How to Cope with Depression

Why are so many throwing it all away? I hope my story helps those out there who have walked the same road. I have suffered from depression from 1998: The combination of a traumatic delivery, my parent’s divorce, the national scandal, and my eccentricities created a perfect storm that needed to be dealt with. Over the years, I developed a collection of tools to help me cope. If you suffer from depression, I hope you find a few useful tips:

1. Get some exercise: It doesn’t have to be daily, and it doesn’t have to be sweaty or excessive. Go for a 20 minute walk, choose 3-6 sets and lift light weights for 10-15 minutes, whatever helps you move around a bit. Trust me, it makes a huge difference!

2. Find someone to talk with: Whether you rely on friends or a professional counselor, find someone to share those many moments of self-doubt and grief.

3. Eat healthy meals: Do you include a fruit or vegetable with every meal? If not, start now! Are you limiting foods that make you feel low? Are you including foods that bring you up?

4. Limit alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and will just expand those feelings of hopelessness and grief. I know the first drink or two has the opposite effect, but trust me, limiting alcohol is a positive!

5. Embrace your passions: Do you have an activity that brings joy? Then do it! I love my music! Singing at our local Commission on Aging and performing with my local Irish girls’ band helps me forget the darker times and focus on more positive things.

6. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones: Spend the majority of your time with those who want what’s best for you. Of course, we should make time for our family. However, occasionally we have to spend time with family or family friends who are not kind; you do NOT have to devote excessive time to those who enjoy your discomfort. You have the right to head home early or pass on a get together.

7. Read The Untethered Soul: Do you have a frequent negative monologue? Read this book and learn how to cope with your “Watcher at the Gate.”

8. Have you thought about ending it all? First, take a deep breath. You have options and you are not alone. I strongly encourage you to reach out to someone and just talk, talk about what ever is on your mind, the last day’s adventures, your favorite meal. If you are not ready for that step, have you tried the steps listed above? You owe it to yourself to try. You are worth it!

Be kind to each other!

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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Amid baking tourtieres and gingerbread goats, I’ve dedicated more time to music lately, singing at our local Commission on Aging and developing more Celtic music (stay tuned for an important announcement in a few months). This time I tried something new, recording a song only using the instruments on GarageBand. I learned so much, particularly the process of adding new sounds and polishing tracks. However, I must admit that I prefer the “heart and soul” emerging during a live performance.

I recorded a holiday favorite, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Evoking memories of watching “Meet me in St. Louis” and Judy Garland’s stunning rendition, this song includes the bittersweet side of the holiday, reminding us that it’s ok to have some sad amid all the happiness this time of year. Or to quote a favorite toast, “To Life, it doesn’t have to be perfect, to be perfect!”

So here’s my gift to all of you! Take some time this holiday season to pause amid all the stress, relax in the moment, and enjoy your many blessings.

Thanks for reading!

Dealing with Depression

I have suffered from depression since 1998. I deal with it in many ways, devotions, exercise, mud runs, vitamins, medications, counseling, and whatever seems right at the time. I am one of those people who is willing to try what comes down the pike.

Let me back up. I had a big second boy, 11 lbs, 11 oz, naturally, which led to a few complications. We survived that, but the stress of the birth and the blood loss led to problems. While I was fighting my doc to avoid a transfusion, G needed to be fed every 75 minutes because we found out later he had BWS (Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome), not to mention my oldest son was an active toddler. I was not able to drive for a month, among other issues. I had an amazing support network! They helped me through the moments where I couldn’t physically care for my child.

What caused further problems was my parents’ divorce in the fall of 1998. My first thought was 43 years of marriage!  You are giving it all up now? I was devastated and made contact with a counselor. Occasionally sharing my thoughts continues to be a large and effective part of dealing with depression.

Then the national scandal hit. Two weeks before, Chad and I had just returned from a week in St. Louis, MO, where our son had major surgery.  I was also pregnant with my third child, so I was in protection mode. While I thought my dad received a bum rap, my job was to protect my unborn baby through this tragedy. I hunkered down, and MK emerged, alive, but with complications, a ripped hole in her lung, pneumonia, and a non-life threatening genetic disorder. The clan rallied round, and we moved forward and loved the new member of our clan.

I’m not sure if any or all of these events caused my depression, but I do know that life is full of challenges for all of us. Embracing these challenges and making them my own was the most effective way for me to tackle depression.  If you suffer from depression, be proactive.  Educate yourself!  Which activities, vitamins, and medications help?  Which hinder?  Most important, know that you are not alone.

How to Heal

 

I want to thank the many people who reached out to me both privately and publicly regarding my latest post about having to deal with the tragedy of suicide. While dealing with such tragedies is quite painful, I can assure you that I am in a positive place now. I posted “Far from Lothlorien” in an attempt to help others. I know there are many out there who feel the range of emotions that I survived: pain, sadness, rejection, anger, etc. I wanted those who deal with the horror of suicide to know that you are not alone. If you want to move on, know that life improves if you allow it! Find what brings you comfort. (I find peace in family craic, bunny ears, jokes, and carefully planned pranks) Is it taking the time to read, exercise, or even prepare a unique meal? I encourage you first to take care of yourself, then look for opportunities to help others. By helping others, we complete the circle.

Find Peace, Friends!