Ready to Win Over Depression by Thelma Wells (Harvest House Publishers)
Every year depression strikes more than 35 million in the United States alone. Popular speaker and author Thelma Wells knows firsthand how difficult depression can be. She provides powerful tools readers can use to successfully battle depression. With her trademark action-based, faith living, Thelma offers powerful real-life stories, medical facts, and biblical truths. She helps readers evaluate where they are (clinical depression, situational depression, “the blues”) and implement four steps to counter life’s negatives:
- change the way they talk
- share their feelings with someone
- take care of their health—physical and mental
- get outside themselves by helping others
Using interactive self-evaluations, readers tackle depression at the source by applying God’s promises and principles. Thelma says, “Most of all, they’ll see how they can become winners over the effects of depression. Don’t give in—God wants you to win in every situation!”
THELMA: Before I begin, let me first say, if you and/or a loved one are in a crisis situation and you need immediate assistance, please call your local emergency number or the mental health crisis hotline listed in your local phone book.
In your introduction, you state that you’ve been there – you’ve been depressed. Tell us about that.
Yes, I have. This story is told in detail in the book, however, I had surgery several years ago and within a few days the incision split open and my intestines were exposed. This was probably by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. After a quick trip back to the hospital to repair the damage, I spent over a year bed-ridden, disabled, and recovering. I’m not the kind of person to lie down and take things slow, especially when it’s forced on me. Yet, in this situation I had no choice but to stop and heal. It wasn’t easy and I faced a lot of fears and I experienced situational depressed during this time.
How do you define depression?
Some of us are more prone to depression than others. The influences that bring us down in our spirits can come from many sources and directions. Depression can be a complex picture. But let’s face it. The main reason we get despondent is simply because life happens. And nobody’s life is a constant procession of uplifting, rejuvenating, invigorating experiences. Everybody’s life has downers. We easily get off-balance in so many ways, and this hurts. The TV commercial that says, “Depression hurts” is true.
Does your book focus on one type of depression?
For most of us, the depression we typically encounter isn’t the severe or clinical category, medically speaking. The typical depression is situational. This doesn’t mean they’re painless or less important or harmless.
Dr. Archibald D. Hart, a leading Christian psychologist and dean emeritus of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary writes, “While these depressions are not usually as serious as the biological ones, they can be much more difficult to cope with.”
In your first Chapter, you talk about “Who get’s depressed?” Does depression affect certain groups of people more than others?
Every year depression strikes more than 35 million in the United States alone. We’re seeing depression with frightening regularity in ourselves, our relatives, and our friends. Dr. Harts states, “There is hardly a family today that is not touched by depression’s tentacles.” Depression affects people of all social classes, all races, and all cultures, but there’s one group that’s especially hard hit…women. Also there is an alarming increase in children and the elderly.
What are the triggers and causes of depression?
Psychology Information Online, which includes content provided by the National Institute on Mental Health, notes that “a depressive episode” can be triggered by “a serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial setback, or any unwelcome life change.” Sometimes depression is brought on by an underlying disease or biochemical disorder. Whatever the cause of our depression, it needs to be faced and understood realistically—and then accepted for what it truly is.
Does the Bible speak about depression?
It does in several places and we see it in the lives of David, Jeremiah, and Paul. Psalms 42 and 43 together represent the cry of a downcast soul—someone who is hurting and thirsting for God. Paul describes our loving Father as “God, who comforts the downcast” (2 Corinthians 7:6).
Christians do get depressed, but it’s a temporary state. God allows us to experience it as a means to attaining something better. Our hope and contentment are based on seeing our past and present difficulties as gifts from God to prepare us and enable us to do more for Him by sharing Christ, finding delight in God and what He ordains.
What are the steps you outline for “Doing something about it.” And why are these important?
· Get It All Out – talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. Emotionally and mentally, talking about your feelings is a healthy thing to do. Everybody needs somebody to confide in. That’s right. Everybody.
· Take Care of Yourself Physically – How healthy we are physically always impacts our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
· Don’t be Deceived – Your emotions can fool you into questioning or not knowing what’s real or not real. Depression can cause some strange symptoms.
· You’re Your Own Captive Audience – People talk to themselves. We all do it. When we talk to ourselves, we need to watch what we’re saying. You see, when we talk to ourselves, we invoke our consciousness. And in our conscious awareness, we truly hear what we say. Our subconscious hearts it—and believes it! Then our creative self-conscious gets busy working it out…whether or not it’s true, real, positive, negative, or healthy.
Hope is a key word used throughout the book, but especially in the last chapter. What does the mystery of hope mean?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick...” (Proverbs 13:12). Hope and prayer always go together. In fact, prayer is the voice of hope. When there’s hopelessness, prayer dries up and blows ways. Real hope is huge! To have a biblical hope found in Ephesians 4:1-16 is to possess “living hope.”
From page 99 to page 109, I discuss the facets of hope that we can attain when we refocus our attention from us to God. Our living hope is not in things, people’s opinions, positions, status, or any tangible findings of life. No, it rests upon the spiritual and emotional stability of our minds on the only wise God, our Father, who can help us in our depressed states every day. This living hope is in Jesus, the Anointed One, whose job it is to redeem us for all things that oppress us. The only hope for the world is Jesus. The only help for the world is a touch from God.
You spend a whole chapter on “Looking Outward.” Why is this important?
At the risk of bursting someone’s bubble…the world doesn’t revolve around you. I know you might have thought it did. I used to think the same thing about me. One of the best ways to deal with depression is to do something for somebody without expecting anything in return.
Search for a volunteer organization, mentor a child or young person, or find someone who needs help with something and help them. Do something. That’s the key.
I have several activities available via my ministry that offer opportunities to people to connect with others. Join me on excursions across the country and to Israel studying the Word, relaxing, rejuvenating and enjoying the life God has given us. We are also launching the Ready to Win Web Cast University with a variety of experts to offer you the best in Christian instruction, study, and education. I have hand selected several outstanding speakers that will enable you to be READY TO WIN in every situation. Both of these and more are available on my web site at www.ThelmaWells.com.
How is the book different from others?
This book is different from others because it gives the reader a non-threatening opportunity to ask themselves questions and answer those questions in the book as they are reading it. It is not a course of study; it is a means of helping them “get it out.” It allows them to analyze their state of being and work through it alone so that it is there personal and confidential analysis and directives for healing.
What results do you see that can come from reading this book?
The results I see from reading this book are:
· People have a handy reference at their fingertips for calling their attention to what they are facing in terms of situational depression.
· People have at their fingertips information that they can share with others who may be experienced the same kind of depression.
· There are reminders in the book that are encouraging and inspiring that can be used as a devotional.
· There are stories that people can relate to and realize that they are not alone and there is always help.
How do you see individuals, small groups and even churches using this book?
Not only is the book appropriate for individuals, it is designed for group work for small and large study sessions. Because it is a simple lay-out and intentionally open-ended, it can be used as a guide for therapists with their clients, ladies groups of any kind, church groups, Sunday School classes, Bible studies, or references for children’s groups that are concerned about situational depression in our children.
Where connect with you further on this topic? Or, purchase a copy of this book?
I would love for them to visit my web site at www.ThelmaWells.com, browse through the various events and other resources available, as well as sign up for my mailing list.
READY TO WIN OVER DEPRESSION is also available online and at local bookstores such as, Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Christian Stores, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Book Stores, Mardel’s, Anchor Distributors, Christianbook.com, and many other stores and vendors throughout American and the United Kingdom.
I would also like to connect with people on the new Facebook page we set up specifically for this topic at www.facebook.com/readytowinoverdepression. Or they can find me on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Thelmaw.
Again, let me say…if you or someone you know is dealing with depression, you are not crazy. God knows you’re not crazy. And He also has a perfect antidote for your depression. Nothing escapes Him, and he knows you far better than you know yourself. Isn’t that a relief and comfort?
A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by the author in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.
About the Author
From times of singing in a dark closet to the founding of a national women’s mentoring ministry, Thelma Wells' life has been a courageous journey of faith. The name on her birth certificate read simply: Baby Girl Morris. Thelma’s mother was a severely deformed teenager with no husband and no place to go, since her own abusive mother insisted that she take the baby and leave the house. So when the baby was born, her unwed teenage mother found work as a maid cleaning “the big house” while living with her baby daughter in servants’ quarters. Eventually, the baby went to live with her great-grandparents, who called her Thelma Louise Smith and loved her dearly. They took little Thelma to church, where she learned to love the hymns and praise songs.
On those occasions when Thelma was taken to her grandparents’ home, her grandmother abused her, just as she had tormented Thelma’s mother. She was locked in a dark, smelly, insect-infested closet until just before her grandfather came home when her grandmother would bring her out of the closet, clean her up, and act as if all was well. In spite of her deep fear, little Thelma spent her time in the closet singing every hymn and praise song she could remember. She would sing herself to sleep in that closet, and the Lord received this little girl’s innocent praise and rewarded it with an abundant life of joy, protecting her from feelings of anger or bitterness.
Thelma grew up to become a trailblazer for black women, a prominent international speaker and author, and a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As a student at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (now the University of North Texas), she was a member of the first group of girls to integrate the school’s dormitories. She earned her Bachelor’s degree there and eventually received a Master’s of Ministry from Master’s International School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. In 2002 she became the school’s first black female professor.
In 1980 Thelma became the first black woman in the South to organize her own international speaking and consulting corporation. Her natural talent for public speaking and storytelling attracted the attention of the Women of Faith Tour, and in 1996 she became the first black core speaker for the organization. She has authored several books, including her latest God Is Not Through With Me Yet, an inspiring examination of her own life experiences in which she encourages readers to “sing in the closets of their lives.” She serves as the president of The Daughters of Zion Leadership Mentoring Program, an organization she founded in 2000 (another first for a black woman). Through this ministry, “Mama T,” as she is affectionately called, has mentored over 100 spiritual daughters, received an honorary doctorate degree and was ordained into the Christian Ministry on December 16, 2008, from St. Thomas Christian College and Theological Seminary and the Association of Christian Churches in Jacksonville, Florida. She was also was named Extraordinary Woman of the Year 2008 by Mrs. Julie Clinton, Host of the Extraordinary Women Conferences an affiliate of the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Thelma has been married to George Wells, her best friend, supporter, and encourager, for over 45 years. The couple lives in Dallas, Texas, and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.