I’ve written about depression before and, knowing myself, I’ll definitely write about it again in the future. It’s as much a part of my life as members of my family. Sunday night I attended a forum where speakers discussed depression and how it affects our emotions, relationships, spirituality, and anything else in our lives. I wanted to share the notes I took while listening:
- #1 illness in the world
- The same part of the brain that deals with thinking and problem solving also deals with emotions, so when emotions overrun everything it makes it hard to think rationally.
- Along those same lines, depression shuts down thoughts.
- Depression depletes store of dopamine and serotonin.
- Depression is NOT a moral failing.
- In the premortal life, we worked on our strengths; in this life, however, we are working on our weaknesses.
- We aren’t what we accomplish (in other words, we shouldn’t take our worth from our measurable accomplishments), we are–simply–who we are.
- Instead of writing “to-do” lists, write a “to-be” list and aim your goals towards that.
- MOVE. Don’t stay stuck. Stretch yourself. Do something different.
- Cultivate new hobbies.
- Shake yourself up. Don’t coddle yourself and stay in your “comfort zone” because you’ll never make any progress because you’ll be stationary.
- Mistakes are NOT failures.
- Comfort is NOT growth.
- Just try. Try again. Keep trying. Never stop praying.
- Go out a little bit more everyday, then come back to your safety zone. Then go out a little farther the next day. Keep doing this and stretching yourself, and your safety zone will grow.
- The #1 help for depression is EXERCISE (blergh), followed by a healthy diet/lots of water, and writing.
- Write for 5 minutes everyday.
- Writing is like purging your body of toxins when sick, except this time it’s mental toxins.
- Don’t type on the computer, write with a pen and paper. Have a conversation with yourself.
- Write about the negative, and then throw that paper away. Write about the positive and keep it in a journal.
- An exercise to try is writing a hand-written letter to God about all your frustrations, pain, anguish, hate, sadness, illness, sin, temptation, and anything else negative in your life. Afterwards, say a prayer and flip the page over. Start by writing “Dear [your name],” and write down the feelings you receive from God, as if he’s now writing a letter to you. Let the love and support flow through and you’ll be surprised by what you write.
- Remember that trying something new takes courage, especially with depression. When it doesn’t work (as is sometimes the case), don’t get stuck in that feeling of taking 100 steps back instead of 1 step forward. That’s what it will feel like, but it’s not the case. Just by trying something new (even if it’s a total failure) is a step forward.
- Give yourself credit for the little victories (like getting out of bed), or any other small ways that show you’re trying.
- Remember that what you’re feeling is not your reality–it’s just a feeling.
I hope some of this helped those of you struggling as I am. Depression can come in waves or it can swallow you up, but you won’t drown. You won’t be lost completely because God is always on your side. Even when you can’t feel his arms around you, even when you can feel his presence there, he IS there, is ALWAYS there.
Chin up 🙂