Monday, June 22, 2009

Wisdom From One Who Has Suffered

Ahh I love Twitter. It gives me soooooooooo much inspiration to WRITE!

Tonight I want to talk about depression. Actually I just want to give some straight up dot points about lessons I have learnt in my journey with the whole depression crap.

Just a bit of background. I have suffered depression my whole life. I always will suffer depression for the rest of my life. It is both chemical and situational. However I have had fantastic help and worked very hard for a lot of years to get it to a manageable place, where it no longer rules my life. I still have times where it is a struggle, but I now recognise the black dog when he comes to visit, and can adjust my thinking and behaviour enough to be able to get him back down to a teacup size that I can shove in a metaphorical box and get back to my life!

Anyway, here are some wisdoms I have learnt, that I want to share with you all.
  • You don't have to be normal. There is no such thing as normal. Each of us is just doing the best we can with what we've got. And that's perfectly ok.
  • Stop making excuses. Stop saying you'll do things "when". Don't wait to lose weight, get a boyfriend, get a job, have money, have a baby, whatever. You'll only regret it when you look back at all the time you wasted.
  • Get help. Go to a GP. If they don't help you, go to another GP. It took me 20 years to find a GP who would help me. When I found her, she literally saved my life. Ask people who their GP's are. ASK the GP's if they will bulk bill you after the first visit. Mine did, she said "I want you to come back here and I know you won't if you can't afford it, so I will bulk bill you." She still does, 5 years later.
  • Accept help when it is offered, even if it is not all the answers you wanted. Say thank you, and people will help you even more.
  • Find gratitude. I know it sounds all Oprah-ish, but just being grateful for breathing got me through some days where nothing else did. Being grateful for someone who says "I care." Being grateful for a cold drink, or a tv show, or warm slippers, or the bus driver that was nice. Gratitude not only gives you something positive to focus on, but a tiny bit of gratitude for the people who do show kindness will only have them showing MORE kindness.
  • Accept that sometimes there is no answer just yet. That you need to just solve something else, like where your next meal is coming from, or getting dressed, or getting through a day of work. The answers will come.
  • Take responsibility for your life and that of your children. Nobody else's life is your responsibility. But your life (and those of your children) are the responsibility of no other.
  • Breathe.
  • Get dressed. My God, that was the BEST lesson I learned. Get up at a normal hour (I used to set before 10am), shower, and dress. You would be surprised at what that achieves.
  • Get out of the house. Go to the library. Go to the park. On payday, go to a coffee shop. If you can, be around friends and family that are "inflaters" (they inflate you, rather than those people who deflate you). Sit in your bloody back yard if you have to, just get out.
  • Stop thinking that your situation is worse than everyone elses. Believe me, some people have dealt with shit that you could NEVER imagine, in your worst nightmares, and survived.
  • BELIEVE that there is more to life than depression. If for no other reason, than the fact that I am telling you now. Believe me. I promise you I am not lying to you.


Natalie said...

These are exactly the things that helped me. I set goals, small ones, like "do your make up" and "keep that appointment". Instead of trying to cheat myself, I decided to challenge myself and my automatic self indulgent actions. Oh yeh, and my shrink who I adore, called me out for being self indulgent. She said "depression is self indulgent" word for word, and pointed out exactly when I was being indulgent. I hated her for it, but it really raised my awareness of my self pitying and it actually challenged me and stretched me!

Brenda said...

I too had a bout of depression (PND). It's a scary and dark place that I hope no mum ever go through. It's a horrible situation that I don't ever wanna be in again. Luckily I have a loving family that helped me get thru it...My advice don't be afraid to seek help especially when thoughts of harming yourself start to become an everyday thing (I had those thoughts). You are never alone.

BarefootMdn said...

This is good advice, not just for depression, it helps in times of trouble. These were the sort of things I did while I was coming to terms with the impact/scars I received as a kid, because of abuse from a few people.

Sleepydumpling said...

Thank you ladies.

It's a bitch. But you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

Flibbertigibbet said...

I too have suffered with depression for a long time, first diagnosed two decades ago and I've battled with it since.
For a long time I didn't think I was really worth anyone's time and didn't accept any help, but finally realising I did need help and deserved it was the best thing I ever did.
My psychotherapist is one of the best things ever to happen in my life and I've said to anyone who'll listen ever since, that everyone should have a therapist.

Also, I have to agree with you about "when".
The old 'I'll be happy when I lose a few pounds, I'll be happy when I have more money' etc, etc. What's wrong with being happy now?

One of the most important things for me, even though I'm now the happiest I can ever remember being (despite being single, overweight and a little poor financially), is to realise that I will always have down days. I've stopped fighting them. I accept that sometimes I'll feel low, I allow myself to have a day or two, where I just retreat and care only for me. I now have the knowledge that I'll always come out the other side and it'll always be okay.

Sleepydumpling said...

I'm still single, still get driven nuts at work, at the fattest I've ever been... and I'm the happiest I've ever been. Because I've stopped waiting.

I always tell myself to "just get through the shit" when I have my struggle days. I cast no judgement on those days, and just let them wash by. Certainly lessens the severity of them!

Le Bec said...

Depression is something I've dealt with since forever. The worst it ever got was fifteen months after Erin was born, actually this time last year and I literally couldn't move. I'd get up in the morning pack up the overnight tube feeding crap (sometimes not even) and go lay on the lounge and that was me for the day.

I don't really know what to say beyond that.

Being Brazen said...

This was a great post - lots of good i just need to take some of it ;)

Nicole said...

Just read your tips for surviving again. Thank you. Keep reminding myself to breathe!

Anonymous said...

My dad deals with depression, but he's had it under control (from what we can see) for a long time. He's usually a very stoic and quiet person so we never really got the brunt of it.

Sleepydumpling said...

sleepyjane I find that stoicism is a common coping mechanism for depression, however it is a really ineffective one. It tends to suppress what's there instead of channelling it out and into something positive.