I know you hate it when I do this. But since I can only assume most of the people who trouble themselves to read this blog aren’t so in to me that they follow me to every waystation on the Information Superhighway to read what I’ve written in other people’s comments. And since I’ve got other stuff going on and I keep meaning to write this up anyway, I’m stealing a comment I left at Ivy’s new blog for this blog as well.
Ivy asked how others how they cope with depressive episodes. The big D is pretty much a given with my various other illnesses. Seriously, people with my diagnoses are overwhelmingly depressed. It’s like 70% or better. Something to do with not being able to move and eat and drive and enjoy the fullness of adulthood, I think.
So far I’ve been able to keep most of the dementors at bay. And this, according to what I said at Ivy’s, is my recipe:
As silly as this may sound, I’ll be very honest.
1. NEVER FIGHT WITH PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET. This is a big one. I spent so much emotional energy arguing with semi-strangers over things that neither of us could fix or change. It left me angry for the rest of the day most of the time. Now…I just don’t engage. It means I have far less of an online presence than I used to. Especially in the blogosphere. But I’ll gladly trade that (very) minor celebrity for peace of mind.
2. Concentrate on things that involve creation, nurturing and beauty. As lame as it may seem, a lot of the more popular games on Facebook are good for this. Joke if you like, but I should have a t-shirt printed that says “FarmVille Keeps Me Sane!” Because all of those games that involve things like growing plants, tending fish and other nurturing hobbies are the modern version of the Zen garden. Sure it’s just rakes in sand, but it focuses your mind on beauty and growth. And yes, there have been days where I only got out of bed to take care of my cafe and my farm and…
3. Get your own pet. I don’t care if it’s just a pet rock. Of course, I strongly recommend dogs, as I’m a dog person. But any pet who needs you and loves unconditionally in return is one of the best ways to keep yourself grounded.
Every time I’ve taken an anti-depressant (3x) it’s made me fatter and angrier. So now I just put them in the category of “things I cannot have” along with soy and Rex Harrison. So I’ve got to find other ways. And these work.
Oh, I also recommend two of the Prayers of Julian of Norwich:
God, of your goodness,
give me yourself
for you are enough for me.
And only in you
do I have everything.
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
That last prayer has become my mantra. Because life does have its ups and downs. Anyone who knows a Midwestern girl knows that she’ll focus on the downs even when she’s up. Because UP must mean a Down is on it’s way, sure as wet follows the rain. But this prayer turns that on its head. And you realise that ultimately…things shall be well.*
*I don’t know this for certain, but I strongly suspect–based on bunches of things–that JK Rowling is also a student of Julian of Norwich. When I got to the last line of book seven I had tears streaming down my face because I was just certain that she’s been where I’ve been and those words had meaning for her too. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, find you a copy of Deathly Hallows and read the last three words. You’ll understand why she changed it from “scar”, I think.