I think many writers suffer from depression because we think too much. And for those of us who are brave enough, we write what we think so the depression doesn’t consume us. Depression has always been part of my life in some form, like an inherited legacy. Lucky me.
Recently, I came down with an awful cold and had to stay in bed for a few days. That usually puts me in a down mood because I’m not being useful in any way. For me, I dictate how things are going by how I feel. If I feel good, the day is awesome. If I feel crappy, my day usually goes crappy so I try to do things that make me feel good. That’s where I start whenever I’m in a blue mood: what will make me feel good at this moment?
- Watching a funny video on YouTube.
- Meditating or doing yoga.
- Talking to a friend.
- Writing down whatever is burdening my mind.
Sometimes these don’t work. I’m too down. I feel helpless and hopeless. And the only thing that helps is crying. It’s like there’s a build up of gunk in my heart and it needs to come out some way and unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to prevent the build up of gunk. I think it just happens over time and I need to clean it out periodically, like the gutters on my roof.
My turning point came when I realized that my mind is a powerful force and I can choose to change my perspective on how I see and experience things like depression. Rather than sucumbing to it like a ping pong ball floating helplessly down an angry river, I can look for the signs and triggers that signal an episode and reach out for an oar that will help me navigate the raging river. I can feed my mind with positive information, images, and ideas that lead me down gentler waters. I stay away from the news and disturbing images…the other night I was watching American Horror Story with my husband and some freaky, serial-killer clown came on. That’s when I siad, “Oh hell no!” and turned it off.
Depression won’t ever go away. It will raise it’s head once again, I know it. But I’ve gotten much better at recognizing it, accepting it, and managing it.