“How are you today?”
Easy to ask, but hard to answer. It depends upon who’s asking, and how far we want to go with someone else. I’ve lived with extreme depression on a personal level and with my relatives. Self-medicating is one way to ease the pain. It’s not a great solution, but research shows most people turn to self-medicating first.
It’s easy to blame ourselves and try to isolate our way out of depression, but we need more to manage our pain. We might need prescribed medication, too.
It’s a real thing, and it’s complicated.
There are many types of depression including Bi-Polar disorder, and each have specific qualities. Some depressions are caused by brain chemistry, and others can be caused by events happening in life, such as experiencing death or moving away to a new location. We can suffer major depression by lack of concentration, weight swings, low energy and massive emotional feelings of worthlessness, guilt and suicide.
My father was called a ‘manic depressive,’ which we call Bi-Polar disorder today. He drank, felt alone and out of control to the point of his successful suicide. These are serious issues.
This tiny blog is trying to bring awareness of what aspects depression can take, and I have often found relief from the symptoms I experience.
Our bodies can show changes that point to depression. Inherited traits and hormonal changes, along with physical illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, and eating disorders can be part of depression. It’s also not a bad thing to reduce symptoms of depression by eating a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. It does help. One of the biggest depression aids is exercise. If I get my heart pumping and my body sweating, it releases endorphins, which are almost like a natural antidepressant.
Not drinking alcohol is my main key to not get suicidal, but it’s not easy to behave differently. Reaching for a quick way to feel better has been my family’s way to solve problems, so I made some big life changes when I stopped drinking. I have experienced suicidal thoughts in my time, and drinking brought me depression, which brought more desperation, no joke.
As a sober woman, if I can somehow find some ‘gratitude,’ for just about anything, half of my urgent depression lifts. I talk to myself sometimes, and try to change my attitude, saying stuff like, ‘it could be worse.’ Sometimes I’ll say nothing and pet my cat for awhile. He likes that, which makes me feel better.
There are a billion things in my life that could be worse at any given moment. If I open my mouth and sing a little song to myself, I experience an immediate release of emotion and pain, liking opening a fizzy can and shooting it all over.
I swear to God, singing keeps me out of the hospital. I’ve gone into a bathroom stall and quietly sang a commercial jingle, a hymn or anything that comes to mind the exact moment I recognize that I’m feeling blue. Singing keeps depression from taking root in my psyche. It’s a very private choice to sing like that, like prayer.
If all else fails, I go home and go to bed, and hopefully wake up feeling less lonely, angry, or tired and hungry. Reading can be a fast escape from feeling what I don’t want to feel, so sometimes I read in bed. That’s not a bad way to go, either. Writing is another fantastic way to express depression and get it out of my body. Last resort, I’ll try calling somebody and talking, but it’s got to be super bad before I reveal what’s going on to some trusted friend. It takes great courage to call someone.
Our blood comes from stardust, dead stars, so we can bring light back if we reach out. Easier said than done. Coping with ‘the dark side’ needs to heal with language and communication, instead of trying to fix things by ourselves.