Working Against Depression

You may think that it's impossible to deal confidently with depression because almost the first thing depression does is rob you of your confidence . And while that's true, there's a lot you can do to help you to manage your depression and minimize it's effects. And doing that gives you confidence. Here's what I mean.

It's been an "interesting" couple of weeks and here I'm using the word "interesting" in the same way as the Chinese use it in their curse, "May you live in interesting times", as I've been (and am now gradually recovering from being) in the grip of a depressive episode . This was a result of having too much going on, too much stress and not enough time looking after myself, and I ended up paying the price by basically spending the week before last week in bed, and most of last week on the sofa which I count as a success because at least I was out of bed!

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If I catch the slide into depression early enough, taking a few days off and resting usually sorts things out and I get back to full strength quickly, but I couldn't do that this time, so when I finally stopped things had got much worse which means they will take a while to get better. In the olden days I would likely have ended up spending the next 6 months in bed because I would have carried on going until the point of collapse and then hidden myself away gibbering, but that's not the choice I make these days.

I gave myself the time I needed to rest, and now, although it's difficult, I'm slowly starting to emerge. I have asked for and am receiving help and support to get me back on track slowly but surely. I am blessed to have lovely people around me, both friends and family and their support means a great deal to me.

I'd particularly like to mention the lovely Bev Jones, another fabulous coach and a women who's also been through some very dark times and come out smiling, as her new book, Made it Thru the Rain: to light the journey ahead ,will make clear when it's published in September. If you click on that link you can pre-order it from Amazon now.

Bev shared me some insights (which you can find here) that made me stop and consider a whole new reason why I might be finding life so hard. I sat with those new thoughts for a few days and things gradually started to make more and more sense.

I now realizethat I was being protected from plunging straight back into old, unhelpful habits, and that the Universe was forcing me to sit still and wait for the right guidance to come through via lovely people like Bev, my fabulous friends and helpers Jill and Alison and my lovely daughter who rang for a chat and stayed on the phone for 2 hours just when I needed it most.

I'm slowly getting back into the saddle this week aided by the fact that we FINALLY have broadband and we've FINALLY unpacked. My concentration is coming back slowly so although I'm still not up to a full day's work and I'm finding writing much more difficult than usual I know I'm coming back and My Lovely Husband said on Sunday that he's got his Lovely Wife back, so it's good that the external signs are there too.

And I'm standing up to myself. Last week I fought through my ridiculous levels of anxiety to make some phone calls and sort out the utilities for our new house, and to make myself go out to the shops and interact with people. These are things that ordinarily I would do without a second thought but when the illness strikes they become almost insurmountable obstacles, the very thought of which paralyses me with fear. But I've done them despite the fear so when I have a client who is paralysed by her own fears, I completely understand what she's going through and I never underestimate what it takes for her to keep going and break through them, or why, sometimes, she just can't.

I'm determined to be honest with you and the rest of the world about how being a Recovering Depressive affects me . Being ashamed of feeling this way is all part of the pathology of this illness and it's one thing I'm determined to counter I wouldn't be ashamed if I we're a diabetic, and I'm not ashamed to be a depressive. When I'm in the grip as I am now I already feel sad, anxious, cut off and hopeless, why would I want to feel ashamed as well?!

People who have never suffered from depression find it a really difficult illness to understand. So do people who have suffered from depression .

Each sufferer will have her own unique blend of symptoms and ways of describing them, there is no "one size fits all" treatment that will suit everybody and equally there is no one recognized cause.

I have encountered non-sufferers who firmly believe that all it takes is "going out for a long run", or "keeping busy" or even (and this one really cheesed me off) "looking up to the right" and that somehow that activity will snap you out of your depression when sometimes just getting out of bed and sitting on the floor by the side of the bed is more than you can manage.

What helps me is understanding myself and knowing what's likely to trigger an episode and, through trial and error, working out what's most effective for me in terms of treatment . Through self-understanding I now make far fewer decisions that are bad for me and I'm much more self-aware in my relationships. My outlook is far more positive and my self-confidence is rooted in reality.

My depressive episodes now are few and far between, they're nothing like as bad as they used to be both in terms of duration and depth of suffering and I always know what's caused them and how to recover from them.

Coming to that self-knowledge, and making decisions about treatment, is VERY difficult when you're in the acute phase of a depressive episode, which is why if anyone ever comes to me for help and they are (or I think they are) in such a phase, I will explain that my services won't work for them until they've got medical help and are on the road to recovery. The work I do, which is all focused on looking to the future to create a brighter tomorrow, just won't work if you can't conceive of a better today, let alone a tomorrow or if you don't have the capacity to make decisions and actively seek to change things.

When you are feeling better working with me to come to really know, love and trust yourself will give you some immensely useful tools that will ensure that you live your life in a way that allows you to make rational decisions that, most of the time, will keep the darkness at bay.

As you'll see from my own example, it might not work 100% of the time but 90% is good enough for me!

I am on the way back up and a little gentle work will help with that. Being of service to my clients helps as when I'm working I'm focused completely on them, not on me and I can immediately see and hear the beneficial effects of my work, which is a great reminder of my purpose in the world. And since depression brings with it the unfounded belief that I have no purpose and the world would be a better place without me, perhaps client work is the best cure of all for me.

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Posted in Mental Health Post Date 12/26/2020






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