Friday, June 13, 2008

Living in the aftermath of Depression

As I have stated before, I have been dealing with Depression for a long, long time. Twenty years, at least. Added to that is the fact that when you're depressed, you feel abandoned, alone, and every day seems to drag. So twenty years has felt like FOREVER. I have a friend who is dealing with similar things for a similar amount of time. She is also working on dealing with things from her past in an effort to get to where God wants her to be. It's a process...long, arduous....and our husbands don't understand. They just want us to be happy, and at least *my* husband doesn't understand why I can't just "knock it off" and start being happy.

I have another friend who is stuck...who doesn't believe that it is possible to get out of the hole that depression has put her in. I believe that it IS possible, but not alone. I wrote an email to a group that I am part of about this whole subject. I want to share it with you.
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Just because I have experienced this does not mean I am an expert. First, all of us are different...we all have different backgrounds and experiences. Those things make us respond differently.

Secondly, I am glad to answer questions, but please keep in mind that I am not a professional. I am a person, just like you, who has struggled for a lot of years with this ugly thing called depression. God has lovingly brought me to a place where now it is not a daily struggle, but I also realize that I *could* easily go back there...I have to WORK to stay where I am now.

***THIS IS FROM MY EXPERIENCE***

I have learned that depression is something that catches us when we are already down, either physically sick, spiritually hurting, grieving, tired, what have you...depression is a "disease" of opportunity that builds on the fact that we are already feeling badly and quite possibly already questioning things.

I learned that because I was already questioning things, it was much easier for me to get my thinking turned around so that I was believing lies about myself and others. It was much easier for me to believe that people were out to "get" me, and to believe that they just didn't care...when in reality, they DID care...they just didn't know how to talk to me about being depressed and they wanted to help but didn't know how. *I* could not see it...because *I* was all tied up in how badly I was feeling...and that skewed every other thing I looked at.

I learned that just because *MY* thinking is skewed does NOT mean that the things I am thinking are true. This was VERY hard for me to admit as I am, by nature, a VERY proud person and it is HARD to admit to being in the wrong.

I learned that being *wrong* is NOT the same as being *bad*. These two words are NOT synonymous.

I learned that getting out of the pit of depression was not something I could do on my own. I HAD to have help...which meant that I had to get past those thoughts that everyone was out to "get" me, and give them the benefit of the doubt. I had to LET them help me. I also had to actually start believing that God really loved me, and wanted the best for me...that He would not set me up for failure.

I also learned that I was expecting too much of my husband. My husband is a brilliant, loving man who really wanted to help me, but he just didn't know how...he was not equipt for that. I had to get help FOR ME (and realize that it was not selfish to do so), so that I could THEN work on the issues in our marriage.

I learned that climbing out of that pit was not instantaneous...it took a whole year of counseling, at least once a week (and sometimes twice a week), plus exercise, getting more sleep, taking vitamins, eating better....before I got to where I am now. I had to remember that it took me a LONG time to dig myself into that pit and that I shouldn't expect to get out overnight.

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One of several things I have learned...depression almost always makeyou *feel* more alone than you really are, then, because you feelalone you react by isolating yourself even more, thereby reducing your chances of being less alone. It is a vicious cycle. Encourage your depressed friend to at the VERY least find someone she could go out to coffee withonce a week, even if it is just for 15 to 20 minutes, it will be someone to connect with.
Exercise is ESSENTIAL to beating depression. The more depressed you become, the less you feel like doing, when exercise is exactly what you need to help deal with/beat the depression.
Good nutrition. Again, these sound SO basic, but when you'redepressed, all you want to do is curl up in a ball somewhere, do nothing, and eat comfort foods...in my case, LOTS of comfort foods.If she can start off with just taking a multivitamin, and drinking plenty of water, she'll be getting on the right track.
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I am not depressed, at this moment. I am not on any antidepressants. But, I still have to be on my guard. Every day, the lies keep trying to come back. Every day, I have to work at renewing my mind, putting facts in my mind that counteract the lies that my depression tells me.

6 comments:

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This is something that so many people experience, but too few ever share their true feelings about. Imagine how less alone everyone would be if they could open up like you. I am sure this post has been very helpful to more than you know.

Steph

Christy said...

Thanks for opening up and sharing! I experienced true depression for the first time when my husband was deployed last year. Thankfully I was able to recognize the circumstances that led to it and led to it getting worse so hopefully I'll be able to avoid it next time!

FrazzMom said...

Depression is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about... Thanks for sharing.

DidiLyn said...

I'm glad you shared this, and also the note you left me on my post about being depressed. You know of what you speak! I am walking every day, and trying not to let myself get isolated. Thank you for sharing this information.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this. So many women are struggling so much with this and it's nice to hear some tips.

Crafty Mama said...

That was very gracious of you to share.