I want to use this post to clarify a couple of things I’ve written about in the past.But first, understand that I am addressing mild to moderate depression in this post, not the more serious conditions of bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc.The recent suicide of Robin Williams (I wrote this before his death) demonstrates the seriousness of these more serious forms of mental illness.I wouldn’t presume to address such conditions.
Often I’ve given suggestions on dealing with depression. I’ve suggested things like wisely choosing the words we speak, managing our thoughts, exercise, etc.-all seemingly simple steps I took myself to combat my own depression. As you know, I’ve pretty much been depression free for a number of years now.
I can understand how some suggestions may seem an affront to people in the throes of despair. I mean, suggesting you exercise when you can’t even get out of bed? How ridiculous, right? And yet today as I was feeling anxious and had a lot of other things I wanted to do, I went downstairs and worked out on my elliptical machine.Why? Because I’ve learned that exercise is good for depression.
BUT these suggestions aren’t offered up willy-nilly on my part. I just don’t spew them out. And I’m not so arrogant that I think that just because they worked for me, you can “try them out” and you’ll be depression free overnight. In fact, I’m insulted if you think that way.
Because (forgive my language) I worked my butt off.
I changed the way I walked, talked, thought, prayed. I changed the way I reacted to people. I changed my expectations of myself and others.I read insistently.I still engage in all this as needed So for anyone to think that it was easy, you would be so WR-O-O-O-O-NG.
So when I write about depression, I hope you know that I am fully aware of what it feels like to be depressed. I had a difficult time for many years. I went through the whole shebang of medication, counseling, etc. I am intimately acquainted with all the ins and out of serious depression.
Are people who’ve had surgery told they don’t have to do anything to get better? My husband had a heart attack and open heart surgery, one right after the other, and was made to walk within one day of his surgery.Why? Because the body heals better with movement. Depression heals better with movement. Physical and mental. Movement to something.
All recovery from any condition begins with that first step.
Recently I responded to a woman who posted how she was having a bad day. She mentioned she hadn’t read any posts about depression for a while so she decided she should. She said she was very offended by some of the suggestions some bloggers posted. You know the kind, the motivational sayings, the cheerleading ,etc.She felt they were too “rah,rah” and too simple.
What I don’t get, is why some people are so offended when people are only trying to help.
I mean they’re putting it out there on a public blog. Do they only want what “tickles their ears” and further supports their depression? Sure, not all suggestions work for everyone. But how does constantly commiserating with anyone do any good except to bring both people down?
I’m going to be really blunt here and speak my heart.
Some people choose to be miserable. They refuse to give any suggestions a try. They refuse to listen to other voices or read literature that doesn’t support what they’re already thinking and feeling. They refuse to exercise. They refuse to monitor their words, their actions, their thoughts. They refuse to be challenged in any way. God forbid that they might be responsible for some of their own misery. So what other conclusion can one come to other than that they are choosing to remain miserable? Why wouldn’t a person try anything, everything?
If what a person has been doing isn’t working, isn’t it obvious something needs to be done differently?
Peruse the bookshelves at your library or bookstore. Look under such headings as mental health, depression, etc.Read some of them. And always read a variety of books. Don’t just read what makes you comfortable or something that only validates what you already believe. You won’t find any well-researched book that doesn’t suggest the depressed person take some steps to help themselves.But ultimately the answer lies within us.
Don’t we all know down deep inside our heart that nothing outside of us is going to completely heal the inside of us all by itself?
Timing is everything, of course. A person does has to be ready. They have to be receptive. But I’ve seen it time and again; people who won’t do anything to help themselves. And not just in the case of depression. It doesn’t take me too long to figure out who those people are after just a few discussions. I will generally not continue trying to help someone who refuses to help themselves. For those willing to help themselves, I’m there to help but not to sympathize.
I was fortunate during my depressive episodes that my husband was empathetic while at the same time not letting me sit in my misery.
So I will continue to speak what I believe is the truth. Not to blow my own horn, but I’ve done my homework on depression. Nothing I write is casually written. Nothing I suggest isn’t anything I haven’t tried myself. Nothing I write isn’t backed up by solid research.Nothing I writ is magic cure. If there were one, I’d bottle it and sell it.:)
God bless and I hope you have a good day.