Thursday, 3 October 2013

Dealing with depression

A friend wrote to say that she had been suffering from depression.

Here are attemps to answer this based on my own experience:

Zero attempt

and it's jumped ahead of the queue.

Be nice to yourself -take yourself somewhere, buy something (but avoid an addiction) something you would never think of doing. A trip to one of the lakes if you're in Scotland  a day trip to London even if you only have two hours there.  A walk out the door at 4 am to find the first place that serves coffee. Have an expensive tea/ experience in a lovely environment where people pamper you. Have your hair done buy a really beautiful dress but it must be the best in the shop - pawn your bed to do it - here I'm on very dodgy ground and will shut up.

First attempt.

There's a deep truth that all we creative people need to take in.

Being Creative is taking risks- sometimes big risks to our emotions. When the risks pay off we feel absolutely brilliant. If they don't . . . . .deep misery.

Second attempt.

Having heard you sing I know that you're a perfectionist - you wouldn't be as good as you are without this . Perfection takes some achieving (tongue in cheek) so accept what you do achieve as a success.

Third attempt

The way I cheer my perfectionist streak up is by asking myself the question: Well it was rubbish this time but was it better than last time? - It's bound to be. (if we've worked hard between the two last events.) If so then it is perfectly logical - now it's the logic that is perfect - if every time you do something - with practice in between - you get better even a little bit then you must MUST be moving towards the standard you wish to reach.

Now if you feel you've reached a plateau (it won't be one but it may seem that way)  then find another hill to climb where you know you can improve. There are many aspects to what you do

Fourth attempt

Find someone you trust to be your judge and listen to them. Someone who knows what their talking about. if they tell you to knuckle down and master a technique then think carefully about what they say

Fifth attempt

One I love. You are investing in your future in a way that will be there for the rest of your life - it cannot be taken away.

Sixth attempt

Have several activities that have nothing to do with each other - something that is fun - for you I can imagine it could be dancing (it is for me) - possibly entirely for yourself and on your own. Moving to music is  a sure way of getting the blood flowing which may wash out all those chemicals out of your brain that cause depression. It could be another talent that you enjoy - I love the challenge of playing chess - sadly the people who \i play treat it seriously - I can't: I have the clarinet that is far more important - never-the less I go back to my chess friends because they take me away from my clarinet contacts. Then I have an allotment which is completely open to a beautiful sky - and things will insist on growing there whatever I do or don't do - I also have another group of friends there. So find say two other activities that are different some bringing you into contact with a totally different group of friends - so if one group is on the on the way down another could well be on the way up

Seventh attempt

Regard your hard times as character building - tough medicine but true. I know from my experiences through my life that some have been really tough and I came  I came through them.

Depression is the way our bodies protect themselves. It's a good thing. Our body is saying - hold on I need a rest -  I need to go back into recovery mode - let yourself get depressed knowing that you will eventually get better. Again what has worked for me when I really hit rock bottom - on my own - with my friends deserting me because they couldn't cope with my company. it took months to fully recover. What encouraged me every week I was in the middle of this nightmare was that if I stopped and checked how I was feeling: I knew I was feeling terrible but this was better than a week ago.

At the time I had watched a Japanese film where a woman had been kidnapped and was being forced to live in a very large pit - all mod cons so to speak at the bottom - but trapped. Every time she tried to escape the sand would collapse and she found herself back at the bottom. She kept trying because she realised every day she tried she got just a little nearer to top of the pit which represented freedom.

For me during this time I could imagine  my pit and the top was way above my head - however each week I knew that the surface though way above my head was just a little nearer.

I still remember the feeling that my top could be reached if I just stretched my arms out high above my head and i could feel the grass of the top - I was nearly out. Next week I knew I was out.

I then had the sure knowledge for the rest of my life that if ever I was at the bottom of a pit I would be getting out - eventually - there was no doubt.

Now it's similar  - even last night I felt really confused and very upset - several things had happened during the day and evening that threw me. Yet I knew - I was really certain that all I had to do was to go to sleep and very soon something in me surges through me - I roar like a lion and throw the bedclothes off and cry Right!  If this doesn't happen and I don't feel good in the morning I just lie there and wait bed clothes over my head - Having been through the previous experience many years ago I KNOW  I'll be feeling good eventually ! It's a very reassuring feeling.

I'll stop there.

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