March 5th, 2014
About a month ago, I posed a question to my Facebook friends, asking them how they cope with periods of depression, loneliness, and hopelessness. I received many wonderful, honest responses. Studies have shown that therapy and counseling are an effective ways to deal with depression. But I know that there are others ways too. So, I continue to share with you the variety of ways people get through the tough days, months, and years.
One friend said the following, quoting Lewis Carroll who wrote, ” Either the well was very deep, or he fell very slowly, for he had plenty of time as he went down to look about him and to wonder what was going to happen next.”: I pray, write and wait till the journey through the looking glass is over… and then I try to remember where I left off.
Another friend gets through these periods by focusing on where she is needed and releasing emotions: I try to focus on why I am needed now…2 children, so I must continue the commute to and from school, make 3 meals a day, do laundry, etc. It sounds boring, and it is, but living one day at a time is all one can do when things are worst. If I suddenly start crying (it comes at some unexpected and most inconvenient times during depression ) I excuse myself and let it all out, like a silent scream of sorts. When the anger and frustration phase sets in (a way I seem to express depression as I work my way out of it – is that normal?) instead of screaming and acting out, I put the ear buds in and I go to the track and I run as long as my body can take it – to exhaustion. When depressed, I cannot reach that runner’s high, but I think enough is released to help rewire and refire my brain positively for a short time, anyway. I cannot eat, but I at least graze a little when I think to. These are simple things, but I have to keep things simple, not make major decisions, and regroup while moving the family forward even when I am stuck. And that is what makes depression all the more difficult and all the more a burden…there is no quick fix, but life for everyone else in the family is moving fast, and I have to “herd the cats” (that is what it can feel like, anyway). It is a process….
Another uses housework as an answer: I’ve had depression forever. Some months/years aren’t so bad. Other times I’ve had Major Depression. When I am so awful depressed, I withdraw. Majorly. Not helpful of course. I also sleep a LOT. I know, intellectually, all the things I’m supposed to do when I feel that way, but it is often too hard to help myself. Thank goodness for my husband. He has been so wonderful over these 9 years. Seriously, if it weren’t for him, I’d have committed suicide a long time ago. My depression isn’t an issue for me now. I’ve really been struggling with anxiety. When I’m depressed, I feel very lonely. Even with my husband next to me. Therapy has been very helpful to me over the years. My therapist is amazing. She helps me make goals (leave the house, take a shower every day, etc), and that does get me going and doing things. Doing anything helps. I love how she helps me with the goals in baby steps. Step 1: take a shower. Then I can feel like I did something, I attained a goal for that day, and I realize that doing something really does help. When I’m utterly hopeless, I cry. A lot. I’ve learned to let myself have a good sob. Like wailing sobbing. But just for a bit. Like the primal scream thing. After I’ve bawled and bawled, I’m usually ready to stop. Oh, and when I’m having suicidal ideations, I think of the ways I could kill myself, and consider how awful they are. Gunshot to the head: what a mess! Overdose: what if I end up in a coma? Any method: what if I fail? How embarrassing! So then I think, “Ah fuck it. Might as well do the dishes or something.”
If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, contact Mike Giordano, LICSW at 202-460-6384 or Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com.