3 ways to fight depression from a writer who faces the demon everyday.
I battle depression everyday. It is a struggle that was hereditary from both sides of my family. Many either just wallowed in it or were victims of their own substance. Now almost a decade worth of marriage and adopting a son, I still find myself daily, if not hourly, struggling.
There have three clears things in my life that have given me a push away from those dark times:
1. Recognize it:
Recognize that you are struggling emotionally, that you aren’t thinking on the same emotional track that many around you are. We all have our ups and our downs, but my downs are way down and are filled with ugly thoughts on the outside and can often present themselves on the outside and lashing out verbally to those around me. I have a tone that can be snappish and harsh, even at my most innocent of times.
Find an outlet for yourself. I have had to find multiple to keep the dark times at bay: exercise, reading, writing. All are viable outlets and honestly, everyone needs a hobby. Go make or build something. Take a walk, write bad poetry. I try to do them all, but the most important is to spend time with your family. I don’t mean in front of the TV, but find a small excursion for you and your brood. If you are a single person, there is so much out there. Even for those who aren’t very physically active, find something to get you out of your own thoughts. Volunteer for a worthwhile cause. There is an ingrained selfishness that seems to come with depression, realize that this world, this life, isn’t all about you. You will be surprised when you focus on others, how much brighter the world can seem.
Now that we recognize our feelings, found a way to channel the often physical manifestations, we need to turn it back in a bit. Some people can go too far with “out-letting” themselves and think that life is nothing but sacrifice, when life truly appears to be about finding out how to help others, you do need to do a bit of housekeeping. Get those cobwebs out and meditate, pray, whatever you need to do to slow the motor in your mind that will slow you down and allow for better focus.
Now you can see this as simple, self-help nonsense and that depression is a disease best left to professionals and that is true. The big picture is that we all need help, we all need a shoulder. I take meds for my anxiety every day, but at some point I think you can trust too much in medication. You might need to learn to start listening to yourself, your true self, and find a way out of the woods. I am still fighting and if I can help one person not give up that fight, then my self-help mumbo-jumbo is worth it. This is just how I get through it, I hope and pray for a little peace for you.
Photo: Neil Moralee