A Few Words on Depression

I’m beginning to hear murmurings in my head about pointlessness and the impossibility of having to cope with all the health problems associated with my disability. I’m depressed about the breakdown of life and the hard realities of racism, poverty and illness that are being constantly discussed on all media.

I also have seen posts from others expressing despair and feelings of hopelessness. A darkness is descending on those who don’t even have physical problems. People feel that their struggle for self-care and love that they thought they’d won has started again — doubts, negative self talk, past trauma taking up residence in the present.

As much as I love the autumn, I know that it brings with it melancholy, depression and other dark emotions that seem overwhelming. This year, it feels worse with the whole country saturated in negativity, with politics more scary than usual.

After dealing with bi-polar disorder and PTSD since my teens, I can offer this bit of hope to anyone who is feeling the darkness descending.

It’s part of what happens in the autumn, the fall. There is less light, the beautiful summer trees and flowers are leaving us, our body clocks are changing. We fall back into negative ways of thinking, that sense of hopelessness. It’s natural, but it doesn’t have to be deadly.

It’s time for radical self care. Get enough sleep, even if it seems that’s all you do, sleep helps. Don’t apologize or feel guilty about sleeping.

Ask for help. It’s a little trickier now with Covid-19. A lot of our social support systems have broken down, and it’s difficult to get visits from friends or ask for domestic help. But try to find a way to get some help. You probably have more friends than you realize who will wear masks and gloves and help you through this seasonal shift.

If you are seeing a doctor, talk to them about perhaps changing your meds, increasing a dose, or trying a new medication.

I use suicide prevention hot lines when it all gets too much for me. I like that it’s anonymous and I can really spill my guts without fear of reprisal or accused of feeling sorry myself. It’s also a FREE service, and was so helpful during the years I had no health insurance.

There are a number of options for findng someone to talk to these days. Chatting, texting, messagaing — all are available to you. You can find resources here:

https://www.cnet.com/health/suicide-hotlines-crisis-hotlines-to-call-or-text-when-you-need-help/

I did have a bad experience once with a crisis center volunteer, who somehow belittled my issues, flipped the conversation around, and I wound up counseling her. It kind of threw me for a loop, but then it made me mad enough to write an email to the organization to report what happened. They got back to me almost immediately. They knew who the volunteer was and she was pulled off phone duty and put back into training. So while I didn’t get the kind of counseling I wanted, my anger overwhelmed my depression and motivated me to do something besides dwell in my dark chamber of misery. I felt that my complaint helped others as well as myself.

I have to stress that that was the ONLY time in the years I’ve used them as spur of the moment counselors — I’ve survived bi-polar for over 40 years now. So if you feel you have been hooked up with a counselor who is not listening to you, please report them and try again.

Good luck to us all as we slog through this season. Try to find beauty in the changing seasons, use the depressed energy to explore and create if you can. I find visual journaling a good way to process my depression.

You are unique and here for a reason. Stay with us. I’ll stay, too.

Remember all the seeds that summer has planted, all the leaves and flowers will return to their elements over the fall and winter and feed the beauty of next summer. Resurrection always happens.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you like it, share it.

~~~

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If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal at my email address joyzmailbox @gmail.com

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If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.

11 thoughts on “A Few Words on Depression

    1. Things will get better. It’s the dual nature of life, even when bad things are happening, good things are too. It doesn’t help to know that when you’re experiencing the bad things, but it’s good to hold on to hope.

    1. Thank you — my grandfather named me Joy. All of the drawings in this post came from past visual journals when I was struggling. Now I have them to look through and see that even when I felt terrible, I did create things. The journals are all letters to the future me. 🙂

  1. Thanks for this Joy. It is very helpful and I don’t know anyone who can’t use the advise given. I will share with my loved ones as well. Thank you.

  2. Like you, I have a hard time with the light fading this time of year, but last winter solstice I had an encounter that shifted things for me. I was celebrating with some friends of friends, and one of them commented on having at least one more month of what they called “delicious darkness.” Their obvious appreciation of the dark made me want to reevaluate my dismissal of it.

    Take care, friend!

    1. I love that phrase “delicious darkness.” I’ll have to say it often and get some new wiring started in my brain. Thomas Moore, in his first book, Care of the Soul, speaks of welcoming the dark and spending time with our shadow selves. Sort of like making friends with our inner demons. But when depression (or mania) hits, I forget all that and just feel like a crazy person. But I also know that summer sprouts a lot of ideas and gives me unfocused ideas, and winter slows me down and gives me time to work on the ideas.
      Awareness of my state of mind, and shifts in mood, has become easier over the years. And I have a great support network.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog, as I’ve been down a similar road. Now I have a friend who is going down a similar road. I wanted to point out that a word may have been left out of this phrase:
    “bit of hope to anyone is feeling the darkness descending.“

    1. Yes, seasonal depression and mental disorders in general, make us feel isolated, like we are weak and should just buck up. In the past few decades, though, we can see that many have serious problems with depression at least once in their lives. Thanks for pointing out the word omission. If you’d like, send me your snail mail address and I’ll send you a post card. joyzmailbox @gmail.com

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