A friend asked a while back how I handle depression. I thought now would be a good time to share. This time of year can be difficult for many of us. Even when we paint on a smile, sometimes the pain can be intense.
What follows is a personal look at my experiences with depression. Note: I am not trained in any manner to provide health care services of any kind. Please see your professional health care provider.
Depression is something I deal with in a holistic manner. Even now, feeling like I have a handle on it, I don’t trust it to be gone. I do feel like I’ve figured out what I need to keep from having a downward spiral. And if I find myself heading down how to stop it.
What’s worked best for me has been a focus on “putting my O2 mask on first.” I’ve learned to value my life. Even if just a teeny bit at first.
Triggers. I am always on the look out for the first sign of a spiral down. Fear of not having a place to sleep, loss of my children, and other situations are on my watch list.
As a child and young adult, I experienced chronic exposure to emotional abuse and some sexual violations. Research shows this type of experience can have heavy impacts on the physical structure of our brains.
I had to give myself permission to take time. Time to heal. Patience.
Okay, so I may not be the perfect father and it does get me down at times. I do what I can and I am learning to cut myself some slack. Judging myself harshly does not help and can be a trigger. Meditation can help me with perspective.
My core bargain with Spirit was they could take absolutely everything from me in this life but if they took my girls I would quit my journey and we would have to start all over. I had found something to live for.
Holidays are tough as they prefer being with their mother. She does provide a nice home. Certainly more comfortable than this little apartment. Again, gotta cut myself some slack. Continuing to be present so we can home school full time all while starting over after being a stay at home dad isn’t easy. I’m doing what I can and I am grateful they are well taken care of.
Lack of sleep. Too much missed sleep for too many days in a row
is a set up for a spiral down.
Vitamin D is a help. Though good nutrition is essential, too.
Dehydration can lead to a spiral.
Emotional support from friends. Being close to people who love me and who I love.
Gratitude. Very important. Anything will do no matter how tiny seeming. Anything.
When depression finds me:
- I sleep.
- I eat.
- I exercise. Yoga!
- I dance. Tango!
- I make sure I am around positive people.
- I talk with a friend.
- I meditate and let go of everything, even if only for a few minutes.
- I accept how I feel in the moment. Watch and observe myself with compassion.
- I walk in nature.
- I talk with my heart, my guides, and my higher self.
- I find things to be grateful for in life.
I don’t just do one of those things. I do all of them. I remember that I have survived dangerous periods of depression since the age of twelve. I remember I am a survivor.
When I am able to do all those things on a regular basis something else happens. I remember that beyond what’s happening in my brain happiness is waiting in my heart to be shared with the rest of the world.
Never give up. Ever. Many people love you.