It’s getting to be that time of year again when many people fall into mild to serious depression. For years I noticed that life seemed overwhelming to me right around the third week in December. Although it’s mildly embarrassing to talk about such personal things, I hope this might help someone.
The holidays, they say, are stressful and bring back memories of past holidays. Also sunlight is at its lowest ebb and some people are sensitive to this change. Both of these things may contribute to my getting down-along with the fact that my brother died on December 21st at the age of only twenty-seven.
But there’s a big difference between “the blues” and clinical depression. Clinical depression is both (relatively) easily treated and life-threatening if left untreated. I have experienced clinical depression three times in my life and on those occasions there were three or more terrible things going on-like divorce and the loss of loved ones.
When you are becoming sick your sleep and eating habits are affected. You will either eat more than usual or lose your appetite entirely. You will either want to sleep all the time or have insomnia. In my case I could not eat or sleep and you don’t last very long in that condition. I put myself in the hospital. It was very helpful.
In the worst episode I had I became suicidal. This is an emergency and should be treated as one. Of course, the depressed person needs help; they have lost initiative to help themselves. They usually do tell someone, though, and such statements should never be shrugged off. Get them to a hospital.
I have learned to nip it in the bud; it starts with thoughts; thoughts of loss and hopelessness. When I was very sick, I realized that my own thoughts were killing me. If that is true, I thought, then my own thoughts can also cure me. But how to control those buggers?
At that time I took my thoughts captive violently. When the negative thought appeared I deliberately countered with a positive one. You can only think of one thing at a time. It was a wrestling match, I’ll tell you. It’s easier if you nip them in the bud. But I did get well and have stayed well. The skill of “thinking about what I’m thinking about” and countering with positive thoughts has actually resulted in my being an unusually happy person, although I have the same trials as anyone.
So if you or a loved one feels hopeless and your eating and sleeping habits are affected-ESPECIALLY IF YOU THINK ABOUT SUICIDE-go get help. One thing you can count on is that things change. If they are bad now, then they are going to change for the better.
Remember-there never has been and never will be anyone just like you. You are irreplaceable. Take care of yourself. 🙂