Mental Health Minute: How Can I Exercise when I Can’t Get Out of Bed??

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health or medical professional.  Please do not discontinue any medical/prescription/counseling program you are currently following.  This post is for information only.  Please click the links below for more information on my personal experiences with depression.

Depression and exercise.  These are two words often used in conjunction with one another, typically by those who have very little first-hand experience with depression but who still feel compelled to share their well-meaning advice. Read More

A Do One Thing Printable

calendar 004I thought it was time I shared a deeply personal, earth-shattering confession:  I have a major obsession with office supplies and an even bigger obsession with planners in particular.  I love planners and calendars; the problem is I also find many of them quite overwhelming.  So many sections!  So many accessories! So many choices! Erin Condren, Kate Spade, the Happy Planner, Lilly Pulitzer, academic planners, mom planners, family calendars, etc., etc., etc.  I really can’t keep up! Yet, I can’t stay away either.

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Surviving the Down Days: Faith

Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.  In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. ◊ Psalm 94:17-18 ◊

A friendly disclaimer: I am neither scholar nor theologian, but I will be sharing my personal experiences with faith, Christianity, and depression in this post.

If you are not a person of faith, this post may be of no interest to you.  Or maybe it will, depending upon your willingness to keep an open mind and ignore the voices that tell you God cannot be real.  I don’t know.  You are free to make that determination for yourself.

You have been warned!

When I was ensnared in the depths of my major depression, I struggled to maintain what little bit of my faith remained. After experiencing a life-altering event, severe depression, and, perhaps, some slightly questionable preaching, my faith was completely shattered.

In this post, I would like to share three tips that helped me stay connected to God even as I experienced my crisis of faith. It’s been a long road and my journey is not complete, but I am thankful that God is true to his word – he did not abandon me; he did not forsake me.

I hope that these tips can help those who may be struggling to keep their faith as they work at defeating the destructive force that is depression.

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Surviving the Down Days: Volunteer!

Yes, I said the “v” word.  If your eyes were rolling after reading the title of my previous post, they were probably permanently affixed to the back of your brain after reading this one complete with cheesy photo.  Perhaps you aren’t quite ready to think about volunteering or helping others; that is understandable.  Still, I do hope you will at least keep it in mind for future reference.

In preparation for the day you are ready to consider volunteering, I thought I would share a quick list of tips that helped me take those first steps to finding a volunteer opportunity in my community.  There’s nothing particularly earth shattering here, but I hope there will be something useful you, or someone you know, can use when finally deciding to branch out beyond depression.  Read More

Surviving the Down Days: Get Moving

If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you rolled your eyes the moment you read the title of this post.  I don’t blame you, believe me, I get it.  If the heaviness of your depression is so overwhelming you count it a victory when you brush your teeth and downright miraculous if you shower, the last thing you want to hear is some stranger telling you that things will get better if you “just get some exercise.” Despite your doubt,  I hope you will continue reading and give this idea a chance.  Read More

Surviving the Down Days: Lean on Your Support System

This is one of our many cats, Bodie.  Bodie is kindly providing an accurate visual depiction of my mood over the past several weeks. Yes, the usual gremlins (lack of motivation and sleep, unable to see beyond tomorrow, the why bothers, depression, low moods, “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”) have made themselves quite at home, and I am so ready for them to move out! Unfortunately, that is often easier said than done.

So, as I wait out this latest attack of the doldrums, I thought I would share a few tips that typically help me survive these down days. I will focus on one tip per post because, honestly, that’s more or less the extent of my attention span at the moment. (As a reminder: I am not a medical or counseling professional. The information provided in this and future posts is based solely upon my own experiences with depression and low moods.)

Tip One: Lean on and be Thankful for Your Support System 

After experiencing a major depressive episode several years ago, I learned how important it is to have a strong support system. Today, as someone who battles low moods and occasional episodes of depression, I still feel the same way.  If you do not have a support system to lean on, I encourage you to find one as soon as possible. Whether it’s a health care provider, counselor, friend, family member, spouse, or pastor, please reach out to someone who can help you.  It will make a huge difference to your recovery and in maintaining a healthy future both mentally and physically.

I believe a successful support system (or support person) is made up of those people who are able to recognize when you are feeling down or depressed.  Ideally, they should be non-judgmental yet not an enabler.  It is also important that they know any treatment plan you are following and any appointments you need to keep. Depressed people are notorious for skipping doctor’s appointments and for not taking medicines as prescribed, especially when we get in that “why bother” cycle. It’s vital that there is someone in your life who can help you stay on top of these things and hold you accountable for the sake of your overall wellness.

Your support team should also be wiling to get you out of your cave regardless of how much you protest. We depressed folk almost always have a cave of comfort we retreat to – mine is the bedroom – yours may be the couch, den, cupboard under the stairs, or under a favorite blanket. Your support system should sense when you begin forming that seemingly unbreakable bond with your cave of comfort and insist encourage you to move, to get up, and to get out. This could involve going for a walk, enjoying a coffee or soft drink, going to a movie, or walking the mall; the point is by coercing you out of your cave, they are also helping you get out of your own head.

I also believe we (“the down or depressed”) should try to maintain an attitude of thanks towards those friends, family members, or spouses who have taken on the task of supporting us. It’s not easy trying to help a depressed person claw their way up from the well. Those closest to us typically bear the brunt of our sometimes unpleasant attitudes, bad moods, and constant negativity. No one would sign up for that unless they truly cared about you.  I understand it probably sounds trite, but you may be surprised how much your mood is lifted or improved if you allow some gratitude to push through those energy-sucking, negative thought patterns.

Again, these are merely my personal thoughts on what makes a good support system based upon my own experiences. In my next post, I will be discussing how important it is to keep moving through depression (cue the eye rolls!).  (I would say “in tomorrow’s post,” but, I know better than to make such promises when fighting off this frustrating funk.)

Monday’s Mental Health Moment: Going into Battle

This week, I have decided to go into battle! I’ve decided to quit being held hostage by depression and to give it a good seeing to.  As someone who knows how this ugly beast operates and who has a fairly good idea of the sneaky weapons it hides in its arsenal, I know this is going to be a tall order.  Also, because of rather unsuccessful and unpleasant past experiences, I decided to forego medication years ago so I will, in a pharmaceutical sense at least, be going in alone.  But, I have a “cunning plan” (though I hope to be more successful than the hapless Baldrick).

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