Coping with the big D

I realized something the other day at the doctor’s office when he calmly and nicely talked to me about my depression. He asked me what I did to cope with my depression and my mind went blank for a space of time. After a couple minutes and him offering ideas of what I might do, I said, “I blog”. This response was well liked by my new doctor, but he told me a lot of conquering depression is learning good old fashioned coping skills.

The thing is, I had never really stopped and thought of how I DO cope with depression. It kind of shocked me that I wasn’t able to quickly rattle off ways I cope as easy as I think a lot of people not going through depression might be able to. I mean, there are lots of things I like to do, but things I DO to deal with my depression….that’s another story altogether. In fact, if I really search deep within myself and be honest, the fact that I have survived depression for over a decade MEANS I HAVE coped somehow, right?

But just because I HAVE coped,  doesn’t mean it was in healthy ways that helped me really CONTROL it. I think realizing this is what made me see that I HAVE to learn how to control my depression and I HAVE to do it now or nothing else positive is going to come into my life. My weight is a struggle for me, but I will never gain the willpower or motivation to fight against it if I don’t conquer my depression first.

So far, I have taken teensy weensy little steps and while I almost want to berate myself for this and force myself into bigger ones, taking it slow IS what I have to do to make it stick. I have started with doing some daily reading for inspiration and I am also putting little post it notes throughout my house with little inspiring sayings on them such as, “SMILE, it will make you look younger!” and one that reminds me to ask if my thoughts are helpful and affirmative or negative and critical?

I really think it’s important for me to keep that one question ALWAYS in my mind. Depression makes you think very negative and dark thoughts. If I can remind myself that my thoughts aren’t doing me or anyone else any good, then maybe I can learn to catch the thoughts like a dreamcatcher and switch them to positive.

I also discovered one bit of advice in this Life Management book I am reading that I think others might benefit from as well. It’s about changing from a “judger” to a “learner”. Instead of saying, “Why doesn’t she like me?” or “What’s wrong with me?”, learn to change your thoughts into ones like, “How could I have done this differently?” or “What could I do better next time?” So instead of judging YOURSELF or others in a situation, try to figure out what you can learn from it instead.

I KNOW I have a long way to go and I also know that self help books or any other kind of books will NOT help me on their own, which is why I am working up to the step of taking counseling. I know there are mixed opinions on that subject but I feel like sometimes it’s necessary to ask for help. There’s also the added benefit of being able to just confidentially spill out your heart and know the one listening can truly understand.

10 thoughts on “Coping with the big D”

  1. I don’t know if you believe in GOD? I have friends of all faiths, atheist, & agnostic. By no means am I preaching..but I find the ones who attend church regularly and pray- find a small group or volunteer seems to help them. I truly believe I was suffering from slight clinical depression. After being laid off, I had no direction and it was a struggle to get out of bed and be mom to my kids. Recently, my friend invited us to join her small bible study group, 2 weeks ago. I’ve been asking direction from GOD and my moods have been elevating. You can see a couple of posts I’ve done, reflects my latest reflections on life. I’m going to be ensuring I do one “inspirational” post a week. This has helped me and I feel great today! Tomorrow is another day, but the last 2 weeks I’ve been better!

    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com
    Lake Forest, CA

    1. Yes, I do believe in God, but I don’t go to church regularly…mostly because of the hypocrisy I see. I have actually contemplated going back or joining some kind of group, but just not sure yet. I hope you are still doing better with your depression and sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this!

  2. Thinking about you and praying for you Sharon. Depression is often misunderstood and people have a perception about people suffering from it that is not factual. I know many people suffering from clinical depression and a few who have beat it. A blogger friend of mine gave me some information that has helped a personal friend of mine and I will email it to you. Sometimes depression can be caused by nutrition or lack of it so you might find this information beneficial. Take care my friend.

    1. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this. I hardly ever check my e-mail…LOL, so I will have to check it later and see if I received your e-mail. I appreciate you sending me one, thanks!

  3. Meds can help with depression but you should always include counseling to talk things out, get negative thoughts out of your mind and develop coping skills to put you on the right track. If you have the opportunity to get counseling, go for it. The key is to find a counselor you’re really comfortable talking with about everything and anything.

    1. The counseling part is the part I seem to be procrastinating on the most and not really sure why. I think my hiatus from blogging didn’t help things, cause writing seemed to be a good way of coping. I plan to get back to blogging regularly again and I’m sorry I took so long to respond to this.

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