How to Quit “Singing the Blues”

I realize much has been written about depression by people far more educated about it than I am.  I also realize there is much that is chemical and can be treated by antidepressants.  However, I also believe there is an old garden-variety depression we always just called “the blues”.  Its also called “the blahs” and the baby boomers (my sons generation) used to call it “being in a funk”.  Whatever you call it, there are some things in common:  You don’t experience any positive emotion.  You don’t even experience any negative emotion–not sadness, and definitely not anger.  You don’t even have the energy to be angry.  You just have a kind of low grade, flat mood.  What you do feel is a kind of disappointment, either regarding people in your life, your current situation in life, or both.  You may notice your thoughts tend to be negative, and you have kind of “pulled in” to yourself.

Its kind of hard to pull yourself out of this, but I have learned in my long life to do several things–

1) Take better physical care of yourself, including healthy eating.

2)  Get good sleep, even if you have to take a benadryl or an actifed for a couple of nights to break the cycle of waking up in the wee hours and lying awake ruminating about things.

3)  Take long walks in a pleasant place.

4)  Enjoy some beautiful things.

5)  Talk with the most nurturing people in your life.  Don’t be afraid to share that you are struggling.

6) Read something inspiring every day.

7) If it helps, do some journaling.  Let it all hang out, knowing it will end up in the shredder where it can never be used against you.

8) Make a list of things to thank God for, and thank Him every day.

9) Tell God all about your struggle, and ask His help

10) Make yourself reach out and do one nice thing for somebody else every day.  It will certainly get your creative juices flowing, and get you turned around from “pulling in”.

11.  Make a list of 10 things you have really wanted to do (things you WANT to do, not things you SHOULD do, the latter doesn’t help right now). 

12.  Make a plan to begin to do some of the things on the list.

This reminds me of the Greatest Commandment:  Love (appreciate) the Lord Your God with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your heart and all your strength, and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.  What a mental health program! It incorporates thankfulness, self-care, prayer and reaching out.  This will eventually begin to bring more joy and love into your life, and the “blues” will fade.

I’m so glad I wrote all this down–in case I forget, I may need to remember my own advice one of these days!

Nonni

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