I wrote the following almost a month ago. But I stopped before I actually posted it. And the days have passed. My mood has not lifted much but I've followed the recovery prescription. I've taken a lot of naps. I've pulled a lot of weeds. I think there is a connection somewhere in the way creeping vines wind their way around perfectly good and beautiful azalea bushes, sucking up their sunshine and the way depression can wind its way into one's soul. I'm just not sure yet how to put the words together.
Once upon a time, I thought I'd write a book about depression. I've read many, kept some with yellow highlighted paragraphs of descriptions of dark places I never thought anyone else but me knew about. I'm not sure why. If you live it, why read about it? Because the truth is, books about depression are depressing. When I write a book I want it to be happy. I want it to tell stories that make people smile, not cry. Or if they cry, they are tears of laughter, not sadness.
As I write, John Denver serenades with songs I've heard so many times before. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Bring it on, John!
Don't worry, I'll bounce back. If nothing else, I've learned I'm a trooper. I'm a fighter. I've licked it before and I can lick it again. Saying that - knowing that - helps me feel better. Still, I wish this new medicine would kick in.
- - - -
Lately I haven't been able to keep a healthy perspective about things going on in the world. What's happening in Mynamar, China and Darfur feels like it's happening in my heart. I'm tired of hearing about war, people dying in disasters that are anything but natural, babies starving, and mothers crying.
My sweetie thinks my "water works" have sprung a leak; seems like all I do is weep.
Even though all the signs are usually there, depression has a way of sneaking up on me. It's nothing new, a demon I've wrestled with for most of my life. In this life all of us get stressed. Most of us have known the blues; some of us can't shake them. When my life gets complicated, I usually get depressed.
There are a variety of causes and probably as many cures. I know most of them by heart, so I no longer have to wring my hands and wonder what's happening to me. Still, even with all this experience under my belt, my chest gets tight, my stomach cramps and my pulse races when I discover I've lost (or just misplaced) my joy. That leads to an overwhelming desire to take a nap, which leads to fitful dreams which leads to a Merry Me without the merry which leads to confrontation - with others, with myself.
Anyone who knows anything about depression knows it can eat you up from the inside out. While outside occurances undoubtedly add to a person's sadness, what puts the real "D" in depression is the negative self talk that runs amok in one's head. Shoulda-coulda-woulda tapes that have little affect on normal thinking begin to take a toll on one's emotional stability when combined with bio-chemical imbalances and mis-firing brain synapses.
What to do about it? All the regular things: rest, exercise, see the doctor. A few of the things that have worked for me in the past include a walk on the beach, listening to music, blow bubbles, call someone, sew something, write something, bake something, pet the cat. And when feeling at a particularly low point, I'm pretty sure it cannot hurt and will most likely help to check out pictures like these:
Mermaid and starfish