RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression – An Introduction
Initially, I had intended to write about depression in children today but after some thought I have decided to wait on that and maybe cover it in another way entirely in a later post. One of the reasons for this decision is that I don’t have kids. I know a lot about children, and have dealt with children, but I do not suffer the pain of having a child who suffers from depression or other mental illness and my views on the subject are rather opinionated. So… I wanted to do some more research on the subject so that the post will be more resourceful rather than just my rather harsh opinions.
That being said, I sincerely hope that these posts have offered some personal insight and some advice to help get you or a loved one on a path to a happier life. Depression, when left untreated, can lead to many other illnesses and especially addictions. As human beings when we have sadness, feelings of worthlessness, or hopelessness we naturally seek out ways to feel better. More often than not though, if we don’t pay attention to why we feel the way we do, we tend to reach for artificial means to feel better and that can complicate things rather than help them.
If you struggle with depression or know someone who does, my best advice is to find things to do that give you a sense of value. Last spring I planted my first garden and it ended up being a direct reflection of what was going on in my own head. If I didn’t prune timely, and things started to overgrow – I was able to literally see how my moods and feelings were impacting my world. I had joy when a flower would turn into fruit or when the seeds would first sprout. The garden basically became my way to externalize my emotions in a healthy (and delicious) way and I wanted it to grow so I tried to remain positive. My dogs are another source that brings me joy when I am at my lowest points. My Boxer is so excited when I get up in the mornings. Even if I wake up grumpy or sad, I am met with this little ball of energy that it SO HAPPY that I woke up. I could sleep for five minutes or three days – it doesn’t matter. How can you be sad when there is another being on this planet that just wants you to be happy and give them some love and that doesn’t care what you look like, what words you say, or what job you have? I really do like my dogs more than people most days… the point is they give me a reason to keep getting up; the garden makes me go outside when I don’t want to, and forces me in it’s own way to be a more positive person. I am also blessed to have a partner who loves and supports me even when I am sad. She would do anything if it would bring me even a moment of joy. She doesn’t try to ‘fix’ me – she listens to me. We both struggle, and we truly have a healthy ‘give and take’ that goes on between us and I never thought I would ever have a relationship that actually brings out the best in me. Sometimes I feel like she is my reward for being willing to work on myself.
We live in a complicated world where we are bombarded everyday by what we should be or how we should feel. No wonder so many people struggle with depression. When you wake up everyday feeling that you can’t reach your dreams, or don’t have the body you want, or don’t have the life you imagined it is hard to remain positive but there is always something that we can do to put our own trials and tribulations into perspective.
Find your joy. Figure out something to do that gives you value. Seek treatment. Talk to strangers. Talk to loved ones. Talk to a therapist. Set small attainable goals for yourself instead of focusing always on an uncertain future. I don’t know when I will find a job – but I do know that spring is coming and it’s time to plan my garden for the season. Don’t dwell on things beyond your control, rather spend your time finding positive alternatives. Write, sing, play.
I also want to thank you all for reading. I have gotten some very interesting and awesome feedback from these posts and in all honesty I felt kind of ‘drawn’ to write them. I will say that writing about depression is…well, depressing. In the act of writing though, I have been able to put my own struggle with depression out of my head and into a space where I hope that it can do some good. It has been a therapeutic experience for me to write this series (I can’t wait to share them with my therapist) and I sincerely hope that they served a purpose for you as well.
I will close by saying what my therapist says to me when I ‘try’ and feel like I failed; “Practice. Don’t try.” Practice kindness, practice joy, practice being positive instead of dwelling on the negative. If you mess up – it’s okay- it is a practice and the more you practice the more proficient you will become at any endeavor you choose.
RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression Part 1 – My Story
RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression Part 2 – Therapy
RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression Part 3 – Medication
If you have thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts or actions and need help RIGHT NOW please call:
1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK