8 Resources for the Valley

To those of you who are walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, can I just tell you how brave you are?

You might not think of yourself as being brave at the moment, but you are. You are brave to get up day after day and interact with people. You are brave to be honest with yourself (and, at times, us) about how you are.

Having been down this long and winding path with more folks than I ever imagined when I first put my foot on foreign shores, I’ve gathered some resources and offer them here — not to fix you, but to walk with you.

1. To those not in the valley — The biggest “resource” we can offer to our sisters is prayer and our presence. If you are aware of someone who is in the valley, write her name on a piece of paper and place it where you’ll remember to pray for her. As you cook, fold laundry, commute, brush your teeth, let’s pray for one another. 

2. At times our thinking can get out of whack when we are depressed — and it becomes so automatic, we don’t even notice it. Scripture reminds us over and over how important our thoughts are because out of them flow our feeling and reactions/responses. (This isn’t meant to shame you and say, “hey lady, get your thoughts right!” It’s meant to give you some context :))

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS) help us to figure out where we might need to change how we think/talk to ourselves. Give someone you trust — spouse, good friend — permission to point out what they hear or read (if in emails) from you. You might be using “all” or catastrophizing in ways you didn’t realize. We can’t change or pray about things we’re not aware of.

3. If it is available, you might want to go to the doctor and have a check up to be sure nothing else is going on. When you are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death that probably sounds too overwhelming to navigate. Can you have a friend be your advocate and figure out the steps for you? Or set up an appointment? Sometimes medicine is easier to get in a foreign country –if the doctor thinks your blood chemistry may have gotten out of balance a bit of medicine can be a resource. And medicine alone isn’t going to solve the problem — find a confidant (friend, counselor) to help you untangle and sort out some of what is going on in your head, heart, and soul. God is in the business of restoration, though not always quickly.

4. Just needing a place to startI like this one: Dealing with depression. They offer small practical steps.

5. The Anxiety Centre comes highly recommended by a trusted friend who has used their services in remote areas of the world and had truly life changing results. There’s lots to look at for free, but then membership is required for access to all their stuff.  Memberships can be monthly, semi-annual or annual (and of course, the longer the membership, the cheaper put month it is.)  I think it’s reasonable and worth it!  If you have sessions with one of their coaches, you’ll be free access to the full website for the duration of your counseling time.  The counselor costs are reasonable, too.  They can meet with you by skype or other methods.

They not only deal with anxiety disorders, but have info on OCD, PTSD, panic attacks, and other related issues.  Even though there isn’t a special section on it, in the body of their main info, they have some helpful tips for depression, and they’ve noted a connection between anxiety and depression.

6. If you or a loved one (spouse, child, or friend) will be traveling while walking this path, this is a helpful list .

7. Advanced Global Coaching –-they’re trained to know when someone would benefit from coaching and when they need to look into professional counseling. Some times, valley times are not full blown depression, but seasons of confusion and lack of clarity as to the next step(s). AGC is a place that can help sort out which path you’re on. We know several people who work for them and everyone we’ve encountered has been top notch.

Another coaching resource that our very own Patty is involved in is: Coaching Mission International.  Coaching for M’s is very reasonable. For more info, check out the Bridges program.

8. These two articles are by people with personal experience with depression. All the way down is by Parker Palmer and The Spiritual Dimension of Depression is by Elissa Elliott. A book from “the front lines” is Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.

*****

I don’t mean to overwhelm you with resources, this is more of a starting point. What other resources have you heard of or found to be helpful?

We here at Velvet Ashes are not “professionals,” but we are professional carers! Thank you for enhancing our community by offering a piece of yourself.

Amy on behalf of all of us at VA

Photo Credit: Abhijit Chendvankar via Compfight cc

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports this site. 

7 Comments

  1. Jennifer March 19, 2014

    On the “Medical” resource and in finding options to explore it, it might be useful to recognize that you are possibly looking at two different things. One is the simple question of whether or not there is a direct physical cause for how you are feeling, so something else going on in your body. A full physical checkup, even without mentioning specifically how you are feeling on an emotional level (if not possible or appropriate for some reason),  would be helpful. The treatment here would be whatever is appropriate for the actual cause. The second is because how we feel can definitely be impacted by our body chemistry and sometimes (but not always) medication can definitely help. There are not really any tests that will identify what specifically may or may not work or be appropriate. Being in that process can sometimes feel a little like trial and error. The real question is whether or not it works for you, is helpful to you. There are several different groups of medications which work differently. So if one does not work or has side effects for you, then it is possible that a different one will. For me, the key in this part of the process was the blessing that my own doctor both knew me and was experienced with this. I know what I simply cannot take as much as I know the only one I can. I took the recommendation of a friend many years ago now when I first saw this doctor, and I would definitely do that again if I needed it now. I would also not be afraid to use resources at home, or to speak to the doctors who know you well, in this process, if you simply don’t have face to face options where you are. It is important to recognize that the cause can simply be a physical one and treating that can make a great difference.

  2. Amy Young March 19, 2014

    It is important to recognize that the cause can simply be a physical one and treating that can make a great difference.

    Yes 🙂 … and as wonderful as all of the medical resources we have online, bottom line sometimes there are things going on with our bodies and we need a doctor to work with us to determine.

  3. Debbie March 20, 2014

    I recommend the book “Women Counseling Women” by Elyse Fitzpatrick to help in coming alongside another woman in the valley. I have it in my hands but haven’t started it yet: “Out of the Blues: Dealing with Depression and Loneliness” by Wayne Mack. While medical reasons must be eliminated our true source for coming out of the valley is God’s word. It is sufficient for everything we need. I know for me God has used depression to bring me back to His word and being centered on Him instead of myself. Which reminds me of another way to come out of depression: make yourself get involved in helping someone else in need.

  4. Liz K March 20, 2014

    I liked how you said sometimes a valley isn’t full blown depression and a coach can help.  Our agency has a coach on staff and she has been my life line this last year and a half.  I just talked with her yesterday about this hurricane of a situation we are dealing with.   Good thoughts here Amy!!

  5. JulieB March 20, 2014

    Amy – thank you for this post.  In my experience in working with women, often depression makes it so hard to even have enough strength to go looking for resources.  Suggestion – Your list of resources is one that I think should have it’s own spot on this website to make it easily accessible in times of need when it might be hard to sort through and   find your post again!

    Recently, I have had an injury with a great deal of physical pain that has caused me to be on bed rest.  Clearly it has been a valley time….but through it also a learning time.   I have seen how friends came along side of me and blessed me – just by coming over to chat and bringing us meals.    Usually I am the one on the “giving side” of things.  Being a receiver was hard!  But one day, I was just so overwhelmed with God’s care for me by these provisions.  It is good for us to be a “receiver” once in awhile….I think it makes us better “givers” …..hopefully!

  6. morielle March 23, 2014

    The Parker Palmer article is wow. It’s really opened my eyes to a new way of thinking (also, studying Job with a dear one in her own valley right now, so: much needed insight for both of us). She’s reading “The Cry of the Soul: How Our Emotions Reveal Our Deepest Questions About God” right now and has found it deeply helpful.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.