Depression is a BITCH, that’s for sure. It is HARD. First and foremost, allow me to validate you. IT IS REAL. IT HAPPENED FOR REAL REASONS. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, AND YOU ARE NOT LESS THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING. AND YOU CAN LEARN TO DIG YOURSELF OUT- ONE SHOVEL AT A TIME.
Maybe it’s circumstantial. Maybe you just lost a loved one or a job or you are just sick and tired of not having the right kind of support system. Or no support system at all. Maybe you have no clue why this “down in the dumps” period has seemingly become your personality. Regardless of how you got here, you got here and I am sure you see no way out- no options at all no matter how hard you search for them.
Let’s get the pharmaceutical thing out of the way: for me, it is not the way to go. Adding more chemicals to your chemical factory at this point seems like the most bizarre of ideas. We have to get our current chemical factory working for us, and throwing more into the mix (at this point in my life) makes absolutely no sense. You see, I have been there, and when I was I didn’t know or understand what I know and understand now.
Otherwise, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get where I am now. Now, I understand. Now I have tools. Tools that I hope will shorten the timespan (and lessen the pain along the way) for you to looking back on depression as a distant memory that catapulted you to your happiest life.
Tools- here are my top five:
Do NOT underestimate the tremendous value of this concept. You HAVE to start breathing. Breathing has so many (many, many) positive results for so many (many,many) reasons. Oxygenating the body through conscious breath starts a whole host of positive chemical processes in the body. It will make you more aware and this is a HUGE step- becoming more aware, more conscious of what is going on inside of you is a GREAT, SUPER IMPORTANT start to the healing process.
Conscious breathing is an emotional salve. It calms down the nervous system and clear thinking can emerge. It changes our emotional state if only by a few degrees. It allows our diaphragm to open up, it brings oxygen to every cell. It changes our chemical make-up, it changes our brain waves, our pulse, our ability to think clearly, and produces within us a strength, a hope, that we didn’t know we had.
When we are depressed we don’t breathe. You HAVE to understand this. Everything collapses in on itself without even realizing it. If we don’t get breathing we cannot function. We cannot move, we cannot think clearly, and we get sucked down further into immobility and paralysis. By now, you know this is true.
Start by considering this. Start by paying attention to your breath (or lack there of). I’m certain you can hardly even find you breath much less cultivate big breaths. It’s okay, One step at a time. Once you are aware that you are barely breathing you can work with that.
Start by trying a conscious breath. Try to make it bigger, longer, fuller. Just a little bit at a time, knowing that you are doing yourself, your body and brain a huge service. This is a HUGE big start. Train your brain one slump at a time- the minute you realize you are going back down, take a breath. Try breathing in fully quickly and breathing out long and slow. Feel the muscles relax. Feel the monkey mind getting quiet. You just saved yourself AGAIN. In time you will be able to do some more advanced breathing techniques, but for now, just start. Just begin breathing again.
Movement goes along with breathing- same idea here. We are getting “unparalyzed” here. Sometimes, I would have to literally yell at myself “Get off the couch”! or “get out of the bed”! Stand up, make the bed and leave the room. Get off the couch and go outside and breathe and feel the weather, hear the birds, maybe even take a walk! Again, movement jump starts so many benefical chemical processes that you have no idea of how beneficial they are to you mood, to your psyche.
Maybe you are not ready to dance. Maybe the joy that comes from dancing is just too far out of reach right now. That’s okay. You will get there, but you have to start somewhere. YOU HAVE TO MOVE YOUR BODY. Go outside and just breathe and stretch your limbs. In a few moments the thought might waft across your mind “maybe i’ll go for a walk.” DO IT! this doesn’t have to be a big deal. Actually, it shouldn’t be a big deal, just something that feels good to you. In time, there will be more that you actually feel like doing. It’s progressive.
If you can’t get yourself off the couch right now, sit there and start making small movements with your feet, your legs, your breath, stretch your neck, your back. I would bet you feel like standing up now. You just have to make some effort, monumental effort is not necessary- some effort though is required. And as long as you feel like doing a little more, DO IT!
Nobody is going to do this for you. Nobody is going to get you out of this depression. It is up to you, and I promise you can do this. Do the breath and the movement regardless of what thoughts are running rampant in your brain. Right now your brain is not working properly and until you get breathing and moving your brain is on stupid mode. So, ignore it. Clear thinking will return once you get oxygen to the brain through breath and movement.
There is more to this than meets the eye. I get how soothing it is to snuggle up and pet your pet- nothing better. But intuitively, I KNOW there is more going on here (another research project). I mean, I get that pheromones are involved here, but I think there is much more.
There is an energetic, emotional bond here, yes. And there is something here that I would consider Spiritual. Most often we absent-mindedly pet our pets, while our brain, our conscious attention is somewhere else. Make it conscious! Even if you have to say to yourself “I am petting my cat. It feels really good, She is helping me. My body and mind are positively responding to this. I am feeling better. (thank you cat).
Animals have a way of being okay, all the time, haven’t you noticed? Don’t you think we have something to learn here? Is there not tremendous benefit of some kind here? You cannot not feel better after consciously petting your pet. Don’t have a pet? No problem! Go outside and watch animals- they are all okay! You don’t see a depressed squirrel, you don’t hear the songbirds lamenting. No! They are happy! Joyous! Full of mischief and so proud of their abilities whether it be their extraordinary repertoire in their song, or their ability to jump from a tree to the roof of your house. They are JOYFUL! Full of life and vitality. And just watching them will stir something within you…
There’s this tree on my morning walk that I just can’t ignore. I call it “twin trees” because it looks like two oak tress sprouting out of one. And everything around it occasionally gets mowed. It’s an empty lot but whoever maintains it decided to leave this tree where it was. It’s a great tree. Reminds me of the fabulous book that has no words called “The Giving Tree”. I talk to it every morning. I am just soothed by the fact that it is always there, always giving oxygen and I’m sure energy to us and all of it’s tree negihbors.
There is nothing like nature to soothe the soul and make us feel like we are part of- if we just pay attention. It’s not just a tree dammit!- it is pulsing life force energy. It is intelligence of that which we have no clue. And there it is freely offering you life-sustaining energy. FEED ON IT. ALLOW IT TO NOURISH YOU, TO SUSTAIN YOU. Energy is everywhere.
EVERYTHING is energy! It’s there all around you- FEED ON IT. That is Nature’s gift to you- to all of us.
Think about it- have you ever not felt better after spending some time in nature? I highly doubt it. Doesn’t matter if it is a grand view of such majesty it takes our proverbial breath or away or if it is a “simple tree” or flower or blue sky. If you take notice, really NOTICE it, it is magnficent, and very, very healing. Take a walk, for God’s sake- and make it a conscious one.
Knowledge is POWER, make no mistake. The more we know about the nature of things, the more power we have, the more tools we have, to get better. TO HEAL OURSELVES, no matter what the malady. I actually think, doing these things helps us on the emotional side of things before the physical side of things start coming into alignment. So, in this way, experiencing depression is easier/faster to get out of than a physical disease, The mind and the emotions must get straightened out before the physical body changes in tow.
Learn what you can about how breath and movement and positive thought, and nature affect your physical body. Learn about how what you think about you bring about. Learn how you truly have the ability to change your mind, change your emotion, change your thought thereby bringing your physical body as well as the emotional and Spiritual side back to health, back to joy (which is your natural state), back to clarity, back to wonder.
It truly is a beautiful and magical world we live in. You can come back to life, the Universe is all around you with amazing tools and gifts to help you get there.
~Here’s to You coming back to your Natural JOYOUS self!~