I’m so nervous about writing this post today. That said, I really feel it’s something I need to talk about, both as a reminder to myself and possibly a help for others. I think it’s going to be the longest blog post I’ve written so far so I hope you’ll bear with me.
As someone who suffers with depression, I fully understand that there are times when nothing really helps you feel happy or at peace. Sometimes the only thing left to do is lie in bed and stare at the walls. However, and it’s a big ‘however’, I’m finding that there are some things that keep MY black dog far away in the distance.
I say ‘my black dog’ because the thing about depression and anxiety is that the symptoms, causes, triggers and treatments are all very personal. Of course, there will be certain things that people agree help.
So here goes then. Here is a list of 6 things that I have found to be my antidepressants:
Often this can be the thing you feel least like doing. For me it’s definitely a case of, the simpler the better. I’ve had so much fun just lying on the rug whilst my four children use me as a human climbing frame. I also love the park, even though that can be stressful at times, when the children all run in different directions. I love pushing the twins on the swings while the other two circulate the park trying out all the apparatus. We did this yesterday and it freed me from some feelings that I was experiencing, mainly feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
2. Fresh air
I am such a home bird, I love being warm and cosy indoors, watching a movie, playing games, and baking (and eating) cakes. I’ll be honest, I’m far too lazy to voluntarily go for a walk, there has to be a lure. For example, I’m much more likely to go for a walk with the promise of some blackberries to pick on the way.
Having said that, I have noticed over the past few months, that when I prize my rear end off the sofa and go through the stress inducing process of getting all the children suitably wrapped up and out the door, I experience something incredible; walking outdoors makes me feel less depressed and anxious. I don’t know whether there’s a physiological reason or if it’s psychological. To be honest, I couldn’t care less what the reason is, it works!
3. Prayer and scripture study.
I know that there are quite a few people following my blog, who don’t share my religious beliefs, so I hope you don’t mind me including this. I just have to say that these two activities are by far the best antidepressants for me. There were so many times in my life when I was growing up, that my mother would advise me to pray and read my Book of Mormon or Bible and I would answer, “I don’t feel like it Mam!” To which she would respond, “that’s the best time to do it”. Boy was she right (don’t tell her).
The thing is, I believe that we have spiritual needs as human beings. That we need to communicate with God and allow Him to communicate with us. I feel that he is a superior being who understands the crazy complexities of my mind far better than anyone else on Earth. So, when I go to Him, I feel an incomparable sense of contentment. The peace doesn’t always come immediately, but it does come. I know that I really need this in my life everyday, not just on the bad days.
I’m not a super creative person and my drawing ability begins and ends at stick men. There are crafty activities that I enjoy though despite my lack of ability. I have enjoyed cake decorating for years, and that can be long, hard work but seeing the finished, albeit imperfect result, is very satisfying.
Most recently, I’ve discovered a love for sewing, which I know comes across all 1940s housewife but hey I love it. One day a couple of weeks ago, when I really should’ve been tidying and cleaning, I sat down at the sewing machine and made Animal Lover and Dino Boy a mini quilt each for a cuddly toy of their choosing. Before I sat down I had been feeling stuck in a rut, fed up of the endless list of housework to do; like a hamster in a wheel. During creating these quilts and on completion, I felt lifted, I felt as though the fog had cleared a little.
I love singing, it’s something I’ve always done and it really is a big part of our family. I enjoy lots of different genres of music, and especially love those that I can sing along too. I also love classical music though, I think it takes your imagination on a magnificent journey.
Photo source: imgur.com
My friend Ellen is a music buff of epic proportions and recently did a music presentation at one of our weeknight church meetings. She presented an amazing variety of music from different genres and also spoke about how she uses music to complement a variety of emotions. It really made me think of how I use music and how there is music out there that actually decreases my feelings of depression and anxiety. Singing songs from musicals (particularly Wicked) is definitely a tonic for me.
6. Family and friends
I don’t know if this is an obvious choice or an obscure choice, I guess it depends on your stance. I’m sure that my family and friends are infuriated by me on a regular basis but fortunately for me they don’t show it. Being around them, even on my bad days, can be just what I need. Sometimes it’s not that it makes me feel better but just makes me feel like I’m not alone. Whether it’s a 2 hour phone call, a shopping trip or a girlie night in, or just nothing other than being in their presence.
They hold my hand and place their arms around my shoulders, they wipe my tears and put up with my mood swings. They give me a much needed kick up the backside on occasion and at other times allow me the space I need to wallow.
Of course, there are times when the only company I can bear to occupy is my own. Those days are hard for me and I know that they are also hard for those I love too. When depression or anxiety have overthrown me, none of the things on this list seem possible. I have found on my journey of recovery though, that these six things are my personal antidepressants.
I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading today’s offering. Until next time.