Depression is REAL. It affects many people regardless of sex, race, or religion. It doesn’t care if you’re living in poverty or in wealth. It can affect any one in any walk of life.
I have been there. After my hysterectomy at the young age of 30 I became a person I didn’t even know.
Nothing made me happy.
Everything made me angry.
I felt as if no one cared, as if no one was there for me.
I wondered what the purpose of life was – why did I even exist?
I was trying to work through these feelings of mistrust, inadequacy and lack of self when my mother suddenly died. I was devastated. I was suicidal – but I knew I had to be there for my children. I didn’t want their father raising them alone. I thought he was too strict and unable to give the kids the unconditional love they needed.
I found a life coach that allowed me to talk out my problems and my feelings. She helped me to set goals and to take baby-steps towards achieving them.
During this time, a good friend of ours was also depressed. He was admitted to the VA psych ward and put on anti-depressants.
He continued to get worse.
He began beating his wife (he had never laid a hand on her the 20 years prior.)
He became more isolated and found no joy in anything or anyone. All he talked about was dying – and he even knew how he would do it – he would jump off the bridge onto the 91 freeway. Within months this was his reality. It was a very sad day in June that he took his life.
At first I thought how brave he was to go through with his plan (remember I was pretty depressed myself.) Now as I look back on these years, my thoughts have changed. I wanted to get better – just as my friend did. He didn’t really want his life to end; he wanted to end the pain – the isolation – the loneliness – the despair.
I never used any sort of drugs. I was fortunate to have a life coach who listened to me – and helped me to look at life in new ways. I was also fortunate enough to have a friend, Liz, who could basically see what was inside my heart. She allowed me to be me, to FEEL all the feelings I needed to feel to heal.
My coach told me to constantly repeat the Serenity Prayer….
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Note: The origins of the Serenity Prayer are unknown. It has been traced as far back as the 14th century. It is the prayer that AA adopted as its creed.
I believe that people often get depressed because of something they can not change. Whether it is something about themselves or about another.
Depression just like happiness and any other feeling that we have begins as a thought. This thought is a seed. And when watered and nurtured the seed turns into a very large destructive feeling – Depression.
Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret
To overcome depression, we must weed out our mind of the destructive thoughts and replace them with constructive thoughts. It’s not really as easy as I may be making it sound … It does take time and consistency.
When I began accepting things that I could not change, and began being grateful for the things that I did have, my depression began to lift. It was a long struggle. Listening to tapes on self esteem and letting go of your past, helped me tremendously.
If you have a loved one that you believe is depressed, please don’t tell them to “Snap out of it.” That just makes it worse. The best thing you can do is: 1) Compliment them when appropriate, 2), Listen to them, 3) Accept their feelings – don’t try to fix them or change them. Try to help them find something in life that they enjoy.
If you are depressed, you may want to consider a life coach or psychotherapy, before jumping into anti-depressants. I honestly believe that many people stay down because the pills can’t change their way of thinking. In today’s society we have been led to believe that taking this pill or that pill will fix everything…
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is just my opinion, and my story of how I overcame depression. If you are under medical care – continue with whatever drugs or therapy your physician has prescribed for you.