing the way I think, giving me an outlook that is good, pleasing, and perfect.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
I most easily learn to rely on God when things seem hopeless.
“In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
What I am experiencing, no matter how unpleasant, is part of God’s grace for me.
“My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace” (1 Peter 5:12b).
God gives me more grace (and more, and more) as I grow to know Him better during this time of depression.
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).
I give my anxiety to God and trust Him to reveal changes He wants me to make.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24).
God will go through this period of depression with me, no matter how difficult it gets, because I am precious to Him.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your Savior. . . . you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:2-4).
God will lead me from the darkness of depression and I will praise Him.
“’Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them” (Psalm 107:13-15).
The darkness of depression gives me reason to give myself to God, trust Him, and listen for His love toward me.
“Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you” (Psalm 143:7-8).
Be patient with this period of darkness, keep praying your way through it, and rejoice in the hope for a better tomorrow.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (Romans 12:12).
Ask for God’s help with depression and He will give me grace to get through it.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16).
I am weak. He is strong.
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What I say to myself matters so I will rehearse grace-filled words to myself.
“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (Psalm 42:4-6).