Inspired and Blessed by Bob Acebedo
Inspired & Blessed

How To Handle Pain And Depression

Mar 6, 2021, 1:26 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo

Columnist

"In times of pain and depression, it is best to P.R.A.Y. – that is, to Profess, Reflect, Act, and Yield to God’s wisdom and grace. Certainly, God is much greater than your pain or depression."

Managing pain and depression starts and ends with ourselves. We may be able to control the external wrenching circumstances that have pushed us to depression and pain, but the truth is that, at the very least, we can internally control ourselves on how to react to those circumstances.

PAIN and depression are inevitable realities in life. They are a sine qua non, a part and parcel, of living.

Pain may be experienced physically, but depression is more than just physiological – it affects the psychological, if not the whole, being of the individual.

But neither pain nor depression can simply be dismissed as a medical issue.

The behaviour or mood of a depressed person affects his or her relationship with others: irritability sets off conflicts and derails wholesome family dynamics; negative thought-patterns become a prism of pessimism; and withdrawal literally disrupts relationships and breeds wholesale feelings of rejection.

Managing pain and depression starts and ends with ourselves. We may be able to control the external wrenching circumstances that have pushed us to depression and pain, but the truth is that, at the very least, we can internally control ourselves on how to react to those circumstances.

Yes, everything happens for a reason – but, let’s remember, it’s we who give those reasons. We could take control of our desperate situations by consciously giving reasons or meanings to their occurrences.

Kira M. Newman, author and producer of “Greater Good Science Center,” offers some practical ways to handle pain and depression:

1. Change the narrative. Write down your deepest thoughts and feelings about the issue: first, the painful and dark side; then, the “silver linings” or positive things.

2. Face your fears. Overcome your “most feared outcome” of the issue by “framing” or accepting its objective truth or reality, then gradually expose yourself to it.

3. Practice self-compassion. Adversity makes us feel alone. So don’t judge your own suffering but be kind to yourself by – a) being mindful of your suffering; b) remembering that you’re not alone, others are on the same boat; and, c) being kind to, and accepting, yourself as you are.

4. Cultivate forgiveness. Acknowledge what happened. Then, let go of any grudge or resentment for “your own sake”. There are no failures, only lessons learned.

Finally, corollary to Newman’s aforementioned prescribed ways, let me add a fifth but most important approach in handling pain and depression: prayer.

Prayer, or to pray, is not just blindly or passively yielding to God without your own participation. Initially, prayer is opening up or professing your dire situation or problem, your helplessness, your fears, and your faith to God.

But prayer should always be coupled with proper reflection and action. Prayer without reflection is just formulaic verbal calisthenics.

Prayer without action is just wishful believing or plain passivity. God helps those who help themselves.

In sum, hence, in times of pain and depression, it is best to P.R.A.Y. – that is, to Profess, Reflect, Act, and Yield to God’s wisdom and grace. Certainly, God is much greater than your pain or depression.

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