Doing Family Right

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Recovery from Depression

Kickstarting Your Recovery from Depression

Having personally walked through depression in 2001 and then coaching hundreds of thousands of people in over 120 countries online since 2003, the most powerful plan for recovery from depression focuses on more than one method. Our bodies are complex. Here are some basic yet powerful steps I used personally and share with others. Depression can be caused by a range of reasons, such as a physical illness, a food allergy, a traumatic loss, abuse, betrayal, or simply incomplete nutrition. The true answer is found in a thorough assessment.

Here are a few basic and powerful steps to get started on your recovery from depression.

1. Feed Your Brain

You need to start with what you are eating. What you eat, can either feed or starve your brain. You can damage your levels of happy brain chemicals – serotonin and dopamine. Low serotonin is linked to depression, the risk of suicide, and violent and impulsive behaviors. Dopamine is crucial to decision-making. (Dr. Hibbiln, National Institutes of Health). A diet high in sugar and omega 6 fatty acids (a junk food diet) is often the first problem. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in everything from margarine and ice cream to snack foods such as potato chips, have replaced healthy omega-3 fats. I have found that a diet with healthy fats, healthy protein levels and leafy greens, along with low carbs and sugar, is a secret weapon for mental health.

2. Fix Your Thoughts

Rather than coming up with a solution to a problem and acting on it, when you suffer from depression, you can often find your negative thoughts spiraling out of control. It is essential to recognize negative thinking patterns and how put a stop to them. A counselor or life coach is extremely helpful to walk you through this, giving you sacred space to listen to you and coach you forward and out of the pit.

3. Step Into the Light

A third powerful step to your recovery from depression is to get outside in the sunshine or use a specialized light box. Several studies have documented the advantage of specialized light for depression. Astronauts who travel in darkness rely on this. Patients responded to light within a week verses several weeks for medication, and with no long-term negative side effects. A review of light therapy in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2001 concluded the following: “The evidence is in that light is an active neurobiological agent. Light therapy is easy to administer in outpatient settings, lacks major side effects, and, importantly, is cost-effective.”

4. Get Moving

Honestly, this is a secret weapon to quickly improving your outlook on life and your mood. Go for a walk around your block listening to your favourite uplifting music. Turn a coffee date into a walking date with a friend. Take a walk along a river (my favourite) and enjoy the wildlife. If weather is cold, walk the mall or an indoor track. Take the stairs. Talk to your doctor about what is appropriate to start, and get moving. “Exercise may be the most underrated and yet the most important behavioral strategy to recommend to clients. Walking is so easy, yet few people realize its importance. A 20-minute walk three times a week is beneficial to health in many ways.” (Zunkel, Gretchen M. RN, Psy NP, PhD)

5. Know Where Your Value Comes From

Our society teaches that your value is in ‘doing’. However, you are a human being, not a human ‘doing’. If you are not understanding who you truly are – a valuable being – created for relationship, invited to hear God’s voice, then you can easily become depressed, feeling lonely, used and useless. In Psalm 46:10, we are reminded to be still and know God is God (and we are not). He will be exalted among the nations whether we do anything or not. Yes, graciously and incredibly, He invites us to join Him in His exciting plan. However, Matthew 7:22-23, reads: “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” We are wonderfully created to know God, live in relationship with Him, follow His voice and only do what He calls us to. Walking close with Jesus rather than being stuck in people-pleasing is a beautiful thing. Rules without relationship leads to rebellion, and often depression and burnout. I love introducing people to their loving Creator, including long-time church-goers and pastors. Yes, you heard right. In fact, there is a high rate of burnout among pastors and church leaders because of the pressures to ‘do’ and meet unhealthy expectations. Yet, Jesus promised us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV).

These are just 5 basic and extremely powerful strategies to start with. Remember, recovery from depression requires you to look at a complete approach. If you haven’t yet found the answer, ask your doctor about a complete physical assessment, and include help from a counselor, or a life coach, and if you can, a nutritionist.

There is hope! You are worth it! I am here today having defeated depression with the help of excellent caregivers, applying proven medical research, and now I enjoy coaching thousands of others how to do the same. I’m happy to help!

© Merri Ellen Giesbrecht – March 2019

Merri Ellen Giesbrecht is a Certified Life Coach and Spiritual Director at Doing Family Right. Since 2003 she has been coaching people from teenagers to seniors in 120 countries online walking them through beating depression. Locally, she serves on the Care Team with Doing Family Right, coaching people to connect better to God through hearing His voice according to His Word. She loves partnering with Jesus in guiding people as they: dismantle negative thought patterns/spiritual strongholds and oppression, walk through trauma recovery, forgiveness, reconciliation, and mediation, explore dreams, assess gifts and abilities, and pursue their callings and goals. She is a pastor to pastors and counselors, both men and women, walking them through burnout, ministry transitions, and healthy sabbaticals, having served as a Pastor for a decade herself.

**NOTE: If you, a family member or friend is in crisis, seek creditable support right away. Our DFR Care Centre has a team of counsellors ready to help. We can counsel you in person if you are in the Fraser Valley, or via phone or video conferencing if you live farther away.

To inquire about counselling or book an appointment, please fill out our Counselling Request Form. You can also call our DFR message centre and leave your request at: 604-556-1116 or email us at

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