Depression is hard, that’s not up for debate. No one would willingly make themselves feel so bad. But, is there another way of looking at it? Could it actually be looked at as a friend? Albeit one who can be a little harsh at times.
For me, depression tends to come on when I’m pushing too hard, when I’m too caught up in what’s going on around me to take care of myself as well. When I think of all the various episodes over the years, circumstances running up to the onset have been difficult. Reflux babies (I’ll talk about this one another time), financial stress, work pressure, chronic exhaustion……….all of these things have been contributing factors, and so far at least, have stopped me from noticing that the slide is happening until it’s too late. But, now I know something about my depression. I know that it strikes when I’m under pressure. There’s no doubt that I will be under pressure again in the future, that’s part of life.
So how can I stop things from getting so bad again? I suppose the reality is that I don’t know if I can, but, I can be more aware of what’s happening, both around me and within me. There I certain things I need to do to give myself the best possible chance of staying well. I need to keep taking my medication, for now at least, if not long term. Sleep. Sleep is so important!! I haven’t slept great the last couple of nights and I can feel it having an impact already. Diet. Exercise. I’m not a gym bunny, I’m not talking about extreme levels of exercise, just what works for me – walking, yoga. I need to spend time with my friends, my family, and time alone. I need to try and stay in the present moment, not get caught up in worrying what the future will bring, or trying to control what that future will be. The only thing we have is the present moment, we can’t change the past or control the future, and trying to do so, or constantly worrying about it won’t achieve anything other than create stress and anxiety.
There is a certain level of irony in my saying all this. I clearly know what I need to stay well, but at times I just can’t do it, and that really is the crux of the issue. Even now, I haven’t found my way back to yoga. I’m getting there. I’m walking again, my diet (ignoring the occasional chocolate extravaganza) is good, I’ve been consistent with my medication. I’m writing!! I still have more to do but I am getting there.
So what do I mean by saying that maybe depression could be seen as a friend? Well, if I’m alert to the signs, I’ll know that the onset of an episode probably means that I’m doing too much again. So, in a strange way, it’s a reminder that I need to look after myself, to slow down. I’m no good to anyone if I push so hard that I fall over. I hope that I can keep this in mind in the future, and that I’ve learned enough about my cranky friend to be able to keep it at bay.