I’m sure you are all tired of hearing about my depressive moments. It has been a grueling couple of years. I can’t say horrific things have happened to me, although, they did appear to be horrific at the time. My emotions have been on a never-ending roller coaster ride.
I have been through every emotion possibly known to mankind. I have felt hope. I have felt victorious! I have felt serenity. And, I have also felt hopelessness, anger, anguish, and I have felt. . . nothing. I think “nothing” is the worse thing to feel. That funky, comatose, odd feeling of not knowing where my heart is at, but not being able to get myself on another plane of emotion.
Eventually I succumb. There is hope again! Through my experience with depression, I can share myself as an expert of how to fight it off – giving hope to a new perspective, which can arrive even when you feel all is lost.
I am a true believer on acknowledging your feelings. We are all human, and if our emotions are not what we expect of ourselves, we can pay attention to what our body is saying, thanking the Universe for any lessons that need to be addressed. I’ve experienced panicky emotions centered around a certain event or person, and wondered why I was acting so crazy, to find out that the person or event was not what they had appeared to be. My body was trying to tell me “stay away!”
It’s also perfectly fine to be sad or angry about certain experiences, as long as those feelings are not damaging to others. During those times when a feeling of hopelessness comes about, its okay to recognize what you are feeling, allowing it to come to surface. Don’t hide behind your emotions with “I”m fine!” or ‘I’m okay”.
Trust me. I have done that, and it is NOT pretty when the agitation finally come out.
First of all, if you are feeling out of sorts throughout the day, H.A.L.T. and ask yourself: Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Perhaps you are coming down with a cold (Sick). Time to take care of yourself. Get something to eat and get some rest.
If it is an episode of depression, give yourself permission to hide under the covers if you need to. Take a bath, relax and just lay in bed if you have to. If hiding under the covers seems to be lasting more than a day or two, its time to reach for a different solution. Without hiding behind your feelings, try a simple tool from my com-posited list:
1. Reach out – phone a friend! Talking to a friend (or a loving family member) about your feelings can help lighten the load. If you have friends like mine, they will listen, offer support, and give rational advice. They will remind you of your assets. If you don’t have friends like this, you need to find new friends!
2. Be of Service: There are lots of ways to be of service. You could volunteer in your community, or just put it out to the Universe that you want to help someone that day. The answers will come, even if it is something small like helping a lady with her groceries or feeding the neighbor’s cat. Helping others brings about so many benefits, from feeling a part-of, acknowledging self-worth, or just getting out of our head for a little while.
3. Let your Creativity Shine! – Work in the garden, draw a picture, take a photo, do bead work, write a song, or a story. Whatever your passion, even if you are not good at it, do it! It’s for you, not anyone else, so just let the creativity flow!!
4. Listen to Music – Another creative outlet, turn up the radio in the car, play music while you are cleaning. Get the body moving. Again, no one is staring, except maybe your kids, so dance!
5. Eat Well: This is probably one of the most important tools I can emphasize. With my gluten intolerance, I need to remind myself, daily, to keep active in maintaining a healthy diet filled with a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. When I am not conscious of what I am eating, it doesn’t long for me to feel the sluggishness effect. So eat a variety of foods, without over consuming. Your body will thank you for it!
6. Exercise: More movement. Your body needs to release those hurtful feelings. Sweat it out! This is actually one of the hardest things for me to do. But I love to hike, or just walk around the park. Getting out in nature is very soothing. Whatever your passion, big or small, will be great for your body, mind and spirit.
7. Meditate: This can be done inside or outside. There is no wrong way to do it. Some people read daily inspirational books, then reflect on the message. Some people find gardening very therapeutic. Sometimes, just sitting outside, listening the birds and watching the trees sway from side to side is all I need to feel peaceful.
8. Laugh – I once took a laughing yoga class. It taught me to force out laughter, even when I am not feeling so happy. You might get some crazy looks if you force your laughter out when you are in public, and it might feel a little odd at first, but it has increasing benefits. You could also rent a comedy or do something fun with your friends – remember Karaoke night?
9. Cry – Sometimes a big cry is all you need to release those hurt feelings. Rent a tear jerker film and let the water works flow! May I suggest I am Sam? Gets me every time, no matter how many times I watch it.
10. Be Grateful! – This might be hard at first, especially when life has handed you that bag of lemons; however, you might be surprised at how many great things you have in your life that you take for granted. Even when all seems lost, you can focus your thoughts on what you DO have and this will turn your negativity around.
I hope these have offered you some helpful advice. Dealing with depression is not fun! the important thing is we don’t have to stay in that state of mind forever. Each day brings about a variety of solutions. It’s always amazing to me when I feel a sense of despair one day and the next day I wake up ready to conquer the world.
One step at a time, one day at a time – you can too!