Melissa Clevenger on Dealing with Depression

Melissa Clevenger is a woman who I have never met, but who I know touches the lives of many. She is an encourager, and a true example of one who has risen above her circumstances to help others. Melissa writes beautifully well-written articles on her blog glass heart, shares positive and encouraging messages via her podcasts at Under the Juniper Tree, and has written useful articles about her story to help people through depression.

Please have a look at and be encouraged by all this woman does! What an inspiration!

Learn more about Melissa’s story at glass heart

My biggest problem is when something doesn’t go how I planned it, or I “fail” at something. I struggle when I don’t achieve my idea of “perfection.” How do you handle disappointments and “failures” when they come your way?

I stress about it and fall apart. Haha. It’s interesting that you ask this question because the week after you sent me this message, I came home feeling completely inadequate. I had worked on something which had taken hours and mental energy to have it flop completely. From church projects to cooking, I go through the same thoughts you mentioned.
I think I have to remind myself that it’s not about perfection but serving to my best ability – which sometimes means not serving the way I was at all. And when it comes to things like cooking or crafting, the husband reminds me he is happy anyway. Honestly, I have a good cry and then pick myself up.

When I get upset I tend to take it out on my husband. What suggestions do you have that may help me during those times to not take my negative view of the world and apply it to my husband?

Knowing that Chris is on my side is what helps me the most. Together, we face the challenges of the life of a preacher and his work. There have been times I have blamed it on him because I wanted him to just quit but overall, I know it’s not him at all. He’s serving God in his talents. He’s not hurting me, others are who are ultimately hurting God. I need Chris too much to take that out on him. I need his hand to hold in those tough times.

How do you suggest one can communicate their depression and anxiety to their husband in a way that he can deal with it?

Definitely a toughie. I am bad at holding things in because I don’t want to burden him. However, if I don’t talk about it with him, he can’t help me. Even when I do talk it out, it doesn’t always communicate in a way he can grasp. But he tries and helps me as much as he can. I think all you can do is to lay out your feelings even if it comes out a jumbled mess. The more often you talk about it, the more sense it will make to him over time. I have prayed that he would understand me and still do pray that he will be able to help me. I think if you have a husband who wants to help, just being able to acknowledge that fact makes it easier.

When I am discouraged, my temptation is to withdraw into myself or to do nothing at all. What do you suggest to help overcome these feelings and stay productive?

I do too!!! Sometimes, you just have to step back and slow down. Spend time with God alone, reevaluate your talents and interests and pray that you will be used accordingly. Think about the things you have accomplished for the Lord that made a difference. Focus on doing that more. Also, staying in touch with people who encourage you in your service with kind words makes a difference.

I often struggle when I perceive someone thinks ill of me or has something negative to say. How have you learnt deal with people’s negative reactions/ comments?

Pray for them. It hurts to say but I struggle praying for them. But I know if I do, then God is in control of that situation. I put people who have hurt me on my prayer list. I sometimes have trouble facing them, but I just try to be cordial and kind anyway. I try to remember that these people don’t really know us. They only know what their minds comprehend. Sometimes, it’s a lack of spiritual maturity on their part and we can be the ones who show maturity.

There are times I feel overwhelmed by anxiety and I struggle to find peace. How have you learnt to deal with those times when you feel overwhelmed by anxiety?

Sleep, quiet, refocusing, Bible study, prayer, solitude. That’s truly how I do it. I couldn’t survive without those things. They always bring me back to that center core of peace. It’s ok to shut out the world sometimes. I believe it is necessary. If Jesus did it, so can we.

I don’t always have it together. I fall apart and cry and break engagements. I hurt my husband sometimes. I withdraw into myself and try to do it alone. I even stop praying because I don’t know what to say to God for fear He is disappointed in me. But I know that He cares in spite of my fears. I know the solution is to be honest with Chris and God.

Be encouraged by Melissa’s words “Under the Juniper Tree”
 
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